As a homeowner, you probably have a lot of electrically-powered devices. You have kitchen appliances, TVs, and probably a game console or two. You need to run your work computer, as well as your tablet, and you also have to charge your phone. Point being, no matter how many power outlets there are in your house, you probably want more. This can be particularly irritating if you live in an older house, without a ton of outlets. Even if you have plenty of outlets, there’s often not an outlet where you need it. Instead, your outlet might be behind a couch, or under a table, or around the corner. In those cases, you need a good extension cord.
But extension cords come with their own set of issues. You need one that’s long enough to reach from the outlet to your device. You need one with sufficient amperage, and you want it to be fire-safe. More than that, you also need one with a practical design and form factor. If you’re trying to fit a cord behind a sofa, for example, you might not have room for a normal-sized plug. In that case, you want a flat, low-profile cord that will accommodate your furniture.
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We’re about to review three of the best flat extension cords available today. We’ll begin with the Sleek Socket. This cord has a flat three-prong plug head hugs your wall, with three three-prong outlets on the other end. Next, we’ll examine the Maximm Cable 360° Rotating Flat Plug Extension Cord. This cord has a three-prong plug head rotates 360-degrees, with three three-prong outlets on the other end. Next, we’ll check out the Koumeican World’s Thinnest Extension Cord. This is an ultra slim cord for going under carpets, with two prongs on either end. Which one is the right one for you? To find out, we’ll have to look a little bit closer. Let’s get started!
Flat Extension Cord Buying Guide
Before we start talking about individual cords, let’s talk about some of the basics. What exactly should you be looking for in a quality extension cord? We can’t possibly cover all the features you might need, but there are a few general guidelines you should follow. Here are three important tips for finding the right cord.
Buy a Longer Cord Than You Need
When you measure for your extension cord, it’s easy to underestimate how much length you need. For example, let’s say you measure in a straight line from your outlet to your device. You probably don’t want your cord running along that same straight line. You want it to hang loose along the floor, and not get pulled tight when you move your device. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is convenience. Simply put, it’s no fun having tightly-pulled extension cords all over the place.
But the other reason is even more important: safety. If you end up with too short of a cord, you might end up daisy-chaining extension cords. This is a terrible idea. Each additional cord adds resistance, which causes the voltage to drop at the end of the line. Not only that, but the extra resistance generates heat, which creates a significant fire risk.
To avoid these issues, it’s best to buy a cord that’s longer than you actually need. That way, it’s guaranteed to reach as far as you need it to. Not only that, but if you need to repurpose the cord, you’ll have a longer cord with more versatility.
Think About Your Amperage
Another concern is whether your cord supplies enough electricity to begin with. This is particularly problematic with flat cords, because thinner cords can deliver less power. A normal household outlet provides 15 amps of power. That can go up to 20 amps if you’ve got a 20-amp breaker and heavy gauge wiring. That said, most electronics don’t actually draw a full 15 amps. If they did, you could only run one device for each circuit breaker! Most PCs, for example, draw less than 4 amps of power. The only devices that draw 15 amps are power tools, space heaters, and other high-powered gadgets.
Even so, you want to make sure your extension cords deliver sufficient power for the job. This becomes even more true when a cord has more than one plug on the end. If you’re connecting multiple electronics, they’ll have to share the amperage. You’ll have to take that all into account when choosing your cord. Normally, we wouldn’t recommend choosing a cord that delivers less than 15 amps. But since these are ultra-thin cords, we’ve chosen 13-amp cords for our list. If you’re trying to run power tools or other demanding electronics, you’ll need a thicker cord.
Avoid Permanent Usage
Even the most modern cords are not UL-rated for permanent use. Retail stores and other businesses can actually be fined for using extension cords in a permanent installation. If you own your own home, there’s no reason you should ever have to do this. Use an extension cord temporarily when you need to. But over the long run, it makes sense to have outlets installed where you need them. That way, you don’t have to use an extension cord, and your risk of fire goes down. Unless you like the idea of your home going up in flames, installing new outlets is a no-brainer.
That said, it isn’t always practical to install an outlet in all locations. Maybe you have a brick interior wall. Maybe you’re renting, and you’re not allowed to install your own outlets. In those cases, you might have no other choice than to use an extension cord for the long term. This is yet another reason to choose a longer cord than you need. A taut cord can rub against furniture and walls, which wears away the insulation. Eventually, you end up with exposed wires, which are a serious safety risk. Taut cords can also get pulled out of the outlet more easily, causing your electronics to shut down.
This is a bigger concern for thin cords, since thin cords have less insulation. They’re also flat instead of round, which makes them more susceptible to wear. If you’re considering using one on a permanent basis, it’s essential to make sure the wire is properly routed. Make sure it’s not pulled tight around any corners or edges. And take measures to ensure you don’t walk on the cord or trip over it. The less it’s disturbed, the more the insulation will maintain its integrity. Now that we know what we’re looking for, let’s talk about these cords!
The Sleek Socket is designed specifically to have the flattest possible plug. The head is actually a flat plate, which looks like a switch plate. The three prongs protrude from the back side, and you press it into the outlet. Once it’s plugged in, the total thickness is barely fatter than the outlet itself. It’s even flatter than most baseboards, so you can fit this plug behind any furniture. The downside of the design is that it covers both the top and bottom halves of your duplex outlet. But that’s not a major concern, since you can still plug your devices into the end of the cord.
On the other end of the cord, there’s a fob with three three-prong outlets. This allows you to plug in devices that require a ground connection, such as PCs and laptops. The material is all white, with a rubbery finish that can withstand a bit of abuse. The standard cord is eight feet long, which is suitable for many applications. That said, there are also three- and six-foot versions available. So if you need a shorter cord, you’ll have options.
There are also multiple options for the plug itself. The standard version is designed for a vertical outlet, and the cord comes out of the bottom. However, there’s an alternate version for upside-down outlets, where the plug is inverted. If that’s not enough, there are also two variants with additional outlets. Both of these have two sets of prongs, which plug into both your top and bottom outlets. The cords can either come out of the top and bottom of the plate, or both from the bottom. Either way, you get two cords running from your outlet, each with three outlets on the end.
Regardless of which version of the Sleek Socket you buy, the performance is the same. You get a maximum amperage of 13 amps, 125 maximum volts, and 1,625 maximum watts. The voltage and wattage are actually more than you should ever draw from a residential outlet. So while you’re not getting a full 15 amps, you’re getting a very safe cord.
But suppose you want to run a whole lot of low-powered devices? Is there a way to get even more outlets? If that’s what you need, take a look at the BESTEK Power Strip Tower. It’s big and bulky, but it has eight power outlets, along with multiple USB charging ports.
Maximm Cable 360° Rotating Flat Plug Extension Cord
The Maximm Cable 360° Rotating Flat Plug Extension Cord‘s biggest attraction is in the name. The plug is a flat three-prong end, but it rotates. This means you can run the cord from the outlet in any direction. It can be upside-down, sideways, or diagonally. Wherever you want to rotate the tip, that’s the way the cord will run. In addition, the tip is only 0.6-inch thick, so it will fit behind most furniture and fixtures. You don’t have to worry about it getting in the way, and it’s thinner than a standard ¾-inch baseboard.
Both the tip and the cord are white, with a smooth finish. The cord is flat, and designed to run along walls and under furniture. You can order it in several lengths. It’s available in 1, 3, 6, 10, and 15-foot variants. You can also order a two-pack of the 6-foot version.
At the far end of the cord, there’s a plastic block, with three three-prong outlets. Two of the outlets are located on one side of the block, and one is located on the other. This gives you a little bit of flexibility for plugging in multiple devices. Like the Sleek Socket, this cord is rated for 13 amps, 125 volts, and 1,625 watts.
Koumeican World’s Thinnest Extension Cord
The Koumeican World’s Thinnest Extension Cord lives up to its name. It’s an ultra-flat, ultra-durable cord designed to be walked and even driven over. It’s been tested with loads of up to four tons, and continues to function without any issues. The main body of the cord is black and rubbery, with a broad profile. This is the section that’s meant to be driven over, and it measures 118.1 inches long and 2.87 wide. At a thickness of only 0.035 inches, you can even run it under a carpet without it getting in the way. Including the wire leads at either end, the total length is 128 inches.
The male end is a standard North American two-prong plug, and the box includes a pair of EU converters. The female end is also North American standard, but the plug isn’t actually polarized. If you have a polarized plug, you won’t be able to use the cord without an adapter. While there isn’t an official amperage rating, the cord is rated for 125 volts. As a result, we assume it can handle at least 13 amps.
As you can see, these three cords all have their own unique benefits. The Sleek Socket has the slimmest plug, since it literally sits flat against your outlet. It also has three plugs on the end. The Maximm Cable 360° Rotating Flat Plug Extension Cord also has three plugs. However, its unique design allows for multiple cord orientations. It also won’t block both halves of your duplex outlet. The Koumeican World’s Thinnest Extension Cord only has a single two-prong outlet on the end. But if you need a heavy-duty cord that can withstand a heavy load, it’s a great solution.
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