Randy writes: “Basically, this is just a high quality, heavy-duty extension cord with a separate plastic reel. It’s not fancy, but I use it all the time, and I’m very happy that I bought the good one — the 12-gauge, 3-conductor, which I found at Lowe’s. I paid about $36 for 50′. I don’t really need more than that. The cord reel was another $6. The cord reel is nothing special, either, but it keeps the cord compact and orderly.”
This is good stuff. Sometimes we get tied up putting out interesting new tools and forget about some of the good standbys — like a good quality extension cord. How many times have you seen things like this at the store and wondered if they live up to their apparent quality? (I’ve personally considered picking this one up at Lowe’s, so I’m happy to hear about it firsthand from a fellow Toolmonger.)
Another note: These large-gauge wire extension cords are very, very good for your high-amp-draw corded tools — like angle grinders and the like. You might get away with that 100′ cord — or the tiny one — but in the end you’re putting excessive wear on the tool’s motor. This cord should handle most any current draw your tool can reasonably pull — and 50′ is about as long as you need to stretch for high-amp-draw tools anyway.
As for the reel, I agree. Nothing sucks more than having to untangle a cord before the job — when you need the tool bad. We use cheapie versions of these from Harbor Freight.