Power tool electrical cord length

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Forum topic by greatview posted 12-22-2011 06:51 PM 2658 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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131 posts in 3123 days

12-22-2011 06:51 PM

Topic tags/keywords: trick question

Many years ago I remember reading about a guy who cut all his power tool cords to about six inches in length. Then, when using, he would attach an extension cord. He claimed that his method made it a lot neater to store tools between uses. No long cords to mess things up. Anybody tried this? Think it makes sense?

-- Tom, New London, NH

11 replies so far

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2891 days

#1 posted 12-22-2011 06:53 PM

I remember seeing the photos, looked goofy to me.

I do agree, the cords are a pain.

The Festool system of “plug in cords” at the tool makes sense, I like that the best! More manufacturers should make that move.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3040 days

#2 posted 12-22-2011 07:19 PM

I have a few Festools and I really like their system.

For those that do not know, the cord is detachable from the tool so you have the option of setting up one or 2 cords for actual use in the shop and store your tools with no cords attached. It’s a good idea, but there are practical problems with the current design as follows:

- There are two different designs for the plug that attaches to the tool and they are not interchangeable. You have to make sure you have the right cord for the tool you are using. WHY?

- With respect to one of my Festools, the Rotex 125 (the Festool I use the most), the plug does not properly engage and often falls off the tool. Very frustrating. That tool may get a cord attached to it with epoxy one of these days.

As an FYI, this feature is only on newer Festools. If you buy older, used tools (I have) you will usually get a permanently attached cord. Also, they don’t do this on their dust extractors.

Final comment – Festool provides very long cords – especially on the dust extractors.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View MrsN's profile


985 posts in 3491 days

#3 posted 12-22-2011 07:28 PM

If you do this make sure that your extention cord can handle the power of the tool. That can be a problem with cheap extention cords.
For me, someone would always run off with the cord I needed and I wouldn’t beable to plug in anything.

View willie's profile


533 posts in 2420 days

#4 posted 12-22-2011 07:54 PM

My dad used to have a monster 1/2” drill with about a 6” chord. It had a “D” style handle that you put your hand through. The drill had way too much power, you could not stall it. After being thrown off a ladder a couple times or getting twisted up because the bit seized up, the chord was cut short so you could unplug it quickly if there was a problem. He was left handed, like me, and back in those days all the tools had a trigger lock button that would always become engaged when you used it left handed. Not a safe condition and one I’m glad to see corrected on most new tools.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View oxyoke's profile


57 posts in 2319 days

#5 posted 12-23-2011 03:00 AM

I did this to my circuler saw few times

-- Bill Byron Center MI

View Maclegno's profile


224 posts in 3027 days

#6 posted 12-23-2011 03:10 AM

All my power handtools have 12” cords which I use in conjunction with extension leads. I have never had a problem with this setup in 20 years.
PS See my workshop section for photo’s

-- Maclegno,Scotsman in Italy

View Pimzedd's profile


598 posts in 4108 days

#7 posted 12-23-2011 04:27 AM

Had to change the cord on my Dad’s old Craftsman skill saw. Put a 12 in cord on it. Didn’t like the plug that close. Kept getting in the way.

Saw stopped about two months ago. Switch stopped working. Part no longer available. While at the Sears part store, they had a rebuild for $20. Bought it. What did I have to loose?

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2658 days

#8 posted 12-23-2011 04:56 AM

Black and Decker used to make their tools with a short (6”-8”) cord back in the late 60s ,70s as a cost cutting measure. Back then everyone thought it was a PITA. Millwalkie drills and sawsalls of the heavy duty line have removeable cords also. Don’t lose one they’re EXPENSIVE! If I remember correctly you can get them up to 20’ long. The standard one is like $40.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3446 days

#9 posted 12-23-2011 04:58 AM

I have a couple of car wax buffers with short cords, and I hate it. I personally like long cords so I dont have to fumble with extension cords. A few of my tools like routers and sanders have really long cords and I love just being able to plug it in without the extension cord. I frequently have to tie a knot in the cord at the plug on the buffers to keep the extension cord from pulling loose.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View Loren's profile


10262 posts in 3613 days

#10 posted 12-23-2011 05:25 AM

Pros do this often enough, but the reason is because cords get munched
on job sites and a short cord is not so vulnerable to damage. There is
a convenience factor with switching tools, but I think it’s really about
economy. Also, when the long extension cord gets munched, you cut
it off or splice it and you are back to work. Just one cord to maintain
with short cords on the tool.

It’s a personal preference thing imo.

View Tootles's profile


808 posts in 2467 days

#11 posted 12-23-2011 03:09 PM

My shop tools all have standard length cords, yet they are never quite long enough and so I end up using an expension anyway.

The only possible problem that I see with short cords is that you have to make sure you don’t move the tool in such a way as to pull the plug out. I have garden blowers with short cords and this is a problem if you make any sudden movement, even if you are not at the full range of the extension cord. The solution is to tie the two cords in a knot to make sure that the tension isn’t on the actual plug and socket.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

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