Plug/receptacle preference?

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Forum topic by Straightlines posted 09-01-2014 03:07 PM 1143 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Straightlines's profile


70 posts in 1917 days

09-01-2014 03:07 PM

Hey All, this is a basic question: “Which plug/receptacle style do you use on your bigger tools which possess the heavier cords, the straight bladed variety or the twist-lock style?” This seems to be mostly aimed at heavy draw tools that are or can be rigged for 220V.

I ask particularly because my tools are all on mobile bases in the constrained shop space environment that many of us have.

Let the mob speak its mind!!

—Cheers, Bradley

-- Cut twice, measure once ... DOH!

9 replies so far

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1958 days

#1 posted 09-01-2014 03:21 PM

My 220 stuff runs on straight blade type plugs. Most of them just came that way. I have never had problems with them pulling out.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View baglock1's profile


6 posts in 1402 days

#2 posted 09-01-2014 03:29 PM

I’ve predominately only used twist-lock plugs/receptacles have been where they were called out by the engineer or by code (i.e. commercial/industrial applications).

Other than that, I’ve only used them once in my personal use. That was for a flattop stove that slid out from the counter. The power cable was about 12” too short for my liking and so I used a combination of strain reliefs and the twist-lock to keep the cord from pulling apart when we slid the stove out for cleaning. And the only reason I did that was because it was a major hassle to plug it in due to space constraints. I didn’t want to go in head first again to have to plug it back in if my wife accidentally unplugged it sliding the stove out.

As it turned out, it wasn’t needed anyways since once the stove went in, it never came back out.

-- --- Dan

View firefighterontheside's profile


18351 posts in 1880 days

#3 posted 09-01-2014 03:29 PM

All of mine are just straight blade 15 amp plugs and 20 amp receptacles. Twist lock would be a good way to handle heavier cords, but I don’t have anything 240. On our fire trucks we have some stuff with L5-20 and some with 15 amp straight blade. We carry home made adapters that are twist lock at one end and straight at the other. We have these in both directions and they are about 12” long.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4999 posts in 2517 days

#4 posted 09-01-2014 03:38 PM

Everything I have is the straight stabs, with the exception of three tools that plug into ceiling outlets, those are twist lock.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 1600 days

#5 posted 09-01-2014 03:54 PM

I limit my use of twist lock to applications where it is needed, as in a ceiling pug or on an extension cord.

I did install 20 amp outlets for all the 120V circuits in my shop. I really don’t see why the 15 amp outlets I see installed everywhere typically are allowed to be installed on 20 amp circuits, but they are. So, I’m probably in a minority here with that opinion.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1744 days

#6 posted 09-01-2014 04:07 PM

I have 20A and 50A, 240V circuits in my shop, all are straight blade. The plugs and receptacles are less expensive than twist lock and in an emergency they would be quicker to unplug.

View Straightlines's profile


70 posts in 1917 days

#7 posted 09-02-2014 03:05 AM

This is good, thanks for the replies! I think everyone’s commentary reflects my observations and ultimately the choice I was leaning towards. Like some noted, my first 220V machines came w/ twist-lock, and now I’m adding others that are bladed. I’ll soon be building out a new shop space, so I am at that proverbial “fork in the road.” In fact, as a temporary solution, I was even considering splitting the difference by building a “squid” type cord-end receptacle in order to accommodate both twist-lock and bladed plugs. The receptacle for my 220V extension cord (I work in the driveway, oh joy) is in fact plugged into a ceiling-mounted twist-lock receptacle.

I choose bladed! They are a LOT cheaper (~50%), they’re easier to insert, and no one else mentioned this, but the plugs and receptacles are quite a bit more trim and that can really matter. For example, that means that if I use the NEMA 6 style, I can get duplex outlets fitted into a 2-gang box, whereas with the twist-lock I’ll be limited to 1 receptacle in a 4-gang box, which is not only a space hog, but also ugly. I’m hoping that someday I’ll find 90 deg. plugs so the cords don’t stick out so far from the wall. This could be a good opportunity for a wall installed J-box/outlet w/ 2 pigtails instead of rigid mount receptacles.

Incidentally, one of my pals over at Delphi Forums DeWalt RAS Forum, LJKrause, just provided me a great link for discourse on NEMA connectors , which covers the engineering of what we are talking about herein; FYI, this applies to N.America but may be of interest to members in other parts of the Earth too. He also hits the nail on the head about the larger concepts, so I’m including a link to his post as well, but here it is for those who don’t wish to troll through the other posts and info on that forum:

LJKraus said: ”I wired my shop with a mix of 5-20R (110V) and 6-20R (220V) duplex receptacles. These have more than enough capacity for my machines, the biggest 220V draw being a 14.5A, 3HP table saw. My dust collector, 1 1/2 HP jointer, Dewalt 1400 and 7790 all draw considerably less. Using the same plugs on all the 220V equipment gives me more flexibility when I want to rearrange machines. I suppose I might need to change a receptacle if I should buy a 5HP machine.

I don’t see the need for twist lock connectors in a home shop. Straight plugs don’t fall apart without a good tug. If I do accidentally pull a plug out, I just plug it back in, no harm done. If I trip on a cord I want the connector to come apart – might save a fall and saves pulling the wire out of the plug.

I’ve made up several 15 foot, 12 gauge extension cords for the rare times I need to move a machine. I found it cheapest to cut the center section out of a 50 foot cord with molded 110V plugs, and added appropriate connectors to all the ends to end up with two 110v cords and a 220V cord. These shorter lengths are easier to use than the usual 25 or 50 foot lengths, and introduce less voltage drop.”

His suggestion about reworking prefab extension cords is really a good one, especially when one takes advantage of HF’s excellent and frequent sale opportunities on their yellow 10ga. extension cords. That said, I definitely prefer using SOO cord to vinyl clad cords, regardless of the wire gage, these just handle and feel better and are decidedly more robust.

—Thanks, Bradley

-- Cut twice, measure once ... DOH!

View TheFridge's profile


9606 posts in 1509 days

#8 posted 09-02-2014 03:12 AM

I second what crank50 says

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3172 posts in 3254 days

#9 posted 09-02-2014 03:25 AM

Just make sure whatever you use, that a 110 volt plug can’t be plugged into a 240v outlet. they are comfigured that way for that purpose. I don’t think anyone had mentioned that.

My Grizzly table saw came with a plug that I had to match and install for the 240 volt outlet.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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