If you have a short cable on your toaster oven or if you want to use it at a distance from the nearest power source, then you you may be wondering whether can you plug a toaster oven into an extension cord or not.
Generally, it is better to err on the side of caution and say no, any high wattage appliance should not be used on an extension cord – at least that is what most appliance manufacturers will tell you. However, if you ARE careful with the extension cord selection, then you CAN technically plug a toaster oven into an extension cord temporarily.
The key here is to choose the right extension cord based on the wattage or the current or (amperage) rating of your toaster oven. The higher the amperage, the more heavy duty extension cord you will need.
Not choosing the right kind of extension cord can result in serious damage as it is a fire hazard to use a high power rated appliance on a low capacity extension cord.
Also Read: Does toaster oven save electricity?
Can You Plug a Toaster Oven Into an Extension Cord?
According to Occupational Safety ad Health Administration, power extension cord are not allowed for appliances that draw a lot of power like refrigerators, microwaves, space heaters, coffee makers and toaster ovens.
However, if you are careful with your choice of extension cord, then you CAN use it for a temporary basis until a more permanent solution is found.
How to Choose the Right Extension Cord for Toaster Oven?
As mentioned earlier, there are many important considerations that you need to take into account before buying the right extension cord.
DO NOT SIMPLY PLUG THE TOASTER OVEN INTO ANY EXTENSION CORD LYING AROUND IN YOUR HOME.
The following are three critical considerations to take note off.
- Find the Amperage and Wattage Rating of Your Toaster Oven
- Choosing the Right Wire Gauge for the Extension Cord
- Making Certain it is Certified
Step 1: Find the Amperage and Wattage Rating of Your Toaster Oven
When it comes to choosing the right kind of power extension cord, the first step is to take note of the wattage and amperage rating of your toaster oven.
A toaster oven ranges in power from 1100 Watt – 1850 Watt depending upon its size and design.
The higher the wattage rating the more current it will draw.
The current draw depends upon the operating voltage and the power rating.
A 1500 Watt toaster oven working at 120V would draw 12.5 Amps of current, The same toaster oven working at 220V would draw about 6.8 Amps of current.
In United States, the standard voltage is 120V, hence the current drawn is generally high.
Here is a quick guide f0r toaster ovens amp rating in US.
- 1100 Watt – 9.16 Amps
- 1200 watt – 10 Amps
- 1300 Watt – 10.83 Amps
- 1400 Watt – 11.66 Amps
- 1500 Watt – 12.5 Amps
- 1600 Watt – 13.3 Amps
- 1700 Watt – 14.16 Amps
- 1800 Watt – 15 Amps
Fortunately, most toaster ovens have both the power and amperage rating clearly labelled.
Calculating the Amperage
In case if amperage rating is not clearly labelled, you an use the following very basic formula to calculate the amperage of your toaster oven or any device.
You will need to know the power rating of your toaster oven as well as its operating voltage. As mentioned earlier, the operating voltage for US is about 120V and for Europe its about 220V.
When using this equation make sure you are using the INPUT POWER rating in this equation and not the OUTPUT POWER rating.
Step 2: Choose the Right Wire Gauge
The gauge of a wire basically defines its size (diameter). It determines the amount of electrical current (amperage) it can carry. The larger the cord size, the more current it will be able to carry.
Hence when choosing the right wire gauge, you have to know the amperage of your toaster oven.
The standard for wire size used in United State is the AWG standard or the American Gauge standard. Each AWG gauge number corresponds to the certain amount of current it can carry.
A 14 Gauge wire carries 15 Amps of current and a 12 Gauge wire carries 20 Amps.
One thing to note here is the standard runs counter intuitively when it comes to the numbering. The higher the gauge number the smaller will be the wire size, which in turn means the lower the number of amperes it can carry.
Generally for most kitchen appliances a 14 or a 12 gauge wire is used. Why? This has to do with the circuit design of most kitchen.
Circuit Design of Kitchen
Most American kitchens have a circuit design of 20 Amp. Meaning a single kitchen circuit connected to a breaker in your main Circuit Breaker Panel would be rated at 20 Amps.
Therefore, a 12 gauge extension cord would fulfill the entire capacity of the single entire kitchen circuit. It would be an overkill for most home toaster ovens, but you would still be on the safer side.
However, a 12 gauge extension cord can be a bit expensive, therefore, depending upon the amperage of your toaster oven, you CAN settle for 14 gauge (15 Amps).
Also Read: Best Small Convection Toaster Ovens
Length of the Cord
It should be noted here that along with the wire gauge, the length of the cord also matters.
The longer the distance, the bigger the wire gauge you will need.
In short, make sure that the length of the extension cord is not too long otherwise, you will need a larger gauge extension cord for the same amperage requirements.
Step 3: Making Certain It is Certified
One of the mains reasons that most people discourage from connecting their appliances into extension cords is because an average customer generally does not make the effort of acquiring a certified extension cord.
Getting a cheap extension cord from a random manufacturer that has no mention of any certification standard followed is prone to be defective and will possibly have a fake gauge number.
This is very dangerous. A scam product labeling itself as a 12 gauge wire may in actuality be only 16 or 18 gauge. You may be tempted to buy this because of its cheap cost but you will be making a dire mistake.
UL / CE Certified
Hence, when buying an extension make sure you look for the UL or the CE label.
UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories. They check and certify products based on their safety and quality standards. UL is the leading standard in United States.
CE stands for Comformité Européenn, which is the European equivalent of UL.
In short, get an extension cord that has either the UL or CE certification label imprinted.
Buy from Recognized Brands
Always buy from a recognized brand. Since safety is at hand, it is important that you go for the market leading extension cord makers instead of for some random manufacturer – after all, it wouldn’t be an issue for a scam company to deceptively put a fake UL or CE label on their product.
Here we talked extensively about can you plug a toaster oven into an extension cord or not. Most appliance manufacturers, home designers, and safety inspectors would tell you not to.
However, if you need a temporary solution, you can use an extension given that it is capable of handling the high power rating of a toaster oven.
To get the right one, make certain that first you know the amperage and wattage rating of your toaster oven. Secondly, get the right size of extension cord that can handle the required amperage and thirdly make sure it is certified and from a respected brand name.