Can I use this extension cord on a vitamix blender?
December 1, 2018 4:21 PM   Subscribe

I think I can, but just looking for some confirmation from someone who might have electrical knowledge.

Just received a vitamix blender and the instructions on the blender say "no extension cords". But the cord is not long enough. The outlets in my kitchen are in weird spots. In order to give my blender dedicated counter space I'll need the cord to be anywhere between 3 feet to 6 feet longer depending on which outlet I use.

I figure the reason vitamix says no extension cords is because most people don't understand the differences in gauges in different cords and they might instead get the wrong cord which would be dangerous on such a powerful motor. But if I get this 5 foot 12 gauge cord. It should be ok to use. Right?

It's really hard to find 12 gauge cords at lengths shorter than 10 ft long. I'm guessing a 14 gauge cord would probably be fine too since those are used for large appliances like dishwashers and such. This one says 14/3 which I think means it is 14 gauge.
posted by fantasticness to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
I just looked up the most pricey (thus powerful?) Vitamix blender, the 780, and it says it pulls 12 amps.

14ga wire is good for 15 amps (the standard US home circuit is 15 amps with 14/3 wiring). 12ga wire is good for 20 amps.

So using the 12ga extension cord that you linked is good. Or any other normal 14ga extension cord also works. But not the lighter 16/18ga "lamp" extension cords.

TBH, the 12ga extension cord that you linked is overkill, especially as the wiring in your house is most likely only 14ga. If you can find a shorter/more suitable extension cord in 14ga then you can use that without concern.
posted by jpeacock at 4:38 PM on December 1, 2018

"especially as the wiring in your house is most likely only 14ga." Yikes I had no idea houses had ga limits. Thanks! Yeah I just thought I'd look at the 12ga for 'just in case', but if it's not needed and it's bad for my condo I won't bother.
posted by fantasticness at 4:54 PM on December 1, 2018

I'd think a short run 14 gauge cord would be fine. I think part of why they say no extension cords is as you said - people are careless and will use the cheap cord they got at Target which can lead to a fire, but also longer runs of wire mean more potential for trip hazards and/or winding up with the blender on the floor while it's running, and an extension cord also means one more point where liquids can enter a plug and cause a short circuit.
posted by MillMan at 5:17 PM on December 1, 2018

Yikes I had no idea houses had ga limits. Thanks! Yeah I just thought I'd look at the 12ga for 'just in case', but if it's not needed and it's bad for my condo I won't bother.

Houses don’t have gauge limits. Jpeacock was saying that your house is likely wired with 14 gauge connecting the breakers/fuse box to the outlets. Using a larger extension cord won’t hurt your condo.
posted by jon1270 at 6:27 PM on December 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

A 5ft section of 14 ga extension cord will be fine. The "no extension cord" language is 100% Vitamix covering their ass.
posted by dudemanlives at 9:27 PM on December 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Look at it this way: your Vitamix is build like a power tool, with a big motor for messing up stuff -- like a saw, drill, etc -- and handymen use extension cords all the time, but they're extension cords designed for power tools. Black and Decker has a 13amp saw, comparable to your Vitamix, and I wouldn't hesitate plugging it into one of those $9 orange, grounded extension cords from WalMart (I know, those are 16 gauge, but those are baseline OK to 13 amps). Use an extension cord rated for a power tool or an "appliance" like you linked, and has a ground connector (your Vitamix probably has a ground plug), and you'll be fine.

(Also, if you're worried about voiding your warranty, it is extremely unlikely that they will be able to tell the difference between being plugged into a wall, and plugged into an extension cord capable of handling the same current as a wall socket: electricity doesn't work that way. But, if you're using an underpowered extension cord limiting the amount of current by turning it into heat, they can probably tell that from whatever broke inside the blender)
posted by AzraelBrown at 5:20 AM on December 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yeah, "no extension cords" is absolutely a CYA thing and nothing more. Wires is wires. I mean, gauge totally matters, but for a five-foot run to a 12A appliance that's only going to run for a couple minutes at a time? Wires is wires. Any extension cord made in the last 25 years that's not like falling apart or longer than 50' is pretty much going to be totally fine for this.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 6:15 AM on December 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

jpeacock: "TBH, the 12ga extension cord that you linked is overkill, especially as the wiring in your house is most likely only 14ga."

While most of the wiring in your home uses #14 wire a lot (the majority I think) of kitchens have at least some 20A circuits.

The "No extension cords" warning is a UL listing requirement, or at least a way of meeting UL requirements1. As long as you are using at least a 14 gauge cord on a 15A circuit or a 12 gauge cord on a 20A circuit, you aren't running it through a door or something, and you inspect it on every use for damage (discolouration, abrasion, other physical defects), and it isn't hugely longer than it needs to be you should be fine.

[1] Supposedly the reason kitchen counter appliances have such short cords is so that they won't be used by children to pull said appliances off counters when full of hot food/oil/water. That it saves money for manufacturers and makes electricians money (because of the increased number of countertop circuits required) is pure coincidence and not the result of industry regulatory capture.
posted by Mitheral at 2:24 PM on December 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

It is not going to be running for long enough to ~heat the wire up~ via running too much current through it; i.e. like using a lamp cord variety of extension cord for a window AC unit (or space heater) ; where the unit will be continually pulling a 'load' through the wire/extension cord.
Your hair dryer is probably around 1250 watts and a similar Amp rating (this is on a sticker that is or was on the cord, or unit itself).
If the cord isn't doing well with the blender; it will become warm at the wall outlet plug in; or where it is plugged into your blender.
Assuming your blender is not pulling near 2000 watts (code limit for standard 15Amp fuse) you should be quite fine.
Not seeing an problems with a blender doing in an extension cord unless you are using lamp cord type of extension cords.
posted by Afghan Stan at 6:44 PM on December 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

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