Common Mistakes in Using an Extension Cord Reel

Extension cord reels have a variety of use cases, but do you know how to use them correctly and safely? Read our list of common mistakes in selecting and using extension cord reels.

Retractable extension cord reels are an incredibly convenient and useful tool to have around the workplace. They offer a safe and organized way to power your equipment and keep cords tidy. However, there are several common mistakes that people make when using these reels. In this article, we will highlight some of these mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.

Using the Wrong Type of Cord Reel

One of the most common mistakes people make when using retractable extension cord reels is using the wrong type of cord reel. This can include choosing a cord reel with the wrong cord length or gauge, overloading the cord reel, or not considering the location and environment. For example, using a cord reel that is not long enough can cause it to stretch, potentially leading to damage or electrical hazards. It is important to carefully consider the length and gauge of the cord reel before making a purchase and to choose one that is appropriate for your needs.

Not Using the Cord Reel Safely

Another common mistake people make is not using the cord reel safely. This can include not properly grounding the cord reel, using damaged or frayed cords, letting the cord retract unrestrained, or using the cord reel in wet or damp environments. Grounding the cord reel is crucial to preventing electrical shocks or fires. Using damaged cords can also be dangerous, as it can lead to electrical shorts or fires. Users should also retract the cord properly. It’s important not to allow the cord to “fly” unrestrained back to the reel. Users should always have full control of the cable during extension and retraction. Finally, using the cord reel in wet or damp environments can also lead to electrical hazards. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safe use and ensure that you are using the cord reel in a safe and dry environment.

Improper Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and maintenance are also essential for ensuring the longevity and safety of retractable extension cord reels. Maintaining the cord reel incorrectly or not regularly cleaning and checking for damages can lead to issues over time. Not maintaining the cord reel properly can also cause damage. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper installation and maintenance and to regularly inspect the cord reel for any damages.

Using the Cord Reel for the Wrong Purposes

Cord reels are designed for a variety of purposes – light duty to heavy duty industrial – and it’s important to use the proper cord reel for the appropriate application. But using the cord reel for the wrong purposes is another common mistake people make. This can include using the cord reel for heavy-duty tasks it wasn’t designed for, using the cord reel for high voltage equipment or for an application the cord reel is not rated for. Using the cord reel for heavy-duty tasks or high voltage equipment can cause it to overheat or become damaged.

Failing to Choose a Quality Cord Reel

Lastly, failing to choose a quality cord reel can lead to issues down the line. Choosing a cheap, low-quality cord reel can lead to issues such as the cord getting stuck or not retracting properly. It is important to choose a quality cord reel from a reputable manufacturer and to consider the warranty and customer service before making a purchase.


Retractable extension cord reels are incredibly useful tools, but they require proper care and usage to ensure their longevity and safety. By avoiding common mistakes such as using the wrong type of cord reel, not using the cord reel safely, improper storage and maintenance, using the cord reel for the wrong purposes, and failing to choose a quality cord reel, you can ensure that your cord reel lasts for years to come. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines, and stay safe while using any type of equipment, including retractable extension cord reels.


Have questions about your project and the right reels for your application?  Our KH Industries specialists can recommend the ideal cord reel to suit your specific application needs. Contact us today.



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