Cord Length (maximum) for Portable Tools (12-7-2K)

UL Articles


Mike, What is the maximum length a portable electric tool is permitted to have?

Response No. 1

Milwaukee makes some of its tools with a replaceable cord (plugs into tool). You can get a cord at least 25 ft long.

Tom Baker

Response No. 2

I have seen a submersible pump with a long cord

Rick Hart

Response No. 3

I saw a reciprocating bladed saw that came equipped with a 50 foot cord, if I'm not mistaken, and it was "bracketed" to the back portion of the device. I see a long cord implying incurring expenses, which in general would not be cost effective in bulk production. I imagine if the continuity checks are satisfactory, and the motor on the tool is of sufficient design, then there is not a reason to preclude one from manufacturing a tool with an extended cord.

Alan Bax

Response No. 4

My vacuum cleaner cord is certainly longer than 6 feet!

Dean Williams

Response No. 5

I know that both Porter Cable and Milwaukee make tools with long power cords. Milwaukee may not sell a tool with a long cord as part of the kit, but they do offer a 25' replacement cord in both 2-wire and 3-wire versions, with NEMA 5-15 and NEMA 1-15 plugs, respectively. I found these items in a McMaster-Carr catalog.

I'm almost certain I saw Porter Cable drywall screw gun offered somewhere with a 20' or 25' cord molded in, but I can't locate in any catalogs right now. I remember it because I thought that would be a good idea for drywallers, so they don't have to string out as many extension cords.

Doug Hermansen

Response No. 6

I can find no official code requirement that prevents a manufacturer from attaching a 30' cord to a drill at the factory. However, I have spoken to two OSHA compliance officers and they would have problems with a "disconnect" issue. With a short cord and extension cords, the drill can be disconnected form the power source easily. With a 30' cord, an individual may have to travel as far as 30' to disconnect the power from the drill in an emergency.
Ted Smith Sr.

UL's Response

In regard to portable tools and cord length. UL 45, the Standard for Portable Electric Tools, requires the cord length to be a minimum of 6 feet. There's no requirement for the maximum length. So, manufacturer's can build portable electric tools with cords of any length.

Craig M. Witt (Ext. 42831)
UL Senior Project Engineer Regulatory Services
Phone: 1-847-272-8800