Does your dollar store extension cord provide enough power to run your vacuum cleaner? Do you need to plug your printer into a surge protector? If you're using the same kind of extension cord to pick up slack for your entire apartment, you're doing it wrong. Every piece of tech in your house—from the hair dryer to your laptop—has different needs for its power supply.
If you need a cheat sheet for sourcing the right size, or "gauge," of extension cord for a specific device, tech blog Gizmodo has come to the rescue. Using resources from the National Electric Code, they've de-mystified the process of choosing sufficient cords around your home.
As a general rule, anything that provides heat, like a hair dryer or space heater needs a ton of power. Usually, it's not safe to plug those into an extension cord at all. But most small household appliances can get a little extra range with a basic 14-gauge, three-prong cord.
• Read More: How to Choose The Right Extension Cord for Anything