10 Tips for Using Commercial Extension Cord Reels in a Professional Setting

June 12, 2023

Extension cords are used in countless commercial and professional settings for applications like power tools, movable lighting systems, and other portable equipment that runs on electricity. Commercial extension cord reels are also versatile, offering a means to organize and store electrical cords, hoses, data cabling, and other extensions to make work environments safer. Below, we review some important considerations surrounding their use in commercial situations.

Choosing a Commercial Extension Cord Reel

When looking at ways to organize a commercial extension cord, reels make shop floors and other commercial settings safer and more efficient. This not only increases productivity in the workplace but also helps with maintenance activities by enabling equipment to be brought closer to the equipment being serviced. Besides making servicing easier, these professional extension cord reels can be customized for any industry or situation. 

There are four main varieties of commercial extension cord reels, each designed for specific work environments:

  • Drag reels are usually positioned either on or close to the floor in a stationary position, allowing cabling to extend horizontally along the floor or with support.
  • Lift reels are usually mounted from the ceiling in a stationary position and are used to control overhead lighting or pendant stations, typically locking into place with a ratchet once the cord is extended to its desired length; typically, these are used in places like classrooms, factories, and retail stores.
  • Retrieve reels are often used for specific applications, such as railcars, where the reel mounts on a moving object, unwinding the cabling as it moves away or wrapping it up as it draws closer.
  • Stretch reels are placed in an elevated position above the ground where they’re either mounted to moving equipment or stationary, with the cabling allowed to sag and stretch out mechanically in a horizontal position.

When deciding whether to use a drag, lift, retrieve, or stretch configuration for a commercial cord reel, it’s essential to consider the situation.

10 Tips When Choosing a Commercial Extension Cord Reel

To choose the best reel for an application, here are several tips that help make this choice easier.

Some tips to follow: 

  1. Choose a retractable cord reel – the self-retraction makes them easier and quicker to use. Automated retracting systems for cord reels that self-retract make them easier and quicker to use.
  2. Consider whether a commercial extension cord reel requires a high-voltage (or any) power supply or if a more straightforward cord reel will do.
  3. Mount drag, lift, and stretch reels in a stationary position for more stability and less wear and tear on the cord. Drag, lift, and stretch reels can all be mounted in stationary positions.
  4. Use drag, retrieve, or stretch reel configurations for cords extending horizontally.
  5. Lift reel configurations should be utilized where vertical cord access makes more sense.
  6. Look at whether multiple devices may use a power supply and ensure the extension cord and reel can handle the overall amperage requirements.
  7. Measure and add a bit to the furthest distance needed for the extension cord, with reels capable of efficiently storing the whole length of cabling.
  8. Look to see if the cord reel your application requires has a ratchet and ball stop for locking cabling in place. They are standard on drag reels, though some lift reels also have this feature. Ratchet and ball stops for locking cabling in place when extended are standard on drag reels, while lift reels sometimes also have this feature.
  9. Utilizing extension cord reels in commercial settings often requires a robust casing, so pick one made from material that will protect from wear and tear, harsh weather, or other extreme conditions.
  10. When a power supply is necessary, consider the limitations on electrical current and maximum amperage available on the commercial extension cord reel.

A reel provides a practical means for protecting and organizing an extension cord, especially in a commercial setting. Reels should always be chosen based on the requirements and specifications for the application they will be used. Sometimes it’s also a good idea to ask an expert. For more information on professional extension cord reels and which type best suits your application, contact the team at Alert Reel Manufacturing today.