When it comes to power strips, you should never plug a vacuum cleaner into one.
You should also avoid plugging a vacuum cleaner into an extension cord too.
Why you should avoid power strips and extension cord will be explained below.
Powerstrip vs. Extension Cord
Before I get too far, I need to state what I mean by a power strip or an extension cord.
A power strip is something that allows you to plug in multiple electrical items.
An extension cord gives more length to one single cord.
They do make power strips with an extension cord built-in, but you should not plug in a vacuum cleaner into those either.
Why Avoid Powerstrips for Vacuum Cleaners?
Power strips, surge protectors, or multi-connection power points should not be used for items that consume a lot of power like a vacuum cleaner.
Your vacuum cleaner will pull a lot of amps which can fry the power strip, and in some cases, destroy the other electronics attached to the strip too.
There are many cases where a powerstrip has caused a fire because it was overloaded, and this is why you never plug a vacuum cleaner into a powerstrip.
Why Avoid Extension Cords For Vacuum Cleaners?
The same reason you avoid extension cords for vacuum cleaners is the same reason you avoid them for power strips.
Vacuum cleaners use a lot of power and running too much power through the wrong extension cord can cause a fire, as this video shows.
Only plug the vacuum cleaner directly into the wall outlet.
Also, check your wall outlets for any damage or if they’re loose. Only have one high-wattage item plugged into one wall outlet at a time.
What If I Have A High Power Rated Extension Cord?
They make high amp and high wattage extension cords that can support the power needs of a vacuum cleaner.
But you should still avoid using it!
The longer the cord, the more power you lose for suction. This is even worse when connecting to something else like an extension cord. Not only that, but extension cords don’t last forever, and most people keep them for a long time, and the older ones have corrosion and are worn out, which drops the power too.
You’re better off spending the extra 10 seconds to move to a different outlet.
If this is a significant problem, consider getting a vacuum cleaner with a longer cord from the factory or a battery-powered vacuum cleaner.
Most battery-powered vacuum cleaners you get today are far better than many of the ones you plug in. Battery tech has come a long way; this video does a fantastic job showing this.
What About Battery Powered Vacuums?
If the vacuum cleaner is battery-powered, you still want to avoid power strips and extension cords for the battery charger.
The power bricks on most vacuum cleaners are huge, so they don’t fit right on power strips anyway.
And they’re meant to be a permanent fit where an extension cord is not intended to be permanent.
So it’s best to avoid extension cords and power strips when it comes to battery-powered vacuum cleaners.
What About Shop Vacuums Using Extension Cords?
If you can, avoid using an extension cord with a shop vacuum, and 100% avoid powerstrips.
I know in some cases, a shop vacuum will need an extension cord. You want to stick to heavy-duty extension cords like this one*. This means a 12 gauge, 3 pronged, and 25 feet or shorter; often has (12/3) on the packaging to say it’s a 12 gauge 3 pronged.
You also want to follow all the proper procedures for using that extension cord listed on its packaging.
To be honest, the wall-powered shop vacuums suck and not in a good way. I’ve been leaning more towards battery-powered shop vacuums to avoid the cord mess.
Battery tech is getting so good these days it’s tough to go back to the old ways.