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Selecting a Power Cord – It’s All in the Jacket

Posted by Jim Smits on June 18, 2018

A power cord is a power cord, right? Not when environmental considerations are in play. There are many different types of jackets designed for stressful conditions. If you’re looking for a high-quality power cord that can perform well in harsh conditions, here are four things to consider before purchasing:

  1. SJT or SVT? The V in SVT stands for “vacuum cleaner power cord,” which was its original use. It is a flexible cord designed to be bent around furniture or coiled for storage. SJT cords, on the other hand, are “hard service cords” that are more durable than SVT.
  2. Weather resistance. The W in a cord jacket identifier stands for weather resistant. That SJT cord mentioned in the first bullet? SJTW has all the properties of SJT with the added benefit of weather resistance. Be careful, though. The plug and connector also need to be weather rated for the cord to be weather resistant.
  3. Oil resistance. SJTOW – you guessed it – the O means oil resistant. For use in environments where a cord may come in contact with an oil.
  4. SPT power cords. The P stands for “Parallel”. SPT cords, most often two-wire, have each wire surrounded by an external jacket. They are sometimes referred to as “Zip” cords and are most often used in light-duty applications.

Those are just a few of the many different power cord jacket abbreviations that are in use today. Power cords are more complex than they may seem—voltage ratings, gauges, harmonized codes, certifications, low-smoke-zero-halogen cords, durometer—the list goes on and on. From friction and tension concerns to energy efficiency, there is a lot to consider when choosing a power cord. Because of that, it’s essential to choose a product that fulfills the exact specifications required to perform under those conditions.

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