Portable cord

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A portable cord, which is also known as portable cordage or flexible cord, is a cable with multiple conductors used for functions requiring flexibility. The cord can be employed for power in a range of applications, such as operating motors in small and large tools, equipment, power extensions, home appliances and machinery.

Portable cords may be used in commercial, industrial and residential applications. They work well on job sites where resistance to oil, chemicals and abrasion is vital and also perform well in extreme environments - both the heat and the cold, outside or inside. Additionally, some portable cords can be water-resistant or water submersible. Because of their characteristics, portable cords are commonly used in a range of facilities, such as construction sites, mills, mines, sports complexes, or even marinas.

Although the construction of a portable cord varies depending on the type, a standard cord has at least two stranded copper conductors. The copper stranding, insulation and jacket directly influence the physical properties of the cord.[citation needed]


A variety of portable cords, differing in styles, lengths and thicknesses, exist in the marketplace. Common types include Type SJT, SVT, SEOW, SJ, SJOW, SO and SOW. Each has specific applications associated with it. A portable cord is usually made of thermoset, thermoplastic elastomer, or thermoplastic. Thermoset cords have heavy-duty-grade rubber jackets and are extremely sturdy. Thermoplastic elastomer cords have medium-duty-grade thermoplastic elastomer jackets and perform well in cold conditions. Thermoplastic cords have a light-duty plastic compound jacket and thus work for light-duty use.

Portable cord letter nomenclature[edit]

The letters used to describe portable cords hold significance. Below are the meanings for each letter.[1]

  • S = Severe Service Cord - 600 volts (also 277/480 or 480) - May be utilized in place of SJ or SV in extra-severe service
  • SJ = Junior Severe Service - 300 volts (also 120 or 120/208 or 120/240 or 240 or 277, but not 277/480)
  • T = Thermoplastic
  • H = Heat Resistant or High Heat (HH) Resistant
  • N = Nylon Outer Jacket Material
  • E = Elastomer - thermoplastic that looks and feels like rubber
  • O = Oil Resistant Outer Jacket Material
  • OO = Oil Resistant Outer Jacket and Oil Resistant Insulation
  • V = Vacuum - 300 volts (typically used with vacuum cleaners and other portable cleaning equipment)
  • W = CSA Weather and Water Resistant (approved for indoor and outdoor use)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Don't Let Your Portable Cord Tie You Up". Ecmweb.com. 2000-05-01. Retrieved 2012-02-21.