Extension Cords/Surge Protectors

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Extension Cord Lengths and Uses

Surge protectors and power strips on Grainger.com and Zoro.com, both United States-based business-to-business (B2B) ecommerce sites, suggest that the most common cord lengths for business use are 15 feet and 6 feet, while the surge protectors that Belkin and Accell designed specifically for conference rooms suggest that the most common cord length is 6 feet. A surge protector buying guide indicates that the buyer's only consideration when choosing the cord length is how far the surge protector will be placed from the power outlet, and it appears the different cord lengths have no other purpose apart from accommodating differences in space size and configuration. Sizes of typical conference rooms appear to range from around 15-feet long and 13-feet wide to around 33-feet long and 14-feet wide, and surge protectors for conference rooms are often round in shape and intended to be placed atop the conference table.

MOST common CORD lengths

  • Given that Grainger is the leading player in the United States market for the business-to-business (B2B) distribution of maintenance, repair, and operating (MRO) products and supplies, it is likely that a considerable percentage of corporate buyers in the country purchase extension cords, power strips, or surge protectors from Grainger's ecommerce site.
  • Products on Grainger can be filtered by product category (e.g., power strips and surge protectors) and product characteristic (e.g., cord length). Filtering revealed that Grainger has 131 outlet strips and surge protectors on offer.
  • Of these 131 outlet strips and surge protectors on offer, 58 are surge protectors, while 73 are outlet strips or plain extension cords.
  • Of the 58 surge protectors that Grainger has on offer, 22 have 6-foot cords, 9 have 15-foot cords, 7 have 10-foot cords, 7 have 25-foot cords, 5 have 12-foot cords, 4 have 4-foot cords, 3 have 8-foot cords, and 1 has a 6-foot, 8-inch cord. These statistics suggest that the most common cord lengths of surge protectors are 6 feet and 15 feet.
  • Zoro.com, Grainger's subsidiary that sells mostly to smaller businesses in the United States, has 139 power strips on offer that can be filtered by cord length.
  • Of these 139 power strips that Zoro.com has on offer, 38 have 15-foot cords, 34 have 6-foot cords, 21 have 9-foot cords, 15 have 12-foot cords, 12 have 10-foot cords, 5 have 25-foot cords, 5 have 8-foot cords, and 3 have 10-foot cords. These statistics suggest that the most common cord lengths are 15 feet and 6 feet.
  • Considering that both Grainger.com and Zoro.com suggest that the most common cord lengths for business use are 15 feet and 6 feet, the most common cord lengths for commercial office use or conference room use are likely these same lengths.
  • On its products page, Belkin US has only one surge protector designed specifically for conference or meeting rooms, and this surge protector has a 6-foot cord.
  • Accell's product page shows that of its four surge protectors for conference room use, three have 6-foot cords and one has a 4-foot cord.

MOST COMMON USES

  • Tripp Lite, which has its own range of surge protectors, has a buying guide for this product category. According to this buying guide, the buyer's sole consideration when determining the cord length is how far the surge protector will be placed from the "grounded AC outlet." This suggests that the only reason there are different cord lengths on the market is that the size and configuration of the room, office, or space differs from one business to another. That is, the different cord lengths have no other purpose apart from accommodating different length requirements.
  • Surge protectors with 15-foot or 6-foot cords are common likely because lengths of typical conference or meeting rooms range from around 15 feet to around 33 feet, widths range from around 13 feet to around 14 feet, and power hubs or surge protectors for conference room use, such as those offered by Belkin and Accell, are intended to be placed on the conference table.

RESEARCH STRATEGY

Since industry reports often contain product segmentations, we first checked if such industry reports are readily available in the public domain. We were unable to find any, however, due perhaps to the fact that extension cords, surge protectors, and power strips are not an industry by themselves but a niche product category. For the same reason, we were unable to find any article covering the most common cord lengths of surge protectors for commercial office or conference room use. Finding a sufficient number of surge protectors designed specifically for conference room use proved difficult as well because our searches for these products returned only a few brands, for example, Belkin and Accell.

We therefore changed tactics and decided to check B2B ecommerce sites that sell the supplies companies need to keep their business running. We found that Grainger is the leading distributor of these supplies, so we turned our attention to the power strips and surge protectors that Grainger and its subsidiary Zoro offer on their respective e-commerce sites. This strategy enabled us to determine which cord lengths are most common for business use. The surge protectors on the two sites could not be filtered to those designed specifically for conference room use, but we assume that the most common cord lengths for commercial office or conference room use are more or less the same as those for business use. We compared these cord lengths with the cord lengths of the few conference room surge protectors that we found, and found this assumption to be sound.

As for the most common uses and/or locations of the most common cord lengths, we were unable to find any source covering this topic. Manufacturers of extension cords, power strips, and surge protectors do not explain why their cords are a certain length. They only describe what the products are for. For example, they only say if the products are ideal for home use or are designed especially for conference room use. To gather insights into why cords are of different lengths, we searched for buying guides. From a buying guide for surge protectors, we learned that the only reason there are different cord lengths on the market is to accommodate different space sizes and configurations, so we looked into the typical sizes of conference rooms or meeting rooms and took into account our observation that available conference room surge protectors or power hubs are meant to be placed on top of the conference table.

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