How to Neatly Wrap Power Tool Cords

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Introduction: How to Neatly Wrap Power Tool Cords

I'm sure everyone has encountered some kind of tangled cord nightmare, be it at their job or in their home work spaces.

In public access workshops, like TechShop, we are always looking for ways to improve our tool organization and storage so that items are easily found and stay in top working order.

Here is a simple, easy, and neat way to wrap up the cords for all your power tools without putting unnecessary stress on your cables or brain!

Step 1:

First, make sure you get all the existing tangles and knots out of the power cord

Step 2:

Next, fold your cord in half.

If you have a very long power cord, you may have to fold it in half a second, or even third time.  You want to end up with a 18"-24" length of cord.

If you are wrapping a thinner power cord (like a hot glue gun or other home appliance cords) you can make your cord lenth smaller (somewhere between 8"-12")

Step 3:

Next, you are going to make a basic overhand knot with the folded over cord lengths.

Step 4:

There you go!  A easy way to keep your tool bins tidy!

Step 5:

And unlike these other examples, this method will not put unnecessary stress on your cable connection points and extend the life of your tools.

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    39 Discussions

    Great idea

    I am a mechanic for a construction company and deal with hundreds of hand held electrical tools and honestly best method found is a mix of step 4 and 5 but always remember leave a loop where the cord leaves the tool this only needs be 4 inch or so will do this keeps the cord on the tool and not getting shut in truck box doors and chopped off from hanging out there in the open and a worn out cord is not the end of a tool they can be replaced

    WOW - who would have thought power cord storage would bring on such emotion?? I just used my circular saw. In the past I had wrapped the cord around it 3-4 times and tucked the plug into one of the wraps. I KNOW! That's probably terrible. I tried your method and it took less time and stored back on my shelf quite nicely. I just did your overhand knot, not the figure-eight that has been suggested. You'd have to pull it pretty tight to cause any stain on the cord. Thanks for a great method !

    2 replies

    Yeah, I use to loosely rape my cords around the tools but I stopped that and changed to this method quite some time back not only because it seems to be better for the cord but also because I some how managed to cut the jigsaw cord, I'm not sure if that was due to catching a new sharp jigsaw blade or if it got caught on something else in the tool shed, but to make sure I stopped rapping the cord around the jigsaw just to be on the safe side :)

    This discussion raises a lot of emotion because trashed power cords turn expensive and needed tools into paperweights. Everyone who has been around for a time has seen a lot of needless damage, waste and lost time owing to improper care of cords.

    Knots damaging cords? Look at step 4. KaceyK has tied an overhand that is only snug enough to keep the coil from self-unwinding. That's a lot softer than a knot that could cause damage.

    Several commenters have claimed that coiling once introduces a 180º twist. In my cords, coiling once introduces a 360º twist.

    I have all those tools but cordless. The battery chargers still have cords though but there neatly cable tied .

    Wow, I'm an Construction Electrician with 30 years experience and you would all have been fired by now tryin' to figure out how to wrap up your tools and stow 'em in the gang box. It's the movement of the chord, there by moving the individually-insulated wires inside the chord that matters, that causes the wear and tear on the entire chord assembly. If left unmoved, protected from the elements(especially the sun - ultraviolet radiation breaks down petroleum based materials) any insulated wire or chord will last forever. As long as some apprentice does run it over with anything really heavy or set something sharp on it. Wrapping it up loosely but conservatively because gang box space isn't just for company tools, chords can last longer then the motor in the tool. Besides most damage occurs at the ends. Abuse and misuse of the tool let alone it's power chord usually shows up at the ends of the chords'. Remember, tools don't get old sittin' there. They get old by being moved around and used.

    Power chords are for rock stars! You, my dear are certainly that...but...well, most folks will be expecting the other kind of cord.

    2 replies

    Great instructions. I'll use this simple advice a lot.

    I am retired from the commercial sound and electronic organ repair business. Previously I was a Chief Electrician in the USN.

    Which is why I agree totally with the comments from pfred2. Electrical cords of any and all types should NEVER be tightly wound.

    I have dropped many miles of electrical cables, microphone cords, speaker cables and others in and around, up and down more different types of locations then you can imagine.

    Any sailor I caught tightly coiling anything was risking no liberty. The rule of thumb we used was you stretched a length of cable/wire the length of your reach arms outstretched, this was the size of the loop. Cables that got used a lot would typically have a length of rope secured to the cable that was used both to keep the cable coiled and as a means to hand the coil on a peg or hook.

    1 reply

    As a sound-tech, you should know that this is simply not true. Tightly winding cords does NOT, in and of itself, lead to cord damage. It only appears to be associated with this damage because it also tends to be associated with coiling cords. It is this coiling which leads to most cord damage.
    As I pointed out above, every two coils in a cord leads to a 360° twist in the cord. This twisting (and consequent untwisting) is what strains the metal/plastic in the cord, and leads to its eventual failure. Most cords and cables are actually quite good at resisting damage from bending, and the strain reliefs at either end further protect against this damage. But they do not protect against the torsional forces that lead to elongation stretching, that DOES damage the cable or cord.
    This is (one of a number of reasons) why well-trained sound technicians always counter-wrap expensive cords.

    I use the wrap around the tool method. I straighten the cable so that the end in the tool is mostly straight like your example, then I lay the cable up the tool toward the business end, then I start at the top of the tool and work towards the base, when I have 6 to 8 inches left I put the end through the loop and the base.

    I do not have any thinner tools than my 4 inch grinder so I do not have to worry about any tension wrapping the cord around the tool. I cannot wait for the - how to wrap your extension cable.

    1 reply

    If you're a pro then you can afford to treat tools like pros do. Which isn't always in the kindest and gentlest ways possible. There's reasons why the pros buy the most expensive durable tools they can you know? Mostly because the first dozen or so they owned didn't hold up quite as long as they'd have liked them to have.

    Putting all of this together makes for some pretty good reasons to never treat tools like pros do! Not unless you have a pro budget to bankroll you that is.

    Now to specifically address what I'm seeing here, if you bend a power cord in a tight radius like is pictured here, then leave it for some length of time, you're going to impart line memory to the cords fairly quickly. I'm not a big fan of wrinkled cords personally so I wrap my cords in loose natural loops, then tie them with little pieces of twisted wire, that I care much less about than my power tool cords. Any amount of bending a cord where it shows resistance is enough to stress the cord material.