You know the feeling, you have so many electrical gadgets in the house but there's never enough sockets to put them into when you need to. This becomes especially worse around Christmas time when you've got all those fairy lights and glowing Santa's to light up, which takes more plug sockets than the national grid in winter.
So, to get enough plug sockets in and around the house it's either a matter of adding some spurs around the house or going for the cheaper alternative and buying extension leads.
(Before you ask how a cowboys foot piece is going to help you with plugging anything in around the house I'm not talking spurs as in that way. The spurs I am on about are purpose fixed extra plug sockets that come off an existing plug socket that it already in the homes circuit).
Right, back on track.
For me, I prefer to go to for the cheaper option, and the fact that I already have a few spurs around the home anyway. So when it comes to times like Christmas, or any other occasion that I need a few extra plug sockets around the house, then I opt for the good old fashioned extension leads, as they are the cheaper option.
Confusingly enough, the choice of which extension lead is a job in itself with so many questions to ask depending on what you intend to plug into it in the first instance. So it's a matter of checking around in order to find the right lead.
But when it comes to your basic, yet quite adequate, extension lead, you can't go wrong with one that I came across a while ago and as I was so impressed, no, I didn't buy the company, I bought of couple of them.
This particular extension lead is called the Excel mains 4 gang extension lead. The gang doesn't refer to those hoodies congregating in the darkness of the corner shops doorway, it refers to the amount of plug sockets on the lead, four gang meaning 4 sockets.
Firstly though I do have to say that there are a couple of versions of this excel extension lead, with the only difference in these versions being the length of the mains cable that connects the plug sockets to the main socket in your wall.
There is a 2 metre and, the ones I have, the 3 metre version, plus there is a range of gangs to choose from too. So you do have a choice depending on where you are aiming to use the extension lead.
* What does this excel extension lead look like..?
It's a long white plastic case that has four separate plug sockets with a slight indent separating each socket. In the middle, with two either side of it, there is a small red neon light that illuminates when the lead from this white plastic case is plugged into the mains. Speaking of the lead, this is white and is about 3 metres long, (other lengths are available), which makes it a good length so that you're not restricted too much.
That's it. That is what it looks like. Simple as that really to be honest.
* What can this be used for..?
Plugging things into of course, although as it is a basic extension lead I wouldn't plug anything 'heavy duty' into it.
What I mean by that is that as there's no surge or spike protection if your electricity supply gets a sudden surge/spike then what ever you have plugged into this may get damaged.
It's ideal for lighter devices such as lamps, small stereo systems and small electric games... in other words, it's great for anything small that won't really suddenly suck up a mass amount of power in a split second.
I would think twice about plugging in such things as fridge freezers, washing machines, electric heaters and the like. Anything larger that may want a sudden boast of power in order to keep happy, as this may make this extension lead feel a little, shall we say uncomfortable
It's not stylish one bit. In fact, it's has less style than Katie Price's wedding dress, but it's practical none the less, which is more than can be said for than dress.
But if it's style you're after then you'd better go for a more handsome looking way of adding more electrical device into one main plug socket, such as a Duronic tower lead or a rather lovely looking one from Omega, both looking good and doing a great job. Although you will have to dig deeper into your pocket in order to have those better looks in you home.
If it's simplicity you want and you don't care about looks then this is well worth buying without a doubt.
It can be placed on a flat surface, as long as it's not left in water of moist condition, or, with a few twists of screws and a bit of drilling, it can be screwed to a wall in order to keep it well away from any surface dampness. But either way it's a lot less hassle than adding spur to a mains socket and, unlike a spur, you can move this from place to place, as long as you unplug things from it before you decide to move it about.
Sadly though there are no separate switches for each socket, or gangs as they are called in the technical world of plugs and sockets, so plugging and unplugging separate devices is a matter of whipping the plugs out or slotting them in whilst the power is still coming through for the other devices plugged in.
If you feel a little confident and the 3 metre cable isn't long enough then you could take a bit of time to take out the supplied cable and add a longer one, although this will invalidate the year long warranty that comes with this lead.
To do this you turn the unit over to reveal the screws which are on the corners. You then simply unscrew these and separate the top plate from the bottom to reveal the inner workings of the lead.
Then you unscrew the screws that hold the three wires in place and take out the 3 metre cable, replacing your new longer cable in the same wire places that the old wires were in. then screw the casing back on.
It sounds easy to do and, at the end of the day, it is pretty easy indeed. But to be perfectly honest, it probably works out easier, and even easier, to buy the right length extension lead as is, rather than buying this and adding a longer lead.
The choice is all yours and depends on how confident you feel with a screwdriver and electricity supply, but the actual 4 gang unit remains the same, with a longer lead.
If you don't feel confident then just go out and buy a longer extension lead but please don't think that plugging an extension lead into another extension lead into another extension lead is the way to go.
* So what would this cost then..?
This extension lead sells for a low price of about a fiver, or there abouts, and to be honest it's a lot cheaper than having a spur added to a plug socket and,
Would I recommend this extension lead..?
Well. This depends on what you want it for.
Remember, it has no surge/spike protection and has no separate switches. But if those little things don't worry you, or you don't need them for the things that you want plugged in, then this is an extension lead for you.
If you do need surge/spike protection or separate switches then this will disappoint in a big way.
In all, a simple extension lead that gets power further from you walled plug socket.
Review of the Excel 4 gang extension lead.
We live in a typical 1930's semi detached bungalow. The property was purchased back in 1974 by my family and it has remained in the family ever since, having been bequeathed to me last year. Around 20 years ago the property was rewired up to the specifications of the day, however, as nowadays like most households, we have more electrical appliances than ever before and we are finding that we really could do with more sockets. Naturally, we will eventually have to have the wiring upgraded, but for the moment we are making do with a few extension leads in the relevant areas.
**The Extension Lead**
The Excel 4 gang lead I am reviewing was purchased from one of my local DIY stores for around £5.00. The 4 gang mains extension lead comes with a with neon power indicator, 3 metres of flex and fitted 3 pin plug as standard. On the reverse of the plug area are 4 screw holes, making the unit suitable for wall mounting. I think this would be particularly useful in a workshop or garage, you wouldn't necessarily want this screwed to the wall in your lounge!
The cable is plain white and the actual body of the extension lead where you plug in your appliances is also white. The individual sockets do not have their own switch, but as mentioned, there is a red neon light to warn that the lead is plugged in and operational.
The flex measures 3 metres which I find adequate for our needs. The manufacturer warns that this extension lead is not rewire-able, so the casing should not be opened or tampered with in any way. If it goes wrong, there is a 1 year warranty, but after that, I would suggest simply replacing the unit.
Safety is of course paramount when dealing with electricity so therefore, I would not use one of these for a heavy voltage appliance but it is fine for things such as our mobile phone chargers, bedside lamps and similar electrical goods. At Christmas time we have a second extension lead that gets trotted out power the fairy lights we put up in our lounge.
These extension leads are designed for indoor use only.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
Extension leads are not the most inspiring of household items, but for my home they are a necessity at the moment. Our domestic wiring is safe, having been professionally checked recently and declared fit for use, it is simply that we would prefer to have more sockets. As and when finances allow we will be addressing the problem, however until then, these leads are invaluable.
I would recommend these with the proviso that one should use caution and not overload them. Used sensibly, I feel that these extension leads are a cheap and effective way to enable you to use the electrical equipment you need without the effort of unplugging another appliance in order to access the socket.
In my opinion, this is a cheap and cheerful way round a minor inconvenience.
Please disregard the Quick Rating section, much of this is not relevant to the product being reviewed.
Thanks for reading my review
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.