What is PAT Testing? The Portable Appliance Testing Complete Guide

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is the term utilized to explain the assessment of electrical appliances and devices to make sure they are safe to use. Most electrical safety flaws can be found by visual evaluation, but some kinds of problems can only be seen by testing. Nevertheless, it is vital to understand that visual evaluation is an essential part.

Appliance testing and inspection should be carried out by a skilled person and should be carried out regularly, how regular depends on the type of devices and the environment in which it is utilized.

electrical PAT testing equipment

What does a pat test consist of?

A regular PAT testing includes a visual inspection and electrical testing of an electrical device, which will comprise the following:

  • Checking for power cords or cables that are not correctly connected to their plugs
  • Powering down and unplugging devices before testing them
  • Testing all removable parts such as batteries or memory modules ensures they work and have no issues that could cause fire hazards. If there’s any damage to these areas, then you should consider replacing the whole unit rather than just repairing it because breakages can happen in the future, and you’ll have to start again.
  • Check for any defects or signs of wear that may be dangerous – such as frayed wires
  • It is not just the device you need to check but the surrounding area as well – so if a cord is hanging over or near something flammable, then that could also be an issue.

What is the point of PAT testing?

A PAT test is a crucial element of the safety inspection. A certified technician will inspect every piece and part to make sure that your appliance meets all required standards for electrical power, home use and fire protection. Anything that can increase the health and safety of the workplace is always crucial, so time to get pat testers booked in today; call RB Services for a quote.

Can I do a PAT test myself?

No, you cannot perform PAT testing on your own. Safe appliance testing requires the proper training and certifications to undertake.

Which items should the PAT test be carried out?

There are a couple of main factors that will determine if your electrical equipment requires portable appliance testing. There are either an electrical class or category of electrical appliances.

Why is it important?

It is essential because it keeps the power safe for those in proximity to electrical equipment.

Pat testing prevents accidents by ensuring that there are no potential hazards such as:

Faulty wiring, loose connections or improper grounding of a device. Pat testing ensures proper and complete insulation from the high voltage or low-voltage alternating currents used in electricity distribution systems to establish an adequate ground connection between system parts (elements) that may be exposed to different voltages. It also helps prevent fires caused by defective plug connectors, faulty plugs and poor design flaws on circuit breakers and fuses. This process can help eliminate defects before they cause any harm or injury to people working near these devices.

electrical test pass sticker

What are Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 electrical items?

Most electrical appliances are put in one of three classes. Class one is the most dangerous were as class three being the least. Understanding the class of all electrical appliances will help you determine if an appliance needs testing and to what degree.

Anything in Class one will need a Full portable appliance testing carried out, and Class 2 electrical equipment will require a minimum of an insulation test. Class three electrical appliances don’t need to be pat tested.

How do they fall into one of these Classes?

Class one type of appliance has just one essential insulation and relies on the earth to protect it.

Class two type of appliance has an extra layer of insulation, which means it doesn’t rely on the earth connection, which means it is safer.

Class three type of appliance is low voltage, which means these are the safest form of equipment. But may still need a formal visual inspection if it has a charging lead. If you are not sure if your equipment requires testing, give RB Services a call, and they will be happy to advise.

Examples of Different classes?

Class One

Below is an example of what usually has classed as a class one electrical appliance(Not always):


Desktop computers

Floorstanding printers

Vending machines

Industrial machines

Tumble dryers

Washing machines







Extension leads

Laptop Cables

Electric heater

Class two

Below is a list of examples of what is class two electrical equipment(again not always)




Desktop printers


Hedge trimmers

DVD players



Class Three

Below is a list of example of Class three electrical equipment:

Mobile phone chargers



What are the different categories of electrical equipment?

We talked about earlier that there are two main factors that determine if appliance testing is needed. So there are seven main categories of different electrical equipment which are:

IT equipment

Fixed appliances

Moveable appliance

Stationary appliance

Hand held appliances

Cables and Chargers

Portable Electrical equipment

Now you understand the different classes and categories that electrical equipment falls into. You will be able to make a better decision if your items need to have pat testing carried out. If you believe you need your appliance testing and are based in Birmingham and surrounding areas, contact RB Services.

pat testing portable appliance

How Regular should you carry out portable appliance testing?

Your PAT tests should be no more than four years apart, but this truly depends on three main elements that you need to consider, what class of electrical appliance, category and the risk level of the electrical equipment.

Also, it is worth noting that the health and safety executive considers the age of the equipment, manufacturers recommendations, how much it is used if the equipment is commonly abused. Some items will need a formal visual inspection every three months with a portable appliance testing every six months. That is why it is not a straight answer, to how often because of this it is worth speaking to a professional to ask if any equipment needs an inspection and testing.

More Resources From HSE:



How much should pat testing cost?

This is the most common question, and the answer is that it varies. It can depend on how many appliances need testing. In general, the more appliances you need testing, the cheaper it will be. With this in mind, don’t always go for the cheapest as this doesn’t always represent the best service. Always look for a company that offers the best in service and support. That is precisely what we offer at RB Services. Give Us a Call Today

Does New equipment need to be tested?

New equipment should be in safe condition. It should not need to be inspected or tested. A visual check is highly recommended to make sure that it isn’t damaged.

Who is responsible for electrical appliance safety?

The employer is responsible for all electrical appliance safety in the workplace. Depending on the size of the business, sometimes what is called a competent person will be appointed by the business.

So the business, in one way or form, needs to keep on top of the safety of the electrical appliances and keep on top of the pat testing schedule for all the equipment of the building. Getting in touch with a competent pat testing company will help make this process easier, as they will advise you on what needs to have portable appliance testing carried out and to what schedule. So if you are in the Birmingham area and looking for a pat tester, then give RB Services a call today; they will be happy to provide you with a price for all your portable appliance testing equipment requirements.

Summary: There’s a lot to know about PAT testing. If you want to learn more, we can help!

Call us today, and let’s discuss how our team of experts can provide the best electrical safety inspections in your area. You deserve an inspection that ensures compliance with standards for the safe use of appliances.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is an essential part of keeping your workplace safe. The inspection should be carried out regularly depending upon the type of device and environmental conditions it uses. This way, you can stay ahead of any potential hazards that may arise from faulty appliances. To get more information about how to do this for your commercial space, call us today

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