Red illustration of a pigeon removing a plug from a plug socket
Red illustration of a pigeon removing a plug from a plug socket

PAT Testing

What Is It?

A PAT test is a routine inspection of some types of electrical appliance to check they are safe to use. Its purpose is to prevent electrical accidents in homes and workplaces.

A full PAT test should include both a visual inspection and a more in-depth check using specialist PAT testing equipment. This test includes earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance checks.

Some appliances only need a reduced test, called a PAT insulation test.

At the end of a PAT test, every appliance should be marked ‘passed’ or ‘failed’. This is done by attaching a sticker to the item.

Home Aid will never sell an electrical product that has either never been PAT Tested or has failed its PAT Test.

What Does PAT Stand For?

‘PAT’ stands for ‘Portable Appliance Testing’.

There is no definition of what a ‘Portable Appliance’ is in the current legislation, however, the standard interpretation is “any appliance that has a plug attached to it and plugs into a wall outlet”.

Because of this, the word ‘portable’ is a bit misleading. There are actually 7 categories of appliance which should be considered for PAT testing or, at least, visual inspections:

Fixed appliances

Stationary appliances

IT appliances

Moveable appliances

Portable appliances

Cables and chargers

Hand Held appliances

What Are The ‘Electrical Classes’ in PAT Testing?

Electrical appliances are mainly categorised as Class 1, 2 or 3, with Class 1 being the most dangerous and Class 3 the least dangerous.

The class of an appliance helps determine whether it needs to be PAT tested and to what degree. Class 1 appliances need a full PAT test, Class 2 appliances need a PAT insulation test, and Class 3 appliances don’t need to be PAT tested at all.

Class 1 Appliances
This type of electrical equipment has only basic insulation and relies on an earth for protection. These include: most white goods, desktop computers, electric heaters and mobile phone chargers.

Class 2 Appliances
This type of electrical equipment has extra insulation and so doesn’t rely on an earth for protection, which makes it safer. These include: desktop printers, lawnmowers, DVD players and hair dryers.

Class 3 Appliances
These are low voltage items and are the safest class of electrical appliance, however their charging leads may need to be PAT tested. These include: Laptops, torches and cameras.

That's it. All there is to know about PAT Testing. All you really need to know, however, is that we take the safety of our products very seriously, so that you can rest assured that any items you buy from us, are safe and ready for use in your home.