PAT Testing Explained: What Should You Be Testing?

By Andrew Blackwell

What’s a PAT test? PAT stands for portable appliance. It consists of any appliance that has a plug attached to it, and then which plugs into a wall outlet. There are seven categories for appliances that are counted.


  1. Fixed Appliances
  2. IT Appliances
  3. Stationary Appliances
  4. Portable Appliances
  5. Moveable Appliances
  6. Hand Held Appliances
  7. Cables and Chargers


This is a routine inspection to ensure that your electrical appliances are safe to use. It’s meant to help ensure that there aren’t any electrical accidents in the workplace. These tests include both a visual inspection, and a test which takes place using specialized equipment. PAT tests look into lead polarity, earth continuity, and insulation resistance checks.


By the time that a PAT test is done, your appliances will either be marked as having FAILED or having PASSED. A record of this PAT test will be kept. This testing is not a legal requirement, but it’s highly recommended as it will help increase the safety levels within your place of business, cutting down on a risk of injury and a risk of law suits.


The big question than becomes: which appliances need to be tested? When you’re trying to figure this out, you should keep two things in mind; the electrical class of the item and the category of the item. Each item is given a class, of which there are three. We’ll give you a brief run down on the classes below, though it’s recommended you do a more thorough check of the items located at your place of business.


  • Class 1 appliances
    This type of electrical equipment has only basic insulation and relies on an earth for protection.
  • 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.
  • Class 3 appliances
    Class 3 appliances are low voltage item and are the safest class of electrical appliance. Their charging leads may need to be PAT tested.

These classes should help you determine whether PAT testing is needed or not. Each class comes with its own symbol, which can be found on the item in question. It’s also very easy to locate lists of what class an item falls into online. And of course, when in doubt, there’s no harm in reaching out to a professional and simply asking which items in your business or work place should be PAT tested.

When it comes to safety, there’s no such thing as too much double checking, and when it comes to PAT testing, there’s no reason to try and skimp out on it. By making sure the PAT testing for your business is done on a yearly schedule, you’ll be ensuring that your employees are safe, your investments are safe, and your business will have an added layer of protection – both on a physical and a legal scale.


Andrew Blackwell | Project Manager

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