A PAT tester or portable appliance tester, is an electronic device that is used to check electrical devices for faults in a wide range of working environments.
The PAT testers are usually portable, have a digital display that returns a pass or fail output reading. More advanced models incorporate additional features such as inbuilt label printers, on board memory, connectivity options and barcode readers.
A lot of electrical safety issues can and are detected by visually examining the appliances but some will only be found by PAT testing. By testing your portable devices by visual inspection and with a tester designed for the purpose, the risk of potential safety problems such as shock and appliance failure are reduced.
PAT is a key component of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, which requires employers or the self-employed to do anything that is reasonably practical to protect people from harm. The regulation does not specify the frequency of the testing. Therefore the testing should be carried out according to the environment and purpose of the equipment.
Deciding on the right PAT tester for your needs you should firstly think about what you will be testing. Different models offer testing on different kinds of equipment.
Some PAT testers can be used for Class I and Class II appliances, power leads, extension leads and RCDs. Many models include one-touch testing to return a pass or fail result which can increase the number of tests that can be done in one day. You must also consider what voltages you are testing when selecting the right PAT tester.