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  • Top Ten Questions When Buying a PAT Tester

    Blog Header - 10 Questions

    With a huge number of models and a seemingly never-ending list of features to choose between, it can be a confusing business selecting a new PAT Tester.

    Thankfully is here to help with a list of quick-fire questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge:

    1) How much have I got to spend?

    Obvious but important! With prices currently ranging from around £185 up to £929, it’s important to know how much you have to spend before you start. This’ll help you narrow things down right away and help you get the most for your money.

    2) How many tests will I need to do?

    The number of tests you’ll be doing per year might help you discover which features are important to you and could lead you to reconsider your budget; if you’re only doing a handful there’s no point breaking the bank, but buying an under-spec model could prove very costly! It will also be important when considering the next question.

    3) How will I record my PAT results?

    Recording your test results and appliance details by hand is fine for some but a paper trail for 100+ appliances could soon become a nightmare. Some PAT testers have a built-in memory that allows you to download appliance data and test results at a later date using additional software. This could save you time and eventually money, with many PAT testing software packages also allowing you to print PAT certificates or run reports on what’s due for testing – much faster than going through reams of paperwork!

    4) Should my PAT tester be battery or mains powered?

    This will affect what tests you can carry out and how portable the tester will be. If you are using a PAT tester within an office it may seem better to choose a battery powered model; they’re normally more portable and are easy to take under desks to conduct tests, without having to find an additional power socket.

    However mains powered models do have their advantages too; as well as ensuring you’re never caught out with a flat battery, they often offer high current earth bond tests and allow you to power up 230V appliances. This allows for load and run testing which will give far more accurate current leakage measurements than a simulated substitute leakage test conducted at 40V.

    5) Will I be testing 110V appliances?

    Some PAT testers have an additional 110V socket as well as the standard 230V one. If you’re going to be testing 110V appliances, it’s something you might be interested in, but if not it may be an unnecessary expense. The alternative is purchasing an 110V adaptor to use standard 13A 230V socket on the front of a PAT tester to test either a 16A or 32A 110V appliance.

    6) Will I be testing voltage sensitive equipment or surge protected devices?

    Voltage sensitive equipment (such as computers) often use surge protection extension leads and they need the insulation resistance test to be conducted at 250V not 500V as they may give false readings (or occasionally damage the device). Some PAT testers allow you to select the insulation resistance voltage and this is a better option if you have SPDs (surge protected devices).

    7) Do I want test results or just simple pass/fail indication?

    Most PAT testers will give you individual test results, allowing you to see if an appliance is degrading over time. These results can be compared against the limits in the IET’s 5th edition Code of Practice to see if they are compliant or not. However the alternative is an appliance checker with preset test sequences for Class 1 and Class 2 appliances as well as extension leads. By simply pressing a button, the checker will conduct all of the mandatory tests and simply issue a tick/green light or a cross/red light to inform you if an appliance has passed or not. For those looking for a quick and easy-to-use appliance checker, it might be an option to consider.

    8) Do I want adjustable pass and fail thresholds?

    When testing long extension leads etc, the earth resistance or current leakage might be slightly different to other appliances. As some simple PAT testers have fixed pass/fail thresholds, these items occasionally fail despite being fit for purpose. However if you manually calculate the allowed resistance, some testers allow you to programme the item’s threshold for future use. While this takes longer, it would stop you potentially failing something that should have passed. If this is something you’d like to be able to control or alter, you’ll need to take this into consideration when choosing your tester.

    9) Will I need to do any flash testing?

    A flash test delivers 1500V or 3000V for Class 1 or Class 2 appliances respectively in order to test the dielectric strength of an appliance. It’s not something most users will need; flash testing is normally only carried out by manufacturers or repairers of electrical appliances and they exercise great care when carrying out this test to ensure that sensitive electronic components are not damaged. If it’s something you’re going to need to do, keep an eye open for this feature when choosing your PAT tester.

    10) What accessories do I need?

    If you’re happy to handwrite everything you’ll need to pick up an appliance register book, some labels and a PAT Certificate pad at the very least, but these won’t impact on your PAT tester purchase. However if you’re testing 100s or 1000s of appliances and hoping to save some time, a label printer will speed things up and a barcode scanner will give you all the appliance data and test results from a previous test without having to manually enter details or search through records.

    There are plenty of optional extras out there and you’ll need to make sure the PAT tester you choose is compatible with the ones you want to use. Most accessories depend on how many tests you’ll be doing or how you want to work but considering this now can save you having to spend more money further down the line.

    Need more help?

    With these questions in your arsenal, we hope you’ll feel more comfortable and better equipped to select the right PAT tester for you. Remember, all our testers are subject to our return policy so you can buy in confidence knowing that if it’s not the right one for you, we’ll happily help you find the right one.

    Still got questions? Feel free to get in touch and ask one of our experts if you need more advice!

    Check out what PAT Testers, kits and accessories we have on offer here.


    With a huge number of models and a seemingly never-ending list of features to choose between, it can be a confusing business selecting a new PAT Tester.

    Thankfully is here to help with a list of quick-fire questions to ask yourself before taking the plunge:

    Read more
  • FREE Seaward Apollo PATGuard 3 Promotion

    Seaward Apollo PATGuard 3 Promotion

    Seaward have come through with an exiting new promotion, purchase any Apollo 400+, 500+, 600+ or PAT Tester Kit before September 2022 and get a FREE 1 year Seaward PATGuard 3 software licence, worth £126 +VAT *.

    Read more