How frequently should I PAT test my appliances?

Employers, landlords and people that are self-employed are required to run PAT testing on portable appliances. There isn’t a rule on the frequency of PAT testing which the Health & Safety Executive has set out, the main reason for this is that different situations require different measures.

It is up to each individual to determine and asses when the testing should be carried out to keep their workforce, tenants and themselves safe.

You should bear in mind a few different factors when determining how often you should have your appliances tested:

  • Stationary equipment is less likely to get damaged than hand help types of appliances therefore the type is a factor to consider to determine the frequency. Class I appliances have a greater risk over Class II.
  • How often the appliances are used. This may be common sense but appliances that are used more should be test more often. Appliances that aren’t used so often will obviously incur less damage and have a lower risk.
  • If appliances aren’t properly maintained / serviced, then PAT testing should be more frequent. Problems could go unnoticed which could cause a potential risk to somebody.
  • The location of the equipment is also an important factor to consider. Is it outdoors, construction sites, hazardous atmospheres etc.)
  • If the equipment is on hire, then PAT testing frequency should be increased to make sure it is safe to run.
  • Manufacturers guidelines & recommendations.
  • If there have been any equipment modification or repairs since the last PAT test.



The Health and Safety Executive suggest the following intervals for checking portable electrical equipment:

  • Desktop computers, VDU screen every 2-4 years.
  • Photocopiers and fax machines, not hand held and rarely moved 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class II equipment, not hand-held and moved occasionally like fans table lamps 2-4 years.
  • Double insulated Class II equipment, hand-held like floor cleaners, kitchen equipment 6 months – 1 year.
  • Earthed equipment Class I like electric kettles, irons 6 months – 1 year.
  • Cables (leads and plugs connected to the above) and mains voltage extension leads and battery charging equipment. 6 months – 4 years depending on the equipment being used.

If you have a question or a concern about a PAT for your appliances, please call 01543 225306, or fill out one of our contact forms to arrange a free assessment of your premises, with one of our fully trained electrical engineers.

Useful references:

The Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) publish guidance for the maintenance of portable appliances

The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) provide useful guidance on Portable Appliance Testing

IET Code of Practice for In-service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment Chapter 15.8

Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Regulation 5
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 4(2)

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