The difference between PAT and Fixed Wire Testing

When it comes to checking that electrical appliances are safe to use, there are several options, including PAT testing (Portable Appliance Testing) and Fixed Wire Testing.

These two techniques are very different. In fact, they test completely different parts of the system, from the electrical wiring through to the appliances you plug in and use.

It’s important to choose the right method of electrical testing. For example, if you want to be able to unplug an appliance and use it elsewhere, you’ll need to PAT test the appliance itself and not just the electricity supply it is currently connected to.

What is PAT testing?

Portable Appliance Testing, more commonly known simply as PAT testing, looks at electrical appliances in their own right to make sure they are safe to use.

It can detect electrical faults that are not visible to the naked eye, such as internal wiring problems that do not show as external damage.

PAT testing should be carried out in line with the potential threat posed by the appliance. As such, equipment like power tools that has the potential to cause severe injury will probably demand more regular testing and inspections than everyday office equipment and desk lamps.

What is Fixed Wire Testing?

As the name suggests, Fixed Wire Testing does not test appliances, but rather checks the condition of the fixed wires that they plug into.

It’s a way to look for faults in your mains electricity supply circuit, so that you can have any necessary repair work carried out before a short circuit or power surge occurs.

However, Fixed Wire Testing does not necessarily mean that the connected appliances will be safe if you plug them into a different mains supply elsewhere – it only checks the condition of the wires in the wall.

Choosing between PAT and Fixed Wire Testing

The choice between PAT and Fixed Wire Testing is a relatively simple one, but it’s important to be aware of both methods of checking electrical safety.

PAT is better suited to appliances and under health and safety laws, it’s likely that you will be legally required to carry out PAT testing at appropriate intervals.

Fixed Wire Testing is suited to testing the mains supply itself and should also be carried out periodically by a competent person, typically a qualified electrician.


Contact hebs Group by calling 0151 2360707 if you would like to know more about our PAT and Fixed Wire Testing services, including comprehensive inspection and testing of your mains supply and portable equipment as part of an overall electrical safety audit.

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