How long does a PAT test last?

A PAT test is like an MOT – it’s only as good as the day it is done. You should never ask how long does a PAT test last, only, did the appliances pass the required tests.

The test is carried out on an electrical appliance to confirm it is safe to continue using from that point. After that it is up to you as the user or duty holder to ensure that appliance continues to be safe until it is tested again. You need to do this to prevent any accidents occurring. 

Tests should then be repeated as often as is necessary to ensure the appliance maintains safety standards; if you find you are repairing it a lot it may need more frequent checks. 

How long does a PAT test Certificate last?

The certificate is issued following a phase of testing, and will be renewed at the next phase. It lasts until that next phase, which is based on an assessment of the risks at the initial test stage, which is then rechecked every time the testing is carried out. Check out our PAT testing Certificate FAQs for more information. 

How long does a PAT test take?

This is a good question but not easy to answer as everyone is different; someone experienced may do it in a couple of minutes; someone new to the industry may take 10 minutes. 

We say on average it takes one to two minutes to do a PAT test; around 20 to 30 items in an hour is a good working rate. Good enough to do a good job, spot any faults and repair them. 

So based on that, it’ll take about 3.5 hours to do 100 items; although in some environments we could do a lot more. We estimate to test between 200 and 300 items in a normal working day. 

Electrical safety is not something that should be rushed; an inspection and test is important, and so it is important it is done right. Too many PAT testing companies are only interested in numbers – quantity over quality. Some bigger firms expect their engineers to test 500 items in a day, which is ridiculous and a good way to miss faults leading to accidents later. 

how long does a pat test last - experienced pat testing engineers
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How long does a PAT Test Certificate last?

A PAT test certificate is the same; it doesn’t have an expiry date, nor does the label. They were both removed after a 2012 review and are no longer referred to in the Code of Practice. This is because people came to rely on them, believing their appliance to be safe until the expiry date, and be dangerous after that date passed, which is obviously not going to be correct. 

If you are thinking, have we gone too long since our last test, then you probably have. Now would be a good time to arrange a retest. 

When we take on new clients we set them up on a managed programme, where we remind them when a risk-based time period has elapsed so they never go too long between tests. 

The test certificate confirms that the equipment listed was tested, and passed at the time it was tested. After that it is up to you to maintain safe equipment, until the next time it is tested, which is dependent on the risk assessment. 

A certificate doesn’t have an expiry date because it is a confirmation something has happened, in this case that the appliances have been tested. An athlete who has won a race doesn’t get an expiry date on her certificate so why should an appliance.

A Certificate should however include a guide on when appliances should be tested next; by conducting a risk assessment, inline with HSE guidance it should be relatively easy to predict a time period until next tests should be conducted. Then by assessing the appliance safety over that time we can further determine if that period was right or needs changing. 

When we do our electrical equipment testing we consider the risks of the appliance, its use and the environment to determine the best period until new tests should be conducted. 

PAT Test certificate - how long does a pat test last

Don’t confuse your electrical testing..

We keep getting asked how long does an EICR last – that’s nothing to do with portable appliance testing; the EICR is the certificate to confirm the state of the mains wiring.

To answer the question though, it is usually 3-5 years for commercial premises, and 10 years for domestic. See our EICR page for more information. 

Electrical safety is an essential part of any health and safety plan; whether it is inspection and testing of appliances or wiring. Installation testing should be done based on risk, but as the wiring is in the walls it presents less of a risk than appliances which can be easily moved, hence why an EICR lasts longer. 

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Similar questions we sometimes get asked

How often should pat testing be done in an office?

office pat testing

An office is a prime example of a location that gets tested too often. 99.9% of offices get tested too often; we come across loads of new office clients who test their appliances every year when there is just no need. For example, a computer is put on a desk, its leads are fed through the back or a hole, down to a socket and then it never moves. What is the chance of an accident occurring? Very low. So if the risk is so low why does it need testing as if it is high risk? If this sounds like you then you need our office PAT testing service to save you money and time. 

Furthermore we will also help to reduce the risk by tidying and sorting cables as we go, and you may benefit from some additional cable management, especially if we’re going to put you on an extended interval beyond 2-yearly. 

How often do I need PAT testing done?

PAT testing should be done as often as the risk requires it. This is a very difficult question to answer without knowing some specifics such as what equipment we are referring to and how it is used. If you want, we can visit your site to do a free survey, from which we can guide you on how often PAT testing should be done. Get in touch to explain your circumstances and we’ll see where we can help. Usually the best action is to get testing done and we can advise you whilst we’re doing it. 

pat testing frequency

How often is pat testing required for landlords?

landlord pat testing

Although there is no clear rules on how often appliances need testing in a rental property it is best practice to test them annually or on change of tenant. If your property is an HMO then for the license you’re going to need up to date PAT test certificates, usually retested every year. Read more about landlord pat testing.

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