Choosing the right PAT Tester can be tricky if you have only just learned to PAT Test or have been PAT Testing for a while and need to upgrade your old PAT Testing Equipment.
The major factors to consider when deciding which PAT testing machine you should invest in are:
- Your budget
- Number of appliance tests that you are going to carry out
- How you intend to record the test results
- Whether you are going to test large amounts of 110v Industrial equipment
If you are only going to be testing a few items every now and again (under 200 items) then you won’t want to spend a small fortune on pat testing equipment. However on the other hand if you are contemplating starting a PAT Testing business then you could make a huge mistake in buying a tester and pat testing software package that is not up to the job.
This basic guide from www.pattesters.co.uk aims to help you determine what your requirements are and therefore which kind of tester will be right one for you.
PAT Testing Results
Do you want to record test results automatically? If you answer yes then you will need a downloadable tester. If it’s a no, then you could opt for a manual tester and simply invest in an appliance test record booklet. Recording up to 5 test results for every appliance can be tedious. Imagine testing over a 100 appliances manually and recording every result by hand. It can take longer to record the test results than it does to carry out the testing!
Pass / Fail Testers
Pass or Fail testers are the most basic of testers. Whereas most testers display a reading for each test carried out a Pass / Fail tester will only display, you guessed it - Pass or Fail. If you only have to test very few appliances of the same type then this type of tester may be suitable. These pat testers have pass marks that are pre-set and cannot be changed, in certain circumstances they can indicate a fail when the appliance should pass, such as when testing any type of long cable or extension lead. If testing these items you should steer clear of these kind of testers.
Which Pat Tester then?
Choosing a PAT tester can be confusing. There are around 15 different models on the market that all carry out similar tests. The main tests which are a requirement of the IEE code of practice for In Service inspection and testing are as follows:
Earth Bond Testing
The earth bond test is carried out on all earthed appliances. The main point to note here is that there are different test currents used for the earth bond tests. If you are going to be testing IT equipment and electronic equipment somewhere along the line then choose a tester with either a 100mA (milliamp) or 200mA test current. Most testers on the market will carry out this low current test. Some testers also carry out a 4amp, 6amp 10amp and 25 or 26amp test.
All PAT testing equipment will carry out a 500v insulation test as this is a requirement. Something that is little known is that if you carry out 500v insulation test on a surge protected extension lead then it will fail. The Seaward Europa Plus and the Seaward Supernova Plus are only two testers on the market at the moment with a 250v insulation test that will cater for these very common types’ extension leads. So if you are going to be testing surge protected extension leads then bear this in mind when making your purchase.
Battery Powered Testers
There are a range of new battery powered pat testers called the Seaward PrimeTest range (www.pattesters.co.uk/seaward-pat-testers) on the market. Battery powered testers are a little faster in operation as you don’t have to wait for them to start up. You also don’t have to find a socket to plug them into. They will carry out approx 1000 tests on a set of batteries and they will take standard batteries. However if you want to carry out leakage tests then you still have to plug them into the mains. Most of the Seaward PrimeTest range are manual testers and are not suitable for high volume testing or anyone wanting to use the testers as part of a PAT testing business.
Other Tests to Consider when Choosing your PAT Tester
There will be other test you may need to consider when choosing a PAT Tester. These include a leakage test, an extension leads and appliances with long cables test, flash testing and 110 volt testing. If you are doing specific testing or thinking of starting a PAT Testing business then you will need a Tester than can do the aforementioned types of tests.
So which tester should I choose?
If you are thinking of setting up a PAT testing business or have a large number of tests to carry out then consider purchasing a starter kit which contain the tester, software and labels that you will require using the above information to help you decide on which tester is most suitable. You can also make some great savings online through www.pattesters.co.uk/pat-testing-kits.
For ease of use and functionality if we were to make a recommendation then for high volume testing you won’t be disappointed with the Seaward Europa Plus or Seaward Supernova Plus. You should also take a look at the PatGuard Elite software or the SimplyPATs software.
We hope this guide has been of use but if you still have questions then you can give us a call on 0845 365 3940 or visit www.pattesters.co.uk.