All electricians and electrical business owners know the importance of regular testing. It ensures electrical devices and appliances are functioning properly, reduces the risk of malfunction, and maintains occupational health and safety standards.
One essential testing device is a PAT tester with printer connections. These devices make it easier than ever to record, store, transfer, and share data.
What is a PAT tester?
PAT stands for portable appliance testing—therefore, a PAT tester is a portable device that tests electrical appliances. This type of testing is crucial for safety and is also a legal requirement in many parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, and the United Kingdom.
The formal term for the PAT process is ‘in-service inspection and testing of electrical equipment’. In Australia, it’s also called ‘Test & Tag’.
PAT testing is a routine requirement that involves a visual inspection of the equipment, assertion of good flexible cable condition, and when required, other tests including:
- Earthing continuity verification,
- Insulation soundness tests,
- Leakage tests,
- Polarity checks.
PAT testing protocols vary by electrical appliance class, which ranges from Class I to Class III. In Australia, PAT testing must be carried out by a Competent Person. This person doesn’t necessarily need qualifications, but must at least have work experience or formal training in testing and tagging.
Why do some PAT testers have printers?
Many lower-cost PAT testers simply present a pass or fail rating, offering few extra benefits. There is a ‘pass’ light and a ‘fail’ light, one of which will light up to indicate the test result.
Some advanced testers, however, have extra quality-of-life features, such as a label printer. These printers make it easier to store and record the results of PAT tests, which can come in handy during audits to verify that regular testing has occurred.
PAT testers with printers normally come in an all-in-one kit that contains a printer, scanner, and hard carry case. Some models have extra features such as a keyboard and Bluetooth capabilities (so you can transfer data to and from a PC).
Buying guide: what to look out for when buying a PAT tester with a printer
So, you understand the benefits of PAT testers with printers—now, it’s time to consider what to look for when buying these handy devices for your business.
Keep an eye out for kits that offer:
- Full integration (i.e. the printer, tester, and field carry case are combined, making transportation much easier).
- Battery power—this option is more convenient for testing large facilities.
- The appropriate tag type—thermal transfer tags are durable and better suited for industrial applications, while direct thermal tags are usually more affordable to run.
- Bluetooth capabilities—this feature makes scanning and transferring data more efficient compared with wired devices.
- Re-testing with QR codes—these codes can store more information than single barcodes and are quicker to scan.
Make the right choice
When shopping for a PAT tester with printer integration for your electrical business, keep these features in mind and reap the benefits, such as higher productivity, improved safety standards, and money saved!