What Is a Hand-Held Electrical Equipment?

The term ‘hand-held equipment’ is officially defined within the IEC 60050-826-2022 as:

electric equipment intended to be held in the hand during normal use.

IEC 60050-826-2022

Hand-held electrical equipment means equipment whose functioning relies on constant manual support or guidance.

IEC 60950-1 and IEC 62368-1 define the term “hand-held equipment” as follows:

movable equipment, or a part of any kind of equipment, that is intended to be held in the hand during normal use.

IEC 62368-1

According to the definitions provided, hand-held electrical equipment is an electrical equipment that is held with one hand or hands during normal operation. It is usually connected to fixed wiring with plug connectors, but it can also be connected to low-voltage switchgear with flexible connection cables.

A lot of the electrical equipment used in the electrical installations of buildings is hand-held electrical equipment. Hand-held electrical equipment is held in the hands of a person during operation. Hand-held electrical equipment is much smaller and lighter than mobile equipment.

Examples of Hand-Held Electrical Equipment

Hand-held electrical equipment includes commonly used electrical household appliances such as electric irons, hair dryers, razors, power tools (soldering irons, drills, planers, power saws), etc.

Screwdriver as an example of class II portable electrical equipment
Electric drill – an example of hand-held electrical equipment

Main Requirements

1. The regulatory documents consider hand-held electrical equipment as a source of higher electric shock hazard than fixed and stationary electrical equipment. Therefore, regulations prohibit the use of class 0, I, and II hand-held electrical equipment in particularly hazardous conditions, allowing only class III hand-held electrical equipment.

2. The use of hand-held electrical equipment of classes 0, I, and II in hazardous conditions is unacceptable without taking additional precautions in the electrical installation of a building, such as using residual current devices with a rated residual operating current not exceeding 0.03 A or connecting electrical equipment to the secondary windings of isolating transformers.

3. A circuit supplying a socket-outlet with a rated current up to and including 32 A and any other circuit supplying hand-held electrical equipment with rated current up to and including 32A shall be protected by:

– Reduced low voltage, or

– automatic disconnection of supply with additional protection provided by an RCD having the characteristics specified in Regulation 415.1 .1 (BS 7671), or

– electrical separation of circuits, each socket-outlet, and item of hand-held electrical equipment being supplied by an individual transformer or by a separate winding of a transformer, or


4. The non-detachable power supply cord of hand-held electrical equipment or equipment intended to be moved while in operation shall be provided with a safeguard against jacket, insulation, or conductor damage due to bending at the equipment entrance.

5. batteries in hand-held electrical equipment that are replaceable by an ordinary person shall be inherently protected to avoid creating a class 2 energy source or a class 3 energy source.

6. The rated voltage of hand-held equipment shall not exceed 250 V.

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