There have been an increased number of incidents involving faulty elecrical goods and fake, unbranded chargers. These chargers can lead to shock, cause fires and often do not meet UK safety regulations.

It is vital that you are aware of the dangers when buying chargers online. To help you know what to look out for, Electrical Safety First have put together a buying guide to help you the next time you need to buy a charger.

Plug pins

  • Check that there is at least 9.5 mm between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger (9.5 mm is about the width of a ballpoint pen). If the distance between the edge of the pins and the edge of the charger is less than 9.5 mm, there is a risk of electric shock when plugging in and unplugging the charger from a socket.
  • Plug the charger into a socket but don’t switch it on or connect it to your appliance.
  • Does it plug in easily? If the charger does not easily plug into a socket, the pins may be the wrong size or length, or the distance between the pins may be wrong. If pins do not fit properly into the socket, overheating, arcing and mechanical damage can occur to both the socket and the charger, which can be dangerous.


  • Look for a manufacturer’s brand name or logo, model and batch number.
  • Check for a CE mark.
  • Check that the output voltage and current ratings marked on the charger and your electrical device are the same.
  • Do not rely on a CE mark alone as a guarantee of safety – it’s simply a declaration by the manufacturer that the product meets all the safety requirements of European law, but they can be easily forged.

Warnings and instructions

Adequate warnings and instructions must be provided. As a minimum, user instructions should provide information on conditions and limitations of use, how to operate the charger safely, basic electrical safety guidance and details of how to safely dispose of the charger when it is no longer required.

Electrical Safety First have also created a ‘Safe Shopper’s Guide’.