Purchasing electrical equipment

Buying safe electrical appliances

All electrical appliances and equipment that may be for household use must comply with the Electrical Equipment Safety System (EESS) before sale in Australia.

Commercial or industrial use only equipment, must still comply with the relevant Australian Standards. This means the equipment must be safe, and fit for purpose when installed. There is no restrictions on the sale of this equipment.

What to look for when buying a new electrical appliance or equipment

In-Scope equipment includes all electrical products that connect to mains power and would normally be used for household or personal use. Extra low voltage equipment such as devices powered by USB are out of scope, but as a USB charger plugs into a socket outlet it is in-scope.

Equipment levelExamples
Level 1 equipment
Low risk or of unknown risk.
Includes many new innovative products
  • garage door openers
  • waste disposal units
  • clock radios
  • DVD players
  • computer monitors
Level 2 medium risk equipment
  • television receivers
  • projectors
  • recessed LED light fitting
  • simple portable lamps
Level 3 high risk equipment
  • heaters
  • irons
  • cooking appliances
  • electric blankets
  • toasters
  • power supplies
  • phone and battery chargers
  • most major household appliances

Black tick inside a circle inside a triange EESS compliant electrical appliances must display a regulatory compliance mark (RCM) before being made available for sale.

The responsible supplier can be found on the national database at www.eess.gov.au

For level 2 and level 3 equipment, searching the model number will confirm the product complies with the relevant standards.

It is illegal to sell non-compliant electrical products

Buying electrical equipment online

Be careful when buying electrical equipment online because some of the items for sale on the internet do not meet Australian safety standards.

Example: electrical equipment must be suitable to be used with 230 V and be fitted with an Australian 3 pin plug.

Always ask the seller for evidence that the electrical equipment complies with Australian Standards and is safe to use in Australia. Foreign entities are not able to register as responsible suppliers even though items marked as Australian stock may be being offered by overseas suppliers.

Buying second-hand electrical equipment

If you have purchased or plan to purchase second-hand electrical equipment, make sure:

  • the appliance has been approved as safe for use in Australia,
  • it is not damaged and
  • have it ‘tagged and tested’ by a qualified repairman or a licensed electrician.

Beware of purchasing second-hand electrical items on social media. A so-called bargain could be an expensive and dangerous mistake.

Older approval marks

Under the rules prior to the EESS, approval markings varied between states. Typically they are an alphanumeric code, comprising the first letter of the state that issued the approval followed by between one and six digits.

Two examples of older approval marks

Examples of old electrical equipment approval marks

To find out if an appliance is approved for use, ask the store manager / sales person or  Search the National Certification Database

Damaged or ageing electrical equipment

Never use electrical equipment that is damaged or ageing. Throw away old extension cords, power boards or any electrical product with a frayed cord.

Take the time to check the cords at home and throw away any with exposed wires or damage.