Updated on 19 October, 2021
An electrical outlet tester, outlet primer, receptacle primer, or slip protector tester is an inexpensive small device, usually made of plastic with three indicator lights and a 3-volt power outlet, used for rapidly detecting any kinds of incorrectly-installed electrical outlets. Commonly used in residential and commercial building construction, these handy testers are also able to detect the presence of bare wire or exposed fuse. These testers come with rubber feet for an easy grip and surface, and come with detailed installation instructions. Most are easy to use, requiring just the push of a button, and can easily be left set up in minutes.
As they are a simple tool that is used for testing electric cords, electrical outlet testers are inexpensive. They are commonly used in building construction as a safety precaution measure, for replacing faulty wiring, and for determining whether a power cord is live. With a variety of different models, the cost of this inexpensive safety test accessory will depend on the specific purpose for which it is needed. Commonly available at most hardware, home improvement and electrical retailer outlets, the testers all offer the same basic features.
A basic electrical outlet tester comes with three different indicators. One of these is a contact tap that allows you to manually turn off power to a circuit. A contact tap typically has two conductors with the two contacts touching each other. The third indicator light is an LED, which when turned on will flash in an intermittent fashion indicating whether the circuit tester has tripped an alarm.
The next indicator light is a voltage indication light, which turns on when a circuit is tripped and a fault has occurred. The third indicator light is a non-contact switch, which enables you to disconnect power from the electrical outlet. Once all three lights are lit, you know that your circuit has tripped a fault and should have an immediate repair. If the alarm goes off, however, you should consider contacting a qualified service technician.
There are three basic types of electrical outlet testers available: metal, plastic or socket testers. Socket testers are convenient as they can be quickly and easily removed for cleaning purposes. They are made out of durable stainless steel and are also fully adjustable so that they can be used in almost any type of wiring system. All three types of outlet testers have different primary forces to test for: resistance, continuity and voltage.
A metal electrical outlet tester is best used in the installation process for a complete electrical system. For small projects, such as outlets for a laptop computer or outlet fan, a plastic outlet tester will do the job. If, however, you are installing large items, such as an outlet stove, a metal receptacle tester will give you the most accurate results. For this task you will need a metal or plastic socket tester with a mercury level indicator to indicate full levels. It is important not to leave any exposed areas un-measured.
The final step in testing an electrical outlet is to open up the receptacle using a Klein Tools RTF RCBOY-RN Flux Ring Clips. The dual-open wiring fault is activated by pushing down on the flat metallic prong. The neutral wire then pulls the flat prong into either side of the exposed flat metallic ribbon. The KIT tools rt310 RCBOY-RN Flux Ring Clips are designed to be used with any type of Klein Tools outlet.
To ensure maximum accuracy and reliability, you should only use the correct voltage rating for the receptacle being tested. For example, a 4-prong receptacle should only be tested using a 4-volt electrical outlet tester. You should also avoid using low-voltage testers on metal or thin-walled electrical outlets as the probes may become disconnected from the flat metallic surface during the test. For all three types of testing, the flat metal prong that extends from the kIT tools rt310 RCBOY-RN Flux Ring Clip is designed to extend all the way to the edge of the exposed surface of the receptacle. Using this clip eliminates the possibility of a low-voltage connection developing a 3-wire connection at the location of the flat prong.