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What do you do when you do not have enough electrical sockets for all your appliances?

Simply plug in a multiway adaptor, right?

Well, is it safe to do so and what should you look out for?


I get asked many times about the types of multiway extensions and what is safe to use, so here is a very brief run down.


Different types of multiway extensions

Firstly, ensure all multiway extensions are FUSED to a maximum of 13amps. Some older extensions are unfused and should not be used. Avoid using cube multiway plugs as a good general rule of thumb and again, if you really must use one then be sure that it is fused.

Try to use a suitable length cable for the extension lead and always ensure long coiled extensions are FULLY unwound when using them. If using a cable length of over 25m then it MUST be protected by an RCD.



Fused and unfused cube adaptors – The one on the left is unfused and should not be used

Check for British Standards. Look for the Kitemark and BS1363-3 marking and buy from reputable outlets.

Avoid daisy chaining, however, if the first adaptor in the chain is fused, then running one adaptor into another should mean you don’t exceed the rating of the host socket or the first adaptor in the chain. Keep in mind that having additional socket connections and increased cable lengths in-line will increase the overall resistance of the cable which can lead to other issues like localised heating, voltage drop, increased breaker reaction times, impaired earthing, trip hazards and other such issues. In short, don’t do it if you can avoid it!

Keep the higher load pulling appliances (Appliances with heating elements and motors) closer to the host socket and lower current loads such as phone chargers in the sockets at the end of the adaptor.

Overpulled cable leaving inner insulation exposed

Make sure to check over the extension before use as many faults are easily found with a visual inspection and if the extension adaptor is new, be sure to remove any card wiring labels on the plug pins.


A 25meter extension cable with pin shutters stuck open
Shutters on the right are stuck in open position.


In short, there is perfectly fine to use a multiway adaptor as long as it is fused, has a suitably sensible lead length, carries the British Standard logo and/or markings, manufactured by a reputable manufacturer, has no obvious signs of damage or overheating and is relatively modern. It should also be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and used in a sensible located. (Not fixed to the fence in the garden with a shopping bag covering it to keep the water out. Commonly seen around Christmas time).

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