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What is BS 4573?


BS 4573 is a British Standard that specifies the requirements for electrical plugs, socket outlets, and adaptors. It outlines the physical dimensions, electrical properties, and safety features of these devices. This standard plays a crucial role in ensuring compatibility, safety, and efficient electrical connections in the United Kingdom.

The Evolution of BS 4573

BS 4573 has undergone several revisions since its initial publication. Originally introduced in the 1960s, it has been continuously updated to keep up with technological advancements and ensure the highest level of safety standards. The latest revision of BS 4573, published in [year], incorporates significant changes to address emerging challenges in the electrical industry.

Main Requirements of BS 4573

BS 4573 specifies detailed requirements for various aspects of electrical plugs, socket outlets, and adaptors. These include physical dimensions, pin configurations, materials, insulation resistance, temperature rise, and mechanical strength. For example, the standard stipulates that plugs should have three rectangular pins at specific angles to ensure proper grounding and prevent accidental contact with live parts.

In addition to physical properties, BS 4573 also sets guidelines for cable connections, earth connection arrangements, and protection against electric shock. It requires plugs and socket outlets to have adequate strain relief mechanisms to prevent cables from being accidentally pulled out, as well as provisions for shutters to protect against finger access to live parts.

Compliance and Benefits

Adhering to BS 4573 is essential for manufacturers, retailers, and consumers alike. Compliance ensures that electrical devices are safe, reliable, and compatible with other equipment. For manufacturers, meeting the standard's requirements is a mark of quality and adherence to industry best practices. Retailers can confidently provide customers with products that meet safety regulations, while consumers are assured they are purchasing reliable electrical devices that won't compromise their safety.

Furthermore, BS 4573 helps promote harmonization of standards across the industry, allowing for easier interchangeability of plugs, socket outlets, and adaptors. It also reduces the risk of electrical accidents and related injuries by enforcing stringent safety measures and performance criteria.


BS 4573 plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety, compatibility, and reliability of electrical plugs, socket outlets, and adaptors in the United Kingdom. By establishing comprehensive requirements, this standard protects consumers from potential hazards and provides manufacturers and retailers with a benchmark for producing and selling high-quality electrical devices. Adhering to BS 4573 ultimately benefits everyone involved in the production, distribution, and use of electrical equipment.

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