UK 13A Plugs (BS1363 Plug)

Although all appliances sold in the UK today are supplied with fitted plugs, they can still be damaged and require replacement. Appliances purchased in Europe will not have a UK plug attached, but they can still be used in the UK as the supply voltage across Europe is in the same range. Although adaptors can be used, it is safer and cheaper to replace the plug.
The UK standard plug is actually a BS1363 plug.

In this section

Moulded Plugs
13A Plugs with Pillar Terminals
13A Plugs with Post Terminals
13A Plugs - Old Colour Codes
How to fit a 13A plug
13A plugs in real life
Defective Moulded 13A Plug
Non-Standard 13A Plugs
Other information on UK 13A Plugs


Before working on any electrical appliance, switch off and remove the plug from the socket first.
If a plug is damaged and still plugged into a socket, the safest option is to turn off the electricity at your consumer unit or fusebox before removing the plug.


All UK plugs have fuses fitted. These are to protect the flex rather than the appliance. Without a fuse, the only protection will be at the consumer unit and will typically be a 30A fuse or 32A circuit breaker.

There are a few plugs in existance that fit into UK sockets, but they have no fuse. These have been seen on power leads supplied for use with computers. They do not comply with BS1363 and should be destroyed.

Types of fuse

Although fuses can be obtained in many ratings, there are only two of any relevance to normal domestic situations.

Normally, appliances rated under 700 watts require a 3 amp fuse in the plug, and those rated at 700 watts or more have a 13 amp fuse.
The rating of the appliance is usually found on the appliance itself, on a label or plate.

Previously, some appliances had 5A fuses, however new appliances rated above 700W generally have flex rated at 13A or more.

Fuses have the rating clearly marked on the side, and are colour coded. 3A=red, 5A=black, 13A=brown.
Other fuse ratings are available, but these have specialist applications, e.g. 7A fuses are used for multiway adaptors in office furniture.

Moulded Plugs

Most appliances ae now supplied with a moulded plug, which cannot be opened. These are fitted in the factory, and if damaged the only option is to cut through the flex and fit a normal plug.
The fuse on these plugs is fitted in a carrier on the back, and these are usually removed using a small screwdriver as a lever.
If you remove one of these plugs, take out the fuse carrier and dispose of it separately. This prevents the plug becoming shock hazard if it were plugged in again.

Types of plug terminals

There are two common types of terminals inside plugs. Post terminals, where the wire is wrapped around a central post, and pillar terminals, where the wire enters from the side of the terminal.

Although both should be equally suitable, the post types are only found in more expensive plugs and are generally of a much higher quality than the pillar types.