Producers and consumers alike should be aware of the difference between UL Listed vs UL Recognized tags that are found on products. That familiar UL tag or stamp certifies that product safety standards have been met. However, the different UL tags represent the degrees of testing that have been conducted on products and product parts.
The distinction is important. Billions of products with the familiar UL tags or stamps enter the global marketplace annually. UL is an acronym for Underwriter Laboratories, the third-party testing and certification company founded over a century ago in Chicago. They are an independent, not-for-profit testing laboratory that conducts quality testing and sets safety standards for products around the globe.
UL tests sample products to ensure the product meets certain specifications by testing, documenting their finds, as well as visiting factories to verify that procedures are being followed. UL approval is classified by three different categories:
- UL Listed
- UL Recognized
- UL Classified
With regard to the latter, a UL classification mark means that UL has evaluated and tested certain properties of product utilizing samples of a product. UL Listed and UL Recognized, though similar, have distinctions related to the product which are intended for applications and to keep users, workers and consumers, informed.
What is UL Certification?
The UL certification program is designed to mitigate risk and deliver confidence in markets worldwide. The certification is comprehensive and broad based in that it is applicable to setting standards and requirements not only for products, but for facilities, personnel, processes and systems. UL helps companies identify and close regulatory gaps, and also confirm that products meet compliance and certifications are maintained.
What UL Listed Means
The UL Listed tag or stamp is far more familiar than the UL Recognized symbol. For most consumers, the UL Listed mark is what they think of when mentioned at all. It’s found on a wide range of products and consumer goods. When you see a UL Listed tag or stamp on a product it signifies that a set of industry standards have been met. More importantly, it ensures for consumers that the product has been tested for safety before it enters the market and that therefore it is safe to use. UL Listed is a seal of approval for consumer-ready end products.
UL Listed products must meet national standards of safety and sustainability. For electronic and electrical products, UL Listed certified means it is free of reasonably foreseeable risk of electric shock or risk of fire. Products that are UL Listed ensure safety and longevity under normal wear and tear. This benefits both the consumer and the business that manufactures the product. UL Listed represents a reputation of safety plus an inherent accountability for product brands.
What UL Recognized Means
Unlike UL Listed, UL Recognition is not a seal of approval for end products. Instead, the mark focuses on parts and components as well as the machinery that make end products. UL Recognized certifies that any part or component within a larger device or mechanism meets the standards set forth by UL.
UL Recognized can be used to certify power supplies or circuit boards that are used to power machinery, too, but also the safety and efficiency of machinery that workers use. With its focus on parts and components, UL Recognized also certifies that the equipment is properly housed to protect it from harsh chemicals or liquids that may be used during the manufacturing process. This further ensures that the end products are safe.
UL Recognized approval is less rigid and easier to attain than UL Listed, and is used by manufacturers to certify select components within a larger system. The certification can be applied to any component part or material. For the stand-alone UL Listed mark on a product, companies must meet the requirements for the UL Listed seal of approval.
CE vs. UL Certifications
CE markings are essentially the equivalent markings for the European Economic Area (EEA) and are unrelated to UL markings. CE stands for the Conformitè Europëenne (CE) Mark. The mark represents mandatory conformity to the European Union's safety standards for end products. Like UL Listed, it symbolizes that products are in compliance with the health, safety, and environmental protection standards as enacted within the EEA.