UL Vs. ETL listing, which one should you go for?

by Matthias
UL Vs. ETL listing

For any product to make it in a competitive market, a specific certification is necessary. Products are certified for different reasons. Some of the reasons may be for quality reasons, safety, usability, and authority for production and distribution. Electrical products are not exempted from the need for certification from international certification bodies. UL listed or ETL listed electrical products like LED lights stand out from the rest in the industry.

UL listing Vs. ETL listing for electrical products

What is UL listing?

UL is an acronym for the term Underwriter Laboratories which is an internationally recognized type testing laboratory recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration body (OSHA). UL listing, therefore, is a certification that is granted to products to signify that the products have met and passed safety requirements, according to Underwriter Laboratories.

For a product to receive a UL listing, the product has to go through specific tests to ensure that the chances of the electrical product malfunctioning and causing hazards like fire are close to none. This, therefore, means that a UL listed product is deemed safe for public use.

What is an ETL listing?

ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories) is also a body that tests the safety of electrical products and lambs under Intertek Testing Laboratories. Like UL, ETL is recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration body. For products to receive an ETL listing, they have to undergo a series of tests at an ETL laboratory and found to meet all the applicable standards for safety that are deemed relevant by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs).

UL Vs. ETL listing

The difference between UL and ETL listing

UL listing and ETL listing are not different as the standards for which ETL tests products are those previously published by UL as safety standards. This means that products with an ETL listing or UL listing have both met the exact criteria of standards.

The only relevant difference between the two is that ETL does not publish its own set of standards as it uses the standards set by UL.

Do lighting products need to be UL or ETL listed?

The conclusion is that either of these two certifications is perfect for electrical products. However, it does not hurt for a product to be listed by both these bodies.

Importance of ETL and UL listing

  • Many, if not all, municipalities in the United States require electrical products to be tested and approved by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories before they can be sold in their cities.
  • A UL or ETL listing symbolizes that your product is safe to be used by the public
  • Products with an ETL and UL certification are deemed of higher quality. Manufacturers have to jump through several hoops to get their products enlisted by these bodies as it is the official stamp showing that the products are of good quality.
  • An ETL or UL listing would also guarantee more sales of your product.

Bottom Line

Getting a UL or ETL listing for products is mostly not mandatory; it is, however, essential to make sure that electrical products are listed for reasons mentioned above. Failure to get your products enlisted is equivalent to risking local non-acceptance for your products as no individual in their right mind would go for an electrical product that is likely to cause harm to them and the public.


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