CE, UL, ETL, RU ... what's the difference?

I touched on the topic of third-party certification once before in March of this year. When you see an emblem or logo on a product you sometimes recognise it as something that reassures you that this product is better in some way such as quality or safety. As consumers, we have all seen the "Good Housekeeping" seal of approval and as a result, we know that it means it has been tested for safety or quality. For many years we have seen the UL logo on electronic devices and we are assured that it has been through a series of safety and quality checks and is now "UL Listed" or UL Recognized". As more and more electronic products are produced in other countries, we are seeing other markings that are increasingly familiar but many people don't know what they mean. There are many manufacturers that don't feel that the costs involved in being granted a UL approval is a fair trade. This created a niche and another entity has been filling that niche. It is being found on all kinds of electronic devices and it is ETL. The mark stands for Intertek Listed. The ETL mark is everything that UL means but that a different company is doing the testing and certifications and in many cases does not cost the manufacturer as much. Often because the mark is misunderstood, Intertek often will show that their certification complies with the UL standard. For example, our new ETL listed Spot mod LED light fixtures to list the certification as: ETL Listed (US and Canada) 4001928/ I: 2108 low voltage luminaire, CSA C22.2 #250. This particular LED fixture also has a CSA listing which is important to our Canadian customers. It is also very common to see another marking on electronics called CE. The CE marking is recognised in Europe but not in the U.S. Whenever a customer calls us and says that they want the product to be "UL" they are often following directions from someone that needs the product to pass installation inspection. If we explain that the product is "ETL" while it certainly meets all the criteria that the inspector is looking for, it is not as familiar to the customer. If you look at the products offered on our site, you will see that all devices that are to be in contact with high voltage, the device will be UL, ETL or UL Recognized. UL Recognized has a mark that looks like a backwards "R" followed by a "U". This is a mark put out by UL indicating that they recognize that the components making up the device are of good quality but has not yet gone through the full testing to get its certification and be "Listed". This is a process that can be costly and cause manufacturers to ask for certification from Intertek instead. It is our practice here at The LED Light to only offer products that have contact with high voltage to bear RU, UL or ETL markings. If you have questions about what is needed for your particular installation, direct an email to the attention of John Cody. I'll be glad to clarify. By: John Cody