If you have ever looked closely at the information sticker found on almost any electronic device, you have probably seen lots of different things. Most importantly, you’ll probably find data on voltages, including what kind of voltage a product might invert and scale down your incoming wall power to in order to operate properly. However, you may also have noticed there are a few little seals and symbols on a typical sticker for almost any product. Some of these little images are used to designate that a product has been “listed” by one of several different testing agencies.
These agencies can include:
- UL (Underwriters’ Laboratories)
- ETL (
- NRTL (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory)
- CE (Conformite Eurpeenne)
What Does “Listing” Mean?
The primary mission of all of these agencies is rather simple: promote consumer safety and welfare by creating and enforcing a rigorous level of quality standards that products must adhere to. When products utilize electricity, they could potentially be dangerous unless they are built using proper materials and to specifications that ensure that flowing electrical current won’t create a potential injury risk. Therefore, UL and all of these other agencies have created their own set of standards that are continuously tested, reinforced, and updated to ensure the market is not flooded with dangerous and potentially deadly products built to sub-par quality standards.
How does it work? The standards are available to any company that wishes to produce a product, however they must submit a sample of that product for inspection and testing in order for it to receive a UL listing or certification. The product is checked to ensure that all materials used are in the right place and to the proper level of quality, and the product is put through testing in a controlled environment to ensure that all designs and safety measures put in place perform as expected. Products that pass receive what is known as a “listing,” which essentially means that it has met or surpassed the standards put forward by that particular company.
Is a product required to receive listing before hitting the market? Believe it or not, it isn’t. However, for consumers who know they are going to be purchasing and using a product that operates on electricity, listing provides additional peace of mind. Knowing that a product is properly built and won’t provide any potential risk for injury over the course of normal use is invaluable, particularly knowing the alternative. Therefore, consumers and contractors alike gravitate toward products that receive listing from one or more of these agencies.
“Listed” & “Certified” Designations
In the case of UL, one of the leading listing companies in the United States, there are two levels of certification you might come across: UL Listed and UL Certified. According to UL’s website, listing means that the particular product has been tested and UL has determined that it meets their defined requirements for safety and operation.
Certification goes a step further and is applied to products that have both been listed and classified. The difference between the two is not generally as important to the average person, but both of these marks indicate that the product you’re looking at has passed its laboratory testing.
Why Choose Listed Products?
We all know how dangerous electricity can be when mishandled, and nobody wants to put their home or themselves at risk by installing a sub-par product that may be more prone to failure. Therefore, when picking out a product for use with your electrical system, UL actually provides an invaluable service for consumers. We recommend looking for products that have been listed or certified, as you can be reasonably assured these products have undergone performance testing and met or surpassed an expectation of safety. Whether it’s something as simple as a light fixture or as large and complex as a ceiling fan, look for listing information to make sure it’s safe for use. This is particularly important when shopping online, where products from shady counterfeit manufacturers might make something that looks nice but is actually extremely poorly built and dangerous for use in order to make a quick buck.If you have a problem with your electrical system or are looking to have something new installed, choose the team at Lightning Bug Electric to take care of it for you! Call us at (404) 471-3847 today.