Understanding the Different Types of UL Marks
UL Listed, UL Recognized
and UL Classified Labels
Electronics are commonplace in almost every American home. Even houses that have gone completely off the grid may still rely on solar, wind energy or propane to charge laptops, power appliances and cool or heat the home. While all reputable manufacturers try to make products that do not pose hazards to users, this is not always the end result. Phones and even scooters have burst into flames over the years, causing damage to people and property. As a result, many Americans rely on UL Listed, UL Recognized and UL Classified Marks to verify when a product is safe.
The Basics of UL and What They Do
At first, the nonprofit organization was known as Underwriters Laboratory. Founded 125 years ago, it tested various products used by consumers in America and Canada to certify them as safe. Components used by manufacturers may also be certified. When these devices or components pass UL certification, the manufacturers are then authorized to include a UL Listed, UL Recognized or UL Classified Mark on their products to signify this. While UL is certainly not the only testing body in America or Canada, it is one of the oldest and most trusted. The UL Marks appear on 22 billion products every year in the United States and Canada. In the United States, UL is one of only several companies approved by OSHA to perform safety testing; OSHA maintains a list of approved testing laboratories, known as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL).
Contrary to popular belief, not all products on the market undergo UL-testing. In fact, even companies authorized to use the UL Marks may have tested their products themselves. However, companies authorized to use the organization’s Mark must follow UL-guidelines for testing and UL does check in with companies on a regular basis. In cases where the device turns out not to be safe, UL may step in to provide independent analyses.
The Types of UL Marks for Products
There are many different types of UL Marks companies can use to indicate that their products are safe. Here are some details on the three main ones that were previously mentioned:
- UL Listed: When products bear this Mark, it informs consumers that UL determined that the product met specific and predetermined requirements after testing representative samples. The criteria used for these tests are usually based on the Standards for Safety that UL has published and continues to improve over the years. Some features that products with this Mark can usually boast of are functional safety, use in marine environments and energy efficiency.
- UL Recognized: This Mark is for companies that requested testing of components or parts that will be used in other completed products in the future. Products that use parts that meet this certification then become eligible for UL certification. Common examples may include the motherboard of a computer or the wires used in a microwave.
- UL Classified: A Classified Mark means that certain aspects of the product meet certification requirements. Other common examples of classified certification may include certifying that a water filter can produce potable water.
The Benefits of Pursuing UL Certification
Depending on a manufacturer’s product or market, certification from a body like UL may be needed to meet certain compliance requirements. For example, OSHA’s standards contain requirements for approval (like testing and certification) of certain products by a NRTL.
In addition to that, here are some of the reasons for companies to pursue UL certification.
1. Shows Commitment to Safety: Even the most established and well-intentioned companies may suffer from group think and oversight. Some employees may also become complacent over time with certain aspects of their job, which could pose safety risk for consumers. When a company seeks UL certification, it illustrates a due diligence process designed to ensure its products meet and even exceed industry standards. Consumers concerned about safety, reliability and performance often look for products with these labels to decide what to buy.
2. More Objective Than Internal Review: Few companies intend to publish any bad news about themselves if they can help it. While there is room for error when UL allows companies to do some testing on their own, it is nonetheless a more objective process than 100% internal testing. Because of this, UL and other third-party certifications hold more weight than claims a company can only back with internal criteria and reviews.
3. Boosts Marketing Campaigns: Because of the benefits highlighted above, one of the main reasons that companies seek certification is for inclusion in their marketing campaigns. This may be especially useful for newer companies that may struggle with building consumer trust, even in well-established fields. Being certified may either make them comparable to bigger competitors or even surpass them.
Clarion Safety and UL Compliance
While getting UL-certified tacks on extra time, effort and cost to the research and development and manufacturing process, it’s a worthy investment. Here are two ways that Clarion Safety can be part of your UL compliance process:
- Making sure your products meet the UL Standards of Safety includes going through the time, effort and cost of various requirements for validation including auditing, testing and inspection of products. You need a partner who can help ensure that the UL-recognized label you use is UL-certified and stands up to the rigors of use. Clarion Safety is included in UL®'s approved Marking and Labeling Systems manufacturing category (PGDQ2).
- Clarion Safety is a UL® Mark certified printer, meaning we have approval to print the UL Mark on your labels and signs. If you’re the manufacturer of a UL® certified product, and would like us to print the UL® Mark on your signs or labels, steps to take are to: 1) submit a design layout of the UL® Mark to a UL® label center for review to verify that all required information is in an acceptable format and 2) provide us with your UL®-stamped and approved drawing.
Contact us today for information on how Clarion Safety can assist with your UL® Mark certified labels.