Underwriters Laboratories (UL), headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, is a global safety agency that establishes safety standards and conducts product testing for firms in over 100 countries.
UL was founded in 1894 by an electrical engineer named William Henry Merrill, and has since expanded its scope to include dangerous compounds, food quality, and environmental sustainability. Since 1894, Underwriters Laboratories has been developing standards, testing products, and detecting hazardous goods in an effort to protect consumers from manufacturing negligence.
What Does UL Listed Mean?
When a product is UL Listed, that means the product has been thoroughly tested by Underwriters Laboratories. If a product passed the testing process, then it will be “Listed.” Once a product passes UL’s own set of Standards of Safety certification process it can bear the UL mark. You can find more than 14 billion UL-certified products across dozens of industries.
For over 20 years, the UL certification program for food service equipment has kept consumers and restaurants safe. Products with the UL mark are independently tested for safety and product performance. Similar to NSF International, products are tested periodically to ensure that they continue to meet the necessary safety standards.
Manufacturers can choose to be UL certified or not. However, many installations are required to use listed goods by government agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and code standards such as the National Electric Code (NEC).
Why is Being UL Listed Important?
Extensive testing is involved in obtaining a UL Listed certification. As such, products that hold a UL Listed status are considered more superior in quality than those which do not. In the United States, UL is the gold standard for electrical safety. Consumers may be confident that UL’s approval is a true indication of a product’s operational safety because UL is a nonprofit organization with no financial interests in any product or manufacturer. A UL Listing shows that a company has done its homework and is committed to meeting and surpassing industry standards.
What is the Difference between UL Listed and UL Recognized?
The easiest way to look at the difference between these two certifications is that UL Listed products are typically fully functional, stand-alone products that fit within a specific UL category or function. Whereas UL Recognized products are usually parts or components that are manufactured to meet a particular industry specification. UL Listed products differ from UL Recognized products in that they require more rigorous testing.
- The “Listed” certification is designated for complete, self-contained products.
- The “Recognized” certification is reserved for components and parts that are integrated into larger systems.
UL Recognized products include power supplies, electrical components, and insulation materials. These items cannot be UL Listed because they are only incorporated into larger systems and have no specified user function of their own.