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What Do UL, ETL, CSA, and CE Listings Mean?


Have you ever noticed those symbols such as UL or ETL on a light bulb, light fixture, or a products specification sheet and wonder what they actually meant? These symbols are listings and certifications to indicate whether or not a product has met certain safety regulations from various testing standards. 

What is UL?

UL LogoUnderwriters Laboratories (UL), is a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that tests different products based off of self-published safety standards and regulations.

UL is the most well known listing on all sorts of product however, most do not know that products can be either UL Listed or UL Recognized. 

To understand the difference, being UL Listed means the product has been sampled, tested, and met the required safety standards; this is the most common found UL certification.

When something is UL Recognized, it means parts or components of this product have been tested and approved to be used in the manufacturing of another product. 

What is ETL?

ETL Listing Logo Thomas Edison founded the Lamp Testing Bureau in 1896, to test the safety of light bulbs. 

Now known as Electrical testing Laboratories (ETL), the company covers more than just light bulbs as they are one of the fastest growing safety certification service providers in the U.S. and Canada.

ETL listed products are somewhat related to the UL listing however, ETL doesn’t publish their own safety standards.

Instead, ETL tests products to the standards that were created by other NRTL’s, such as UL; meaning products that are ETL listed are still held to the same standards as UL and are thus recognized by OSHA. 

What is CSA?

CSA Logo As a known substitute for UL and ETL listings, CSA International, formerly known as the Canadian Standards Association, is a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) that serves the United States and Canada.

The CSA listing indicates the product has been tested based off of standards that were set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), UL, and NSF. 

What is CE?

CE Logo CE is an abbreviation for European Conformity, which in French is “Conformité Européene”.

The CE mark is required on certain products before they can be sold within the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes all European Union countries including Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

These countries are responsible for banning products and will even issue fines for non-compliance with the requirement of being CE Listed.

If you are looking to sell or buy lighting fixtures or electrical components within Europe, always check for the CE mark however, be sure to not confuse it with the very similar China Export (CE) listing, that just means the product was manufactured in China.

Questions or comments? We always have ears open to any new input and suggestions, as we enjoy learning from others and sharing knowledge. Contact us today for your complimentary quote on any project, or just to give some input, 813-649-8899 or

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  • Mary S