Today’s post is going to be short and sweet. However, that doesn’t mean it is any less important. In the industrial electrical market in the United States, products that bear the mark of UL carry weight. In many plants and projects, if a product is not certified at the appropriate level with UL, that product is not considered acceptable. That’s why it’s critical to understand the difference between a product that is UL Classified vs. UL Listed.
Sometimes, it’s best from the horse’s mouth. Here how UL explains a product as UL Listed:
UL Listing means that UL has tested representative samples of a product and determined that it meets UL’s requirements. These requirements are often based on UL’s published and nationally recognized Standards for Safety.
That may sound simple enough, but there’s nuance here. Firstly, this implies that the entire product has been tested and approved by UL. By that definition, it means that the assembled finished good has been considered Listed. That does not mean that the individual components are all UL Listed. It also does not mean that any variation of that product is UL Listed by extension. Often times, variants must also be submitted to UL.
Again we will lean on UL to give us the technical definition of UL Classified:
UL Classification typically means that UL has tested and evaluated samples of a product with respect to certain properties of the product. UL classifies products to:
Applicable UL requirements
Standards of other organizations
It is important to use the UL Classified Mark accompanied by a statement indicating the specific scope of the Classification.
There are a few things to dissect here. First, the definition implies that the Classified definition has tested certain specifications and standards but has not undertaken the same level of testing that it necessary for a product to be listed. It also mentions that certain parts or components of a product can be Classified without the entire product being considered so. The last sentence above drives that point home. The UL Classified designation has to be qualified. To be clear, saying a particular product is UL Classified and nothing more is an incorrect statement.
Is UL Approved a Thing?
In the field, we’ve heard statements such as “this is UL Approved”. It’s pretty easy to just accept that as face value. However, there is no such thing as UL Approved or UL Approval. To speak this way about a particular product is misleading. If you ever hear this from anyone, make sure you qualify it to ensure that you get the right product that suits your needs.
Relevant Example of UL Listed vs. UL Classified for Wiring Devices
We wanted to find a good example that will drive this home. Since our last post was about wiring devices, we will stick with that theme. Mennekes Electrical Products, a German company, has gone through the time and energy to earn the designation of putting UL Listed on their products. You can see it clearly marked on their products’ labels in the United States:
By comparison, Scame is an Italian company and has not completed the UL Listing. Thus, if you look at their products in person or online, you will see the following:
Now, you’ll notice that Scame has correctly qualified what type of UL Classification they have earned so there’s nothing wrong with what they’ve done; Scame has simply either not gone through the formal process to become UL Listed or cannot pass the requirements.
Wrapping It Up
UL Listed and UL Classified are not the same thing. If a product is UL Listed, the entire product has been tested by UL and passed. If a product is UL Classified, it means part of the product has been tested by UL and further clarification is required as to what part or standard has been classified.
What did we miss? Let us know!