What is UL Listing & is it Really Necessary?

UL Logo

The UL logo is a commonly seen logo on products that may need electrical or fire safety tests. In other words- it’s everywhere.  When a UL logo is on a product, it means the product was tested by UL LLC (Underwriters Laboratories).

UL LLC is an American based worldwide safety counseling and certification company. They are a third party organization that tests and approves products for consumer safety. UL LLC tests electrical, mechanical and chemical products in over 104 countries around the world since 1984. Up until 2012 UL LLC has been a non-profit company. It is now a for-profit corporation, but is still the leading certification laboratory.

The way they operate to ensure ongoing safety for products already approved includes unscheduled and unannounced visits to manufacturers. UL’s representatives then evaluate already listed products to ensure they maintain the standards under which they received their rating.

So what is UL listing & is it really necessary? It is a method of assuring products we use in our daily on going life are safe. UL LLC is testing products and informing the public as to tested and approved products.

Is it really needed? Well, that is an excellent question. There really is no one answer. To assure consumers they are purchasing safe products, a certification from a trusted laboratory is certainly helpful. At the same time, a product that is not UL listed isn’t necessarily an indication that the product isn’t safe, rather that it didn’t go through the process of having it tested.

Having said that, it is certainly reassuring to know the product you have purchased was tested by a third party organization with no financial gain. Next time you see the UL logo on a product, you’ll know this item was tested to ensure consumers’ safety and be able to decide of its importance to you.

While all that is true for an individual, when dealing with codes, municipalities and large organizations, a UL listing may be required. In the wire and cable industry, for example, code requires UL listing depending on the type of cable and its application. In these cases you must adhere to rules and regulations and provide tested products only.