On these pages we often find ourselves citing certifications issued by international standards regarding the safety of products and materials.

There are many of them and finding your way around is not always easy.

Today we talk about UL certifications and the ETL mark, their similarities and their differences.

UL vs ETL: Differences and Similarities


Both UL, or Underwriters Laboratories Inc., and ETL, or Electrical Testing Laboratories, issue safety certifications on products and materials intended for businesses.

The main difference is that UL produces its own safety standards, while ETL adopts standards produced by other laboratories (including UL itself) and conducts tests on behalf of companies in accordance with the established requirements.

To use a metaphor, the UL is a source of law, while the ETL functions as a court.

A further difference is that UL certifications cover many more areas, whereas ETL ones focus on the electronics sector, but we will see this better in the next paragraphs.

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What is UL Certification


The Underwriter Laboratories were founded in 1984 by the Boston engineer William Henry Merrill, in a period of great ferment for the progressive electrification of the United States.

The purpose of the laboratories was to formulate tests, equipment and subsequent standardized procedures to verify the safety of electrical equipment.

Over the decades, UL's mission has extended beyond the confines of electronics and today UL certifications cover multiple sectors and areas such as: plastics, building materials and building safety with regard to fires and accidents.

Today UL is both a leading body that produces standards in various fields, and a laboratory that carries out tests on behalf of companies that want to obtain the aforementioned certifications.


What is the ETL Mark


Although the Electrical Testing Laboratories do not have the prerogative of producing autonomous standards, they are far from being a second-order institution.

They were in fact founded by Thomas Edison himself, way back in 1896, under the name of the Lamp Testing Bureau. Indeed, the famous inventor had an interest in certifying the safety of his products through an institution that carried out all the necessary tests.

Today the ETL mark is owned by Intertek which owns a network of laboratories extended throughout North America in which tests are performed in compliance with the standards of the aforementioned UL but also ASME, ASTM, CSA, NSF and many others.


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Climatic Tests in accordance with UL and ETL certifications


Several of the key tests affecting the industries covered by UL and ETL - including electronics - include climatic tests.

FDM climatic chambers are the ideal tools for carrying out all the most widespread climatic tests, according to internationally recognized standards including those of UL certification, implemented by the ETL mark.

Do not hesitate to contact us to find out more.

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