Certifications are not only important when importing from China, but also guarantee the quality of any type of product.
Just like the CE certification, UL certification is one such certification commonly spotted on different product categories.
Let’s dive into the guide below to earn more.
- Why Quality Certification is Important when Importing from China
- What is UL Certification?
- Benefits of UL Certification
- Who Issues UL Certification for Importing from China
- Content of UL Certification for Importing from China
- Key UL Standards for Different Products
- How to Verify UL Certification for Importing from China
- Cost of UL Standards Catalogue
- How much UL Certification Process Costs
- What to Expect after Product Testing Process for UL Certification
- How UL Categorizes Products
- Types of UL Certifications for Importing from China
- How to Find UL Compliant Manufacturer in China
- How to get UL Certification for Importing from China
- What to do when Submitting Product for UL Certification?
- Is UL Certification Mandatory in USA
- Is UL Certification Accepted in Australia
- Do you Need UL Certification when Importing from China to Asia
- How to know If Imports from China are UL Certified
- Validity Period for UL Certification
- How UL Certified compares to UL Listed
- How ETL compares to UL
- Which Products can be given ETL Listed Mark
- How UL Listed Compares to UL Recognized
- Are there Similarities Between UL and ETL
- Is ETL good as UL?
- Types of UL Standards
- Is UL Certification Accepted in Canada
- What happens if a Product is not UL Tested
- What makes UL Certification Stand Out among other Certifications
- How many UL Standards are there?
Why Quality Certification is Important when Importing from China
Quality certification is an important entity not only when importing from China but also in any other country.
A quality certificate ensures that the user is well protected from the harmful effects of the products.
In addition to that, it guarantees users of safety while using the product in question.
As the majority of us know, China produces both high quality and low-quality products.
As preferred by most, high-quality products are what you want to get.
Therefore, the quality certification ensures that the products conform to the performance as well as safety and environmental standards.
What is UL Certification?
UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certification is a safety certification offered by UL.
UL is a certification company that ensures product safety for both consumers and sellers since 1894.
Benefits of UL Certification
UL certification is of importance for various reasons not excluding;
- Safety –UL certification guarantees users of the safety of the products purchased.
It certifies that the products have gone through thorough testing and have proven to be safe for use.
- Boosts competition with other businesses. Frankly, a business having UL certified products is more likely to be recommended by clients as compared to one without.
This is because UL certification will build the credibility of your business.
- Apart from safety, UL certifications test for durability, resistance as well as longevity of products.
- UL certification also facilitates better insurance coverage since safety, as well as quality, is guaranteed.
- Commitment – UL certification on products portrays the commitment a business has towards safety and quality.
- Risk management – UL certification verifies that your products have been tested and retested and conform to the set safety requirement.
That said, you are guaranteed the effective functioning of the product as per its specifications.
This also allows your business to grow as you will gain trust from your buyers.
Who Issues UL Certification for Importing from China
UL certification is issued by Underwriter Laboratories (UL) itself.
Founded in 1894 by Willian Henry, Underwriters Laboratories is globally recognized and has offices in 46 countries.
UL certification symbol
Content of UL Certification for Importing from China
Each UL certification for importing from China includes the following details;
- Certificate number
- Date of issue
- The standards for safety
- The products tested
- Company to be issued with the certification
- Reference number
Key UL Standards for Different Products
As most if not all of us know, UL standards not only applies to electrical products but also;
UL certified charger
- Industrial control products
- Plastic products
- Building products
- Life safety products
- Wire and cable products
There are several UL standards for different equipment as well as appliances some of them including;
UL Standards for Industrial Control Products
- Ul 61800-5-1, Adjustable speed electrical power drive systems
- UL 508A, Industrial Control Panels
- UL 508, industrial control equipment
- UL 508C, Power conversion equipment
UL Standards for Plastic Products
- UL 746C, Polymer materials, (for electrical equipment evaluation)
- UL 746B, Polymer materials: (for long-term property evaluations)
- UL 746D, Polymer materials 🙁 for fabricated parts)
- UL 746A, Polymer materials (for short-term property evaluations)
- UL 746F, Polymer materials
- UL 94, (Tests how flammable plastic materials in devices and appliances behave
UL Standards for Building Products
- UL 1256, this is a Fire test of roof or deck constructions
- UL 10A, For Tin-clad Fire doors
- UL 486E, equipment wiring terminals for use with aluminum and/or copper conductors
- UL 20, General-use snap switches
UL Standards for Life Safety Products
- UL 268A, Smoke detectors for duct application
- UL 1971, Signaling devices for the hearing impaired
- UL 217, Single and multiple-station smoke alarms
- UL 1626, Residential sprinklers for fire protection service
UL Standards for Wire and Cable Products
- UL 2556, Wire and cable test methods
- UL 758, Appliance wiring material
- UL 62, Flexible cords and cables
- UL 817, cord sets and power supply cords
UL Standards for Electronic Products
- UL 1598, luminaires
- UL2267 standards for safety –fuel cell power systems
- UL 50, enclosures for electrical apparatus
- UL 60950, Information Technology equipment
- UL60950-23, information Technology Equipment –Safety, Part 23: Large data storage equipment
- UL 60335-2-34 Household and similar electrical appliances, Part 2: Particular requirement for motor compressors.
- UL 1995, Heating and cooling equipment
- UL 1642, Lithium batteries
- UL 197 for commercial electrical cooking appliances
- UL 6500, for audio/video and musical instruments apparatuses for household, commercial and similar general uses.
How to Verify UL Certification for Importing from China
Sample certificate of compliance
Not every supplier is reliable when it comes to producing quality products in China.
However, you can easily rule out a quality product if it carries a UL certification.
Remember, faking UL certification isn’t easy nor is it uncommon.
That is why you need to check for the following aspects to verify UL certification whenever you are importing from China.
- Check if the UL listing mark is correct
- The Number–If you are not satisfied with checking the UL listing mark checking the certificate number should be your next step.
Ensure that you look for the following when checking the certificate number.
- A fabricated UL qualified part number –If the number is missing in the directory, it is not valid.
- UL certificate misapplication – Sometimes a valid UL certificate could be used on a product that is unqualified for UL certification. Always ensure that the product in question matches the product number.
- A nonexistent UL certificate – In some cases, the UL certificate number may be expired, false, canceled or declined after not conforming to UL standards. Therefore, such numbers end up not being listed in the UL certifications directory.
- Use of a component UL certificate for the fixture – The UL certificate of a specific part or component of a product might be valid. However, it only covers the component of the fixture and not the complete product. Therefore, the UL certificate of the component is used to represent UL certification of the complete product.
- The label– After checking the number, check the label. Photoshopping the label is one of the easiest ways of faking UL certification.
- Nevertheless, it’s also the easiest way to identify whether or not the UL certification is genuine. Check the following five features on your UL label.
Elements of UL listing mark
- UL trademark –The UL should be enclosed in a circle with the “U” slightly positioned above the “L”
- The word “LISTED” or “CLASSIFIED” –Under the UL mark, the term “LISTED” appears in capital letters.
- Control or issue number –the control number consists of alphanumeric characters while the issue number has digits ranging from 4 to 6 numbers. The issue number might also have two letters or written “Issue No” after the numbers.
- The type of product – From the diagram above the product identity shows the type of product.
- Other marking such as company logo, catalog, or model among other features included.
Cost of UL Standards Catalogue
One type of UL standard is the UL standard catalog.
Primarily, you need to purchase UL standard catalog.
All purchases of UL standards are made through the UL’s online sales site.
The cost of the UL standard catalog ranges from $400 to $1000.
Remember, each product might require more than one standard.
Not forgetting that you might as well need to pay for consultation fee.
That’s if by chance you need guidance in implementing a standard in a real-life product.
How much UL Certification Process Costs
The cost of the UL certification process ranges from $5,000 to $15,000.
Note that this price only covers the service provided by UL and excludes the cost of product development.
If by chance you are planning to develop an OEM product, I would advise you to hire a UL consultant.
A UL consultant will make your work easier when it comes to ensuring that your product meets the applicable standards.
Most of the UL consultants will charge you $150 per hour.
What to Expect after Product Testing Process for UL Certification
After your sample product has been tested, you will be informed by UL whether or not your product conforms to the required standards.
If it does, a formal report will be created by your project engineer.
This report will be used during the follow-up services which are periodically conducted in the factory afterward.
Remember, before UL begins testing your product, you will be required to agree to participate in the follow-up services.
On the other hand, if your product is tested and conclusions are made that it doesn’t meet the set standards, you will be sent a letter.
This letter describes the requirements that were not met by your product.
You can also choose to modify your product and inform your project engineer about your interest in retesting. Good luck.
How UL Categorizes Products
Based on the use of your product, UL will decide on which category to place it.
Remember, some products might have several standards applicable.
In such a case, UL determines the ideal standard suitable for the product.
Types of UL Certifications for Importing from China
There are three main types of UL certifications;
- UL recognition–UL recognition means that the components or parts within a complete product or system have been evaluated by the UL. The components need to be associated with a product for it to perform an end task.
- UL listing– UL listing means that a product sample has been tested by UL and concluded that the product conforms to specific defined requirements.
The requirements are determined by UL’s published and nationally recognized Standards for safety.
- UL classification– UL classification means that samples parts of a product have been tested and evaluated by UL as per certain product properties. Products can either be classified by UL as;
- Standards of other organizations
- Applicable UL requirements
The UL classified mark should be used together with a statement showing the specific scope of the classification.
How to Find UL Compliant Manufacturer in China
It can be quite tasking to find suppliers and manufacturers that are UL compliant in China.
One way you can do this would be through approaching a manufacturer and requesting for their UL certificate.
Secondly, sites such as Alibaba, Made in China display the certifications for each manufacturer making it easier for you to spot one.
After identifying your UL manufacturer from these platforms, make sure you request the certificate from them to confirm their certification.
How to get UL Certification for Importing from China
The process of acquiring UL certification comprises of a couple of steps as explained below;
- Contact underwriters Laboratories –Every type of communication can easily be done online. Log into the UL website.
From the “contact us” section you can be able to access all forms and important information regarding the submission of a product sample for UL testing.
- Submit a product sample –Pack your sample product carefully to avoid damage during shipping and send it.
- Product testing begins –Soon after receiving the product sample; UL conducts its evaluation and testing process.
The sample product is examined to see if it meets the OSHA and ANSI standards.
After the test is over, UL can either rule out whether or not the product has passed the test.
Not forgetting that you shall be required to pay a fee for the test conducted.
- Product verification –If the sample products pass all tests performed, UL issues a certificate to the manufacturer.
The certificate is meant to authorize the placement of the UL logo onto the rest of the products manufactured to certify that they meet the set standards.
Remember, continuous audits by UL field representatives shall be conducted to ensure the manufacturer remains compliant with the guidelines.
What to do when Submitting Product for UL Certification?
UL Listing Mark
Before anything, you will be required to fill out the “Request for Quote” form.
This form is vital in providing the information needed by UL to prepare your quote.
Thereafter, UL associate will send you a “Quote for service” which includes the standard assumptions and pricing for services provided by UL.
Is UL Certification Mandatory in USA
No, it’s not.
There is no law stating that products must have UL certification.
However, there exists codes and regulations that ensure products are tested by the local certified boards before being introduced to the market.
Is UL Certification Accepted in Australia
Yes, it is.
UL certification is not that old in Australia and it’s offered by the Underwriters Laboratories.
Additionally, the certification is not mandatory and it is only available on limited products.
Nevertheless, more and more products will be included gradually.
Do you Need UL Certification when Importing from China to Asia
UL certification is not mandatory when importing from China to Asia.
Meaning, the law does not require you to follow the UL guidelines.
It’s up to you to ensure that your products are safe.
The same applies when importing from China to the USA.
How to know If Imports from China are UL Certified
The good news is that most Chinese manufacturers are aware of UL standards.
They use them together with the European Union directives (eg. RoHS).
The easiest way to know if imports from China are UL certified is by asking for a UL certificate or test report from your Chinese manufacturer.
This will help you verify that the products are UL certified.
UL is the only existing body that issues UL certification and you can always confirm with them.
Therefore, your work is made easier.
Validity Period for UL Certification
UL certification is valid for 3 years from the date it was issued.
Manufacturers are advised to have an inventory control system to ensure that the use of the label does not exceed the expiration date.
How UL Certified compares to UL Listed
UL listed involves UL testing sample products and confirming that they meet specific special requirements.
Manufacturers are allowed to have this certification once their products have proven to meet UL’s recognized safety standards.
Not forgetting that UL testing involves far more testing.
As compared to UL listed, UL certified does not require as much testing.
In addition to that, UL certified generally certifies that products have met the UL set safety standards.
How ETL compares to UL
Most people fail to get the difference between ETL and UL since they have so much in common.
Both ETL and UL function as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.
However, there is a slight difference between the two in that UL comes up with the testing standards.
On the other hand, ETL uses UL standards to perform their tests.
I hope you are getting the difference.
Another difference is evident in the label as illustrated below;
UL vs ETL
Which Products can be given ETL Listed Mark
ETL listed mark confirms that a product has been tested and proven to meet the required published standards.
Some of the products that have the RTL listed mark include;
- Telephone and communication equipment
- Building materials
- Domestic electrical products
- Industrial equipment
- Equipment used during hazards or in explosive environments
How UL Listed Compares to UL Recognized
The main difference between UL listed and UL recognized is that UL recognized focuses on a component or part within a larger product.
In simpler terms, it certifies that a part within a larger product meets the UL standards.
Take for instance a bolt in a bicycle, with the bolt being the smaller part in a bicycle.
As compared to UL recognized, UL listed certifies standalone products rather than components.
The products are often consumer-ready and are afterward released to the market.
This clarifies why UL listed is more popular as compared to UL recognized.
Are there Similarities Between UL and ETL
Yes, there are. ETL and UL are considered to have more or less the same features.
This drags us to why they have more similarities than differences not excluding;
- Both functions as Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories.
- Both ET and UL certify to their clients or consumers that their products conform to the required safety standards.
- Also, both UL as well as ETL test to similar OSHA standards.
Is ETL good as UL?
Yes, it is. However, most importers and manufacturers prefer using ETL owing to the faster speed when testing and certifying products.
Remember, both of them have the same certification and therefore either of them works well.
Types of UL Standards
There are two main types of UL standards;
- UL Environmental Standards –Just as the name implies, UL environmental standards recognize the Implementation of eco-friendly mechanisms in the manufacture, distribution, use, and disposal of the product.
- UL standards catalog –The UL standards catalog has all the harmonized and safety standards listed.
Is UL Certification Accepted in Canada
Yes, it is. UL certification in Canada is issued by Underwriters Laboratories of Canada.
In addition to that, the certification is highly used in several products such as fire protection products.
What happens if a Product is not UL Tested
UL certification is not mandatory in most countries and therefore this shouldn’t worry you.
Remember, UL is meant to certify that a product has met the set safety standards.
Therefore, if a product lacks the UL mark it just means that it has not been tested to meet the safety standards.
What makes UL Certification Stand Out among other Certifications
If you have been keen on checking some of your home appliances, you might have come across the UL certification mark.
UL certification is one of the most recognized certifications and this is why;
- Proper track record –Having been in the industry for a long time, the Underwriters Laboratories have a superior track record. Every time they test and approve a product they keep on building their reputation.
Being the only testing laboratory operating in more than 100 countries makes it the global leader in this field.
- Continuing third-party verification –UL field representatives pay a visit to the manufacturer to ascertain that the product safety standards are still upheld.
They normally do these appearances without notice for them to get the truth of the matter on the ground.
If the manufacturer is found to have violated the set standards, his or her products will be required to undergo another intensive recertification procedure.
- Firm Certification requirements –As compared to other types of certifications, UL certification not only involves comprehensive but also strict testing procedures.
The main three fields tested by underwriter laboratories include the following;
- Fire safety
- Mechanical safety
- Electrical safety
While performing these tests, they also test for the durability of the product as well as its resistance.
Not to mention that when testing for durability, the product in question is normally put under very hostile conditions.
This guarantees the user of a high-quality product on every UL certified product.
- A non-profit organization –With UL certification, you just have to apply other than buying. The main aim is to ensure that the safety of consumers is upheld.
UL certification neither needs trade membership organizations nor the company’s professional relationships to acquire it.
How many UL Standards are there?
The fact that UL has existed for more than a century, you can easily expect the number of UL standards to be high.
With time, UL has been able to develop more than 1500 standards for different products.
UL standards are used together with other national standard bodies in various countries to ensure the safety of products.
Is UL Certification for Importing from China needed in Europe
No, it isn’t.
UL certification is a voluntary safety mark in Europe.
It’s up to the manufacturer or supplier to ensure that the products are safe.
In addition to that, most if not all European countries have their local standardization boards that ensure safety and quality of products.
In short, UL certification is important whenever you are importing products from China.
The best part, this guide has outlined everything you must consider when evaluating, applying or confirming UL certifications.
In case you have any questions or inquiries, BanSar team is here to help.