Understanding LED Ratings

Understanding LED Ratings

The LED ratings that you see on light fixtures and spec sheets provide vital information regarding whether or not a product has met certain regulations. These ratings can also inform consumers where a light bulb or fixture can be used, such as indoor versus outdoor and if it can be used in dry, damp, or wet locations. Let's take a look at each listing and learn more about LED ratings.

Underwriters Laboratories, or UL, is the most well-known listing and is used all over the globe. A product can be UL Listed or Recognized. UL Listed is the most common UL certification and means samples of the product have been tested and determined to meet the necessary safety standards. UL Recognized indicates parts of a product that are designed to be part of a whole have been tested and approved for that particular use.

Back in 1896, Thomas Edison founded the Lamp Testing Bureau to test the safety of light bulbs. Now named Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL), they cover more than just light bulbs and are one of the fastest growing safety certifications servicing the U.S. and Canada. ETL doesn’t publish their own safety standards. Instead, they test products to the standards published by other Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTLs) like Underwriters Laboratories (UL). This means products are held to the same standards as UL and is also recognized by OSHA.

The CSA International, formerly called the Canadian Standards Association, is an NRTL that primarily serves the U.S. and Canada. This listing tests products based on standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), UL, and National Science Foundation (NSF) and is widely regarded as a suitable substitute to UL and ETL listings.

CE is the abbreviation of “Conformité Européene” which is French for European Conformity. The CE mark is required for certain products before they can be sold within the European Economic Area (EEA) which includes all European Union countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. These countries are responsible for banning products and will issue fines for non-compliance. If you plan to sell or buy lighting fixtures or electrical components within Europe, look for the CE mark first, but you’ll have to be sure it’s the right CE logo. There is a very similar logo where the “CE” stands for “China Export” which means the product was manufactured in China.

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