UL Listing and CE Marking: What's the Difference?

Products used in construction in the U.S. are typically UL Listed, while products used in construction in the E.U. must be CE Marked. Alissa Boleky, director of marketing and business development at Anixter, discusses the difference between UL Listing and CE Marking.

To learn more, read our TECHbrief on the EU Construction Products Regulation (CPR)

Transcript: UL Listing and CE Marking: What's the Difference?

Hi, I’m Alissa Boleky.

In the United States, the UL mark signifies that a product or material has met specific UL safety standards as verified by third-party testing. While products used in U.S. construction may not necessarily be required by law to be UL Listed, most contractors choose to use UL Listed products in order to avoid potential liability issues.

In European countries, the CE Mark signifies that a product complies with European Norms. Where cabling that is permanently installed in the building is concerned, this means that that a product meets the safety standards specified by the European Union Directive 305/2011 Construction Products Regulation, also known as CPR.

There are some key differences between a UL Listing and CE Mark. Unlike the UL Listing in the U.S., the CE Mark is not optional in Europe—it’s legally required for products used in construction. However, the standards for the CE Mark are generally different to those used by UL.

A product that is already UL Listed in the U.S. doesn’t automatically qualify for the CE Mark. If a UL Listed product has also been tested to the European harmonized standards, then it may be eligible for CE certification; however, it still must receive a CE Mark and have a Declaration of Performance certificate available before it can be used in Europe.

Likewise, products that have received the CE Mark are not automatically considered to be UL Listed. This is, in part, because some product types with the CE Mark do not have to be third-party certified and are not necessarily compliant with U.S. standards. Since many local codes in the U.S. refer to UL safety standards, contractors will be looking for the UL mark to ensure that a product is code compliant.

Of course, it is important to remember that safety and environmental codes can vary by geographic region or municipality, so a UL Listed product may be in compliance in one U.S. city but not in another, and a CE Marked product may be in compliance in one European country, but not in another. The key to maintaining compliance is to work closely with the local authority having jurisdiction to make sure you understand the applicable codes for that location. By doing this during the planning phase, you will be able to specify UL Listed or CE Marked products that satisfy those local requirements.

Anixter has experienced application engineers who are familiar with both U.S. and European standards. Contact us to learn how we can help test and select products to meet the compliance specifications for your project. You can also learn more about CPR regulations by reading our TECHbrief on anixter.com.