Hardware manufacturing · Certification

What are the pros of cons of getting UL certification for an electronic product?

Anonymous

March 14th, 2015

Will certain retail channels refuse to sell non-UL certified products?  Is the associated insurance liability outweighed by not having to pay for the certification?


Aren Kaser Founder and CEO at Igor Institute

March 15th, 2015

Pros: large companies, retail outlets, and government agencies many times require UL certification for adoption or distribution. Many insurers will not cover devices with product liability insurance without UL certification. It can expose flaws in the design before mass production.

Cons: can be expensive especially if retesting is needed.

Karl Schulmeisters Founder ExStreamVR

March 17th, 2015

UL isn't the only certification org in business but it is the best known one.   If you are dealing with Security of Fire/Life Safety issues failure to have a UL or NFPA (National Fire Protection Associates)  certification pretty much means you can only sell demo products and cannot get spec'ed in to any building system

Furthermore, lacking a UL certificate, if you are a powerline based device, odds are you will not be able to get liability coverage for your business of your product is not UL certified.   So as Dale said, its not really a question of IF but WHEN.

its really a case that you probably cannot even GET "insurance liability" coverage unless you get a UL or NFPA cert.

Dale Lampson Product Management at Fitbit

March 17th, 2015

You might want to think about certification in the context of "when" on your product roadmap. 

Can you go to market with a limited production run (importantly no expensive molds or tooling that might be obsoleted by a required certification change)?  Is your launch market narrowly focused and not particularly sensitive to certification?  If so, then perhaps you can get a bit further along your roadmap before springing for the certification expense.  And when you do, you may feel more confident in the ROI.

And remember, Underwriters Laboratories is not the only game in town.  Intertek's ETL is an alternative.  So shop around.