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Shop Wisely: Check for Certification Marks

From gaming devices and computers to wearable tech and audio devices — many people will be giving and receiving electronics as gifts this holiday season. No one wants a gift to disappoint or, worse yet, be a safety hazard. So before you make a purchase or toss out the gift receipt for an electrical device or appliance, the Safe Electricity program encourages you to check the certification mark.

        A certification mark indicates that a product is in compliance with safety standards and has been approved based on quality tests. While these marks, often found on the bottom of a product, cannot guarantee safety, they do indicate compliance with the preset standards. To help ensure safe use of the product, consumers must also properly maintain it and follow all manufacturers’ directions for use.

        Safe Electricity recommends you keep the following tips in mind to help weed out fake safety labels:

  • Take a close look at the label for signs of quality. If the label is blurred or torn, it should not be trusted.

  • Check the packaging to ensure that there are no misspellings or incorrect information. This is a sure sign of a counterfeit product.

  • Buy from brands and certification laboratories you can trust. If you come across a labelling standard you are unfamiliar with, check for the legitimacy online. Some common, legitimate marks are UL, CSA, and ETL.

UL marks, which consist of an encircled “UL,” are approved by Underwriters Laboratories Standards for Safety. This certification mark can be found on a variety of products, including electrical appliances, computers, and electrical panelboards.

CSA marks, a logo with a C and a SA inside, indicates that a product has met Canadian Standards Association testing. If it has a “US” underneath the logo, it has been certified for the United States market. 

ETL listed marks, which have a logo of a circled “ETL,” indicate that an electric product is in compliance of electrical, gas, and mechanical standards in both the U.S. and Canada. 

Examples of common marks by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), as recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under Federal Code 29 CFR 1910.7 to provide safety product safety testing and certification for products to be used in the U.S.

UL mark for safety certification       CSA registered mark   ETL listed compliance mark


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