who / what is “etl”

“ETL” is an acronym for Electrical Testing Labs and has been around over 100 years. The letters “ETL” carry with them a long history of innovation, influence, and independence. In fact, the original Electrical Testing Labs (ETL) was founded by Thomas Alva Edison in 1896.

Electrical Testing Labs was formed to address concerns of lamp safety and performance issues. Edison’s vision was to provide assurance to consumers, through various types of product performance and safety tests. The basic principles of Edison’s third-party lamp testing methods remain the same today. Experts monitored lamps and bulbs to determine how long they would burn, the luminous intensity, and if everything burned as it should – without combustibility or explosion. Today, ETL writes standards for testing, which is then performed by many independent companies who are certified by ETL to perform said testing.

The ETL Listed Mark is proof of product compliance (electrical, gas and other safety standards) to North American safety standards, including UL, ANSI, CSA, ASTM and NFPA standards. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about the ETL Mark.

why does alliance air products chose to bear the etl listed mark?

Because as a manufacturer, we need choices for our procurement needs, including the independent components’ testing (and whom the certification provider is).

is the etl listed mark legal equivalent to the ul and csa listed marks?

The true legal requirement to test and certify products for sale in the United States is a designation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). An NRTL functions to provide independent evaluation, testing, and certification of any electrically operated or gas- and oil-fired product. We encourage you to visit OSHA for more information.

A product bearing the ETL Listed Mark is determined to have met the minimum requirements of prescribed product safety standards. Moreover, the mark indicates that the manufacturer's production site conforms to a range of compliance measures and is subject to periodic follow-up inspections to verify continued conformance.

what's the difference between the ul, csa, and etl listed marks?

All three marks demonstrate that the product that bears it, has met the minimum requirements of widely accepted product safety standards as determined through the independent testing of a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). And, as part of that testing regimen, the product manufacturer has agreed to periodic follow-up inspections to verify continued compliance. The only real difference between the Marks is in the service, and services, of the testing laboratory behind them. It's here that Alliance Air Product’s customer enjoy the real differences between UL and ETL. Our custom-tailored testing, quick turnarounds, and flexible work methods are literally changing the face of the industry by promoting an environment where the testing lab and product manufacturing work more collaboratively. By utilizing our ETL certification, we deliver products to market more quickly, more smoothly, and more cost-effectively than ever before.

what is an nrtl?

A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) is an independent laboratory recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to test products to the specifications of applicable product safety standards – such as those from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and other standards-writing bodies. An NRTL's function is to provide an independent evaluation, testing, and certification of any electrically operated or gas- and oil-fired product.

what are the specifics of the nrtl program?

The NRTL program is part of OSHA's Directorate of Technical Support. As part of OSHA's directive to ensure that products are safe for use in the U.S. workplace, the NRTL program recognizes the capabilities of private sector organizations to determine if specific products meet consensus safety standards. OSHA safety standards are United States law and can be found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). More specifically, the provisions for NRTL certification can be found within Part 1910 of the CFR (29 CFR Part 1910). It is important to note that OSHA's recognition of an NRTL is not a grant of government authority, but rather an acknowledgment of the organization's ability to perform product safety testing and certification within the scope of its OSHA recognition. For more information about the NRTL program, we encouraged you to visit the OSHA Web site at

aren't manufacturers required to use ul for their compliance testing?

The simple answer is "no." In fact, this misconception has misled many manufacturers to believe that they don't have a choice in their third-party testing partner. To satisfy the prerequisite of having your products tested by an independent organization, the true legal requirement is that the laboratory which performs the testing be a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) recognized by OSHA.

what does the etl listed mark mean when displayed on our products?

In short, the ETL Listed Mark indicates that our products has been found in compliance with accepted national standards, and meets the minimal requirements required for sale or distribution. To our distributors, retailers, and customers, the ETL Mark is assurance that our products are compliant with safety standards, having been tested and certified by a third-party organization.

what should our customers, who aren't familiar with the etl listed mark, know?

There is no standard formula for better-acquainting our customers with the ETL Listed Mark. Depending on the background, circumstances, and other details of a given situation, the correct approach will be unique from one instance to another. Some of our clients' concerns are relieved by simply showing them a list of the other respected products, bearing the ETL Listed Mark. Other clients erroneously believe that the UL Mark is the only acceptable demonstration of product compliance and require a more thorough explanation of the true legal requirements behind third party product safety testing.

At Alliance Air Products, we feel it is important to listen closely to our client's issues and provide them with real answers to their concerns. Inform them about the NRTL program. Explain to them how our Product Safety Certification Program includes the same testing, listing, labeling, and follow-up inspection services as UL, and that we're accredited by the same organizations, agencies, and regulatory bodies. But perhaps most importantly, stress to them the ways in which Alliance Air Products is making conformity assessment a more flexible and accommodating process – so that they no longer see product safety testing as strictly an obligation, but as a process that can add value to our product’s development cycle(s) and help to speed them to market.

what countries accept the etl mark?

The ETL Mark is an accepted demonstration of product compliance in both the United States and Canada.

what are the variations of the etl listed mark?

A product bearing the ETL Listed mark with the "us" identifier at the 4 o'clock position has been tested and deemed compliant to U.S. product safety standards only. An ETL Listed mark with a "c" identifier at the 8 o'clock position means the product bearing it complies with Canadian product safety standards only. And an ETL Listed mark with both "us" and "c" identifiers at the 4 o'clock and 8 o'clock positions respectively, signifies that the product bearing the mark complies with both U.S. and Canadian product safety standards.