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What Are UL Ratings?

When buying, well, nearly anything, you want to know it isn’t a hazardous object. How can you ensure top-notch safety, and who can you rely on to create safety standards? Many businesses and live-in facilities (including ours!) require specific items—extension cords, trash cans, etc.—to have “UL ratings” for safety. So, what are UL ratings, and why do we need them? We’ll help you understand what you need to know here.

What Are UL Ratings?

What is UL? What do they do?

UL is a worldwide organization with expertise in safety consulting and certification. The company offers consultation and ratings on a wide variety of items, from smoke detectors to lightbulbs to trash cans. They perform a number of safety tests on different companies’ items in order to assess how they match up with UL’s standards. One of the oldest safety certification companies, UL is approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to perform safety testing, so you know they have high standards for safe materials.

What are UL’s standards for safety?

UL has a thorough catalog of safety standards, published nationally and updated as technology progresses. The company has no “pass vs. fail” procedure, but rather a rating system. When UL rates products, the products fall into one of four main categories:

  • “UL listed” means the organization has tested the product and it meets all of their requirements.
  • “UL classified” indicates that the company has tested the product with respect to some of its component—i.e., it evaluates specific safety hazards.
  • “UL performance verified” is similar to the above category in that it’s tested against specific performance standards—usually an industry or manufacturer performance standard.
  • “UL component” recognition means the tested product is a component of a larger product. This applies less to consumers and more to manufacturers, so it’s likely you’ll never need to worry about this category.

Most of the time, consumers will want to look for items in the listed category. When you’re looking for UL-listed products, look for one of these markings on the item’s packaging:

  • The UL logo,
  • The phrase “UL Listed”,
  • The sentence “This product is Listed to applicable UL Standards and requirements by UL”, or
  • The sentence “This product is Listed by UL. Representative samples of this product have been evaluated by UL and meet applicable safety standards”.

These markings will be clearly visible on the item’s packaging. Any variations of these phrases—even “UL Approved” or “This product has earned the UL Listing Mark” are incorrect, meaning it is not a UL-listed item.


Keep in mind that Hearthside Senior Living Place requires any extension cords, surge protectors, and trash cans to have UL ratings. This minimizes the risk of electrical fires or fires spreading from a trash can. Now that you know just what are UL ratings, you understand why they are so important in a facility like ours!

Are you looking for an assisted living facility in Tennessee? If so, we hope you will look into Hearthside Senior Living Place. Located in Bartlett, TN, our facility strives to make senior living as comfortable and fulfilling as possible. Our staff would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore Hearthside Senior Living Place, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. We look forward to meeting you!

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