There is a lot of confusion regarding these two ratings. You can go through any security product on any e-commerce site and you’ll see two ratings mentioned and this also brings up the question of ETL Vs UL ratings. Now when researching a particular product you must know about these. Not only for products but some regular readers want to know the difference between these two. So we’ll try our best to explain this to you.

https://www.ul.com/

Different Companies

Both UL and ETL are associated with separate companies. While UL rating comes from its parent company UL LLC based in Northbrook, Illinois, ETL SEMKO (formerly Electrical Testing Laboratory) is a division of Intertek Group plc which is based in London. So, UL is essentially U.S based while ETL is U.K based.

The one thing common in both is the fact that both of them are into product testing & certification. Due to this reason, it is just normal for manufacturers to get their products tested from them and have their marks on their products. This exercise is important for increased sales. So next time, you see a certification mark you can assume that the product is tested and approved for quality.

Is One rating important than the other?

Often people question the superiority of one rating over the other. So many want to know whether there are two products with different marks, which is the one that can be trusted the most. Well, this is an extensive answer as it can be very subjective. So we’ll compare both of them based on some factors

Revenue Comparison

If we compare both these companies by the revenue we can understand that UL had a revenue of 2.5 billion USD in 2019. ETL’s parent organization Intertek, on the other hand, had a revenue of 3.67 billion USD (adjusted). Now it is clear that both the companies are big in terms of revenue, even though Intertek has an edge.

Workforce Comparison

In terms of employee strength, it is again Intertek that trumps with 46,000 employees in 2019 compared to around 12000 plus for UL (2013). We reckon UL might be trailing Intertek even in 2019 in this race. Not that more employees mean better company so we won’t judge them on this factor alone.

Which is older? As older: Increased Trust

We discussed revenues, but since money alone can’t be a deciding factor we’ll see how old these companies are. So UL was formed in 1894 which is around 126 years ago! Intertek, on the other hand, was founded in 1888, around 132 years ago.
Again both these companies are fairly old even though Intertek again has a little edge.

But these three factors are not convincing enough for us to conclude that one is better than the other. And since both these companies are more than a century old. We can assume, they must have done something right to last for that long and still be in the market.

Final Verdict

Well, they BOTH are. One thing to understand from a manufacturer’s point of view is that conducting these tests and getting certifications done from these companies requires money. So if a product is carrying both the certification marks it tells us that the manufacturer has gone to great lengths to improve the product. Oftentimes these are the top sellers in the market.

Going back to what we said it is safe to conclude that there is no rating or certification superior to the other. Yes, the style of testing and the methods might be a bit different but when all’s said and done these are the companies who are in it for the longest time

Over the years, they have figured out techniques that can be different yet effective in product testing. They are involved in making sure that the product that reaches the consumer does the job it is marketed for.