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ETL Verified Cable: What Does ETL Verification Mean?


Look around your electrical warehouse and you’ll start to notice the small, round ETL logo on all sorts of products, from Cat 5, Cat 5e, and Cat 6 cabling to fiber optics components. If you haven’t looked closely into ETL credentials, it can be hard to tell how exactly they set one product apart from another. If you’ve ever wondered about the specifics of ETL-verified cable, this post is for you. Here’s a quick introduction to ETL verification for electrical products. ETL Verified Cable: What Does ETL Verification Mean?

ETL Cable: Meaning and Significance of ETL Verification

In the wire and cable industry, ETL verification is proof that a product complies with a wide range of cabling standards recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). To obtain ETL verification, cable manufacturers have to submit their products and facilities to detailed testing by a third-party quality assurance company called Intertek.

So if the company that runs the ETL verification program is called Intertek, why is the credential called ETL? That name goes back to Intertek’s early history; the company traces its roots back to Thomas Edison’s 1890s testing organization, the Lamp Testing Bureau, a subsidiary of his Edison Electric Illuminating Company. Later, the Lamp Testing Bureau was renamed Electrical Testing Laboratories, and eventually simply became ETL.

Intertek is the authority in charge of ETL testing and verification. When Intertek awards ETL verification, manufacturers get the legal right to print the ETL-verified logo on their products — but ETL verification isn’t the only credential Intertek offers cable manufacturers. They may also be designated as “Listed Products.” Here’s the difference between ETL listing and ETL verification.

Products can be ETL listed, ETL verified, or both. They’re two separate testing protocols operated by Intertek — and they both carry value, letting the world know that a trusted authority has tested and passed products according to recognized standards.

Intertek, ETL, and OSHA

So what gives Intertek the authority to issue these recognized third-party credentials? The company is one of OSHA’s Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTLs). That means OSHA has recognized the validity of Intertek’s testing systems, at least as they relate to specific areas like those mentioned above. In other words, ETL verification is a strong indicator of reliable performance, just as ETL listing is reasonable proof a product complies with relevant safety standards.

Electricians may prefer only to work with ETL listed and/or ETL verified cable. As an electrical wholesaler, be sure to keep them in your product lineup. If you’re looking for a better way to handle ETL-verified cable and other wire and cabling products, browse our collection of material handling solutions for the electrical industry, or call us at 314-696-0200.