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Does Electric Equipment in the US Need UL Approval?
Old 24th February 2012
Gear Addict
Bob Vinsick's Avatar
Does Electric Equipment in the US Need UL Approval?

When my 30+ year old soldering iron gave it up, I bought a new one (digital)from Amazon. When I received it, I noticed that there is no UL approval and no origin of where it is made. It has a sticker with what looks like Chinese writing, so I'm guessing it was made in China. The quality gives the impression of being cheap, although it heats up to temps within seconds. I haven't tried to solder anything yet.

I thought that all items that plug into an electric outlet need UL approval in order to be sold in the US. I either learned that in Electronic school or while working at IBM. Could this requirement be based on different states or could it have changed over the years?

After seeing this, I'm wondering if we are going to go back 50 years when we had lead in our stuff and no UL approval. Anyone else seeing this in thngs they are buying these days?

Last edited by Bob Vinsick; 24th February 2012 at 06:46 PM.. Reason: spelling
Old 24th February 2012
Lives for gear
hasbeen's Avatar
No, UL approval is not legally required. One reason it is popular is because many large companies will not buy equipment that has not passed UL's safety tests. Also federal and local laws that require inspection will most likely not approve items without some sort of certification standards (SA, ETL, CE)

UL is now a for profit company, used not to be.

I just got a Hakko from Amazon, nice station! (It is UL approved)
Old 24th February 2012
Check if your insurance policy has any limitations for non-UL approved items.

If your house burns down and they find a non-UL approved device they may not pay out.

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