Disclaimer: Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice. You should always consult with a lawyer and a certification house in regards to the tests you are legally required to complete. Everything on this site should be considered anecdotal advice, and has no guarantee of being factually correct.


Getting certification is one of the most daunting parts of shipping a hardware product and it’s easy to rapidly go from zero to overwhelming! It typically costs a tremendous amount of money per round of testing, with it being reported that approximately 50% of products fail their first time.

There are however steps that you can take to make the process easier, for example when purchasing electronic components to make sure they are RoHS compliant.


This resource is meant to be a guide for a small company or individual that wants to build electronic items that comply with global regulations for selling products. It aims to specifically target the regulations regarding the technical aspects of manufacturing a product but will not address whether you can legally build such a device in a given country!

This guide is a live work in progress and will probably never be ‘complete’ due to ever-evolving changes in regulation.

What does it mean to make a product that is globally compliant?

The globe has countries. Countries have laws. Some laws are related to manufacturing and selling products in the given country. Because laws are made by lawmakers and because lawmakers keep making and changing laws, making globally compliant products can seem like a game of cat and mouse.

The Elephants on the Planet

This article has some helpful comparisons between the ‘big two’ - UL and CE


“UL stands for Underwriter Laboratories, a third-party certification company that’s been around for over a century. UL was founded in 1894 in Chicago. They certify products with the aim to make the world a safer place for both workers and consumers. Besides testing, they set industry standards to follow when innovating new products. Last year alone, about 14 billion products with the UL seal entered the global marketplace.” Source


CE (‘Conformité Européene’) marking indicates that a product has been assessed by the manufacturer and deemed to meet EU safety, health and environmental protection requirements. It is required for products manufactured anywhere in the world that are then marketed in the EU. Trade.gov Europa.eu

NB since Brexit for products sold in Great Britain a UKCA mark is now required. It applies to most products where CE marking can also be used and at present has similar requirements/specifications. Note for products sold in Northern Ireland a CE mark is still required - read more at GOV.UK.