What Exactly Do UL Ratings Mean?

Generally, lighting and other electrical items come in various designs based on their operational requirements. Purchasing these electric lighting equipment for your home or business is not that a challenging task. However, doing so will still require a little education on your part.

If you are familiar with the lighting items present in your home or business, you could be familiar with the UL rating on a light bulb. Have you ever asked yourself what does it mean in the first place? What role does it play towards a person’s choice when it comes to light source preference? Knowing the basics of the UL ratings will provide you an idea on which type of lighting item is best for a specific location. Knowing what a UL rating is all about can also help you maintain the safety of your home and establishment.

Overview of UL Ratings

The UL in UL Ratings stands for Underwriters Laboratories. It is an international organization that was established to cater to the safety of different businesses and services. One of their primary tasks it to issues safety certification to businesses for the welfare of the business and the consumer.

Underwriters Laboratories is an independent company that strives to establish specific sets of rules and regulations with regards to certain products. Some of these products include beverage, food, wireless communication, etc. However, you need to know that not all lamps and lighting items that are sold in the market are UL certified. Nonetheless, Underwriters Laboratories makes sure that they establish strict standards for compliance and comprehensive product testing with the lighting industry. This is to ensure that all products are safe and provide the best energy efficiency possible.

UL Rated for Dry Locations

Lamps or any other lighting equipment that are not UL rated means that they can be used in dry locations, specifically indoors. They are known for their natural energy efficiency. You can usually find the UL rating information on the container or the box of the lighting equipment when you first purchased it. Typically, you will see under the UL listing saying either “yes” or “no.” A “yes” means that the lamp can be installed on dry locations. If the lighting was not yet tested by Underwriters Laboratories then you will likely see a “no” under the UL listing.

Any lighting equipment that is considered UL listed should not be overly exposed to wet location. However, a slight contact with little water does not pose any serious threat to the equipment. Also, it is crucial that there is proper ventilation in the area to make sure to prevent accumulation of pressure. Lamps that are UL rated can be installed in dry locations like the hallway; living room and dining room.

UL Rated for Damp Locations

Always bear in mind that you cannot use a dry location lamp since they can be easily damaged. These lighting equipment are labeled as “Suitable for Damp Locations.” This type of lighting is ideal for locations that are usually humid. These are areas are usually saturated with water such as the bathroom and stove.

Lighting equipment that is UL listed for damp locations can be used both indoors and outdoors. For example, you can make use a damp lamp inside your sauna room because these are areas are usually humid and the lights can still keep out of the water’s reach. It is highly advised that you can use these lamps by installing water safe fixtures. Although they are listed as suitable for damp locations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can submerged them into the water. By installing a water safe fixture, you can protect your lighting from any form of water damage. If you only want the best energy efficiency for this UL rated lighting then make sure that you take good care of it.

As previously mentioned, you can use damp lamps outside your home.  You can have it installed in your patio or porch as long as the area is covered. Always remember that you keep them away from direct contact with water such as rainwater.

UL Rated for Wet Locations

Lamps that can be used for wet locations have the label “Suitable for Wet Locations.” These types of lighting equipment can withstand being subjected water or other types of liquids. These types of lighting go through comprehensive tests to ensure that they are durable enough to endure intense amount of wetness.

Since they are deemed as suitable for any wet location, they can be used both indoors and outdoors. You can also make use of them in lieu of damp location lamps. You can usually find them installed on outdoor walls, gazebos, enclosed showers and air decks.


These are just some of the information that you need to know about UL ratings. This will help you identify which type of lamp goes to which location. This will keep you and your home safe and let you choose which light source provides better energy efficiency. Just bear all these information in mind and you are good to go.