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New Requirements for All-Year String Lights

Year-round string lights are more popular than ever. We’ll help ensure that yours meet the highest standards for safety and quality — setting them apart from the pack and giving you an edge over the competition.

A strand of string lights in an outdoor setting.

Overview

String lights have always been a popular consumer product. In recent years, however, we’ve noticed the use of year-round string lights significantly increase. They have become one of the most trendy and decorative illumination sources for patios and other outdoor gathering places on the market.

Our Decorative Lighting Strings Standard has traditionally been covered under UL 588, the Standard for Seasonal Holiday Decorative Products. Unfortunately, this Standard only applied to string lights with an installation and use not exceeding 90 days.

Since year-round string lights are used and wired similarly to other parallel-connected lighting strings currently covered under UL 588, it made technical sense to cover them under this Standard as well.

As all-year use string lights are intended for a longer installation and use than previously permitted by UL 588, we’ve developed additional requirements including:

  • Increased minimum American wire gauge (AWG) size
  • Increased insulation thickness of the wire
  • Additional flexing
  • More rigid strain relief testing
  • Different safety instructions and markings

Consensus on the new requirements was reached by the UL 588 Standards Technical Panel (STP) and was published September 15, 2017. To distinguish these products from Seasonal Use Lighting Strings, a new category, String Lights for All-year Use, was created under DGZW.

Please note that series-connected string lights are not included in this revision of UL 588 based on the similarity to lighting strings currently covered under UL 588 that are limited to seasonal and holiday use and the potential risk of confusion in the market and possible misuse of seasonal-use lighting strings.

Benefits

This offering allows you to have better control of the testing and certification work that needs to be completed in order to ensure that your year-round string lights are compliant with industry standards. Our integrated assessment procedures streamline the entire certification process, enabling you to stay on budget while meeting your shipment deadlines.  

Once certified, you’ll be able to use the UL Gold Hologram security label on your product packaging. This enables product traceability across the supply chain and gives customers the opportunity to instantly verify compliant products in the field, a feature that no other certification body offers. In other words, our Gold Hologram clearly differentiates your products on a consumer level and protects against counterfeit marks — protecting your brand and reputation.

Why UL

  • The UL compliance system helps ensure compliance and reduce liability and risk across the entire supply chain.
  • Our Follow-up Services (FUS) program helps manufacturers gain a competitive edge based on quality, reputation and service, making it more difficult for manufacturers that produce counterfeit or inferior products to survive.
  • Our long-standing history in certification and standards development makes us a trusted thought leader in the compliance arena. Stakeholders rely on UL for research, knowledge and technical solutions to address safety issues and advise on new technologies.
  • Comprehensive factory and market surveillance programs help to ensure a more compliant supply chain, fair competition in the marketplace, and reduce the risk and costs associated with unsafe products while helping to protect brand reputation and the integrity of the UL Mark.
  • Our Anti-Counterfeiting program leverages law enforcement expertise with a fully dedicated Global Security and Brand Protection team who work with authorities and global customs agencies to combat counterfeiting.
  • The use of the holographic label system sets UL apart by establishing a unique identifier for customs, regulators, buyers, retailers and consumers.
  • Some product categories have the option for an additional on-demand promotional opportunity to include a direct link to your company website, product page, brochure, data sheet or flyer through UL iQTM databases.
  • We continue to extend UL’s capabilities and services to meet our customers’ increasing needs. Our goal is to help our customers rapidly develop and launch safer, superior products and meet the shifting requirements of a changing world.
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