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Portable Luminaires

Connect with UL to discuss your portable luminaire and flashlight projects.

Portable lighting in the marketplace

UL offers a full range of portable luminaire evaluation services for both safety and performance through our worldwide network of laboratories and testing facilities.

Portable lighting includes a wide variety of luminaires used in residential and consumer environments, along with commercial and industrial applications such as construction area work lights, or shop lights and hand lights used in garages. Most portable luminaires are free standing but there are also surface mounted designs that can serve cabinet, undercabinet and chain-hung pendant applications. The key defining feature for a portable luminaire is the flexible cord and plug supply connection, allowing for easy relocation as the space illumination needs change.

LED technology has surpassed legacy incandescent and halogen lamps as the primary light source, but many portable luminaires still use screw shell or bi-pin lamp holders that can accommodate both lighting technologies. Low voltage LED portable luminaires with remote power units are now commonplace and can often qualify for a more abbreviated evaluation since many of the hazards are fully addressed by the use of a certified power unit.

UL services for portable lighting and flashlights 

UL offers safety and performance testing for portable luminaires, and manufacturers that have the capability to conduct their own testing for compliance are also eligible for inclusion in data submittal programs.

Safety testing and certification for portable lighting

UL’s safety evaluations of portable luminaires assess risks for fire, electric shock injury, contact burns, and mechanical injury due to mounting means failure or instability. Certain specialized luminaires, such as those that emit light toward the ultraviolet (UV) region for plant growth or disinfection purposes, are also evaluated for the additional biological risks associated with their operation.  

Most portable luminaires are evaluated for compliance with UL 153, the Standards for Portable Luminaires, or by IEC 60598-1 and -2-4. For North America, UL has streamlined both the evaluation and documentation for certification by designating significant portions of the Standard as eligible for our General Coverage program that requires limited testing at a UL testing facility. This helps deliver speed to market and flexibility in making design modifications for manufacturers to meet their customer preferences.

For designs that require more UL engineering staff engagement, our team will structure the evaluation to conduct tests on a few samples to cover the widest possible array of product family features and options.

Safety requirements for portable luminaires, including portable luminaires incorporated into furniture and office furnishings, are found in UL 153 or in IEC 60598-1 (together with IEC 60598-2-1 if surface mounted and together with IEC 60598-2-2 if recessed).

Additional guidance for North America regarding the intended application of different types of portable luminaires can be found in the Guide Information associated with UL’s certification programs. The Guide Information is accessible through UL’s Product iQ database by entering the applicable category code number (CCN):

QAXB – Office furnishing lights
QORX – Portable hand lights
QOVA – LED cabinet portable luminaires
QOVJ – Portable cabinet luminaires (non-LED)
QOVZ – LED portable luminaires
QOWZ – Portable luminaires (non-LED)
QPAU – Portable luminaire accessories, kits and subassemblies
QPCJ – Portable work lights

Performance testing for portable lighting

The portable flashlight industry has seen widespread misrepresentation or exaggeration of lumens output on product packaging, which consumers rely on to guide their purchasing decisions. Poor performing products and products that promote false claims negatively impact retailers and resellers who are searching for industry benchmarks and transparency.

As an independent third-party laboratory, we offer the UL S 8001  flashlight certification program that tests performance data to the Portable Lights American Trade Organization (PLATO) ANSI/PLATO FL-1 2019 standard, including accurate measurements for brightness, beam distance and run time. That data is maintained in our searchable UL Product iQ™ database.

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