Guide

Make best use of standards

How to show your products meet EU legal requirements

Many types of products must satisfy European product directives before you can sell them on the single market in the European Economic Area (EEA). These directives aim to protect the health and safety of product users. They also remove technical barriers to trade.

CE marking

Products subject to the European directives normally have to carry CE marking when on sale in the EEA. Harmonised European standards provide the simplest way of demonstrating that your products comply.

Putting the CE marking on your product acts as your declaration that the item meets the relevant legal requirements. How you go about getting CE marking and putting it on your product depends on the product and EU directive in question.

Important: Depending on the nature of the UK's exit from the European Union, the requirements for placing certain products on the UK and the EEA markets will change. A new UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark could replace the CE marking for certain products being sold in the UK.

Read about the new UK product safety mark and find the latest UK government guidance on using the CE marking and the new UKCA marking after Brexit.

Are EU standards relevant to my products?

Standards can help you comply with EU directives covering a wide range of products, including:

  • appliances burning gaseous fuels
  • construction products
  • electrical and electronic apparatus in terms of their electromagnetic compatibility
  • equipment and protective systems in potentially explosive atmospheres
  • gas appliances
  • household appliances in terms of the noise they emit
  • lifts
  • low voltage equipment
  • machinery, mechanical equipment and safety products
  • medical devices
  • new hot water boilers fired with liquid or gaseous fluids
  • non-automatic weighing instruments
  • outdoor construction and gardening equipment in terms of the noise they produce
  • personal protective equipment such as gloves, helmets and protective clothing
  • pressure equipment such as industrial pipework and pressurised storage containers
  • radio and telecommunications terminal equipment
  • recreational craft
  • toys

See also products that need CE marking and find out how to place CE marking on a product.

Testing and certification for products

Each individual directive generally specifies how you must show your product meets the relevant requirements. You may have to:

  • produce a self-declaration that your product complies - usually backed up by your own, or independent test results
  • get your product inspected or tested by an authorised independent testing body

Using a standard helps ensure you comply with the law when manufacturing products for sale in the EU. But standards aren't obligatory - you can use a different way of meeting your legal requirements if you wish.