Your Definitive CE Marking Guide

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“This system you have is very good and I am glad we are able to work with you on our CE compliance.”

Luke Vazul, KHS, USA

1. Determine the CE Rules

Determine which European regulations and standards apply to your products.

2. Assess the CE Conformity

Find out how to do demonstrate CE compliance yourself, and how to leverage your suppliers’ CE certificates.

3. Grow your business

Get CE marking, get access to the European market and grow your business.

What makes CE Marking with us so different?

When it comes to CE certification, there are many service providers out there that want to sell their consulting, testing, and certification services. Our ‘Six-Step CE Marking Framework’ is aimed to help your company to take control of the CE marking process and to do as many of the assessments yourself, reduce the costs and reach results fast. In six steps, our clients determine the applicable CE rules, self-certify the conformity, prepare the required and stay informed about regulatory changes.


Our framework can be tailored to your specific needs. We offer personal consulting and coaching, online workshops, and tools. Hundreds of companies have grown their businesses by using our Six‑Step CE Marking Framework.

Conduct CE self-certification with our Six Step Framework and Coaching

CE Marking: Your Definitive Guide

What is CE Mark / CE Marking?

The CE marking is a key indicator (but not proof) of a product’s compliance with European Union (EU) health, safety and environmental protection directives and regulations.

If your product comes under the scope of a directive requiring CE marking, you must ensure the product complies with the applicable requirements and affix the CE mark before placing it on the market in the EU. This also applies if your product is manufactured outside the EU. Moreover, second-hand products from outside the EU that are placed in the EU market for the first time, also require CE marking.

Often the CE marking is described as a trade passport because it enables the free movement of products within the European market. According to EU legislation, the EU Member States are not allowed to restrict the placing on the market of CE-marked products, unless such measures can be justified on the basis of evidence of the non-compliance of the product. CE marking does not indicate that a product was made in the European Union. The CE mark also is not a quality mark.

Please note:

  • you cannot affix the CE mark to products that are not covered by the relevant European directives;
  • by affixing the CE mark, you take full responsibility for your product’s compliance with the requirements of the relevant directives;
  • other markings may be affixed to the product as long as such markings do not create confusion with the CE mark in form or meaning.

Also, read the Frequently Asked Questions about CE Marking.

The form of the CE mark

The CE mark is a marking that consists of the initials ‘CE’ in the following form:

CE Mark
Affixing the CE Mark

There are no specific color requirements for the letters and background of the CE mark. In other words, it is not required to print the letters ‘CE’ in black against a white background. However, the color schemes for the foreground and background should be sufficiently complementary, so that the CE logo is clearly visible. The minimum dimension of the CE mark must be 5 mm in height. If the size is enlarged, the letters CE must be in proportion to the standard version as shown. Please find here an example of the CE logo in different file formats: https://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/faq/ce-mark.htm The CE mark sometimes is accompanied by a four-digit number. This is a reference number of the Notified Body that has been involved in the conformity assessment process.

Products that need CE marking

Products that require to be CE marked are:

  • active implantable medical devices
  • appliances burning gaseous fuels (gas appliances)
  • cableway installations designed to carry persons
  • energy-related products
  • electronics and active components
  • equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres (ATEX equipment)
  • explosives for civil uses
  • fertilizers
  • hot-water boilers
  • household refrigerators and freezers
  • in vitro diagnostic medical devices
  • lifts
  • low voltage equipment (electrical material)
  • machinery
  • measuring instruments
  • medical devices
  • outdoor equipment producing noise
  • non-automatic weighing instruments
  • personal protective equipment
  • pressure equipment
  • pyrotechnics
  • radio and telecommunications terminal equipment
  • recreational craft
  • toys
  • simple pressure vessels

The CE marking is not required for the following type of products, for example:

  • chemicals
  • cosmetics
  • foodstuffs
  • pharmaceuticals

The list of countries in which CE marking is required

The CE marking is affixed to the aforementioned products that will be placed on the EEA and Turkish market, whether they are manufactured in the EEA, in Turkey, or in another country.

The CE marking is currently required in the following countries:

  1. Austria (since 1995)
  2. Belgium
  3. Bulgaria (since 2007)
  4. Croatia (since 2013)
  5. Czech Republic (since 2004)
  6. Cyprus (since 2004)
  7. Denmark
  8. Estonia (since 2004)
  9. Finland (since 1995)
  10. France
  11. Germany
  12. Greece
  13. Hungary (since 2004)
  14. Iceland
  15. Ireland
  16. Italy
  17. Latvia (since 2004)
  18. Lithuania (since 2004)
  19. Liechtenstein
  20. Luxembourg
  21. Malta (since 2004)
  22. Norway
  23. The Netherlands
  24. Poland (since 2004)
  25. Portugal
  26. Romania (since 2007)
  27. Slovakia (since 2004)
  28. Slovenia (since 2004)
  29. Spain
  30. Sweden (since 1995)

The United Kingdom (Great Britain) left the European Union on 31 December 2020, and from that moment requires products to bear the UKCA marking.

Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, but for some products, it accepts the CE marking as a presumption of conformity with Swiss national technical regulations.

See also this article.

CE marking obligations

The following economic operators have obligations regarding CE marking:

  • manufacturer (irrespective if located in our outside the EEA)
  • importer
  • distributor
  • authorized representative
  • fulfillment service provider

Manufacturers and importers of products manufactured outside the European Union have the following obligations:

  • carry out the conformity assessment, which means that the product must be ensured to comply with the requirements of the applicable European Union CE marking regulations;
  • maintain and keep available a Technical File with technical documentation that proves the product’s conformity with the relevant EU regulations, directives, and standards;
  • drawing up and signing the EU Declaration of Conformity (DoC);
  • affix the CE marking (and possible other conformity markings) to the product;
  • ensure the product stays in conformity, even after design modifications or when regulations, directives or standards are amended;
  • ensure that the production is well organized and procedures are in place to ensure consistency in the quality of the end product;
  • refrain from making the product available if there is doubt about the product safety or (CE) conformity;
  • cooperate with the market surveillance authorities from the EU Member States, and follow their instructions.

Authorized representatives may be mandated to perform some of the aforementioned tasks, but they can never take over the responsibility for product conformity.

Distributors and fulfillment service providers have the obligation to verify that the product bears the CE marking and that the EU Declaration of Conformity and user instructions are available. They also are required to refrain from making the product available in case of doubt about the product safety and conformity.

Importers and distributors that place products in the EU market under their own (brand)name, are considered to have the same obligations as the manufacturer.

Overview of the European Union CE marking directives and regulations

Here is an overview of the main CE directives and regulations. The links will take you to a page with information about the specific directive.

  1. Machinery Directive – 2006/42/EC
  2. Low Voltage Directive – 2014/35/EU
  3. EMC Directive – 2014/30/EU
  4. Medical Devices Directive – 93/42/EEC
  5. Personal Protective Equipment Directive – 89/686/EEC
  6. Construction Products Regulation – Regulation (EU) No 305/2011
  7. Pressure Equipment Directive – 2014/68/EU
  8. RoHS – Restriction of Hazardous Substances – Directive – 2011/65/EU
  9. Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive – 2012/19/EU
  10. ATEX Directive – 2014/34/EU
  11. Toy Directive – 2009/48/EC
  12. Radio Equipment Directive – 12014/53/EU
  13. Recreational Craft Directive – 94/25/EC
  14. Active Implantable Medical Devices Directive – 90/385/EEC
  15. Explosive for Civil Use Directive – 93/15/EEC
  16. Noise Emission in the Environment Directive – 2000/14/EC
  17. Gas Appliances Directive – 2009/142/EC
  18. Lifts Directive – 1995/16/EC
  19. Pyrotechnic Directive – 2007/23/EC
  20. Measuring Instruments Directive – 2004/22/EC

Enforcement of CE marking and sanctions

When a product bears the CE mark it has free access to the market. The EU Member States’ authorities are not allowed to have conditions for market access. However, that does not mean that the authorities have no right to investigate the product’s compliance. Not only can they investigate, but they can also take measures against infringements. These measures may include withdrawal, recall of products, penalties, and criminal sanctions (such as fines and imprisonment) wherever necessary.

Please note that there is not a single, European Union enforcement agency or service. Enforcement of CE marking legislation is performed by national market surveillance authorities of the EU Member States. Enforcement is done in accordance with their national laws and procedures. These national market surveillance authorities work together closely. They share information about non-compliant and unsafe products. They also coordinate their market surveillance campaigns. If a non-compliant CE-marked product is discovered in one of the EU countries, all the other market surveillance authorities will be informed about it within 24 hours.

How to get CE marking for your products?

The how-to instructions will take less than 5 minutes to read. 5 minutes.

Despite what many people believe, a manufacturer does not “get” the CE mark from a third-party certification body or a European or national authority. The manufacturer affixes the CE marking in his own right and is allowed to do so when all requirements are fulfilled. A test or certification body may be involved in the process merely as a service provider. However, the body will not take over responsibility for CE compliance. Responsibility for CE compliance will always remain with the manufacturer (or private labeler).
The CE marking rules typically require the following steps to be fulfilled before the CE mark may be affixed:

  1. Define the intended purpose of the product

    The first step in the process is to make a precise description of the intended purpose of the product. The intended purpose as defined by you will be the basis for the next steps of determining the applicable regulations and standards.

  2. Determine the applicable CE directives/regulations

    There are more than 25 different CE marking directives and regulations for different products or product aspects. Multiple directives/regulations can apply to a single product.

  3. Identify the relevant essential requirements from the applicable CE directives/regulations

    The product must fulfill all relevant essential requirements.

  4. Identify the applicable European harmonized standards

    European harmonized standards are standards that may be used to prove conformity with the essential requirements.

  5. Identify which requirements of the European harmonized standards apply to the product

    Not every clause from the applicable standards may apply.

  6. Conduct and document the conformity assessment against the essential requirements and the requirements from the standards (this may entail visual inspection, testing, etc.)

    Conformity assessment may include testing, measurements, risk assessment, visual inspections, calculations, etc.

  7. Provide the user with the information required to use the product safely

    This typically entails a user manual or instructions for use, installation instruction, and warning labels.

  8. Ensure consistency of production, thus proving the assessed sample and the production are identical

    The CE marking conformity assessment does not only mean that the product design is checked for conformity with the requirements. You shall also ensure the consistency of the output of the production. This way you can ensure that all units that are produced are exactly the same as the sample that you have assessed or tested.

  9. Compile a Technical File

    All technical documentation that proves the product safety and conformity with all relevant requirements are brought together in the Technical File.

  10. Draw up and sign the EU Declaration of Conformity

    For construction products a Declaration of Performance.

  11. Affix the CE marking

    After the conformity with the technical requirements has been confirmed, and the documentation completed, the CE mark may be affixed to the product.

  12. Continuously monitor developments related to CE directives/regulations and European harmonized standards.

    Apply new rules and amendments where appropriate.

“I need a quick and efficient way to be able to issue CE conformance certificates to my customers, while being confident that we have done the process correctly and in the approved format. Your framework allow us to get to the end result in a much more focused way and time scale than by researching it ourselves. Why re-invent the wheel when someone has done it already? Also, building up the expertise in house is much more valuable than outsourcing it each time.”

Rick Booth, DMS, United Kingdom

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