What is CE marking / CE certification?

Being in CE certification for more than 25 years, I have seen that there are a lot of misunderstandings about CE marking. Many people do not exactly understand its purpose. Many do not know which products must bear the CE mark. There are also many questions about in which countries the CE marking applies.

Maybe there is so much unclarity about CE certification because the concept was never really promoted to consumers. The value of the mark is not so much for consumers, as it is for producers and employers.

I made this short video presentation to answer some of the basic questions about CE marking and CE certification. The following questions are answered:

  • What is CE marking?
  • What do the letters “CE” mean?
  • Who owns “CE”?
  • Who is responsible for affixing the CE mark?
  • What are the benefits of CE certification?
  • In which countries does the CE marking apply?
  • How does CE marking help trade?
  • Is the CE mark a quality marking or an indication of origin?
  • Which products require CE certification and must bear the CE marking?
  • Does the CE marking apply to any of the following products?
    • machinery
    • foodstuffs
    • chemicals
    • electrical products
    • toys
    • pharmaceuticals
    • medical devices
    • personal protective equipment

If you like the video, please share it. I would also like to hear back from you. Please send me your questions or post your comments below. I would also like to hear your suggestions on what type of specific questions would you like me to answer in a video just like this one.

Ready to learn more about CE marking?

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Read more articles about CE marking and watch other videos

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In which countries is CE marking required?
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Flowchart of steps to get CE marking?

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44 thoughts on “What is CE marking / CE certification?”

    • There is no central database in which all CE marked products are registered. There is the database of CE-approved.org and there you can try? But that register is voluntary and would only give results when the product has been registered by the manufacturer. If the product has been certified by a third party, you can contact that party and ask them to confirm the certificate.

  1. Hans, you gave so much good advice when I first brought my product to market, that without this advice I could have lost my business and product to some unsavoury people. Your website is the best I have seen to help people looking to place a product on the market. Thank you for all the hard work and committment you show.

  2. Han, Is this a mark of conformaty or a quality assurance mark?

    Is there a difference between the two? It seems that anyone can make a little sticker and stick to a piece of equipment.

    My concern is especially with medical equipment and trying to make sure that equipment purchased will actually function as required

    • Dear Braam,

      Its a conformity marking. Yes, anybody can make a little sticker and affix it. But by affixing the sticker, the person indicates that the product complies, and s/he bears responsibility for that.
      Your point illustrates that you always need to check. I suggest that you always ask for the Declaration of Conformity and check if the information is accurate. And when in doubt, ask for test reports, certificates etc. But keep in mind that even certificates and reports can be false.
      My recommendation: familiarize yourself with the European requirements for your main products, so you will be able to spot non-compliances more easily.

  3. Hi Han,
    very useful website.I write from Switzerland.
    Are you familiar with the implication of CE marking implantable medical devices? It looks like companies as small as 5 employees, small spin offs from universities, can receive a CE mark for their product and in our company the QA is making a big fuss of the requirement needed in the company quality system in order to register our products though a Notifying Body. They are concerned of the costs associated to the post-marketing surveillance and upgrade of quality system. Any idea whether this is true? If yes, Would there be alternatives to such a complicated and expensive procedure?
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    • Hi Marina,

      I am glad you like the website.

      Yes, the implications of the AIMD directive can be that you need to install or upgrade a quality system. In your case, the quality system will be one of the points that the Notified Body will check. But that does not automatically mean that the costs will be astronomical. There are certainly things you can do to prevent budget waste:

      1. Normally, the first thing to do is to check if self-certification under module A is allowed. With active implantable medical devices this is not possible, and so you must involve a Notified Body;
      2. You are free to choose a Notified Body. And it is generally a good idea to contact a few before choosing. Price can be one of the criteria.
      3. There are certainly a lot of things that you can do yourself, or with help of other service providers than a Notified Body. For example, to upgrade your quality system, you don’t need the NoBo to intervene. You can do this in your company (when necessary with help of a consultant).
      But also some tests and assessments can be done in house or in accredited labs. However, you should discuss this with the Notified Body, because they must accept this route and they must accept the results of any external lab you contract.

      You understand that it is quite difficult to give you good advice without knowing the details of your specific case. But I hope this answer is still helpful. Contact me if want to discuss this further in more detail.

  4. Hello Han, I have a question, hopefully you can answer to it, and I have been in contact with Chinese manufacturer (toys) as I’m thinking of importing toys into Europe from china. Asked them if they have CE certificate, they replied as they are EN71 certified. Is that same as CE?
    Thank you.
    P.S. Great website!!

    • The EN 71 is a European standard that pertains to the Toys Directive. So it is not exactly the same, but compliance with the EN 71 standard will show (technical) compliance. You’d still like to know if there is a Technical File, and who has done the testing against the EN 71. Let me know if I can help.

  5. The EN 71 is a European harmonized standard that pertains to the Toys Directive (which requires CE marking for toys). This means that if your toys comply with this Directive, they are deemed to comply with the Toys Directive.
    However, please be aware that at the moment I am writing this reply, there are 8 different parts in the EN 71-series. And to be allowed to affix the CE marking on the basis of the standard, the toys must comply with all relevant parts. So that is something you’ll need to check.

  6. Hello Sir,
    With due respect, Just want to ask that i.m willing to export a bandage scissors to Ireland and im confused how to mark ce certification on that, i have manufacturing unit in Pakistan, please tell me where should i contact in Pakistan to get my company registered with Confirmity CE. THANKS IN ADVANCE. KADRI

    • Thank you for your question. My company does not have a representative in Pakistan. But maybe we can help through our on-line sources. You maybe interested to take the free on-line mini course to get you started. You may also be interested in the Six Boxes CE Self-Certification Course. Don’t hesitate to send me your questions.

  7. Hello, Mr. HAN…
    The most useful video i have seen..
    i have just entered info a professional industry from college life &
    u have explained the things in so simple way that i really want appreciate you by heart.!!
    i remember one of my professor was really like u who used to simplify the things very nicely.
    I would be happy if i can get more info about UL, CSA, IEC & IP standards also.
    kindly suggest if u have such a video about that.
    i wish u all d best for future..

  8. Hello, thanks for this site!!!
    I am thinking about importing wooden toys from China to Europe (Italy), I would know if it is sufficient that chinese firm gives to me EN71 certification.
    I spoke with a italian organism of CE certification, but they sell their service, they said to me for 40 products they request at least 100 euro for products so I have to give them about 4000 on 10000 of net value of products I would import, the 40% !!!!
    Is it sufficient to have certification from chinese firm on market from 10 years?
    It makes me a LITTLE strange that it is this cost, because the discount of import there isn’t anymore in that way.

    I ask also if I register on this site if you can help me on how to do, please. It is important.

    Thanks in advance

  9. Hello Mr. Han,
    I have a question about caving/climbing/work harnesses. As far I know they
    must be tested and are supposed to have UIAA or/and CE certificate. How to know
    If a product like one abowe mentioned needs testing from a third party? Is an
    organization like UIAA automaticaly providing the CE certificate along with it´s own
    Best regards

    • Dear Zlatan,

      This is a product that is covered by the Personal Protective Equipment Directive (89/686/EEC). It is indeed a product that need to be tested and certified by a third party. I don’t know the UIAA, but I don’t think they do this automatically (if at all).

  10. Dear Mr. Han.

    Do you have an article or white paper that states what you have mentioned in a video.
    I have an issue for one of my projects in Qatar in the middle east that the consultant is stating that CE marking is not meant for safety like the UL.
    Thanks for your fast response.
    Best Regards
    Ahmed Mokhtar

  11. Dear Han,

    We are an R & D organization and the manufacturers and service providers of “Gps based vehicle tracker and fleet management system” in Pakistan. We have read and heard that we will be needing CE certifications / marking on our product. Please guide us in that regard and let us know from where to get / how to apply for CE certifications in Pakistan?

    Is there any particular organization or regulatory authority to contact or a we can apply for it online? What is the procedure and how much will it cost? you guidance will be highly appreciated.

    Best Regards,

  12. Han, working with a client on business development for European, US and Canadian markets.
    All the components that are used are already CE certified. Does this mean that the product can be automatically CE marked. The product is the sum of the components.

  13. Hi Hans,
    I have a product that is ‘CE marked’ all the individual electrical components are CE marked and include the suppliers details on each component. Is it mandatory to include the suppliers details for CE mark or can I just have this information in a tech-file?

    • Hi Adam,

      Your can keep the supplier details in a tech file. However, please note that the manufacturer of the complete product (= your company?) needs to be identified on the label of the product.

          • Hi again Hans,
            I have received a component that is seemingly CE marked along with documentation to support this. However the component is only marked with the model code and CE mark – there is no marking of the manufacturer. I know you said each part does not need to have this but surely if this part is already CE marked on its own, then it would need to have the supplier information on the label in order to pass the relevant tests? This is making me suspicious. – or am I looking into it too much?
            I hope you can put my mind at rest!

          • Hi Adam,

            Thank you for the question. You are vigilant. There is nothing wrong with that. I don’t think there is a problem. What you can do to further check is request the supplier to provide you with a Declaration of Conformity. This will allow you to check if the correct directives and standards have been applied to the component. If there is no DoC, or the info on the DoC is incomplete or wrong, you will have reason for a thorough investigation.

          • Thanks Han. I appreciate your response.How did you become an expert – are there courses for this kind of certification? I have one more question regarding the above……..last one I promise! On an existing component (an LED strip) there are no markings other than the voltage, not even the model number – is this a problem? I have been sent an EMC certificate only as it is only 12 volts but how can I tell if this is for these particular LED’s if the component is not marked?

          • :) You can ask as many questions as you like Adam!
            I became an expert by trying to answer the questions of manufacturers and importers for more than 15 years. Every case is different, and requires to go back to the texts of the directives, regulations, standards and guidance documents. Regulatory compliance is not often included in the courses in schools, so you have to learn through studying and taking parts in courses and trainings like the ones that we organise at cemarking.net.

            The answer to your question is: you cannot tell. You can ask the manufacturer how you are supposed to verify the certificate belongs to the products. Clearly there is a lack of traceability. You would be taking a risk. Perhaps the manufacturer is willing to send you the test report. The test report may contain pictures or descriptions that will help you to identify it is the same product.

            Would you mind sending me a picture of this LED strip? A picture that shows there are no markings?

            Thank you.

          • Thanks Han, I value your approachability. I have 14 years and 8 months to go then! I have requested the test report from my supplier. No problem, hopefully you can see the LED light strip? Next to each light is the letter ‘L’ followed by a number (which I assume is only the naming of each light module) but no model identification.

          • On a separate note, am I right in thinking that glass bathroom accessories i.e. soap dishes would not be considered construction products and therefore I would not need to satisfy the CPR?

          • Unfortunately, it does not make it easier. We cannot consider this way of providing traceability sufficient. This will not allow your company to take its legal responsibility to ensure the component is compliant.

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