Skip to content

Safe Classifications: UL vs CEN – What’s the Difference?

October 10, 2022

Screen Shot 2022-12-07 at 2.03.24 PM
UL vs Cen Safe

Well, that depends on where you are in the world. UL and CEN are organizations that design and maintain standards for the physical and environmental safety of all types of products. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is an independent safety consulting and certification company in the United States and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) provides a standards platform for the National Standardization bodies of 33 European countries. The public (and insurance underwriters, of course) relies on these ratings to ensure products operate as implied.

Cash recyclers are classified as burglary protection products and are in the same product category as locks and safes. So, when a cash recycler is certified by UL or CEN, you know it has been rigorously tested against a standard and has met theft-resistance, fire-resistance and environmental operating requirements.

UL291 is standard for equipment like ATMs and cash recyclers.  It requires a product to meet a certain level of protection against currency theft as well as alteration of its transaction records. Ratings within the UL291 standard further classify safes as Business Hours or 24-hour (Level 1). As the names imply, safes rated for business hours are designed to operate with supervision. But a Level 1 rating means the safe offers acceptable protection when the equipment is unsupervised. Level 1 safes also have thicker metal and can withstand physical attacks for a longer period of time.

The CEN standard covers everything that UL covers; fire ratings and break-in theft resistance. It just uses different testing methods and a different grading system. To test break-in resistance, CEN uses a formula using partial/complete access, tool type, times, tool coefficients and tool values to calculate a resistance value, expressed as a grade from 0-VII.

So, when you see the UL or CEN label, you can be sure you’re getting a product that has met the standards set by these organizations.

Share This Article