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Espresso Machine Certifications.  What are they and what are the differences?

If you are in the market for an espresso machine for a food truck, coffee shop, or restaurant then certifications are vital to your business' success.  There are two main certifications for espresso machines; NSF and ETL.  So what are these?  In short, the certifications mean the product has been certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL), recognized by OSHA, to meet certain safety standards.  NSF and ETL are two of these standards.

NSF (Nationa Sanitation Foundation)

NSF International evaluates the factories in which the products are manufacturered and the products themselves to ensure their standards are met.  The NSF has an extensive checklist of requirements that covers items from outer finishes to the tools required to assemble and disassemble it.  The benefit of the NSF certifications is it is recognized by health department rules in the United States and Canada.  

ETL (Electrical Testing Laboratories)

ETL is a certification provided by Intertek.  They evaluate food service equipment on electrical safety and sanitation.  Intertek has multiple certification marks.  The most common are ETL Listed which certifies the machine for workplace safety and EL Sanitation which denotes sanitation and food safety.  A lot of machines will have both and the certifications are valid in the United States and Canada.

UL (Underwriters Laboratories)

UL offers certification services similar to the previous two but it is not as common for espresso machines.  Generally a UL mark is not necessary as the NSF and ETL markings are acceptable for commercial use.  UL's services include inspection, advisory services, education and training, testing, auditing and analytics, certification software solutions, and marketing claim verification.  

Whenever you are in the market for a commercial espresso machine, please look for the certifications to ensure you are using a machine that has been marked for this type of use.  

Best of Luck!

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