I get this question a lot from startups on where and how you get CE “certified”. CE is short for Conformité Européenne(French for European Conformity). It’s a sticker/symbol placed in your hardware product to let the user know that you are conforming to all directives by European protection standards. So as a rule of thumb, if your product is marked “CE” you can freely sell your product in the European Union. This is NOT a certification mark. Please understand that.
CE is a self-declaration process, meaning you as a manufacturer can put the CE logo on your product. Once it’s placed on the product, it’s assumed that you as a manufacturer have taken the effort to test all the relevant directives and have passed all quality and safety standards mentioned by the EU. The onus is on the manufacturer, they can slap a logo on the product and not have done any of that. Therein lies the problem of CE, where people think that just because it’s marked as CE means that the product is of the highest quality. Again, CE is not a Quality or Certification Mark.
In a proper workflow, if you need to affix the CE symbol on your hardware product, you need to create something known as a Technical file, which details all the product specifications, test safety reports, standards compliance reports, instructions of use etc. This document is to be produced to EU authorities when asked for or when a dispute is raised. You can be penalised if your product doesn’t adhere to some standards which you may have missed. Then there is a document called Declaration of Conformity which is an undertaking mentioning that your product adheres to a list of EU directives.
When you do put the logo on your product, please make sure that you follow the CE Logo’s standard design guidelines. There is a myth floating about that the China Export logo is a similar logo found on products shipped from China and you should look at the spacing to ascertain that it’s an actual CE logo. Actually, a logo like that doesn’t exist. I don’t think it’s hard for any manufacturer to adjust the spacing on symbols to fool you if they want. Just because you see CE in a product it doesn’t mean anything.