The Difference Between ATEX vs FM Approval: Two-Way Radio Batteries

In environments where communication tools like two-way radios are used, there can be a variety of hazards. Manufacturing facilities, chemical plants, firefighter responses, and more include hazardous conditions like the elements, machinery, and extreme temperatures. Batteries for two-way radios can be made with materials that can react poorly in these environments.

Therefore, standards like ATEX and FM Approval are important for ensuring users safety and efficiency of communication. In this guide we will delve into the details and differences of ATEX and FM Approval so you can determine what batteries work for your needs and environment.

Understanding ATEX Certification

ATEX is an abbreviation for the French, "Atmosphères Explosives" and refers to the safety regulations set by the EU or European Union. ATEX Approval ensures that equipment, including two-way radio batteries, is manufactured to prevent the ignition of explosive atmospheres.

The atmospheres must possess three elements to be considered “explosive”; these elements include:

  • Air
  • An ignition source
  • One of the below substances:
  • Flammable gases
  • Mists or vapors
  • Combustible dust

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Elements above can be found in a variety of manufacturing facilities. For instance, facilities that produce something as simple as spray paint or even wood can include all of the above elements. Therefore, a multitude of professions and manufacturers need to ensure that the batteries they are using in their two-way radios are ATEX Approved for the safety of the workers.

To obtain ATEX certification, manufacturers must comply with strict standards and undergo thorough testing including putting the device in different environments to evaluate the performance. ATEX certification is widely recognized and accepted in many parts of the world, making it a valuable mark of safety and quality.

Understanding FM Approval

FM Approval, on the other hand, stands for "Factory Mutual Approval" and is a certification provided by FM Global, a global insurance and risk management firm. FM Approval focuses on evaluating the fire and explosion risks associated with equipment used in hazardous environments.

This certification has over 200 different tests and standards that the devices must pass.  Some of the tests include the well-known ANSI standards. The dedication indicates that the equipment, including two-way radio batteries, has undergone rigorous testing. FM Approval is particularly recognized in North America and is often a requirement for equipment used in industries such as oil, gas, and chemicals.

ATEX vs FM Approval: Key Differences

While both ATEX and FM Approval certifications ensure the safety of equipment in hazardous environments, there are some key differences between the two. The most significant difference lies in their geographical recognition.

ATEX certification is widely accepted in Europe and many other countries, while FM Approval is predominantly recognized in North America. Therefore, the choice between ATEX and FM Approval depends on the intended market for the equipment. FM approvals are also often paired with ANSI or the American National Standards Institute, whereas ATEX is paired with IECEx (International Electrotechnical Commission Explosive).

Another difference is the approach each certification takes towards evaluating safety. ATEX certification primarily focuses on preventing the ignition of explosive atmospheres, whereas FM Approval places more emphasis on evaluating the fire and explosion risks associated with the equipment. This variance in approach is reflected in the specific requirements and testing procedures for each certification.

With these differences in mind, depending on your market, it may be beneficial to get your equipment evaluated by both standards.

Choosing the Right Two-Way Radio Battery Certification

When selecting a two-way radio battery for use in hazardous environments, choosing the right certification is crucial. It is essential to thoroughly assess the specific requirements of your industry, the geographical recognition of certifications, and any regulatory obligations in your target markets.

If your operations are primarily based in Europe or other regions where ATEX certification is widely accepted, opting for ATEX-approved batteries would be the logical choice. On the other hand, if your focus is on the North American market, FM Approval would be more suitable.

Additionally, it is crucial to consider the specific hazardous conditions in your industry and select a certification that addresses those risks adequately. For instance, if your industry includes a lot of dangerous elements in the environment like gases, you will want to make sure the batteries are ATEX approved.

On the other hand, if you are in an environment with many visual hazards like water, dust, and more then make sure your equipment is FM approved. Lastly, speaking with a supplier or consultant can be immensely helpful in making an informed decision.

Importance of ATEX and FM Approval in Hazardous Environments

The importance of ATEX and FM Approval certifications cannot be overstated in hazardous environments. These certifications provide reassurance that the equipment, in this case, two-way radio batteries, has been tested and designed to minimize the risk of ignition or explosion. Moreover, these standards ensure that your batteries can hold up to challenging environments to prevent a disruption in communication.

By using ATEX or FM Approval certified batteries, you significantly reduce the chances of accidents and protect the lives of your workforce. Compliance with safety regulations also helps you avoid legal liabilities, financial losses, and damage to your reputation. Without proper regulation, in the U.S. you put your business at risk of violating OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.

In hazardous environments, where a single spark can lead to catastrophic consequences, investing in certified batteries is a small price to pay. In return you will have peace of mind knowing you have taken every possible precaution to safeguard your employees, assets, and communication reliability.

Common Misconceptions about ATEX and FM Approval

The first misconception about ATEX and FM approval that needs to be addressed is that the certifications can be interchangeable. Not only are the approvals only accepted in different geographical locations, but the approvals also each have its own set of tests and standards that the equipment must pass.

Certification also does not guarantee complete safety; this is another misconception. Certification can provide confidence in the product and act as a legal barrier, but it will not eliminate all risks. Equipment still needs to be properly handled and maintained. Users also need to be properly trained and adhere to safety protocols to ensure a safe workplace.

Having these certifications simply act as a soft barrier between you and harm to your employees, lack of communication, lawsuits, and possibly a broken business.


Choosing the right two-way radio battery that will be used in a hazardous environment carries a lot of pressure because it can be the difference between a safe workplace and a disaster. We hope that now knowing the differences between ATEX and FM certifications can help you make the right decision.

If you are in Europe or a workplace with many unknowns in the atmosphere, we highly recommend ATEX certification. If you are in the U.S. or a facility with a lot of physical threats including the performance of your technology, then FM approval is the way to go. Remember, the choice between these certifications depends on your target market and the specific hazards you need to address.

Ensure the safety of your workforce by choosing certified two-way radio batteries. Contact us today to learn more about our range of ATEX and FM Approval certified batteries.

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