TCO Certification

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TCO Certification is a series of product certifications for office equipment based on user friendliness, safety, and products’ eco-friendliness.[1] It is administered by TCO Development, owned by the Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees, TCO (Tjänstemännens Centralorganisation). Although commonly associated with computer monitors, later TCO revisions also define standards for computers, keyboards, printers, mobile phones, and office furniture. It is the precursor of TCO Certified.


The first TCO certification, for 1992, defined low emission standard for computer displays, and power management features, which is a superset of MPR-II standards.


TCO'95 expands certification category to CRT displays, keyboards, system units. Within each item, the standard addresses ergonomics, emissions, energy, and ecology involved into making the certified product.


  • High visual ergonomic requirements for displays, which entails high image quality and excellent color reproduction.
  • Option to regulate display angle (new in TCO'03 Displays).


  • Considerable reduction of magnetic and electrical fields.
  • Minimized electrostatic fields.


  • Low energy consumption for reduced environmental impact.
  • The energy saving function provides a better indoor climate through reduced heat emission, which results in retained air humidity.


  • The manufacturer shall be certified according to ISO 14001 / EMAS.
  • Reduced emission of brominated and chlorinated flame-retardants and heavy metals into the environment (Complies with the RoHS directive from 1 July 2006).
  • Recycling preparations facilitate material recycling.
  • Information on where the displays can be turned in for recycling.


This version certifies Cathode Ray Tube Displays (CRT), Flat Panel Displays (FPD), Portable computers, Desktops, Keyboards, Printers. Starting from 2006-07-01, certified product also has to comply with RoHS when sold in Europe.

TCO'99 FPD does not have any requirement for display color.


TCO'01 only certifies mobile phones, but it defines the following areas:


Labeling includes the SAR value, which is the accepted way of measuring the amount of radiation energy absorbed by the head when the telephone is broadcasting at full power. Also included is TCP (Telephone Communication Power), which is a new method for determining the telephone's communication ability. A good telephone must use a large portion of its power for communication and as small a percentage of the radiation as possible should be absorbed by the head. A good combination, therefore, is a low SAR value and a high TCP value.


A telephone must be easy to use. The requirements cover such things as the buttons, the form of the display, the suitability of the manual for the user, and the material used in the casing in order to avoid problems relating to contact allergies.


This states the substances that are completely banned from use in the telephone, cadmium, mercury, and beryllium oxide, and those which may only be used to a limited extent, such as lead and flame-retardants


TCO'03 only regulates cathode ray displays (CRT) and flat panel displays (FPD). Luminance and resolutions requirements are tightened. New to the certification includes Image loading capacity, RGB settings for visual ergonomics section; vertical tile for Work load ergonomics section; tightened noise requirement for "all-in-one computers" for emissions (acoustic noise) section; dropped co-operative agreement with at least one professional electronics recycling company requirement in Ecology section; lowered energy consumption in Energy section. RoHS is applicable after July 1, 2006.


TCO'04 only defines office furniture, making it the first TCO certification for non-electronic devices. Certified furniture included work tables and work chairs. It concentrates on following areas:


  • Dimensions and functions
  • Safety, stability, and strength
  • User-friendliness
  • Material characteristics


  • Emissions of Electric and Magnetic fields
  • Chemical emissions


TCO'05 only defines notebook and desktop computers, which are successors of TCO'99 for computers.


  • (desktop) More stringent requirements that the graphic card in the computer shall produce an image on a computer display which is flicker-free with good brightness and good contrast.
  • (desktop) At least one USB connection should be located on the front side.
  • (notebook) More stringent visual ergonomic requirements for the display resulting in higher image quality.
  • (notebook) Requires possibility to either separate display from keyboard or to connect an external display and keyboard.
  • (notebook) Requirements on the keyboard are introduced.


  • Stricter noise level requirement.


  • Stricter energy consumption requirement.


  • Require testing environmental characteristics of the flame-retardants used in the product.
  • Require information on where the computer can be turned in for recycling.
  • (notebook) Require facilitating recycling of mercury lamps.


TCO'06 Media Displays extends TCO'03 FPD version 3.0 to include a Flat Panel TV or multifunction display to be used for monitoring or rendering moving images. A display intended for office use should be certified as TCO'03 Displays and the multifunction display can be certified as TCO'03 Displays and TCO'06 Media Displays.

The following are changes from TCO'03 Displays to TCO'06 Media Displays:

  • Pixel array is less strict.
  • Luminance level is more strict.
  • Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) variation is more strict.
  • Colour Greyscale linearity is more strict.
  • Energy consumption is less strict.

The following are new additions from TCO'03 Displays to TCO'06 Media Displays:

  • Video and Computer interfaces
  • Response time
  • Black level

The following are removed from TCO'03 Displays to TCO'06 Media Displays:

  • Front frame gloss
  • Vertical tilt
  • Vertical height adjustment


TCO'07 defines headset standards to guarantee a product meets certain ergonomic, radiation, environment, and energy use requirements.

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