Table of types of standard

KYS 1109 Date: 19-11-09 © J. M. Woodgate 2011


Since this is an on-going series, I recommend that you look at previous offerings, because each one provides a background for its successors and thus helps understanding.

Last time we looked at different types of 'standards publication'. It was suggested that a table to summarize would be useful, so here it is. It is based on the way IEC identifies types, because that is the most 'structured' way. Rather than the cumbersome 'standards publication'. it is convenient to use 'standard' to mean any of these except Guide, and use 'Standard' when we mean only a fully normative publication.

Type of publication





'Normative' (i.e. prescriptive) document; uses 'shall' for provisions

Technical Report


Review, survey or generally descriptive document; uses 'should' for recommendations

Technical Specification


A possible future standard or a normative document which has strong support but no consensus for publication as a standard; uses 'shall'

Publicly-available Specification


Normative document obtained from another body that may become an IEC standard after experience of its use has been gained; uses 'shall'



One of a separate series of documents, addressed to standards committees rather than standards users. Some Guides are normative, or have parts that are normative.

Test Report Form


Guess? These official forms are not mandatory, but impress clients. They can be quite costly


There is another classification system that helps to understand the relationships between standards that deal with the same product type.



Product standard

Deals with the characteristics of the product as they affect its application. May include methods of measurement or performance requirements, or both (then it must be a Standard)

Methods of measurement Standard

Deals only (or almost only) with methods of measurement

Performance Standard

Deals with performance from the user's point of view

'Regulatory' performance Standard

EMC Standard or Safety Standard


Even that is not the end of the story, because 'regulatory' standards have a classification of their own, but implemented differently in safety and EMC standards!


Description of safety Standard

Description of EMC Standard


Gives requirements that are applicable to products that do not have an applicable product family or product standard and set a benchmark for the requirements specified in those standards

Usually Part 1 of a multi-part standard; includes methods of measurement

Gives requirements that are applicable to products that do not have an applicable product family or product standard and sets a benchmark for the corresponding requirements specified in those standards

A Standard in the IEC 61000-6- series


Rare; an example is IEC 60990 on measurement of touch current. Often about methods of measurement.

Gives methods of measurement that are applicable to most product families; suggests numerical requirements based on those methods

Standards in the IEC 61000-4- series and the CISPR 16 series

Product Family

Deals with a range of products using closely similar technology; usually a Part other than Part 1, or a section of Part 2, of a multi-part standard. May include additional methods of measurement

Deals with a range of products using broadly similar technology (maybe very broad, e.g. IEC 61000-3-2 and -3 cover almost all mains-powered products)

Standards in the IEC 61000-3- series and CISPR NN-n standards, except the CISPR 16 series, also some standards produced by product committees.


Deals with a closely-defined product; usually a section of Part 2 of a multi-part standard

Some standards produced by product committees


A TR or TS that gives guidance and recommendations where a Standard does not exist

A TR or TS that gives guidance and recommendations where a Standard does not exist


Generic safety Standards

There are too many of these to list, but notable ones include IEC 60065 (consumer electronics), IEC 60204-1 (machinery), IEC 60335-1 (household appliances), IEC 60601-1 (medical), IEC 60950-1 (ITE and office machines) and IEC 61010-1 (measuring instruments, industrial process control and laboratory equipment).

There are EN versions of all of these, with varying degrees of difference from the IEC version. Since even a small difference may affect YOUR product profoundly, it is most unwise to consult the IEC when the EN applies, or vice versa.

Generic EMC standards



EMC environment

IEC 61000-6-1


Residential, commercial and light industry

IEC 61000-6-2


(Heavy) Industrial

IEC 61000-6-3


Residential, commercial and light industry

IEC 61000-6-4


(Heavy) Industrial

IEC TS 61000-6-5


Power station and sub-station


Basic safety Standards

There are few of these with wide application, except IEC 60990, already mentioned above.

Note - the terms 'basic safety Standard' and 'basic safety publication' are not of the same meaning.

Basic EMC Standards



IEC 61000-4-1

Overview of the IEC 61000-4 series

IEC 61000-4-2

Immunity to electrostatic discharge (ESD)

IEC 61000-4-3

Immunity to radiated radio-frequency electromagnetic fields

IEC 61000-4-4

Immunity to fast transients or bursts

IEC 61000-4-5

Immunity to surges

IEC 61000-4-6

Immunity to conducted disturbances induced by radio-frequency fields

IEC 61000-4-7

Measurement of harmonics and interharmonics of the power supply

IEC 61000-4-8

Immunity to power frequency magnetic field

IEC 61000-4-9

Immunity to pulse magnetic field

IEC 61000-4-10

Immunity to damped oscillatory magnetic field

IEC 61000-4-11

Immunity to voltage dips, short interruptions and voltage variations

IEC 61000-4-12

Immunity to ring-wave

IEC 61000-4-13

Immunity of the AC power port to harmonics, interharmonics and low-frequency mains signalling

IEC 61000-4-14

Immunity to voltage fluctuations

IEC 61000-4-15

Flickermeter specification

IEC 61000-4-16

Immunity to conducted common-mode disturbances, 0 Hz to 150 kHz

IEC 61000-4-17

Immunity to ripple on DC input power port

IEC 61000-4-18

Immunity to damped oscillatory wave

IEC 61000-4-19

Not issued

IEC 61000-4-20

Emission and immunity testing in transverse electromagnetic (TEM) waveguides

IEC 61000-4-21

Reverberation chamber test methods

IEC 61000-4-22

Not issued

IEC 61000-4-23

Test methods for protective devices for HEMP and other radiated disturbances

IEC 61000-4-24

Test methods for protective devices for HEMP conducted disturbance

IEC 61000-4-25

Immunity to HEMP for equipment and systems

IEC 61000-4-26

Not issued

IEC 61000-4-27

Immunity to unbalance [of 3-phase power supplies]

IEC 61000-4-28

Immunity to variation of power frequency

IEC 61000-4-29

Immunity of the DC power port to voltage dips, short interruptions and voltage variations

IEC 61000-4-30

Measurement of power quality

IEC 61000-4-31

Not issued

IEC 61000-4-32

High altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) simulator compendium

IEC 61000-4-33

Measurement methods for high-power transient parameters

IEC 61000-4-34

Immunity of equipment with input current more than 16 A per phase to voltage dips, short interruptions and voltage variations


The above descriptions are not necessarily the titles of the standards, some of which murder the English language. The French titles are, of course, much more grammatical.  The 'not issued' standards exist as titles on an IEC TC77 internal master list but may never be developed and published.