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What is Ip rating? How to choose the right IP rating?

Water and other liquids are a big part of our lives, but we want to keep them as far away from water as possible when it comes to our electronic devices.

When choosing the right product for an outdoor environment, IP rating is something you need to know. But what is IP rating?

So what does this rating mean exactly, and how do you choose the right one?

In this post, we’ll answer those questions and more.

Keep reading to find out!

What is IP rating?

In Europe, the buyer uses an IP (Ingress Protection) rating to assess the degree of protection provided by an electrical enclosure against external elements.

The complete form of IP is r Ingress Protection and is a standard marking found on electrical and electronic equipment. It’s intended to provide users with information about how well the device is protected against intrusion by foreign bodies (i.e., dust) and moisture. 

The IP code indicates the degree of protection an enclosure provides for electrical equipment with a nominal voltage not exceeding 72.5 kV.

IP ratings are defined in international standard EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989). These are used to characterise the sealing efficacy of electrical enclosures against penetration by foreign bodies (tools, dirt, and so on).

The first number displayed in an IP rating (for example IP65), indicates the level of protection against dust. 

The second number indicates the level of water resistance.

You’ll often see these markings on cell phones, cameras, speakers, and other electronic gadgets you take outside or to a water park.

Why have an IP rating system?

The main reason for having a universal IP rating system is to simplify the search for a safe product to use in specific environments.

IP ratings are only relevant when choosing an enclosure for electrical equipment and can ensure that the product is suitable for the conditions in which it will use it.
Electrical devices can fail when exposed to dust or moisture. IP code standards exist because of this risk.

It created the standards for products like an air-handling unit in a cleanroom or outdoor lighting in dusty or wet conditions.

For example, you’ll want to consider an outdoor lamp for your deck. The light should be weatherproofed and use bulbs approved for damp conditions, while the sockets should be rated for wet locations.

It’s important to note that not all IP ratings are equal.

Some devices may have multiple levels of protection, depending on what it will expose the device to.

What does an IP rating measure?

IP ratings are an industry standard. These designations have been formulated by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to provide a common language for evaluating levels of protection afforded to electrical enclosures, which includes outdoor lighting fixtures.

The IP rating system is divided into two separate categories: dust resistance and moisture protection. The level of water resistance is indicated by one number and the level of dust resistance by another.

IP ratings are intended to measure the protection of electrical devices in indoor and outdoor environments against solid foreign objects that penetrate an enclosure or some degree of moisture ingress.

Ip rating mainly measures three key metrics:

  • Resistance to user intrusion by way of accidental or deliberate entry.
  • Resistant to foreign particles (dust, dirt, etc.)
  • Resistance to dampness ingress

 

The first digit in the Ip rating measures the level of resistance to user intrusion through the accidental or deliberate entry.

The second digit indicates the level of resistance to foreign particles (dust, dirt, etc.)

What IP rating should I choose?

IP ratings are not standardized across manufacturers, so you’ll need to research the specific device you’re looking for.

The standard applies to electrical enclosures, but some manufacturers will also use them on devices without sections. It’s best to look for the IP rating of any product that it might expose to elements or dust before purchasing it.

If you’re not sure what type of device you need, it’s best to do your research before buying. Sometimes the manufacturer will post the IP rating on the product itself.

When purchasing online, read customer reviews about how well a product performs in different environments. Many products are designed to keep out dust or moisture, but not both.

If you are planning to use the product outdoors or around water, you’ll want to buy an IP-rated one for dust and water resistance.

Which Ip rating should I select in which situation?

Numerous manufacturers of IP-rated enclosures will only use the rating they believe is appropriate for their products. 

As a result, in some cases, an IP rating in one product may be higher or lower than another manufacturer’s product. 

Generally speaking, you should choose the highest IP rating possible for your application without compromising on other aspects of your enclosure’s design.

For example, if your enclosure will be mounted on a stand that allows access to the front panel controls and connectors, you must ensure that those components are rated for use in a wet environment. 

In this case, you should apply an IP rating higher than IP50 as the enclosure may be subject to spray from any direction.

Below I will show you some IP ratings and scan them. Let’s start:

 

IP40- The 4 in IP40 stands for foreign bodies and moving objects, also known as intrusion protection. 

The letter “0” in IP40 indicates the level of moisture protection provided, which is typically called moisture resistance. In IP40, the number 40 has a precise meaning.
The first digit is 4, indicating that tools, wires, and similar intruders have been prevented from entering. There is no protection against moisture, with 0 as the second digit.

SO IP40 means you can not insert anything into the light, and if you spill water in the morning, it will not be damaged at all.

 

IP54- The 5 in IP54 refers to the degree of resistance against foreign bodies and moving objects, often known as intrusion protection. 

The 4 in IP54 refers to the degree of protection against all forms of moisture, also known as moisture resistance. The number 54 has a rather special meaning in IP54. 

The first digit, 5, indicates that solid bodies more significant than 1mm are protected. The second digit, 4, shows that spray up to 60° from a vertical position is protected.
So in IP54, it Protected against heavy splash water from any direction. 

The IP54 rating is only applicable to lights not fitted with added accessories, such as lenses and diffuser panelling.

 

IP64- The 6 in IP64 begins with a 6, which means this light has an ingress protection rating at level 6. It is very much similar to the previous rating of IP54 in regards to being protected against heavy splash water from any direction.

However, two crucial differences between these two ratings must be considered when determining if this type of rating meets your needs. 

The first difference is that the 6 in IP64 indicates that dust is prevented from entering, while the 4 in IP54 shows no protection against dust ingress. 

The second difference is that it provides an added degree of water resistance compared to IP54. While there are many similarities between these two ratings, they are not equivalent.

So in IP64, it protects against heavy splash water from any direction, and dust can’t enter the light. It is also worth noting that this rating level increases water resistance compared to IP54, but it’s NOT equal to IP68!

 

IP65- The 6 in IP65 refers to the level of protection against dust, commonly known as ingress protection.
The 5 in IP65 indicates that equipment is protected against water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) from any direction or Powerful water jets with impacts up to 75° from a vertical position.
So it’s similar to IP54, but there are two differences. 60° impact for IP54 and 75°impact for IP65 means that powerful water jets can not damage the light.

 

IP67- The 6 in IP67 means that the product is resistant to dust and water, two of the most common types of damage. 

The 7 in IP67 indicates the degree of resistance against all types of moisture, commonly known as moisture protection. The number 67 has a specific significance in the IP67 rating. 

The first digit, 6, indicates that equipment is protected against dust particles that might cause damage. The second digit, 7, signifies protection from powerful water jets and waves.

So in IP67, it means Protected against powerful water jets and waves, and a high-pressure hose can’t damage the light.

Do you have an outdoor light with IP67 protection? 

Don’t forget about rust!

Why Do Outdoor Lights Need Different IP Ratings?

Surprisingly, outdoor lights often have an ingress protection rating of 6 or better but are vulnerable to rust! If you have an IP67 rated outdoor light exposed to the elements, it will eventually be affected by rust.

Low temperatures can prevent condensation when water vapor in the air comes into contact with cold surfaces. Even when it’s dry, moisture can be present in the air as a cloud of water droplets or as ice crystals.

Light temperature affects condensation. Hotter light sources will not fog up as much as cool ones. 

The warmer and lighter an outdoor light is, the faster condensation occurs and the more vulnerable it becomes to rust and other forms of corrosion.

Fortunately, there are options for outdoor lights that condensate instead of rusting available on the market! LED outdoor light fixtures with aluminum housings and gaskets will ensure your lights stay rust-free all year long. 

Generally, look for IP68 rated lights as they offer superior protection against condensation and corrosion.

Whether you use outdoor light for decoration, security, or safety purposes, the grade of waterproofing is a critical consideration. 

This article has outlined different levels and what they mean regarding durability to help you decide. 

We hope that this information will be helpful when it comes time to select an outdoor lighting fixture for your home or business space!

Frequently Asked Questions:.

What is IPX8?
This waterproof rating means the product is protected against water ingress and is suitable for water immersion.

What is IPX4?
This is a splash-proof rating, meaning that it protects against light spray from any direction and limited amounts of water from multiple orders.

 

What is IPX5?
This level protects heavy splash water and is tested with 2.5 liters of water thrown in 1 meter.

 

What is IPX6?
In this instance, it’s a high-volume jet of water from any direction and should not harm the product under test conditions. The number 6 indicates protection against powerful jets of water.

 

What is IPX7?
This is the highest level of protection currently available, and products with this rating can be submerged underwater to a depth of one meter for thirty minutes.

 

What are the differences between IPX4, IPX5, IPX6 & IPX7?
All four levels offer protection against water penetrating the device, but each has different testing conditions. The number 6 indicates protection against powerful jets of water.

If the product is listed as IPX4, it will resist splashes from all directions but not immersion in liquid. If it is labeled as IPX5, the device can be immersed up to a depth of one meter for 30 minutes and still function correctly after exposure. 

This level is considered water-resistant. If it is labeled IPX6, the device will resist powerful water jets from any direction, such as heavy seas or a high-pressure washer. The number 7 indicates total protection and can be submerged in one meter of water for up to four hours.

 

Who sets the standards for IP Ratings?
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has set global standards for all electrical and electronic equipment.

 

What’s the difference between IP and Waterproof Ratings?
Two terms that are often confused but have different meanings. The level of protection provided by each can vary greatly. The IP rating indicates how resistant a product is to ingress solid objects, water, and moisture. A waterproof rating means how well a product can operate after being submerged in water.

 

What are the benefits of IP rating?
Choosing products with higher levels of protection, such as 6 or 7, will ensure this level of performance in all weather conditions. This can save time and money for expensive product repairs caused by lower-rated items.

 

Why do outdoor lights come with an IP rating?
The outdoor light’s waterproofing ensures that it can be used safely in all weather conditions and still perform as intended. This can save both time and money for expensive product repairs caused by lower-rated products that would not operate in wet conditions.

 

What are the benefits of IPX4, IPX5 & IPX6?
These ratings allow water to bead on the surface, so light is not obscured.

 

Why should you care about the IP rating of an Outdoor Light Fixture?
Choosing products with higher levels of protection, such as 6 or 7, will ensure this level of performance in all weather conditions. This can save time and money for expensive product repairs caused by lower-rated items.

 

What does the IP rating of an Outdoor Light Fixture mean?
The IP rating is a set of standards developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that indicate how resistant a product is to solid objects, water, and moisture. The number indicates its resistance from 1-7, with seven fully protected against dust and water. The higher the number, the greater the protection provided.

 

What types of Outdoor Lights are offered with an IP rating?
There are many different outdoor light fixtures available that come with various levels of protection to ensure their effectiveness in all weather conditions. Even styles offer high water resistance and can be used underwater to highlight features. Ul listed outdoor fixtures come with an IP rating to ensure they can use them safely in all types of weather conditions.