What is an IP rating?
An IP rating is shorthand for an Ingress Protection mark, sometimes referred to synonymously as an International (or Internal) Protection mark. An IP rating is usually a two-digit grading system that’s applied to the enclosure of a mechanical or electrical item, giving customers a clear indication of the item’s resistance to various types of unwanted intrusion.
‘Intrusion’ in the context of an IP rating has a threefold definition: IP codes signify the level of protection to users (hands, fingers etc) from mechanical or electrical parts; the degree of protection an enclosure offers those key components against dust, dirt and other damaging foreign bodies; and its overall resistance to moisture.
While you might encounter slight differences in IP ratings depending on where in the world you’re buying from, they are standardised in most regions: in the UK, IP codes are assigned in accordance with British standard BS EN 60529:1992. In Europe, they fall in line with IEC standard 60509:1989, and internationally they conform to EN 60529 certification.
Why have an IP rating system?
The reason for having a universal IP rating system is so that buyers and users can be confident of how safe it is to use certain electrical or mechanical goods in specific environments and applications.
Unlike more vague marketing terms such as ‘waterproof’ - which don’t necessarily give a clear definition of precisely where and to what extent an item can resist moisture ingress - an IP rating is designed to provide a far more specific account.
As we’ll see further on in this guide, each of the digits in an IP rating reveals detailed information about the exact level of protection/resistance the item in question can be expected to deliver.
What do the two digits in an IP Rating mean?
The rating consists of the letters IP followed by two digits, the higher the number the better the protection. Sometimes a number is replaced by X, which indicates that the enclosure is not rated for that specification.
IP65 = First Digit - Solids
The first digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against the ingress of solid foreign objects, from tools or fingers that could be hazardous if they came into contact with electrical conductors or moving parts, to airborne dirt and dust that could damage circuitry.
IP65 = Second Digit - Liquids
The second digit defines the protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against various forms of moisture (drips, sprays, submersion etc).
|First digit||Intrusion Protection||Second digit||Moisture Protection|
|0||No protection.||0||No protection.|
|1||Protected against solid objects over 50mm,e.g.accidental touch by hands.||1||Protected against vertically falling drops of water,e.g.condensation.|
|2||Protected against solid objects over 12mm,e.g.fingers.||2||Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15°from the vertical.|
|3||Protected against solid objects over 2,5mm,e.g.tools and wires.||3||Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60° from the vertical.|
|4||Protected against solid objects over 1mm,e.g.wires and nails.||4||Protected against water splashed from all directions, limited ingress permitted.|
|5||Protected against dust limited ingress, no harmful deposits.||5||Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions, limited ingress permitted.|
|6||Totally protected against dust.||6||Protected against strong jets of water,e.g. on ship deck, limited ingress permitted.|
Types of IP rated products
There are numerous types of IP-rated products available on the market. The standardisation of these codes is what enables customers and users to gain a clear understanding of each product’s abilities and limitations in different scenarios.
- Weatherproof & waterproof IP ratings.
- IP rated enclosures.
- IP rated enclosure accessories (Brackets, screws and nuts Additional panels, racks or dividers to add to a basic enclosure frame Locks, keys and keypads).
- IP rated floor standing enclosures.
- IP rated general-purpose enclosures.
- IP rated handheld enclosures.
- IP rated instrument cases.
- IP rated power supply cases.
- IP rated wall boxes.
- IP ratings for lights.
- IP ratings for outdoor lights.
- IP ratings for bathrooms.