Ingress Protection (IP) ratings are developed by the European Committee for Electro Technical Standardization (CENELEC) (NEMA IEC 60529 Degrees of Protection Provided by Enclosures - IP Code), detailing the environmental protection an enclosure provides.
An IP rating usually has two numbers, the higher each number the greater the protection against solids or liquids:
- Protection against solid objects
- Protection against liquids (water)
With the IP rating IP67, 6 describes the level of protection from solid objects and 7 describes the level of protection from liquids.
The first number of an IP rating – Protection against solid objects
- 0 – No protection
- 1 – Protected against solid objects over 50mm I.E. A human hand
- 2 – Protected against solid objects over 12mm I.E. A human finger
- 3 – Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm (tools and wires)
- 4 – Protected against solid objects over 1mm (tools, wires, and small wires)
- 5 – Protected against dust limited ingress (no harmful deposits)
- 6 – Total protection against dust
The second number of an IP rating – Protection against liquids
- 0 – No protection
- 1 – Protection against vertically falling drops of water e.g. condensation
- 2 – Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from the vertical
- 3 – Protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical
- 4 – Protection against splashing water from all directions
- 5 – Protected against low power water jets (6.3mm nozzle) from all directions
- 6 – Protected against high power water jets (12.5mm nozzle) from all directions
- 7 – Protected for medium periods (30min max) of immersion between 15cm and 1m
- 8 – Protected for long periods / continuous immersion beyond 1m under pressure
When shopping online for any product with an ingress protection rating, use the above descriptions to identify what the rating means. A description of ‘waterproof’ can mean anything from resistance against spraying, splashing, water jets, temporary immersion, and continuous immersion – which is why understanding IP rating is an important thing to know.
An LED Strip Light with an IP65 rating means it’s totally protected against dust, and can withstand low power water jets (from a 6.3mm nozzle) fired from all directions against the object.
An LED Flood Light with an IP67 rating means it’s totally protected against dust, and can be submerged in 15cm to 1m in water for a medium period (30min maximum) of time.