IP Ratings

On electrical products, you may find the letters 'IP' followed by 2 numbers. What's the difference between IP65 and IP67, or indeed what does any of it mean? The good news is that it's actually very easy to understand.

What is it?

The International Protection or Ingress Protection (IP) rating is a universal code established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) , overseen by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI); it classifies a product by the degree to which it is protected against the intrusion of solids (first number) and liquids (second number). Below is a key to help understand IP ratings. For example, an IP rating of 40 would mean the product's electrical components are protected against solids larger than 1mm, and not protected against liquids.

Level Object Size Protected Against Effective Against
0 Not protected
1 >50mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of the hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part.
2 >12.5mm Fingers or similar objects.
3 >2.5mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1mm Most wires, screws, etc.
5 Dust Protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact.
6 Dust Tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.

Level Object Size Protected Against Effective Against
0 Not protected
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect.
2 Dripping water when tilted up to 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position.
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.
4 Splashing water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
7 Immersion up to 1m Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).
8 Immersion beyond 1m The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects.

Are higher IP ratings better?

The short and oversimplified answer is yes, higher IP ratings promise greater protection against solid and liquid intrusion that may damage the electrical components. However, the proper answer is that it depends entirely on the application of the product! Higher IP ratings usually represent higher costs for manufacturers to produce the product, as they must implement extra measures in manufacturing, and pay for standardized testing. In some instances, a higher IP rating is simply not necessary, and the cost savings of the manufacturer can be passed onto the consumer.

For example, Arani's LED panels that are installed in offices and commercial spaces have an IP rating of 40. While it is important for the panel's electrical components to be protected against accidental intrusions of fingers and large tools, it is not so important for the panels to be waterproof given their indoor commercial application. Quite in fact, if liquids are readily entering your commercial establishment, you probably have larger problems to worry about...

For more industrial or outdoor applications where metallic dust or liquids may be present, such as in a workshop, garage, or swimming pool, a higher IP rating may be more appropriate. Examples include Arani's workshop and garage LED canopy lights at IP54, LED high bays at IP65, or vapor tight fixtures and flood lights at IP67; these LED lighting products are designed to operate at peak performance in harsher and more exposed conditions.

For your next project, consider IP ratings as an important indicator of the safety and longevity of installing a particular electrical product in a particular location!