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What Do IP Ratings Mean?

IP (known as Ingress Protection or International Protection), is a standard rating of protection an enclosure can provide against solid objects (such dust particles and fingers), and moisture. IP is also used to refer to “Internet Protocol” and is used in reference to cameras; however, when we refer to IP on this page, we want to make it clear that we are talking about product weather ratings.

An IP rating consists of the letters “IP” followed by two a two-digit number. The first number represents the level of protection an enclosure has against solids, moving parts and dust, and the second number represents the level of protection against moisture, fluids and water. A first or second digit replaced with an “X” means that there is no protection offered for that particular digit’s criteria.

The IP rating is important for determining what type of enclosure is right for your usage in your given environment. For example, if you lived in Seattle you could have very different IP rating needs for an outdoor enclosure than a person who lived in Las Vegas because of the different environmental conditions. The tables below provide a list of IP Ratings and the level of protection offered:

First Digit (Solids & Dust)

1st Digit   Effective Against
0 No protection against solids, intrusion or dust.
1 Large body parts, a large tool or any solid object greater than 50 mm in size. (Does not include protection from deliberate intrusion.)
2 Objects over 12 mm in size such as a finger.
3 Solid objects over 2.5 mm in size such as a wire or small tool.
4 Solid objects over 1 mm in size such as a small wire or bug.
5 Limited protection from dust with no harmful amounts being able to get in.
6 Total protection from dust particles (dust-proof).

Second Digit (Moisture & Fluids)

2nd Digit   Effective Against
0 No protection against moisture.
1 Vertically falling drops of water.
2 Vertically dripping water or light rain as long as the enclosure is tilted at an angle at least 15 degrees up from its standard position.
3 Sprays of water as long as the enclosure is tilted at an angle at least 60 degrees up from its vertical position.
4 Splashing water from any direction has no harmful effect.
5 Low pressure water jets projected from all directions have no harmful effect.
6 High power water jets or waves will not harm the enclosure.
7 Temporary immersion in water up to 1 m within defined pressure conditions.
8 Prolonged immersion in water beyond 1 m within defined conditions specified by the manufacturer.

To illustrate the level of protection the first and second number within an IP rating delivers, we’ve listed the 3 most commonly used IP ratings below.

IP65 Total dust protection and low pressure water protection from any direction; best for under an awning or eve.

IP66 Total dust protection and high pressure water protection; best where you expect rain.

IP67 Total dust protection and can be immersed completely in water; ideal for harsh weather environments.