IP Rating Explained
One of the most common tech specs you will find when browsing for lighting fixtures is the IP rating. Common IP ratings for lights include IP44, IP55, and IP65. But, what does the IP rating actually mean?
In this quick guide, we will explain how the IP rating works and why it is crucial. You can find a table with all the IP ratings explained for reference at the end of this guide.
Whether you’re looking to buy a new mobile phone, garden lights, or a smartwatch, the IP rating is one of the most important specifications to consider. So, let’s take a look at how it works!
What is the IP rating?
The IP rating stands for "Ingress Protection", and it is a metric to determine the level of protection of electrical devices against dust, foreign objects, and moisture. In short, this rating tells you whether a certain device, such as a mobile phone or lighting fixture, is water-resistant and dustproof.
The IP rating is on a scale from 0 to 68. Each rating has 2 digits: the first digit represents the intrusion protection (dust and foreign objects), and the second digit corresponds to moisture protection (water, pressure, and temperature).
On rare occasions, you might find an ‘x’ instead of a number. This means that the manufacturer wasn’t able to determine the level of protection for the device. You will usually see this represented as ‘IPX’.
Why is the IP rating important for lights?
The IP rating for lights tells you whether the fixtures are waterproof and weatherproof. This rating is specifically important for outdoor lights because they need a high level of protection against dust and water to function properly.
Therefore, if you’re considering buying garden lights, you should always look at their IP rating. A high IP rating will ensure your lighting fixtures work all year round, even in extreme weather conditions like heavy rain, strong winds, and snow.
Though the IP rating is not as crucial for indoor lights, this specification still gives you an indication of the built quality of the lighting fixtures.
Moreover, if you’re buying bathroom lights, the IP rating is just as essential. You need a high IP rating for bathroom lights due to the moisture present in the room after a bath or shower.
How does the IP rating work?
The IP rating consists of a 2-digit number that refers to the protection an item offers against the intrusion of liquid objects (water) and solid objects (dust).
The first digit of the rating corresponds to the solid objects intrusion protection whereas the second digit represents the moisture protection.
Solid Objects Intrusion Protection (First Digit)
The intrusion protection digit rates the protection level against solid objects, such as dust and other particulates. This rating varies between 0 and 6. When the first digit is 0, the fixture has no protection against ingress.
On the other hand, if your device has a rating equal to 6, it has full protection against foreign objects, such as dust and other particulates, including a vacuum seal, tested against continuous airflow.
Moisture Protection (Second Digit)
The moisture protection digit rates the protection level against moisture, water jets, and high-temperature liquids. This metric varies between 0 and 9. When the second digit is 0, the fixture has no protection against moisture.
On the contrary, if your fixture has a rating equal to 9, then it has full protection against high-pressure and high-temperature jet sprays, wash-downs, and steam-cleaning procedures.
IP Rating for Lights Explained
Protection against solid objects greater than 1mm and protection from water splashing in any angle.
Protection against solid objects (such as tools and small wires) greater than 1mm and protection from low pressure water jets in any direction.
|IP55||Some protection against dust and protection from water splashing in any angle.|
|IP65||Complete protection against dust and complete protection from water jets.|
|IP66||Complete protection against dust and protection against powerful water jets and heavy seas.|
|IP67||Full protection against dust and protection against the effects of temporary submersion in water (up to 30 minutes).|
|IP68||Full protection against dust and other foreign objects. Protection against the effects of permanent submersion in water (waterproof).|
What is the minimum IP rating for lights?
The minimum IP rating generally required for lights is IP44. This rating will protect your lights against rain and spraying water. This means that lights with the IP44 rating can get wet.
Bathroom lights and shower lights should have a minimum rating of IP45 because they’re often exposed to high levels of moisture. Bathroom lights with an IP45 rating are safe to use and they’re fully protected against water jets and moisture.
Since kitchen lights are not as exposed to moisture conditions, you can use lights that have a reduced IP rating for the kitchen and living areas. It is recommended that you use kitchen lights with an IP20 rating. This rating offers full protection against steam generated moisture, condensation, and water drips.
On the other hand, outside lights, such as solar-powered lights, usually require a high IP rating because they’re exposed to weather conditions and erosion elements all year round. Therefore, it is recommended that you use outdoor lights with an IP65 rating for full protection against dust ingress and high pressure water jets.
Outdoor lights with this IP rating are extremely resistant and durable.
Read more: Can outdoor lights get wet?
What is the best IP rating for outdoor lights?
The best IP rating for outdoor lights is IP65. Lighting fixtures with this rating have complete protection against water jets and foreign objects. This means that these lights can withstand extreme weather conditions, such as heavy rain and snow.
Other popular IP ratings for outdoor lights are IP66 and IP67. These ratings offer the same protection against dust but they’re better protected against moisture and water. These ratings are ideal for pool lights, for example.
All in all, the IP65 rating is ideal for outdoor lights since it is considered both water resistant and weatherproof.
What is better IP65 or IP44?
One of the most common questions from our customers is which rating between IP44 and IP65 is better.
Though this will depend on whether you use indoor lights or outdoor lights, the IP65 rating is better than IP44 because it gives better protection against dust, moisture, water, and other foreign objects.
The IP65 rating means that the lights are protected against water jets from any direction, therefore they’re weatherproof and can be used outside all year round.