What is an IP rating?

An International Protection Rating, or IP code, is also sometimes also known as Ingress Protection Rating.

Consisting of the letters ‘IP’ followed by two digits and an optional letter, these ratings are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies such as dust, dirt and moisture. An X in place of either digit means that either the enclosure has not been tested or that the test is not applicable.

The IP rating scale aims to provide users with more detailed information around protection levels provided by a protective case or structure than general terms such as ‘waterproof’ or ‘shockproof’, which are often not sufficient.

What do the numbers in an IP rating mean?

The numbers that follow IP rating each have a specific meaning:

IP Rating – First Digit: Solids

LevelObject size protected againstEffective against
0Not protectedNo protection against contact with or ingress of objects
1>50mmAny surface of the body, such as the back of the hand. No protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2>12.5mmFingers or similar objects
3>2.5mmTools and thick wires
4>1mmThe majority of wires and screws
5Dust protectedThe ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the operation of the equipment. Offers complete protection against contact

 

6Dust tightNo ingress of dust, with complete protection against contact

IP Rating – Second Digit: Liquids

LevelObject size protected againstEffective against
0Not protected N/A
1Dripping waterVertically dripping water will have no harmful effects

 

2Dripping water when tilted up to 15°
Vertically dripping water will have no harmful effects when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of up to 15° from its standard position
3Spraying water
Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical will have no harmful effect
4Splashing water Water splashed against the enclosure from any direction will have no harmful effect
5Water jetsWater projected by a nozzle against the enclosure from any direction will have no harmful effect

 

6Powerful water jets
Water projected in powerful jets against the enclosure from any direction will have no harmful effect
7Immersion up to 1mIngress of water in a harmful quantity is not possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion).
8Immersion over 1mSuitable for continuous immersion in water, in line with manufacturer’s conditions. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed, however, with some equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only to the extent that it produces no harmful effects

An sample IP rating of IP68 can therefore be interpreted to provide:

  1. IP – ‘Ingress Protection’
  2. First Digit – offering solids protection of 6
  3. Second Digit – offering liquids protection of 8

An electrical socket rated IP22 is protected against insertion of the fingers and will not be damaged or become unsafe during a specified test in which it is exposed to vertically or nearly vertically dripping water.

A rating of IP22 or 2X is  the typical minimum requirement for the design of electrical accessories or equipment for indoor use.

If you have any questions about IP ratings or want to know more about our protective cases, contact CP Cases on 0208 568 1881 or by email at info@cpcases.com.

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