Ingress Protection ratings or IP ratings are defined by international standard IEC 60529, which classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (which includes body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures. The IP Rating provides a clearer meaning rather than vague marketing terms such as waterproof or water resistant.

Ingress Protection ratings explained

IP Rating for solid objects.

The numbers indicate conformity with the conditions shown below with the first digit indicating the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts (e.g., electrical conductors, moving parts) and the ingress of solid foreign objects.

Solid foreign objects can be anything from fingers (ouch!) to tools to dust and anything in between. Knowing what degree of protection the housing provides should be a key part of health and safety planning both for existing equipment and new purchases.

LevelObject size protected againstEffective against
0 Not protected No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1>50mmAny large surface of the body, such as the back of the hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part.
2 >12.5mmFingers or similar objects.
3 >2.5mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4>1mmMost wires, screws, etc.
5Dust 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.
6Dust TightNo ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.

IP Rating for liquids.

The second digit relates to liquids and protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against harmful ingress of water.

Object size protected against Effective against
0 Not protected
1IP01Dripping waterDripping 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 waterWater 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 1mIngress 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).
8Immersion 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.

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