Ingress Protection (IP) and what it means
The IP Code (or International Protection Rating, sometimes also interpreted as Ingress Protection Rating*) consists of the letters IP followed by two digits and an optional letter. As defined in international standard IEC 60529, it classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures. The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof.
The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. For example, an electrical socket rated IP22 is protected against insertion of 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. IP22 or 2X are typical minimum requirements for the design of electrical accessories for indoor use.
What does IP stand for?
IP is an acronym "Ingress Protection". It is a measurement of the protection an item will have against solid objects (dust, sand, dirt, etc.) and liquids.
An IP rating is comprised of 2 numbers. The first number refers to the protection against solid objects (dust, etc) and the second number refers to protection against liquids.
What is an IP Rating?
Each IP rating has two numbers, both of which give you information about the protection level. A higher number means greater protection against solids and liquids.
- The first number (0-6) refers to the level of protection against solid objects and moving parts, such as dust, debris, or other solid matter.
- The second number (0-8) references the level of liquid and moisture protection.
Take a look at the chart below to better understand the protection offered with each number.
Example :With an IP65 rating, the LEDs can be used in an outside setting and are water-resistant but they are not waterproof and are not suitable to be submerged. An IP68 can be submerged in water.
What is the difference between IP65, IP67 & IP68?
The differences between commonly sold IP65, IP67, & IP68 strips are slight, but very important. Using the above chart as a guide, we can see that all strips are protected at the highest level from solids and dust. The variations come with the protection against liquids.
IP65 = Water resistant. “Protected against water jets from any angle” *Do NOT submerge IP65 LED lights, these are not waterproof.
IP67 = Water resistant plus. “Protected against the events of temporary submersion (10 minutes)”*Do NOT submerge IP67 LED lights for extended periods, these are not waterproof.
IP68 = Waterproof “Protected against the events of permanent submersion up to 3 meters”
What IP Rating Will You Need?
If you don’t anticipate a harsh environment that is extremely dusty or wet then a lower IP rating would suffice.
In places that will have a lot of dust, debris, or potential to be in contact with any solids or liquids, you’ll want to make sure that the IP ratings are high and that you have adequate water resistant or waterproof coatings on your LED strip lights.
Examples of IP Ratings and Uses
Low IP ratings are appropriate for:
- Indoor use
- Protected use inside sealed products
- Inside sealed signage
- When using aluminum extrusions
High IP ratings are appropriate for:
- Unsealed outdoor locations
- Places that have a lot of debris
- Areas with heavy foot traffic
- High splash areas
- High contact areas (people touching them)
- Wet locations