Ingress Protection Ratings Explained


The Panasonic FZ G1 with ingress rating of IP 65

When you’re shopping for a rugged device, you will want to know how robust it is by checking the ingress protection rating. IP ratings are the only consistent way of assessing the degree of protection against the intrusion of solid objects; including dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures. But what do those ingress numbers mean and what do you need to keep in mind when you’re choosing your rugged device? 

What is an IP Rating? 

Ingress Protection Rating is an international standard that defines how effective an electrical device/enclosure is against intrusion from foreign materials. Also known as International Protection marketing, the IP ratings standard gives consumers more detailed information rather than relying on vague marketing terms to describe a product. 

An explanation of the two digit number is defined in international standard IEC 60529, published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The equivalent European standard is EN 60529. 

What do the Numbers in the IP Ratings Mean? 

An IP rating is made up of two numbers. The first digit refers to the device’s protection against intrusion. The second digit refers to the moisture protection. 

What Does an IP Rating Measure?

The IP rating measures a device or electrical enclosure’s ability to protect itself from intrusion and ingress. 

IP Ratings Chart for First Digit – Protection from Solids

The first digit refers to protection from solids.  

0 - Not rated for protection against ingress

1 - Protection against solid objects larger than 50 mm (ie accidental hand contact with open palm)

2 - Protection against solid objects larger than 12 mm (ie accidental finger contact)

3 - Protection against solid objects larger than 2.5 mm (ie tools and wire)

4 - Protection against solid objects larger than 1 mm (ie fine tools and wire, large ants, nails, screws)

5 - Partial protection against dust and other particulates, such that ingress won’t impede the satisfactory performance of internal components

6 - Full protection against dust and other particulates, including a vacuum seal tested against continuous airflow 

The numbers 1-4 refer to protecting people from moving parts of equipment and objects that may impede the item’s mechanical or electrical performance. For example, a 1 rating means there is protection from a large body part such as a hand and 4 provides protection against objects larger than 1mm.   

Electronic devices such as phones, tablets and computers will have a 5 or 6 as the first digit which refers to how dust-proof the device is. 

IP Ratings Chart for Second Digit – Protection from Liquids

The second digit refers to the moisture protection of a device. 

1 - Dripping Water – Vertically falling dripping water 

2 -  Dripping Water When Tilted at 15 – Vertically falling water on to device tilted at an angle of 15 from its normal position

3 -  Spraying Water – Water falling as a spray at an angle of up to 60 from the vertical

4 -Splashing Water – Water splashing from any angle against the device

5 - Water Jets – Water projected from a 6.3 mm nozzle against the device from any angle

6 - Powerful Water Jets – Water projected from a 12.5 mm powerful nozzle against the device from any angle

7 - Immersion up to 1 metre depth – Device may be immersed in up to 1 metre of water for 30 minutes

8 - Immersion of 1 metre or more depth – Device may be immersed in 1 metre or more of water for 1 hour            

What Are IPX Ratings? 

Some products are certified for solid or waterproof protection, not both, so only one number will appear. If the first digit is a 0 or is replaced with an X, it means the object has no rating for protection against solids including dust. If the second digit is a 0 or is replaced with an X, the device has no protection against any kind of moisture. 

For example, IPX6 – device is certified to protect against water jets, but not against solids or dust    

Multiple IP Ratings 

A few devices on the market have more than one IP rating. For example, a smartphone may be IP 55 and IP57. To claim the highest IP rating, a device must pass all previous tests leading up to the top rating achieved. In this case, the smartphone has failed the Level 6 Power Water Jet Test, but passed Level 7 being immersed in up to 1 metre of water for 30 minutes.  

There are no hyphens in a genuine IP code.  

History of IEC

The IEC was founded in 1906 and is the leading organisation for publishing international standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies, collectively known as ‘electrotechnology’.

All IEC International Standards represent the needs of key stakeholders of every nation taking part. Every member country has one vote in what goes into an IEC International Standard. There are currently 62 full members and 26 associate members of the IEC. Australia is a full member. The central office is in Switzerland and six other offices around the world. 

What is the Difference Between IP and MIL-STD Rating? 

MIL-STD is a rating used by the US Military for accrediting equipment as suitable in military applications. The military grade equipment must be able to cope with a wide range of harsh environmental conditions. 

Types of IP Rated Products

While consumers of rugged electronic devices rely on IP ratings to assess the likely performance of a device, the same system is used by many other industries and types of products. The degree of protection depends on the product, its purpose and the environment it’s used in. The right level of protection ensures users are kept safe and the product lasts for its expected life.

The range of products that use the ingress protection rating include:

  • Various enclosures and system housings and enclosure accessories including brackets, screws, nuts, panels, racks, locks, and keypads. 
  • Floor standing and general-purpose enclosures
  • Handheld enclosures for controllers and electronic instruments
  • Instrument cases
  • Power supply cases
  • Wall boxes
  • Indoor and outdoor lights

Ratings to Look For in Rugged Equipment

Rugged devices have an IP rating of IP67 or IP68. With IP67, the device is water resistant and can be immersed in water for up to 30 minutes while IP68 means the device can cope with continuous immersion. 

When a device has both IP68 and MIL-STD 810 certifications, you can be confident that it can survive extreme shock and temperature variations the MIL-STD rating demands and will be safe from dust and water which the IP rating requires.  

If you need help with information about the I.P. rating of any products, don’t hesitate to contact the experts at Roaming Technologies by calling 1300 131 933 or contact us online.

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