IP Ratings Explained
Your questions about IP Ratings answered
IP ratings essentially tell you exactly how resistant a product is to water and dust ingress, so you can work out exactly how well suited it is to a given task. If you’ve already browsed through our extensive range of vehicle safety products, you may have spotted the little set of numbers on each one, marked as its IP rating. Their meaning isn’t immediately obvious to everyone, but they serve a vital function in indicating how well each product is suited to the role you have in mind. We’ve collected some of the most common questions about IP ratings and formed them into the short guide below, so you can quickly find out everything you need to know.
What is an IP Rating?
IP stands for Ingress Protection, and it’s basically a code designed to indicate how well an item is able to resist intrusion from foreign bodies. ‘Foreign bodies’ here is a fairly wide-ranging term, used to refer to everything from large items like tools or human hands, all the way down to minuscule particles like dust, and liquids like water.
IP ratings are governed by the international standard EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989).
Why is an IP Rating important?
IP ratings are chiefly valuable because they’re very specific about the level of protection each item has. To give you a bit more of an idea, lots of products on the market claim they’re ‘water-resistant’, but there’s a lot of ambiguity in exactly what that means. Some of these products might be able to resist a quick splash of water and that’s it, whereas others might be able to withstand getting blasted by a hose for a few minutes.
Plus, water-resistant and waterproof are exactly the same. If your phone describes itself as water-resistant, that doesn’t necessarily mean it can withstand full submersion. Similarly, products that are described as dust resistant might not be able to handle a trip to a sandy beach.
IP ratings are designed to remove any level of ambiguity inherent in these terms by telling you exactly how resistant any given product is to dust and liquids. This way, you can be far more certain of just how well-suited it is to the role you have in mind.
How do IP Ratings work?
It’s thankfully not too complicated. The numbers on each IP rating serve as a two-digit code. The first number will be a digit between one and six, and indicates the level of protection against solid physical objects, whether they’re large ones like human hands or fingers, or minuscule ones like dust and microscopic particles. The second number indicates the level of moisture protection – essentially, how vulnerable the item is to water damage.
Here are a few examples
An IP65 enclosure is dust-tight, and protected against a jet of water projected from a nozzle
An IP66 enclosure is dust-tight, and protected against powerful jets of water or, the impact of heavy seas
An IP67 enclosure is dust-tight, and protected against full immersion in water for about 30 minutes at a time, at depths of between 150mm to 1000mm.
An IP68 enclosure is dust-tight and largely waterproof, being protected against complete immersion in water for extended periods.
Here at Vision Techniques, the majority of our products are between IP67 and IP68, making them more than capable of handling the intensive day-to-day demands of the environments in which they’ll typically be used. In fact, every product in our wide range of vehicle safety products has been designed with durability and reliability in mind, so you can always trust them with your safety and that of everyone surrounding you. Check out our product pages for more detail. If you’ve got any questions about any of our products, or you need some specialist advice, feel free to give us a call on 01254 679 717 – we’re here to help!
Check out our info graph for a full explanation. IP rating