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IP Ratings Explained

  • by chris basford
IP Ratings Explained

When choosing lighting, most people focus on the design, aesthetics and ambience the light fitting will bring to your home or business premises. However, it is also important to think about how the light fitting will be protected against the elements, especially for use outside or in areas with high levels of moisture, such as a bathroom. In this blog post, we will look at what IP ratings mean and why they are important in the lighting industry.



What is an IP Rating?

 IP stands for ingress protection and it is an international standard known as IEC 60529. The IP rating classifies how much protection an electrical fitting offers against liquids and solids, and you may have noticed it on the packaging for light fittings with the IP being followed by two numbers. The first number shows the level of protection against solids and the second number shows to what degree the item is protected against liquids.



What do the different IP ratings mean?

 The first number after the IP shows how much protection the case has against intrusion from solid items. The numbers are classified from 0 to 6 with 6 being the highest level of protection. The IP number is made up of a rating from the solids chart followed by a rating from the water chart.


 0 - If an item has a rating of 0, it offers no protection against contact or intrusion of solids

1 - A rating of 1 means that the item is protected from a solid object bigger than 50 mm

2 - 2 means that the item is protected from a solid object bigger than 12 mm

3 - This means that the item would be protected from a solid object sized greater than 2.5 mm

4 - A rating of 4 means that the item would be protected from a solid of around 1 mm

5 - This rating signifies that the item would be protected from dust, so it wouldn't be harmed

6 - 6 is the highest level of protection from dust or other objects. No particles should be able to enter the item at level 6.


 0 - A rating of 0 means that the item is not protected from water

1 - If given a rating of 1, the item is protected against liquid dripping at a vertical angle

2 - A rating of 2 should give limited liquid entry when tilted up to 15 degrees

3 - 3 should protect an item from vertical spraying liquid up to an angle of 60 degrees

4 - This rating should protect the item from vertical splashing liquid up to an angle of 60 degrees

5 - If given a rating of 5, the item should be protected from jets of water from any direction

6 - Level 6 protects an item from powerful jets of liquid from any direction

7 - A rating of 7 is given if an item can be protected from immersion in water between 15 cm and 1 meter

8 - Level 8 will protect against immersion in water over 1 meter

9 - The highest level of 9 will protect an item against high pressure water, steam and high temperatures.



Lower IP Ratings for Lighting

 If a lighting fixture has an IP of lower than IP44, then it will be suitable for use indoors and in places that are not exposed to water or dust, such as a bedroom or living room. The most common rating found in light fittings for the home is IP20. If a light fitting is given a rating between IP44 and IP65, it can be used either indoors or outdoors but it should be placed in a sheltered location away from the worst weather conditions.



Higher IP Ratings for Lighting

 If a light fitting has a higher IP classification, then it can be used in places where it will be exposed to a variety of weather conditions or if there is a possibility of contact with dust or solid intrusions. Look for fittings with an IP rating of IP65 or above, as these are considered suitable for indoor and outdoor use and are waterproof. If you need a light fitting for an outdoor location, a place where there is lots of dirt, dust and debris, wet spaces such as pools, wet rooms, bathrooms or showers, then you must choose a light with a rating of IP65 or above. For pools, underwater features or fountains with lights, the fitting should have a water rating of IP 7 or 8 to prevent any damage from water.



IP Ratings for Bathrooms

 It is very important to use the correct IP rated lights in bathrooms for safety and durability. Bathrooms are also divided into different zones with the following IP ratings:

 Zone 0 - This is the area inside the shower or bath. Lights in these areas need a minimum IP of 67, which allows submersion.

Zone 1 - This is the area above the shower or bath up to a height of 2.25 meters. Lights in this area need to be IP45 to protects against any water splashes.

Zone 2 - This is the perimeter area of 0.6 meters around the shower or bath and a height of up to 2.25 meters. Lights need to have an IP rating of 44 in this area Outside these zones - Lights can have a standard IP ratings.

 It is important to choose the correct IP ratings for your light fittings for safety and to protect your lights against the weather or other intrusions. At LightHub Direct, the IP ratings for our lights are clearly displayed on each item, making it easy for you to choose the right light fitting for your needs and location. From bulkheads and downlights to bathroom lights and garage lighting, we have a variety of options available to suit different IP ratings and meet your specific lighting requirements. If you need any help deciding which IP rating is best for you, our team of experts are always available to assist you.

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