IEC standard 60529, titled “Degrees of protection provided by enclosures (IP Code)” classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion (body parts such as hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. Ratings are often referred to as IP ratings, Ingress Protection ratings and International Protection ratings.
The standard aims to provide users with more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as water-resistant. The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. Where there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to one of the criteria, the digit is replaced with the letter X. The digit 0 is used where no protection is provided.
A rating of X for one or more of the protection criteria can be erroneously misinterpreted as “no protection.” For example, a luminaire rated IPX7 will almost certainly demonstrate a robust resistance to the ingress of particles, even though a rating for ingress of solids hasn’t been formally assigned. Therefore, an X designation should not be automatically misconstrued as a lack of protection.
Typical IP ratings are in the form of IPxx (where ‘x’ is a single numeral). A third digit was introduced to relate Impact Protection information, but this has been deprecated. Optionally, a letter can be added to the end of the numerals to indicate other protections.
Solid Object Ingress Protection
The first digit indicates 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.
|Objects protected against
|Objects protected against-
|Effective againstNo protection against contact and ingress of objects
|Objects protected againstObjects >50mm
|Effective againstAny large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
|Objects protected againstObjects >12.5mm
|Effective againstFingers or similar objects
|Objects protected againstObjects >2.5mm
|Effective againstTools, thick wires, etc.
|Objects protected againstObjects >1mm
|Effective againstMost wires, screws, etc.
|Objects protected againstDust (protected)
|Effective againstIngress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it will not enter in sufficient quantities to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment, and it is completely protected against contact
|Objects protected againstDust (tight)
|Effective againstNo ingress of dust, and completely protected against contact
Liquid Ingress Protection
The second digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against harmful ingress of water.
|Protected againstNot protected
|Protected againstDripping water
|Testing forDripping water (vertically falling drops)
|DetailsTest duration: 10 minutes Water equivalent to 1mm rainfall per minute
|Protected againstDripping water when tilted up to 15°
|Testing forVertically dripping water when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position
|DetailsTest duration: 10 minutes Water equivalent to 3mm rainfall per minute
|Protected againstSpraying water
|Testing forWater falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical
|DetailsTest duration: 5 minutes Water volume: 0.7 litres per minute Pressure: 80-100kPa
|Protected againstSplashing of water
|Testing forWater splashing against the enclosure from any direction
|DetailsTest duration: 5 minutes Water volume: 10 litres per minute Pressure: 80-100kPa
|Protected againstWater jets
|Testing forWater projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction
|DetailsTest duration: at least 3 minutes Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute Pressure: 30kPa at a distance of 3m
|Protected againstPowerful water jets
|Testing forWater projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against enclosure from any direction
|DetailsTest duration: at least 3 minutes Water volume: 100 litres per minute Pressure: 100kPa at a distance of 3m
|Protected againstPowerful water jets with increased pressure
|Testing forWater projected in powerful jets (6.3mm nozzle) under elevated pressure against enclosure from any direction
|DetailsTest duration: at least 3 minutes Water volume: 75 litres per minute Pressure: 1000kPa at a distance of 3m
|Protected againstImmersion up to 1m depth
|Testing forImmersion in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1m of submersion)
|DetailsTest duration: 30 minutes The lowest point of enclosures with a height less than 850mm is located 1000mm below the surface of the water, the highest point of enclosures with a height equal to or greater than 850mm is located 150mm below the surface of the water
|Protected againstImmersion beyond 1m depth
|Testing forContinuous immersion in water under conditions specified by the manufacturer
|DetailsTest duration: continuous immersion in water Depth: specified by manufacturer
|Protected againstPowerful high temperature water jets
|Testing forProtected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs
The standard defines additional letters (A, B, C & D) that can be appended to classify only the level of protection against access to hazardous parts by persons, and further letters can be appended to provide additional information related to the protection of the device. These are not commonly utilised in the case of luminaires.