IP Ratings Explained

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IP Ratings Explained

Posted on: 22nd April 2021

We’ve all been there. You’re sat at an outdoor cinema, snacks in hand as Hugh and Zac get ready for a blistering duet when it starts to rain, shorts out the equipment and writes off the popcorn... Okay, so maybe you’ve not been there exactly but trust me; nothing ruins expensive AV equipment and date night quite like the Great British weather.

 

While utterly devastating, this situation isn’t typical for professionally specified outdoor events & open-air spaces. As technology has evolved in recent years, most professional AV brands offer IP rated lighting and sound with sufficient weatherproofing or water resistance for outdoor applications. Even the mobile in your pocket probably has an IP rating. But what exactly does that IP rating mean?

 

An IP rating (aka IP Code) stands for Ingress Protection, which is defined by the British Standards Institution (BSI) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) as, “a system for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment.” Catchy right? Essentially, IP ratings provide a concrete way to classify how resistant equipment is to damage – the two digits referring to the level of protection against solid objects and water respectively (e.g. IP67 protects against all solid objects and full immersion in water a maximum depth of 1 metre for up to 30 minutes).

 

IP ratings not only make it easier for you and your customer to understand exactly what level of protection a product has, it deters manufactures from throwing around terms like ‘weather resistant’, or ‘waterproof’ without any – well, proof – and forces them to build to a consistent specification giving you more confidence when buying.

 

So, when should I use IP rated equipment and what IP rating do I need? Well, this depends on the environment in which the product will be used. For shower rooms or covered pub gardens where equipment may only be splashed with water, Apart Mask speakers (IP64) or CHAUVET DJ Festoon lamps (IP54) would sail through unharmed. For applications like permanent architectural lighting or playground PA speakers, IP66 rated products like the Martin Pro Exterior Projection Series or RCF HD21EN horns will easily stand up to long term outdoor use.

 

What about really hostile AV applications like cruise ships or underwater environments? An important thing to note when choosing equipment for harsh environments, even the highest IP ratings (IP68 or IP69) won’t necessarily protect against everything you throw at it. Areas with high concentrations of salt-water, extreme temperatures or particular chemicals can still damage equipment that’s only rated against dust and water. For products rated IP68 each manufacture will specify what their product is protected against and to what extent.

 

We work with a wide range of brand partners to supply you with IP rated sound and lighting solutions to suit even the toughest environments. If you have a challenging application in mind and would like to discuss your requirements with our team, call 01525 850085 or email sales@leisuretec.co.uk.

 

IP Ratings Chart

Use our chart below to work out what IP rating you need for your projects and click here to download your free guide to IP ratings.

 

First Digit: Protection from solid objects and particulate matter

IP Rating

Level of Protection

X

No information available from manufacturer on protection against solid matter

0

Not rated against damage from solid objects or particles

1

Protects against solid objects larger than 50mm

2

Protects against solid objects larger than 12mm

3

Protects against solid objects larger than 2.5mm

4

Protects against solid objects larger than 1mm

5

Partial protection against solid objects and particles such that no harm will come to components or performance

6

Full protection against solid objects and particles including a vacuum seal, tested against continuous air flow

 

Second Digit: Protection from liquids and moisture

IP Rating

Level of Protection

X

No information available from manufacturer on protection against water ingress

0

Not rated against damage from liquids or moisture

1

Protects against vertical falling drops of water when in upright position

2

Protects against vertical falling drops of water when tilted up to 15° from normal upright position

3

Protects against direct water sprayed when tilted up to 60° from normal upright position

4

Protects against splashing water from any direction resulting in no harmful effects

5

Protects against low pressure water jets (6.3mm) from any direction resulting in no harmful effects

6

Protects against low pressure water jets (12.5mm) from any direction resulting in no harmful effects

7

Protects against full immersion in water a maximum depth of 1 metre for up to 30 minutes

8

Protects against prolonged under water immersion as specified by the manufacturer. Additional environmental protections may be included such as against temperature, pressure and chemical harm

9K

Protects against high-pressure and high temperature water jets and cleaning procedures

 

 

Example IP Ratings

 

IP20 Moving Head

Protection against solid objects larger than 12mm with no protection against water or liquids. Keep clear of all water sources.

IPX4 Garden Speaker

No information available on resistance to solid matter. Protects against splashing water from any direction with no harmful effects

IP55 Surface Speaker

Partial protection against all solid matter and low-pressure water jets (6.3mm) from any direction. Ingress may occur with no damage to parts or performance.

   

    

Downloads

IP Ratings Explained
IP Ratings Explained
IP Ratings Explained
IP Ratings Explained