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International Protection Classes

Published by Jason Koffler on 21 July 2011

The IP Code (or Ingress Protection Rating, sometimes also interpreted as International Protection Rating) consists of the letters IP followed by two digits or one digit and one letter and an optional letter. As defined in international standard IEC 60529, IP Code classifies and rates the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in mechanical casings and with electrical enclosures3.

The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. However, no edition of the standard is openly published for unlicensed readers, hence leaving space for varying interpretation.

The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. Where there is no protection rating with regard to one of the criteria, the digit is replaced with the letter X.

For example, an electrical socket rated IP22 is protected against insertion of fingers and will not be damaged or become unsafe during a specified test in which it is exposed to vertically or nearly vertically dripping water. IP22 or 2X are typical minimum requirements for the design of electrical accessories for indoor us

Solids, first digit.

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.

Level Object size protected against Effective against
0 No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1 >50 mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 >12.5 mm Fingers or similar objects
3 >2.5 mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1 mm Most wires, screws, etc.
5 Dust protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact
6 Dust tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact

Liquids, second digit.

Protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against harmful ingress of water.

Level Protected against Testing for Details
0 Not protected
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 10 minutes Water equivalent to 1mm rainfall per minute
2 Dripping water when tilted up to 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position. Test duration: 10 minutes Water equivalent to 3mm rainfall per minute
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes Water volume: 0.7 litres per minute Pressure: 80–100 kN/m²
4 Splashing water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes Water volume: 10 litres per minute Pressure: 80–100 kN/m²
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute Pressure: 30 kN/m² at distance of 3m
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes Water volume: 100 litres per minute Pressure: 100 kN/m² at distance of 3m
7 Immersion up to 1 m Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion). Test duration: 30 minutes Immersion at depth of 1m
8 Immersion beyond 1 m The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. Test duration: continuous immersion in water Depth specified by manufacturer

Quick look up information

IP Rating Information
IP 20 Protected against access to hazardous parts with a finger
IP 21 Protected against vertically falling water drops
IP 23 Protected against spraying water
IP 40 Protected against solid objects of 1 mm diameter and greater
IP 43 Protected against solid objects 1 mm and against spraying water
IP 44 Protected against solid objects 1 mm and against splashing water
IP 50 Dust-protected
IP 54 Dust-protected and protected against splashing water
IP 55 Dust-protected and protected against water-jets
IP 56 Dust-protected and protected against powerful water-jets
IP 65 Dust-tight and protected against water-jets
IP 67 Dust-tight and protected against temporary immersion in water
IP 68 Dust-tight and protected against ontinuous immersion in water

Nema Rating.

IP Code Min. NEMA Enclosure rating to satisfy IP Code
IP20 1
IP54 3
IP65 4, 4X
IP67 6
IP68 6P

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