What is an IP Rating?

posted in: Blog

knoXbox Premium Modular Outdoor EnclosuresIP, in this instance refers to Ingress Protection. It should not be confused with intellectual property or internet provider.

All electrical equipment has an IP rating. It is a universally recognised rating and refers to the degree of protection a device will have from particulate matter (dust) and fluids (principally water and solvents). The IP rating covers enclosed electrical equipment which uses currents ranging up to 1000V AC and 1200V DC – basically anything with a mains plug on it.

The IP rating has two numbers, for instance IP65; each digit represents the degree of protection for the above two environmental variables – the first number for the particulates and the second for the fluids.

This rating system gives you an understanding of how the equipment will perform within a specific set of environmental conditions. A lower rating will be enough to ensure the equipment is not dangerous to those who operate it and will keep out enough dust to ensure it continues to function. Higher ratings ensure the equipment will continue to function in the harshest of conditions, for example when exposed to crashing waves or sand-storms. Higher rated equipment is usually designed to fail-safe in the event of a breach in the enclosure but this type of feature is dependent on the type of equipment in use.



So what do the numbers mean?

Here is a chart detailing the level of protection required for each rating.



IP First digit:
Ingress of solid objects
Second digit:
Ingress of liquids
0 No special protection. No special protection.
1 Protected against solid objects over 50mm diameter e.g. hands, large tools. (No protection from deliberate access) Protected against falling drops of water or condensation.
2 Protected against solid objects over 12.5mm diameter, less than 80mm in length e.g. fingers, tools. Protected against vertically falling drops of water.
3 Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm diameter e.g. wire, small tools. Protected against sprays of water from any direction.
4 Protected against solid objects over 1.0mm diameter e.g. wires. Protected against splashed water from any direction.
5 Limited protection against dust ingress.
(Prevents dust built up to the point where it would interfere with operation of the equipment)
Protected against low pressure water jets from any direction. Limited ingress permitted.
6 Totally protected against dust ingress. Protected against high pressure water jets, or heavy seas, from any direction. Limited ingress permitted.
7 N/A Protected against short periods of immersion in water.
8 N/A Protected against long, durable periods of immersion in water.
9k N/A Protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs.


So the rating of IP54 will provide protection against unwanted materials provided that the device is not immersed in water. A device which is rated as IP65 will provide complete protection against dust particles and a high degree of protection from water sprayed from multiple directions.

Other ratings

There are a number of other standards that products can use to show how well they can withstand environmental and deliberate interactions.

NEMA provides a standard specifically for enclosures. The rating system follows a similar path to the IP system in that higher numbers reflect a higher level of protection. For example a NEMA1 enclosure is designed for indoor use and is designed to protect operators against any hazardous parts contained within. NEMA4 would be applicable to something like an outdoor LCD monitor enclosure and is similar in rating to IP65, providing protection for the equipment from dust, water and even the formation of ice on the exterior.

The IK Code provides a reference for an equipments resistance to impact, for example targeted vandalism. The scale runs from IK01 up to IK10 with each step increasing the energy, weight and distance of the impact to the object. For example our exterior monitor enclosures use windows that are rated as IK10 to withstand the equivalent of a hammer blow.

These rating systems allow individuals to specify the degree of protection they need for their equipment to ensure it continues operating as intended in the location that it is sited.

We supply a range of indoor and outdoor monitor enclosures that feature IP ratings. The ratings help distinguish between the enclosures and the level of protection that they offer.