Ingression Protection IP Guide

Ingression Protection IP Standards5 min read

There are few different ingression protection standard guides out there, so we are mainly aiming to clear up some unanswered questions.  Our guide is meant to facilitate your understanding of IP standards so they can make better choices when it comes to products where ingression protection applies.

What Is Ingression Protection?

An IP code, such as IP35, is a code that shows the level of protection of certain products (electronics, machinery parts, etc) and their enclosure against solid particle and water entering the product (or its components) and ruining the proper operation of that product, damaging the product itself or even creating a dangerous situation. Knowledge of the IP codes will help you make better choices when shopping in the USA.

How To Read An Ingression Protection Code?

The code is made of 3 parts:

IP – it is an acronym for Ingression Protection

A digit that follows immediately after IP, which is the protection rating against solid particle ingression. If the product does not have a solid particle ingression rating, that digit is replaced with an X.

Another digit that follows after the solid particle ingression rating digit (or X for products that are not dust-resistant), which is the protection rating against water ingression.

To read the whole IP code, find the corresponding numbers in the solid particle ingression rating table and the water ingression rating table. The particle size, water contact and description columns should give you an idea of what your new “toy” can withstand. Please keep in mind that some manufacturers (featured on a lot of online shops) confuse terms such as water resistant, water proof, dust protected, dust tight and might use incorrect terminology when describing their product. Parcelux tries to correct such mistakes through our verification system, but, generally, the IP ratings are provided by the manufacturer of the product or by the supplier of the product.

What Is A Solid Particle Defined As

Some manufacturers and even some ingression guides on the Internet make a confusion between a solid particle ingression rating and a dust-protection rating. The truth is that a product is dust-protected, or partially dust-resistant only if it has a solid particle ingression rating of 5 and dust tight, or fully protected against dust if it has a solid particle ingression rating of 6. A product that is dust protected (has a rating of 5) is only partially protected against dust, meaning that some dust may still enter the product, but not enough to prevent its proper operation. Products that have a solid particle ingression rating lower than 5 are not dust protected, dust tight, or dust-resistant as some manufactures vaguely describe their products.

Solid Particle Ingression Rating Table

Rating Particle Size Description
X N/A Not tested against solid ingression
0 N/A Not protected against any kind of solid particle ingression
1 Greater than 50mm or 1.96in Protected against contact from objects (or human body parts) that have a surface greater than aprox. 2 inches. An example is an adults hand (but not the fingers, since they are smaller than 2 inches)
2 Greater than 12.5mm or 0.49in Protected against adult fingers and similar sized objects
3 Greater than 2.5mm or 0.09in Protected against certain tools, such as regular screwdrivers or thick wired
4 Greater than 1mm or 0.03in Protected against some insects, most wires, etc
5 Dust Protected Some dust still enters, but not enough to interfere with the product’s proper operation
6 Dust Tight Completed protected against dust, tested up to 8 hours.

Water Ingression Rating Table

Some technical details are not included in the table below, such as the exact water pressure during a rating test, or the exact water volume used. For a more technical description, please read this Wikipedia article or consult IEC or the International Electrotechnical Commission, which is the authority on the IP rating system used to define the level of protection offered by electrical enclosures.

Rating Type Of Water Contact Description
0 N/A Not tested against water ingression
1 Vertically dripping water Light (slight) rain, tested for 10 minutes against 1mm or 0.3in rainfall
2 15° vertically dripping water Simulates moderate rain, the equivalent of 3mm or 0.11in rainfall for 10 minutes in 4 different 15° positions
3 60° spraying water 1 minute per square meter (10.7 square ft) for at least 5 minutes
4 Water splash Test run for 10 minutes
5 Water jet 1 minute per square meter (10.7 square ft) for at least 15 minutes
6 Powerful water jet 1 minute per square meter (10.7 square ft) for at least 3 minutes, 8 times more powerful jets than #5
6K Powerful water jet with increased pressure At least 3 minutes
7 Water immersion, up to 1m or 3.28 ft 30 minutes test
8 Water immersion, more than 1m or 3.28 ft Test duration & depth specified by the manufacturer…
9k Powerful high temperature water jet 30 seconds tests applied to 4 different angles, for a total of 2 minutes in 80° Celsius or 176° Fahrenheit water. Remember those Youtube videos of a smartphone thrown in hot water?

Worth mentioning is that IPX8 product that is tested for water immersion at 10 meters (33 ft) is exposed to approximately 100kPa of pressure.  An IPX6k product is tested under a 1000kPa pressure from a 3 meters (10ft) distance. My point is that an IPX8 product might not also be IPX6k rated. Just because that rating is higher, it doesn’t mean that it includes all the lower ratings. Or, even better said, just because a product can be used for diving, it doesn’t mean that it can also take high pressure water jets or high temperature water jets and vice-versa.

So…umm…what should I choose?

Parcelux’s advice is to choose your products based on the application or activity that you need them for. If you need a diving flashlight, choose one that is IPX8. If you need a bluetooth speaker for your shower, you might want to choose an IPX4 if you keep it very close to the shower or IPX3 if it is further away. To check if the manufacturer/supplier is using accurate IP ratings, read other customer reviews, contact them directly or, for products listed on our website, ask us to double-check (since they are a third party we make no guarantees that their answer will be timely or accurate).