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Why pay attention to IP rating when buying LED lamps?

Why pay attention to IP rating when buying LED lamps?

When choosing lights for any space, you are bound to encounter an IP rating. But what is an IP rating, and how do you decide which rating to use? Find out all about IP ratings with this comprehensive guide.

1. What Is an IP Rating?

IP level indicates the level of protection a device provides against solid objects and liquid intrusions. The IP rating usually consists of two numbers: the first number indicates the level of protection for solid materials, and the second number indicates the level of protection for liquids. A third letter describing additional information may be used but is usually omitted.

Protective solid

The first number in the IP class is the number that specifies the object's protection against solids, with 0 indicating no protection and 6 providing maximum protection.

Protection of liquids

The second digit of the IP level is the number that defines the liquid protection level, with 0 providing no protection and 9K providing maximum protection.

Other safeguards

A letter can describe other facts related to shell protection. This is optional and is not usually used.

2. Why use an IP rating system? Why is it so important?

Not only because it provides information about the lamps, but because it is an international standard, the IP rating system also crucial.

2.1 Assist you to select the appropriate fixture

Regarding the first question, knowing the IP class of the light fixture will enable you to determine if it meets your requirements. For example, if you choose to install a light in a fountain, pool, or other underwater location, IP certification will indicate whether the light can withstand such conditions. Or, if you are in an industrial location with fine airborne particles, the IP rating can indicate whether these particles will enter the fixtures and cause damage to them.

2.2 Provide safety

Choosing the right fixtures for a place is crucial for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, it ensures the safety of everyone around the lights. You should be aware that the combination of water and electricity poses a significant risk of electrocution. Dust can also cause light problems.

2.3 Detail durability and efficiency

The use of appropriate fixtures directly affects its performance and durability. This is critical to your bottom line. The more frequently you have to repair fixtures, the greater your expenses will be. There is also the possibility that if it doesn't work properly, productivity will suffer. For example, if employees can't read labels well, it may take longer to find the right supplies. Or, if you are lighting a manufacturing facility, workers may need to be more cautious (and therefore slower) if the light is low.

2.4 Establishing market standards

As mentioned earlier, IP ratings are a global industry standard. This is especially important because it allows you to quickly purchase lights and other fixtures from another country without the hassle of describing them. Don't worry about translation errors. Also, you don't need to know the various rating systems. Eventually, without IP ratings, each country or even company might have its own rating system.

Not only are many systems difficult to understand, but they can also be exploited by unscrupulous merchants. For example, one organization may use a grading system comparable to another, but with lower standards for each certification. This may mislead customers into believing that these fixtures have a better level of protection than they actually do.

When a manufacturer requires an IP level for a product, they must have it tested by a third-party certification organization. The company assigns a digital IP rating to each product to indicate its ability to prevent both solid and liquid intrusions.

Having a certified IP level allows manufacturers to confidently advertise the level of protection their products offer. It legitimizes the product and gives customers confidence that they can determine if the product meets their needs.

In addition, users of IP-rated devices are aware of their protections (or lack thereof), allowing them to work more safely and reduce the risk of injury or equipment damage.

A global system with clear IP levels can avoid these concerns. It makes it easy to purchase fixtures worldwide and ensures that you understand the protection levels of fixtures.

Numerous IP level numbers and how to interpret each number

As mentioned earlier, the first number in the IP rating indicates the device's resistance to solids, while the second number indicates its resistance to moisture.

IEC 60529 describes global standards.

Examine each set of numbers more deeply to determine what they represent.

2.5 Reference Chart of IP rating

First   DigitIntrusion   Protection
0No protection.
1Protected against solid objects over 50mm, e.g. accidental touch by hands.
2Protected against solid objects over 12mm, e.g. fingers.
3Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm, e.g. tools & wires.
4Protected against solid objects over 1mm, e.g. wires & nails.
5Protected against dust limited ingress, no harmful deposits.
6Totally protected against dust.

Second DigitMoisture Protection
0No protection.
1Protected against vertically falling drops of water, e.g. condensation.
2Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from the vertical.
3Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical.
4Protected against water splashed from all directions, limited ingress permitted.
5Protected against low-pressure jets of water from all directions, limited ingress permitted.
6Protected against strong jets of water, e.g. on the ship's deck, limited ingress permitted.

3. What is the highest IP level?

IP69 is the highest IP level. This indicates that the fixture is "dust-proof", meaning that no dust can enter the fixture. This rating indicates that the lamp can withstand high pressure, high-temperature water, and steam.

Keep in mind that certain fixtures with X8 or X9 grades will be sealed to prevent any water from entering. This is a typical case. Although a small amount of water occasionally slips into the interior, this will not damage the light fixture.

The IP69K rating is the standard for businesses that require frequent cleaning. It can handle high-pressure, high-temperature water needed to sterilize food processing facilities and other similar environments.

Unless you work in an industry that regularly uses high-pressure chemical sprays to clean surfaces, you are unlikely to need this IP level.

4. What is an IPX rating?

Sometimes, IP grades will include an "X" in one of the numbers. If one of the numbers has an X, the lamp or fixture does not fall into that category. Therefore, if there is an X in the first number, the IP grade applies only to liquids and not solids. If X appears in the second digit, the IP grade applies only to solids and not liquids.

5. Which IP levels are used in which cases?

As your knowledge of IP levels increases, how do you determine which levels to use in what situations? In general, if you need higher entry protection, you need higher IP levels. However, there is more to the story.

6. A guide to comparing high and low ratings

To determine the IP level, you must have a clear understanding of how and where the lights are used.

As mentioned earlier, you will need a higher rating if you place your lamp in a dirtier, dusty, or humid environment. The following are broad criteria for determining when various ratings are appropriate.


If the lights are to be installed indoors, you will usually choose a lower IP level. You can also select this grade for lamps inside seal labels or other seals and for lamps used in conjunction with aluminum profiles.

Sometimes, "low" ratings can be divided into two groups. Lamps with an IP rating below IP44 are only suitable for areas with minimal dust exposure. Examples include living rooms and offices.

A rating between IP44 and IP65 is also acceptable indoors. The lights can also be used outdoors, but only if they are weatherproof and not directly exposed to dust or water.


In non-sealed outdoor situations, you should use products with high IP ratings. They are also a good choice for places that are wet or prone to frequent splatters. Use these lights in areas with high traffic and frequent human contact. Most people think IP65 or higher is a high grade.

When evaluating the first number of IP grades, consider dust and particles in addition to the more obvious solids.

Typically, you'll want outdoor items exposed to water, debris, and the elements to have a high IP rating. Some indoor environments, especially factories and industries with large amounts of dust or periodic splatters, require high ratings. For example, if you want to place a lamp in a shower, swimming pool, or nearby, you should choose a light fixture with a high IP protection rating.

IP20 to IP40

If the lights will be used indoors and the environment is essentially neutral, then these low grades are sufficient. Use that rating right there. In addition, it should not be used if there is high humidity or other extreme conditions.

This is a common lighting level in workplaces and business environments. Consider LED linear lighting or something similar.


The IP54 rating is also widely used for indoor applications, such as lamp post lighting. These lights should not be used outdoors unless they are covered. That's because of the simple splash protection. Therefore, the lamp should not be exposed to rain. However, the grade provides comprehensive dust protection.

This is another IP level commonly found on LED lights used indoors. Again, many standard light bulbs have this rating.


If you plan to install lights outside, such as outdoor wall wash lights or outdoor lamp posts, you will need at least an IP65 protection rating. This rating indicates that the lamp is dust-proof and therefore no solid objects can enter. It can withstand a 6.3mm nozzle of water, so should do well in the rain.

This is one of the most typical ratings for general outdoor lighting. This rating is appropriate for both landscape lighting and parking lot lighting.

IP67 and IP68

If you live in an area prone to flooding or plan to submerge lights in a swimming pool or musical dance fountain, you will need lights with an IP67 or IP68 protection rating.

The high certification of waterproofing protection makes IP68 and IP67 lighting the first choice anywhere that is prone to underwater exposure. In addition to obvious applications such as swimming pools and docks, it can be a good solution if you know the location is prone to flooding or heavy rains.

7. Specific Examples

For comparison, imagine that most lights and sockets in your home are IP22 certified. They don't need a higher grade because they contain little dust or moisture. Low ratings also prevent accidental electric shocks to children and animals.

Generally, when looking for safety lights, you should look for IP44 to IP68 certifications. Because you need a safety lamp that can withstand all kinds of conditions. If the light is outside and unprotected, IP68 should be selected.

Usually, path lighting requires at least an IP65 rating. This is important because lights are exposed to dust, dirt, and moisture when left outside. Because of its proximity to sidewalks, walking could kick up a lot of dust and accelerate deterioration.

Depending on the location of the lights, you may need additional garden lighting with at least an IP54 or IP65 rating. If the area is more protected, then the IP54 option is sufficient. An example of a suitable place is a covered porch. However, if the lamp will be exposed rather than covered, an IP65 rating or higher is required.

When choosing a waterproof lamp, be sure to pay attention to the difference between IP65, IP67, and IP68.

Keep in mind that IP65 lighting is only waterproof. These cannot be flooded, but they can withstand rain and spray. The IP67 lamp can be briefly submerged in water up to 1m deep. IP68 rating is required if the lamp will be submerged for more than one meter or for more than ten minutes.

Examples of differences between different grades of mining lamps

Another great way to understand the variation between IP levels is to consider how LED high ceiling lights vary according to various IP levels.

IP20-grade mining lamps will have a simple cover. It is ideal for dust-free and dry storage locations.

In addition, the IP54 mining light will have a transparent seal. This seal keeps out dust and splashing water. Seals can also have additional features that allow light emission and direction. This would be a suitable solution for warehouses and other places where there may be flying debris or moisture.

High shed lights with an IP67 protection rating will have a full lid or seal to keep out dust and water. This form of lighting is safe for use in food production facilities.

8. Conclusion

Knowing the IP level will help you choose the right lighting for your specific environment. IP measures intrusion protection against solids (like dust) and liquids (like water). Always select a device with higher IP authentication when using it outdoors or in a dusty environment. If you need help choosing the right IP level for your lights in your particular environment, our team is here to help.

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