What do Waterproof Ratings Mean? – IP ratings explained

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The IP waterproof ratings sound fancy, and it’s common to find smartphones, speakers, and other devices having an IP67 or IP68 rating. Popular phones like iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X are rated IP67.

On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 11 are rated IP 68. Though the manufacturers usually claim these devices are waterproof, that’s not always the case. 

IP is known as the “Ingress Protection” but are initials for International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that falls under the standard 60529.

It is a very important feature in Asia and Europe, but even the US is adopting it much faster.

They aim to avoid general terms such as “dustproof” or “water-resistant” by classifying devices with the exact level of protection they offer against water and other elements.

Structure of an IP Code

The IP codes have the “IP” as their first characters, and then it’s followed by two digits.

These two digits indicate the degree of protection, with the first digit indicating the protection from particles and objects, and the numbers range from o to 6. The second digit indicating protection against liquids, and ranges from 0 to 8.

When your device is rated 0, it means it has no protection, while a rating of 6 indicates its dust-tight. If the second digit reaches 8, your device is protected against long periods of immersion under pressure.

Also, there are three types of IP ratings:

  1. One-digit IP ratings– One-digit IP ratings show water resistance only on a device or a product. Therefore, these devices only boast of a waterproof feature.
  2. Two-Digit IP Ratings– Unlike their one-digit counterparts, these IP ratings show particle and water resistance. The first digit is for the solid and particle resistance, and the second digit shows the level of protection it offers against water. For instance, if you have a device with IP57 Rating, it offers level 5 solid resistance and water protection of level 7.
  3. Ratings with an X– sometimes you will see a product get the rating IP5X or IPX7. This means that the product is only rated by one of the metrics.

What does the different IP ratings mean?

Protection against solid objects – first digit

  • 1 – Protected against a solid object greater than 50 mm such as a hand.
  • 2 – Protected against a solid object greater than 12.5 mm such as a finger.
  • 3 – Protected against a solid object greater than 2.5 mm such as a screwdriver.
  • 4 – Protected against a solid object greater than 1 mm such as a wire.
  • 5 – Dust Protected. Limited ingress of dust permitted. Will not interfere with operation of the equipment. Two to eight hours.
  • 6 – Dust tight. No ingress of dust. Two to eight hours.

Protection against liquids – second digit

  • 1 – Protected against vertically falling drops of water. Limited ingress permitted.
  • 2 – Protected against vertically falling drops of water with enclosure tilted up to 15 degrees from the vertical. Limited ingress permitted.
  • 3 – Protected against sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical. Limited ingress permitted for three minutes.
  • 4 – Protected against water splashed from all directions. Limited ingress permitted.
  • 5 – Protected against jets of water. Limited ingress permitted.
  • 6 – Water from heavy seas or water projected in powerful jets shall not enter the enclosure in harmful quantities.
  • 7 – Protection against the effect of immersion in water between 15 cm and 1 m for 30 minutes.
  • 8 – Protection against the effects of immersion in water under pressure for long periods.

Why have an IP Rating System?

There are many benefits of a universal IP rating system, and one of them is to increase the confidence of users and buyers when they want to buy an application for use in an environment.

And it is also not vague, like terms such as “waterproof,” which has no good definition of the moisture resistance of the device or appliance.

IP rating gives more definite accounts on the exact level of protection of the device.

But also note that though IP ratings can be used to classify the protective nature of electrical equipment, they vary from one device to another.

Additionally, the manufacturers must adopt this system and be clear with their customers on their electronics.

Types of IP-rated Products

Currently, there are numerous IP-rated products in the market.

You need to understand how these codes are standardizing for you to know the abilities and limits of the products in different environments. Below are some of the ratings:

1. Waterproof and Weatherproof IP-Ratings

These ratings are commonly used in everyday products such as Bluetooth speakers, lighting setups, kitchen fixtures, and CCTV enclosures.

Note that using the terms like “waterproof” in such equipment can be confusing, making the IP ratings be introduced.

The ratings accepted to offer better protection are IP65, IP66, and IP67.

2. IP-Rated Enclosures and Enclosure Accessories

You will find many IP-rated enclosures in different industries and sectors, including mechanical and electronic systems for both home and commercial use.

These are assigned to bathroom lighting setups, junction boxes, mobile phone housings and will protect from harsh chemical and marine environments.

Besides, there are also many enclosure accessories for the different system housings and enclosures in the market. Most accessories have tweaks that make them suitable for different tasks.

They include brackets, locks, keys, screws, and stability accessories.

3. IP-Rated General Purpose Enclosures

These are enclosures that are commonly used as multi-function storage units for sensitive equipment like electronics.

Smaller ones are called junction boxes, and they have additional security. Larger ones are fixed to walls using mounting accessories and are adaptable.

Bottom-line

Well, the IP codes are very crucial in the electronic industry and other sectors. It gives you the exact level of protection against weather and other elements which a device has.

Besides, using vague terms like “waterproof” brings confusion, and with these ratings, it will be easier for different devices based on their features.

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