What is an IP Rating?

An IP Rating is an international standard used to classify the different levels of protection that an electrical enclosure can provide from solids and liquids.  The standard is defined in EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989). IP ratings describe the different ways that solids and liquids can enter the inside of a closed electrical enclosure.

The IP code has two ratings, the first numeral is for solids and the second for liquids.

For both ratings, zero stands for no protection. When an X is used, it signifies that no testing has been carried out. So when an IP rating reads IP2X it simply stands for an IP rating 2 for solids with no testing performed for liquids.

Protection from Solids

The scale used for solids or foreign objects being able to enter an enclosure is from 1 to 6, where 1 is protection against the ingress of large objects (defined as greater than 50mm) and 6 being the highest protection, where the enclosure is dust tight. It also describes the protection for a person from being able to access the hazardous parts housed inside an electrical enclosure i.e. protecting a person from touching an enclosure with the back of a hand or from putting a finger through a louvre or a vent.

The scale of protection 1-6 with each corresponding description. Ratings 1 to 4 protects from object intrusion while 5 and 6 ratings provide protection from dust particles. Solid protection is cumulative.

  1. Protection from the ingress of large objects greater than 50mm in diameter e.g. a hand
  2. Protection against fingers or other objects not greater than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter.
  3. Protection from entry by tools, etc, with a diameter of 2.5 mm or more.
  4. Protection against solid bodies larger than 1mm (e.g. fine tools).
  5. Protection against dust that may harm equipment.
  6. Protection from all ingress of dust (dust tight).

Protection from Liquids

The scale of protection from water or moisture is from 1-8 and establishes different types of ingress of water, varying from splashes of water, to higher pressure jets of water (1-6) to protection from a prolonged immersion of water (7-8).

  1. protection from condensation
  2. Protection against water droplets deflected up to 15° from vertical
  3. Protected against spray up to 60° from vertical.
  4. Protected from water spray from all directions.
  5. Protection against low-pressure water jets (all directions)
  6. Protection against strong water jets and waves.
  7. Protected against temporary immersion.
  8. Protected against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure.

The IP rating standard allows Ritherdon as a manufacturer to classify enclosures in an objective way rather than using vague terms such as ‘dust tight’ or ‘water resistant’. We’ve created this IP chart for your future reference. It’s a good way of visualising the level of IP that may be required in a single chart.


IP Rating Chart

IP Rating Chart from Ritherdon

We’ve tested our pillars and cabinets according to the test criteria stated in the standard and explain the IP rating for our enclosures. Read about the IP ratings of Ritherdon pillars and cabinets and how different design elements affect the IP rating.

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