What is an IP Rating? – A Brief guide on IP Rated Lights

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When you think of IP ratings, what do you think they stand for? And what is an IP rating and how safe IP Rated lights are?

If you want to know, start reading. 

What is IP Rating?

You may not know, or you might be wondering what it means. IP stands for ingress protection and is a two-digit number that defines the level of protection provided by enclosures against water and solid objects such as dirt, sand, etc. The first digit refers to the degree of protection against solid or foreign objects:

0 being no protection at all and 6 meaning complete protection.

The second figure describes the level of protection against liquids “water or rain”:

0 meaning no liquid can get in at all and 8 meaning there are no restrictions on how much liquid can enter the enclosure.”

Here is a brief description of IP rating protection degrees against:

A- Solid and forgien objectés

  • 0: No protection
  • 1: Effective against solid objects >50 mm
  • 2: Effective against solid objects >12.5 mm
  • 3: Effective against solid objects >2.5 mm
  • 4: Effective against solid objects >1 mm
  • 5: Dust protected
  • 6: Dust-tight protected

B- Liquid

  • 0: No protection
  • 1: Protection against vertically or dripping water
  • 2: Protection against dripping water of an angle of 15°
  • 3: Protection against spraying water at an angle of 60°
  • 4: Protection against splashing water
  • 5: Effective protection against low-pressure jets
  • 6: Effective protection against high-pressure jets
  • 7: Temporary immersion Protection
  • 8: Long-period immersion protection

Once you know how to read IP-rated lights figures, it will be much easier for you to determine what IP rating you want for your indoor and outdoor lights. However, there are other considerations to be aware of, such as knowing the difference between lower IP ratings and higher IP ratings.

Lower IP Ratings

IP44 and below-rated light fixtures are considered as a lower IP rating. The level of ingress protection makes them more suitable for indoor use because they can’t handle harsh weather conditions such as heavy rains or dust. They’re typically used as an indoor light fixture because of their low ingress protection against water and solids.

Lower IP ratings can withstand damp conditions like steam or spray from any direction.

Ratings between IP20 and IP 40 are considered the best fit for indoor places that are not exposed to water and small foreign objects such as dust.

It is convenient to use an IP65 and below for indoor use as well. This will increase the level of protection of your lights, especially in your bathroom (Zone 0).

Higher IP Ratings

The best examples of higher IP ratings are IP65 and IP66 because they are more suitable and effective against harsh weather conditions. 

LED waterproof lights with IP65 and above give more water resistance and solid object protections, compared to lower IP ratings. 

However, if you are using an IP44 or higher LED waterproof lights for outdoor use then consider the following note. 

The only way an IP44 or higher rated light can be damaged by liquids is if it’s submerged completely under more than one-meter depth for over 30 minutes, which is the case for many outdoor lights.

That’s why it recommends using a higher IP rating for outdoor use because the level of water resistance is less effective.

What are the places that require using higher IP Rated lights?

Normally, higher IP lighting is more suitable for outdoor use due to its higher level of protection against water and dust. However, you can also use them for outdoor use in places that are exposed to water sprays and splashes, such as your bathroom.

The next point explains the recommended light safety and level of protection in bathrooms.

Light safety in bathrooms

It’s advised to wisely choose your bathroom IP lighting, and the first way to do that is to know your lighting zones or places. There are two parts to consider before choosing your IP-rated lights.

The first one is to find a zone with great visibility for your bathroom. The second is to make sure you install a suitable IP light fixture.

Be sure to use an appropriate fixture that matches the light output of the chosen zone. By considering zones and IP ratings, you can adequately choose your bathroom lighting.

For best IP-rated lights check out our top choice of best IP rated light according to your bathrooms zones.

  1. Zone 0 is considered as the inside shower or bath zone. For this zone, it’s recommended to use a light lifting of IP67 rating because it’s more suited for a damp environment.
  2. Zone 1 is 2.25m of the highest above your bath. For this area choose an IP65 because it’s suitable for bathrooms with lower humidity levels. If your bathroom has a moderate level of humidity, a light lifting of IP44 could do the work just fine
  3. Zone 2: has the same heights as area one but outside your bath by 0.6m. Meaning, less exposure to spraying and splashing water. For that area, you can use a minimum rating of IP25
  4. Outside zones: refers to all the zones in your bathroom which are not zone 0, 1, and 2. For outside zones, you can use IP20 rated lights and above.

The IP44 is preferable in the case of bathrooms with a moderate level of humidity and average risk for water exposure,

It’s recommended to use the IP65 rating in zone 1 and 2 of your bathroom. Because it’s suitable for high humid zones or places that may be exposed to more moisture than usual.

To make sure everything is in right order in your property, we always recommend to get an EICR carried out.

IP Ratings for Outside Lights

As outdoor lights are used in potentially harsh environments, it’s important to go for high-rated light fixtures. An IP65 rating and above ensures that they can withstand dust and water being sprayed at them from any direction. 

This is a common standard you’ll find with outside lights designed for use on commercial buildings or other large public spaces. IP ratings go above and beyond, as an IP67 or IP68 rating will ensure that your outdoor lighting fixture is completely sealed against the intrusion of liquids. 

This makes them useful in marine environments where they’ll have to withstand water pressure from all angles.

IP ratings are even important for residential outside lights because it ensures safety. Any moisture seeping inside could cause a fire hazard. 

For outside lights, it’s better to have too high of an IP rating than not enough because they’ll be able to withstand more and are safer in the long run.


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Pro Checks Authors

Pro Checks Authors

Pro Checks is a London-based team specializing in landlord safety certificates, including electrical, gas, and fire safety. Committed to delivering high-quality, reliable services at competitive prices, our experienced professionals provide prompt service and attention to detail to meet the needs of landlords and property managers. Choose Pro Checks for all your safety certificate needs and have peace of mind knowing your property is in safe hands.

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