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IP Ratings and what they mean

Electrical, Information

IP Ratings are an international standard used to define the levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures.

IP (Ingress Protection) Ratings are used to demonstrate the protection and resistance to intrusion of both solids and liquids for electrical components.

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An electrical enclosure will usually have an IP number rating that refers to the specific rating for the solid and water rating of the component.  The first number references solid matter while the second number defines the protection level against various forms of moisture/liquid build up. Together, this IP rating will demonstrate the effective protection that the electrical enclosure can offer and therefore where the device is suitable for use.

What are the IP ratings?

The first digit in the IP rating represents solids.  There are seven ratings numbered 0 – 6. Where an X is displayed, this represents that the device has not been tested for solid ingress protection.

Solid Rating 0

Offers no protection.

Solid Rating 1

Protection against solid objects greater than 50mm in size. (Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand)

Solid Rating 2

Protection against solid objects greater than 12.5mm in size. (Protection against fingers or other similarly sized objects)

Solid Rating 3

Protection against solid objects greater than 2.5mm. (Protection from many commonly used tools)

Solid Rating 4

Protection against solid objects greater than 1mm. (Protection from from objects such as wire, nails, paperclips etc.)

Solid Rating 5

Offers limited protection against dust to ensure that it does not interfere with vital equipment.

Solid Rating 6

Complete protection from dust.


The second number rating is for water ingress protection. This is rated in eleven stages beginning with 0 and ending with 9k. Electrical components with an X represents that the device has not been tested for water ingress protection.

Water Rating 0

Offers no protection.

Water Rating 1

Protection against vertically falling water droplets (Such as condensation run off).

Water Rating 2

Protection against vertically falling droplets tilted at 15 degrees (Such as light rain).

Water Rating 3

Protection against spraying water at an angle up to 60 degrees (Such as heavy rain).

Water Rating 4

Protection from water splashes coming from all angles.

Water Protection 5

Protection against low level intensity jets of water.

Water Protection 6

Protection against high level intensity jets of water.

Water Protection 7

Protection against immersion in water for short periods (up to 30 minutes) no deeper than 1 metre.

Water Protection 8

Protection against immersion in water for long periods under high pressure.

Water Protection 9k

Protection from close-range, high intensity/high temperature jets of water (Commonly seen in road vehicle use).

An example of a complete IP Rating

An example of a complete IP rating would be (for example) IP67.  In this situation, the IP rating tells us the the electrical enclosure is both dust tight and can offer protection from submersion under water anywhere up to a metre deep for up to 30 minutes.

Why does an IP Rating matter?

When a manufacturer of electrical enclosures require an IP rating, they must have the device tested by an independent and certified company to assign a numerical IP rating to the product.  Having this IP rating means that they can confidently state the products capability and offer assurance that the product meets the end user needs.

In electrical installations, IP ratings are vitally important for the safe protection of users from electrical shock while protecting vital assets from water or dust damage.  By having an IP rating, our team (and our customers) are fully aware of the protective measures that are in place to ensure the safe use of electrical devices on sites ranging from food production facilities to outdoor carparks, harbours and even residential garden spaces.

Additionally, the user of electrical equipment that has an IP rating is fully aware of its protective capabilities so they can work safely and with reduced risk of injury.

Examples of electrical components that may benefit/require an IP Rating

  • Outdoor digital signage which must cope with the dust particles blown around by fast moving cars as well as the changeable weather conditions including rain.
  • Lighting fixtures in a Gyms shower rooms that has to contend with heavy condensation/steam build up.
  • Fuse boxes which house delicate and potentially dangerous electrical wiring.
  • Under water lighting in a swimming pool
  • Control Panels installed at Canal Swing Bridges

Our Services

Providing Manned 24 hour Call-out Service nationwide, we are the first choice for some of the country’s leading businesses when it comes to electrical services. From Electrical Installations to Planned Maintenance Contracts, quality service and peace of mind are the principles on which the Fulton family founded the company and its electrical services all those years ago, and it’s just as important today. Which is why IP Ratings are so important in the work that we do.  As a group of world-class companies leading the way in next-generation technologies, we work in a hugely diverse range of industries and sectors, all of which require varying levels of protection from solid and water elements. Having IP ratings ensures that we know what can and should be installed for the safety and protection of our customers and their assets.

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