IP Ratings – What They Mean to You

When it comes to vehicle lighting, there are specifications and ratings such as light output (lumens), conformity in meeting beam pattern requirements per SAE standards, and Ingress Protection (IP Rating). While light output, and beam patterns are more widely understood, we have found many customers are unfamiliar with Ingress Protection Ratings (IP Ratings), and the importance of taking this into consideration when choosing vehicle lighting.

The objective of IP Ratings is to classify degrees of protection of electrical equipment in terms of protection of the electronics inside against foreign objects, and against water. The ratings are expressed as “IP Rating Codes”, which are a standard set forth by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). According to the organization, the codes are designed as a “system for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment.” These codes are used not only for vehicle lighting, but also for consumer products such as cell phones. An IP code starts with the letters “IP” and is then followed by two numbers.

The first number in the rating code represents the degree of protection provided against the entry of foreign solid objects, such as fingers or dust. These protection levels range from 0 to 6. The second number represents the degree of protection against the entry of moisture, with protection levels ranging from 0 through 8, and is intended to provide users more detailed information than vague terms such as “waterproof”. An IP code with an “X” in place of the first or second number shouldn’t be misconstrued as a lack of protection. It just means that a device hasn’t been tested to protect against the entry of solid objects (the first number), or moisture (the second number).

Solid Protection Ratings:

IP Code Protection Object size
0 No protection N/A
1 Protection from contact with any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part, such as a finger Less than 50mm
2 Protection from fingers or similar objects Less than 12.5mm
3 Protection from tools, thick wires or similar objects Less than 2.5mm
4 Protection from most wires, screws or similar objects Less than 1mm
5 Partial protection from contact with harmful dust N/A
6 Protection from contact with harmful dust N/A

 

Consider that Custer Product’s range of LED flood, and work lamps carry an IP67 rating. The “6” indicates they carry the maximum Solid Protection rating, and designates they have no ingress to dust after an 8-hour test.

Moisture Protection Ratings:

IP Code Protection Test Duration Usage
0 No Protection N/A N/A
1 Protection against vertically dripping water 10 minutes Light rain
2 Protection against vertically dripping water when device is tilted at an angle up to 15 degrees 10 minutes Light rain
3 Protection against direct sprays of water when device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees 5 minutes Rain and spraying
4 Protection from sprays and splashing of water in all directions 5 minutes Rain, spraying, and splashing
5 Protection from low-pressure water projected from a nozzle with a 6.3mm diameter opening in any direction 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing and direct contact with most kitchen/bathroom faucets
6 Protection from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters Rain, splashing, direct contact with kitchen/bathroom faucets, outdoor use in rough sea conditions
7 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.2ft) for up to 30 mins 30 mins Rain, splashing and accidental submersion
8 Protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (manufacturer must specify exact depth) Rain, splashing and accidental submersion Rain, splashing and accidental submersion

 

The “7” in the IP67 rating designates Custer’s LED flood and work lamps the light can be submerged in water up to 3.2 feet for 30 minutes without issues.

Outstanding quality, high light output, focused beam patterns, and excellent dust and moisture intrusion resistance are important considerations when choosing a vehicle lighting system. Custer Products is proud to offer lighting systems that meet this strict standard. With Custer: for a little more money, you get a lot more light.