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 CodeProtectionObject size
0No protectionN/A
1Protection 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 fingerLess than 50mm
2Protection from fingers or similar objectsLess than 12.5mm
3Protection from tools, thick wires or similar objectsLess than 2.5mm
4Protection from most wires, screws or similar objectsLess than 1mm
5Partial protection from contact with harmful dustN/A
6Protection from contact with harmful dustN/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 CodeProtectionTest DurationUsage
0No ProtectionN/AN/A
1Protection against vertically dripping water10 minutesLight rain
2Protection against vertically dripping water when device is tilted at an angle up to 15 degrees10 minutesLight rain
3Protection against direct sprays of water when device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees5 minutesRain and spraying
4Protection from sprays and splashing of water in all directions5 minutesRain, spraying, and splashing
5Protection from low-pressure water projected from a nozzle with a 6.3mm diameter opening in any direction3 minutes from a distance of 3 metersRain, splashing and direct contact with most kitchen/bathroom faucets
6Protection from water projected in powerful jets from a nozzle with a 12.5mm diameter opening in any direction3 minutes from a distance of 3 metersRain, splashing, direct contact with kitchen/bathroom faucets, outdoor use in rough sea conditions
7Protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter (or 3.2ft) for up to 30 mins30 minsRain, splashing and accidental submersion
8Protected from immersion in water with a depth of more than 1 meter (manufacturer must specify exact depth)Rain, splashing and accidental submersionRain, 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.