Ingress Protection (IP) Ratings Explained


Not every specification for the products that B&H Photo sells requires a secret decoder ring. We all know what height, width, length, and weight are. Photographers are familiar with megapixels and ISO ranges. However, there is one specification that pops up across many product lines that you might not be familiar with: IP Rating.

You will find the “IP Rating” specification on products like hard and waterproof cases, flashlights, headlamps, bicycle lights, lanterns, walkie talkies, mobile Bluetooth speakers, virtual assistant speakers and displays, unlocked cell phones, security cameras, and more.

So, what is the IP Rating and what do the numbers signify? Let’s take a look!

What is an IP Rating?

An Ingress Protection rating is designed to indicate how impervious an item is to intrusion from dust and water. The International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC's) Technical Committee 70 developed the code to grade the resistance of electronic enclosures to dust and water. If you want to dive into super-technical, not-very-light bedtime reading, look up IEC 60529 (first published in 1976) for the ins and outs of the ratings.

The IP Rating is different than a waterproof depth rating.

What do the IP Rating numbers mean?

As far as international codes go, IP Ratings are straightforward—no expensive decoder ring needed.

The first number refers to the ingress protection against “solid objects” from 0 (no protection) to 6 (dust protection). The second number is for liquids and ranges from 0 (no protection) to 9 (high-pressure hot water from different angles). Example: IP67.


Ingress Protection against Solids

0 — No protection

1 — Protected against solid foreign objects 50mm diameter and greater

2 — Protected against solid foreign objects 12.5mm diameter and greater

3 — Protected against solid foreign objects 2.5mm diameter and greater

4 — Protected against solid foreign objects 1.0mm diameter and greater

5 — Dust protected

6 — Dust-tight

Ingress Protection against Liquids

0 — No protection

1 — Protected against vertically falling water drops

2 — Protected against vertically falling drops when enclosure tilted up to 15°

3 — Protected against spraying water

4 — Protected against splashing water

5 — Protected against water jets

6 — Protected against powerful water jets

7 — Protected against the effects of temporary immersion in water

8 — Protected against the effects of continuous immersion in water

9 — Protected against high pressure and temperature water jets

Note: An “X” following an IP Rating means there is no information on the protection.

Do you have any questions about IP Ratings? Let us know in the Comments section, below!