An IP rating is an important factor to consider when choosing a light fitting for outdoor (or indoor) use.

What is an IP rating?

An IP rating indicates how well the product will be protected against the elements and can help to ensure that the light fitting will continue to function properly and last for a long time.

It’s also worth noting that the level of protection may vary depending on the direction of the water or dust and the type of sealing used, so it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s specifications for more detailed information.

Here we explain the ins and outs of IP ratings and what to consider when thinking about these in relation to light fittings and lanterns

IP ratings explained

The IP rating standard is developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC’s) Technical Committee 70 to define an electronic device’s levels of sealing effectiveness against foreign bodies.

In the context of a lantern or light fitting, an IP (Ingress Protection) rating is a standard that measures the level of protection that a product has against dust and water. The IP rating is represented by two numbers, the first of which indicates the level of protection against solid objects (such as dust) and the second of which indicates the level of protection against water.

The first number ranges from 0 to 6, with 6 being the highest level of protection against solid objects. For example, an IP rating of “6” would indicate that the light fitting is completely dust tight.

The second number ranges from 0 to 8, with 8 being the highest level of protection against water. For example, an IP rating of “8” would indicate that the light fitting is suitable for continuous immersion in water.

For example, a light fitting with an IP rating of “IP65” would have a high level of protection against dust (6) and a high level of protection against water (5), making it suitable for outdoor use in a variety of weather conditions.

Why are IP ratings important?

Ingress Protection ratings are important because they indicate the level of protection that a product has against dust and water. This information can be used to determine how suitable a product is for use in different environments and under different weather conditions.  Here are a few examples that help explain it…

Protection against dust:

    • A high IP rating for protection against dust means that the product is well sealed and less likely to allow dust to enter and potentially damage the internal components. This is important for products that will be used in environments where dust is present, such as construction sites or industrial areas.

Protection against water:

    • A high IP rating for protection against water means that the product is well sealed and less likely to allow water to enter and potentially damage the internal components. This is important for products that will be used in environments where water is present, such as outdoor or marine applications.

Durability:

    • A product with a high IP rating will be more durable and less likely to be damaged by dust and water. This can help to ensure that the product will continue to function properly and last for a long time, which can save money and reduce the need for repairs or replacements.

Safety:

    A product with a high IP rating will be less likely to be damaged by dust and water, which can help to ensure that the product is safe to use. For example, lighting fixtures with a high IP rating will be less likely to short circuit or malfunction, reducing the risk of fire or electrical shock.

 

IP ratings are important because they provide information about the level of protection that a product has against dust and water. This information can be used to determine how suitable a product is for use in different environments and under different weather conditions and also helps to ensure the safety, durability, and performance of the product.

Outdoor bollard & Albert Back Lamp

Should I go for a higher IP rating than I think i’ll actually need?

It can be advisable to buy a product with a higher IP rating than what is strictly necessary for the intended application. This is because a higher IP rating indicates a higher level of protection against dust and water, which can increase the durability and longevity of the product.

For example, if you are buying an outdoor light fixture that will be installed in a covered area, an IP54 rating may be sufficient to protect it from light splashing of water and dust. However, if you buy an IP65 rated light fixture, it will be protected against more intense water and dust ingress, making it more suitable for harsher environments such as coastal areas or industrial zones.

A higher IP rating can also provide more safety and security as it ensures that the product is less likely to be damaged by dust and water and less likely to malfunction which can reduce the risk of fire or electrical shock.

Another advantage of buying a product with a higher IP rating is that it can be more versatile in different environments, for example, if you move or plan to use the product in a different location in the future, the higher IP rating will provide more protection in case the new location has a harsher environment.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that a higher IP rating also sometimes means a higher cost and that the higher rating is not always necessary for the intended use and environment. It’s advisable to consult with a professional or the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure that the product is suitable for the intended use and environment and that the cost of the product is reasonable.

William Sugg lanterns will all be specified to an IP rating depending on the requirements set out in the customer’s brief.

It’s worth noting that sometimes the design dictates the level of protection available.  For example, some lantern designs are only able to achieve certain ratings due to the shape of the glazing and panels where access is made available for routine gas or electrical maintenance, and/or for cleaning.  Our expert team will guide you through this process as we design and manufacture the perfect lighting solution for your needs.

Common IP ratings

Understanding common IP ratings can be helpful. The benefits of different IP ratings depend on the specific rating and the intended use of the product. Here are some examples of the benefits of some common IP ratings:

IP54: This rating indicates that the product has a high level of protection against dust (5) and a moderate level of protection against water (4). This rating is suitable for products that will be used in environments where dust and light splashing of water are present, such as in a covered outdoor area.

IP65: This rating indicates that the product has a high level of protection against dust (6) and a high level of protection against water (5). This rating is suitable for products that will be used in environments where dust and water are present, such as in an outdoor or marine application. This is a common rating for outdoor lighting fixtures.

IP67: This rating indicates that the product has a high level of protection against dust (6) and a high level of protection against water (7), suitable for immersion up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. This rating is suitable for products that will be used in environments where dust and water are present, such as in an outdoor or marine application and also in some industrial applications where equipment needs to be cleaned with high pressure water jets.

IP68: This rating indicates that the product has a high level of protection against dust (6) and a high level of protection against water (8), suitable for continuous immersion in water. This rating is suitable for products that will be used in environments where dust and water are present, such as in underwater applications.

It’s important to note that the IP rating is just one factor to consider when choosing a product for a specific application and environment. Other factors such as temperature, vibration, corrosion, and impact resistance, should also be considered. Additionally, the manufacturer’s instructions should be consulted for specific information about the product’s capabilities in relation to its IP rating.