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What are IP waterproof ratings and how to understand them?




A lot of people get confused over IP ratings, even those that have been in the industry for YEARS but they are so important. The last thing you want is to try to light up your pond and accidentally end up making a quick and easy way to boil thousands of pounds worth of koi carp! (especially when you can’t do the chips at the same time).


So, breaking it down bit by bit,


IP simply explains what the regulation is (boring I know), ingress protection.


Right, now the easy bit is done with, the next part is understanding the two digits.


The first digit indicates what size solid object you can prod into the product. In the regulations it's done from 0-6 with an inclusion of an “X”, The X mark simply means that the person that made the product doesn’t believe this part of the regulation is relative and hasn’t tested it (move it along guys nothing to see here).

0-6 have pretty specific guidelines with 0,1,3 rarely being seen so to not bore everyone we will move on to the commonly used bad boys


2 - protects against solid objects no greater than 12.5mm

4 - protects against solid objects no greater than 1.0mm

5 – protects from dust

6 – yeah, no dust is getting in this bad boy, fully dust-tight.


So pretty simple.





Now on to the tricky part, the second digit tells you how much water can get into the product which in the world of electrical goods is pretty significant. It’s a similar format to the first digit in that it has a rating that goes from 0-8 with an “X” for not tested but to really throw a spanner in the works there’s a 9K (no this isn’t a crazy high-resolution TV were talking about).

Again there’s a few that don’t really get used but the full range is still important in this part.


0 – not protected, this product might as well be a goldfish bowl

1 – protects against water coming vertically at it but still not really intended for water

2 – a bit of tilt (15 degrees) it won’t take on water

3 – can take a hit of water with a big tilt (60 degrees)

4 – it can take water from all sides but not a lot!

5 – now were talking, this bad boy can take a hit from the water jets, Karcher here I come

6 – it's braced for the high seas! And no water from the Karchers getting in here

7 – now we're talking serious protection, at 7 are going down as low as a 1 meter of water for up to 30 minutes.

8 – this product is sleeping with the fishes! 8 means fully submersible usually up to about 3 meters

9K – now were talking specialist high powered jets at close range


So now you know what IP rating is best for you to be able to fire your jets at! (no not the aeroplanes)

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