IP Ratings, what do they mean?

You may see some products with an IP rating eg IP68, but what does that actually mean?

The IP Rating given to a piece of electrical apparatus is a two digit code indicating the degree of protection it's enclosure affords it.  The first digit represents protection against penetration by solid objects, accessing hazardous parts. The second digit describes the enclosures and protection against the ingress of water.

An 'X' in place of either digit means that either the enclosure has not been tested or that the test is not applicable.

Mechanical Protection Water Ingress Protection
1st Digit(protection against solid foreign objects)2nd Digit(protection against harmful ingress of water)Degree of Protection from water
  0 No protection   0 No protection No protection
  1  Full penetration of 50mm of sphere not allowed.  Contact with hazardous parts not permitted.   1 Protected against vertically falling drops of water. Vertically dripping
  2  Protected against solid objects over 12mm, e.g. fingers.   2 Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15° from the vertical. Dripping up to 15° from the vertical
  3  Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm, e.g. tools and wires.   3 Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60° from the vertical. Limited spraying
  4  Protected against solid objects against 1mm, e.g. wires, nails etc.   4 Protected against water splashed from all directions, limited ingress permitted. Splashing from all directions
  5  Protected against dust limited ingress, not harmful deposits.   5 Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions, limited ingress permitted. Hosing jets from all directions
  6  Totally protected against dust.   6 Protected against strong jets of water, e.g. on a ships deck.  Limited ingress permitted. Strong hosing jets from all directions
      7 Protected against the effects of immersion between 150mm and 1m. Temporary immersion
      8 Protected against continuous submersion at a specified depth. Continuous immersion

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