Many electronic devices now come with an IP rating for dust and water protection. What does it mean and how should you read it? Different ratings show different levels of protection against these potentially dangerous intrusions. Reading an IP rating is very easy.

IP rating stands for Ingress Protection rating or International Protection marking, depending on who you ask. It defines a level of protection against intrusion from both solids and liquids, but also against general objects such as fingers and tools.

First you need to understand the general format:

IP<solid><liquid>
Example: IP68

With <solid> representing the resistance to the intrusion of “solid” objects (fingers, dust…), and <liquid> being the protection against liquids (typically, water). You can look at the table below and from there, you will be able to read any IP ratings.

IP44 means that the device is protected from small tools and wires (~1mm) and protected against water splash from any direction. Tested for 5mn at 10L/mn at 50-150 kPa.

IP66 means that a device is dust tight: no dust can penetrate. It is also protected against strong water jets (~12.5mm nozzle) won’t harm the device. 3mn test, 100L/mn at 100 kPa, 3 meters away. It is not submersible.

IP67 means that a device is dust tight: no dust can penetrate. It can withstan up to 1-meter immersion for a limited duration won’t harm the device. Tested for 30mn

IP68 means that the solid IP rating is 6, and the liquid rating is 8:  Dust tight – no dust can penetrate.  Beyond 1-meter immersion waterproofing. In some cases, waterproofing means that some water can penetrate, but without harming the device.

IP RatingSolids intrusion (IPX_)Liquids intrusion (IP_X)
0No protectionNo protection
1Protected again contact with large surfaces of the body, but doesn’t prevent voluntary contact (~50mm)Protects against dripping water (falling vertically) when in vertical position. Tested during 10 minutes, equivalent to 1mm/mn rainfall. No water immersion.
2Protected from finger-sized objects (~12.5mm)Protects against dripping water up to a 15 degrees angle. Testing during 10mn, equivalent to 3mm/mn rain. No water immersion.
3Protected from large tools (~2.5mm)Protects against sprayed water at an angle of up to 60 degrees (from the vertical). Tested for 5mn at 0.7L/mn at a pressure of 50-150 kPa. No water immersion.
4Protected from small tools and wires (~1mm)Protected against water splash from any direction. Tested for 5mn at 10L/mn at 50-150 kPa
5Prevents moderate amount of dust from entering but is not Dust tightWater jets (~6.3mm nozzle) won’t harm the device. 3mn test at 100L/mn at 30 kPa, 3 meters away. No water immersion.
6Dust tight: no dust can penetrateStrong water jets (~12.5mm nozzle) won’t harm the device. 3mn test, 100L/mn at 100 kPa, 3 meters away. No water immersion.
7N/AUp to 1-meter immersion for a limited duration won’t harm the device. Tested for 30mn
8N/AUp to 3-meter immersion waterproofing. In some cases, waterproofing means that “some” water can penetrate, but without harming the device
9KN/AHot (80C) waterjets test with a volume of 14-16L/mn at a pressure of 8000-10000 kPa at close range of 1cm to 15cm

Now you should be able to understand exactly what each IP rating means when you see it in the specifications of your next device.

Filed in Cellphones >Computers >Tablets. Read more about waterproof.

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