IP (or “Ingress Protection”) ratings are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies and moisture.
The numbers that follow IP each have a specific meaning. The first indicates the degree of protection (of people) from moving parts, as well as the protection of enclosed equipment from foreign bodies. The second defines the protection level that the enclosure enjoys from various forms of moisture (drips, sprays, submersion etc). The tables below should help make sense of it.
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NEMA-Rating vs. IP Rating
NEMA ratings and IP ratings both define degrees of protection against substances such as water and dust, but use different test methods and parameters to define their enclosure types.
NEMA ratings are geared towards industrial applications, primarily used in North America, unlike IP ratings which cover a broad set of applications worldwide.
NEMA and IP Equivalent:
|NEMA enclosure||IP Code|
|3, 3X, 3S, 3SX||IP55|
|4, 4X||IP44, IP66, IP65|
|12, 12K, 13||IP54|
IP Code Breakdown
|Code letters||First characteristic numeral: Solid particle protection||Second digit: Liquid ingress protection||Additional letter: Other protections||Supplementary letter: Other protections|
|IP (Ingress Protection)||Single numeral: 0–6 or letter X||Single numeral: 0–8 or letter X||Single letter||Single letter|
First Digit: Solid particle protection
|Level sized||Effective against||Description|
|X||—||X means there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to this criterion.|
|0||—||No protection against contact and ingress of objects|
|1||> 50 mm
|Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part|
|2||> 12.5 mm
|Fingers or similar objects|
|3||> 2.5 mm
|Tools, thick wires, etc.|
|4||> 1 mm
|Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.|
|5||Dust protected||Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.|
|6||Dust-tight||No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust-tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on airflow.|
Second Digit: Liquid ingress protection
|Level||Protection against||Effective against||Details|
|X||—||—||X means there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to these criteria.|
|0||None||—||No protection against ingress of water|
|1||Dripping water||Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect on the specimen when mounted in an upright position onto a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM.||Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 1 mm (0.039 in) rainfall per minute
|2||Dripping water when tilted at 15°||Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position. A total of four positions are tested within two axes.||Test duration: 2.5 minutes for every direction of tilt (10 minutes total)
Water equivalent to 3 mm (0.12 in) rainfall per minute
|3||Spraying water||Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield.
Test a) is conducted for 5 minutes, then repeated with the specimen rotated horizontally by 90° for the second 5-minute test. Test b) is conducted (with shield in place) for 5 minutes minimum.
|For a spray nozzle:
Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 5 minutes Water volume: 10 liters per minute (0.037 impgal/s) Pressure: 50–150 kPa (7.3–21.8 psi)
For an oscillating tube: Test duration: 10 minutes Water volume: 0.07 liters per minute (0.00026 impgal/s) per hole
|4||Splashing of water||Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either:
a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield. Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes. b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.
|Oscillating tube: Test duration: 10 minutes, or spray nozzle (same as IPX3 spray nozzle with the shield removed)|
|5||Water jets||Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm (0.25 in)) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.||Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute Pressure: 30 kPa (4.4 psi) at distance of 3 meters (9.8 ft)
|6||Powerful water jets||Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm (0.49 in)) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.||Test duration: 1 minute per square meter for at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 100 liters per minute (0.37 impgal/s) Pressure: 100 kPa (15 psi) at distance of 3 meters (9.8 ft)
|6K||Powerful water jets with increased pressure||Water projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm (0.25 in) nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Found in DIN 40050, and not IEC 60529.||Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 75 liters per minute (0.27 impgal/s) Pressure: 1,000 kPa (150 psi) at distance of 3 meters (9.8 ft)
|7||Immersion, up to 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) depth||Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) of submersion).||Test duration: 30 minutes.
Tested with the lowest point of the enclosure 1,000 mm (39 in) below the surface of the water, or the highest point 150 mm (5.9 in) below the surface, whichever is deeper.
|8||Immersion, 1 meter (3 ft 3 in) or more depth||The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.||Test duration: agreement with manufacturer
Depth specified by the manufacturer, generally up to 3 meters (9.8 ft)
|9K||Powerful high-temperature water jets||Protected against close-range high pressure, high-temperature spray downs.
Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable, from 4 specific angles. Larger specimens are mounted in the intended position when being used, no turntable required, and are tested freehand for at least 3 minutes at a distance of 0.15–0.2 meters (5.9 in–7.9 in).
The specific requirements for the test nozzle are shown in figures 7, 8, & 9 of IEC (or EN) 60529.
This test is identified as IPx9 in IEC 60529.
|Test duration: Fixture: 30 sec. in each of 4 angles (2 min. total), Freehand: 1 min/m2, 3 min. minimum
Water volume: 14–16 liters per minute (0.051–0.059 impgal/s) Pressure: 8–10 MPa (80–100 bar) at distance of 0.10–0.15 meters (3.9 in–5.9 in) Water temperature: 80 °C (176 °F)
Additional Letter (Optional)
|A||Back of hand|
Supplementary Letter (Optional)
|H||High voltage apparatus|
|M||Motion during water test|
|S||Stationery during water test|