IP Ratings – Overview

The IP Code defined in international standard IEC 60529 classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of:

  • solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers),
  • dust,
  • accidental contact,
  • water in electrical enclosures.

It consists of the letters IP (for “international protection rating”) followed by two digits and an optional letter. The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as “waterproof”.

LevelObject size protected againstEffective against
0No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1>50 mmAny 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, screws, etc.

5dust 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; complete protection against contact

6dust tight

No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact

LevelProtected againstDetails
0not protected
1dripping water

Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect.

2dripping water when tilted up to 15°

Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position.

3spraying water

Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.

4splashing water

Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.

5water jets

Water projected by a nozzle against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.

6powerful water jets

Water projected in powerful jets against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.

7immersion up to 1 m

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 m of submersion).

8immersion beyond 1 m

The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer.

NOTE: Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that produces no harmful effects.

LevelProtected against access to hazardous parts with
Aback of hand
Hhigh voltage device
Mdevice moving during water test
Sdevice standing still during water test
Wweather conditions


German standard DIN 40050-9 extends the IEC 60529 rating system described above with an IP69K rating for high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down applications. Such enclosures must not only be dust tight (IP6X), but also able to withstand high-pressure and steam cleaning. The test specifies a spray nozzle that is fed with 80 °C water at 8–10 MPa (80–100 bar) and a flow rate of 14–16 L/min. The nozzle is held 10–15 cm from the tested device at angles of 0°, 30°, 60° and 90° for 30 s each. The test device sits on a turntable that rotates once every 12 s (5 rpm).

The IP69K test specification was initially developed for road vehicles, especially those that need regular intensive cleaning (dump trucks, cement mixers, etc), but also finds use in other areas (e.g., food industry).

See also: NEMA Ratings