IP Ratings… how waterproof are those lights???

IP Ratings… how waterproof are those lights???

If you see products bragging how they’re IP-68 rated, your first thought probably is something like “What in the world does that mean?”  Don’t feel alone because we used to think the exact same thing at PlanetChristmas.  It’s actually a very good piece of knowledge to know about a product.  It’s called the IP rating code and lets you see at a glance how it will endure life in the real world.

What is an IP rating?

IP stands for Ingress Protection.  This IP rating is used to specify the strength of the enclosure that surrounds electronic equipment and is determined by specific tests.

Each IP rating consists of two separate numbers.  The number on the left (example: IP-68) is protection against solids and the number on the right ((example: IP-68) is protection against liquids.

Left number (ex: IP-68)
Level of protection against
solid objects, materials, or dust

Right number (ex: IP-68)
Level of protection against
water or liquids

0

No Protection

0

No Protection

1

Protected against solid objects down to 2 inches

1

Protection against vertically falling drops of water (e.g. condensation)

2

Protected against solid objects down to 0.5 inches

2

Protection against direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical

3

Protected against solid objects down to 0.1 inches

3

Protection against direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical

4

Protected against solid objects down to 0.04 inches

4

Protection against water sprayed from all directions – limited ingress permitted

5

Protected against dust, limited ingress (no harmful deposit)

5

Protected against low pressure jets of water from all directions – limited ingress permitted

6

Totally protected against dust 6 Protected against low pressure jets of water, limited ingress permitted (think: ship deck)

7

Protected against the effect of immersion 6-39 inches

8

Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure

 

What are we looking for in the outdoor Christmas decoration world?

Many fancy lights (think strobes, RGB fixtures, etc.) are rated IP-65 through IP-68.  Use the chart above to determine your pain level.  In most outdoor displays where you worry about rain and irrigation sprays, IP-65 is typically good enough.  If you’re thinking of  putting lights underwater, consider IP-67 or IP-68 but you should really check with the manufacturer.

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