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Water droplet graphics banner with blue water drops and IP66 indicated
Written by: Leon Bagga

What Is An IP Rating?

If you are looking into purchasing new lighting solutions, accessories, or equipment, or any electrical items for that matter, it is likely that you have come across the term ‘IP rating’. However, if you aren’t an expert in electronics, you may not know what any of this actually means.

Therefore, in this blog, we will tell you all you need to know about IP ratings - what they are, what they mean, how they are decided, and introduce you to the industry’s first IP66-rated LED lighting solution of its kind.

If you want to make sure that your lighting has the best IP rating possible, then we have a range of LED solutions that are suitable for a variety of applications. If you’re interested in learning more about our products, our Leeds-based lighting manufacturing team would be happy to help. Please get in touch by emailing or calling 01132 799 745.

What Is An IP Rating?

IP stands for Ingress Protection, a rating that is set out in the international standard of EN 60529, British standard BS EN 60529:1992, and European standard IEC 60509:1989. This rating indicates how effective an electrical enclosure is at protecting the electrics from dirt, dust, contact, bugs, and moisture.

The enclosure of the mechanical or electrical item is given a rating of two numbers, providing a more accurate indication of how much the item is ‘waterproof’. Whereas these vague marketing terms like ‘waterproof’ don’t show you the extent to which they resist water, an IP rating will provide a precise description as to where and to what extent the item is indeed waterproof. In other words, an IP rating is a simple, trusted, worldwide rating that demonstrates the capabilities of a product, letting consumers know how resistant it is to external forces and elements like dust and water. It might also be referred to as an International or Internal Protection mark.

Who Decides And Awards An IP Rating?

To get an IP rating for a product, manufacturers have to arrange to have it rigorously tested by an independent, certified company. The independent IP testing company will then give the product an IP rating based on the results of the tests that they have undertaken.

After this, the company can then apply the IP code to the product, allowing the manufacturer to state with confidence (and advertise) the level of protection that the product has. This shows consumers what they can expect from the product before they buy it, providing assurance that the product will meet their needs.

What Do The Numbers Of An IP Rating Mean?

The numbers following the IP both have a particular meaning, indicating different things about the safety of the item. The first digit will tell you how protected products are from moving parts, and how protected the item is from foreign bodies. The second digit will indicate how protected it is from water.

First Digit - Solids

The first digit of an IP rating indicates the intrusion protection. Here are what the numbers mean.

Rating Protection Against Dust/Solids
0No special ingress protection against solids.
1Protection against ingress from large body parts, unless there is deliberate access, and from solid objects that have more than a 50mm diameter.
2Protection against objects smaller than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter, such as a finger.
3Protection against objects with a diameter greater than 2.5mm, such as tools and wires.
4Protection against objects greater than 1mm, such as nails, screws, wires, and large insects.
5Partial degree of protection against dust.
6Complete protection against dust and other small particulates, as demonstrated in tests against a continuous airflow.

Second Digit - Liquids

The second digit of an IP rating indicates the extent at which a product is protected against moisture. You can find the meaning behind the numbers below.

Rating Protection Against Water/Liquids
0No protection against liquids.
1Protection against contact from water droplets falling vertically, so no damage will occur when the item is upright. This includes protection against condensation.
2Protection against water droplets, from vertical up to 15°.
3Protection against water spray, from vertical up to 60°.
4Protection against water splashes for 360°. Item has to be tested for at least 10 minutes with an oscillating spray nozzle.
5Protection against direct sprays from low-pressure jets of water for 360°.
6Protection against direct sprays from high-pressure jets for 360°.
7Protection against immersion between 15cm and 1 metre in depth for up to 30 minutes.
8Protection against extended immersion in water at greater depths for extended periods of time, typically over 30 minutes at depths of over 1 metre. Parameters of this will be set by the manufacturer to test immersion under pressure.
(or, K)
Protection against high-pressure and high-temperature jet sprays, such as steam cleaning, high-temperature spray downs, and washing. It is the standard for use on road vehicles as set out in ISO 20653:2013.

What if there is an ‘X’ rather than a number?

If the IP rating has an X instead of a number, this simply means that the number is missing. This could mean that it has not been rated against the particular specification, or it offers no protection in this area.

For example, something rated X6 would have no intrusion protection, but it is protected against direct high-pressure water jets. Conversely, something rated 6X would be totally dust-tight but will not be water-resistant.

How Do Products Achieve An IP Rating?

The IP rating testing process is typically a two-step procedure. Firstly, the device will be exposed to solids, dust, or water, using a standardised protocol, before being manually tested to see how well it functions after exposure.

In order to do so, testing facilities must have the proper equipment that are calibrated and accurate for determinate results. This includes calibrated nozzles, immersion tanks, and dust chambers as set out in the industry standard. These standards set out everything, even up to the size of the particulates in the Talcum powder used for dust testing to get the most accurate results.

The Industry’s First IP66-rated Lighting Solution Of Its Kind

Here at Vision Lighting, we are proud to present the first and only IP66 LED sign light in the UK. That’s right, the Nanolight is the industry’s first completely dustproof and waterproof lighting solution of its kind, enclosed in a sleek and secure 45mm aluminium profile. The product was independently tested and certified by Nemko Ltd, who are recognised in over 120 countries.

The Nanolight can be manufactured to any length, in sections of up to 6100mm. For sizes greater than this, two or more sections can be innovatively connected with our middle connector system. However, this does not make the Nanolight any less waterproof or dustproof. Each join is independently sealed to IP66, and power is transferred through an IP68-rated connector that can handle up to 240 volts.

But it’s not just the IP66 rating that is impressive. The Nanolight contains high-efficiency LED strip technology and Premium Tridonic LED drivers that only consume 11.5 Watts per metre but outputs an incredible 2185 Lumens per metre, making it the most efficient LED light in the UK too.

This industry-leading design can be revolutionary for any indoor or outdoor sign, without the need for extra fuss of housing external power supplies or a complicated installation. Simply hook the Nanolight onto the included 4-way adjustable quick-fix brackets, fasten securely, and you’re good to go.

As the Nanolight is rated IP66, this means that it is protected against direct water sprays coming from any direction and completely protected from dust and other foreign objects. This is revolutionary as it can be installed in every type of environment, such as a wet environment, harsh environment, dusty environments or even industrial environments, without incurring damage from the rain, dust, or even insects. It can also be positioned to illuminate downwards or upwards, without having an increased risk of water ingress.

Interested In Our Nanolight, Or Any Other Products? Take A Look At Our Products Online

Vision lighting is a first choice supplier for many businesses, signmakers, and electricians that require the highest quality LED lighting solutions. If you are looking for innovative LED products and accessories, take a look at our products online today.

For more information about any of our products, or to make an enquiry about the revolutionary IP66-rated Nanolight, get in touch with the Vision Lighting team by calling 01132 799 745, or emailing

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West Yorkshire,
LS12 4JD

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