When browsing for lighting products, you’ll notice that an IP Rating is often included for the fitting. This will consist of the letters ‘IP’ followed by a two-digit number, and provides important about the product! We’ve put together a quick guide to help you better understand what these ratings mean…

IP Rating simply stands for ‘Ingress Protection’ and the number represents the degree of protection that an electrical item has been given. These ratings are internationally recognised and are defined by International Standard EN60529 (British BS EN60529:1992, European IEC 60509:1989) so the digits that follow IP mean the same everywhere! The standard aims to provide users with more detailed information than just using vague terms such as ‘waterproof’.

As IP ratings are tested to withstand certain environments specific to a product’s purpose, the different ratings aren’t inferior or superior to each other. It’s crucial for the lighting products that we supply to be suitable for their specific environment.

So what do the two individual digits mean?

1st Digit Definition

The first digit of the rating concerns the level of protection the fitting provides against access to hazardous parts in the fitting (e.g electrical conductors) and the degree of protection against ingress of solid foreign objects.

1st Digit
Protection against solid objects
0 Not protected
1 Protected against solid object greater than 50mm (eg. hands)
2 Protected against solid object greater than 12mm (eg. fingers)
3 Protected against solid object greater than 2.5mm (eg. tools)
4 Protected against solid object greater than 1mm (eg. wires)
5 Protected against dust – where there is sufficient amount to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment
6 Total protection against dust
X Protection against solid objects is not defined

2nd Digit Definition

The second concerns the level of protection provided against various degrees of moisture such as drips, submersion in water, sprays etc.

2nd Digit
Protection against liquids
0 Not protected
1 Protected against dripping water greater than 50mm
2 Protected against dripping water when tilted up to 15°
3 Protected against spraying water
4 Protected against splashing water
5 Protected against water jets from any direction
6 Protected against heavy seas
7 Protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 100cm
8 Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure

Therefore, a light fitting with an IP68 rating would be fully protected against dust and water. A great example is the Portland bollard, with an IP68 rating, this fitting is perfect for coastal environments.

All Asbac Lighting products have an IP55 rating or higher. While IP55 is perfect for many external lighting applications, certain applications may require a higher IP rating. For example, an in-ground light fitting will be more likely to be immersed in water if it rains, so our Ceci 90 ground light has an IP67 rating, giving it protection against the elements.

When purchasing external light fittings, consideration needs to be made for where the light fitting is going to be installed and the effects that its surroundings may have. When looking to install lighting in a coastal environment a higher IP Rating is going to be a better choice. However, the absolute minimum rating you should be looking for when installing a outdoor light fitting is IP44.