Ingress Protection IP Codes – What do They Mean?

Ingress Protection IP Codes

Courtesy of Brett Levin

If you’ve researched much into how to find a great LED light bar, you’ve no doubt heard a lot about how important durability is. A big part of determining a light’s durability and how well it stacks up against the elements is to see what its IP code is.

But what do these codes mean, and how do you use them to tell how good the build-quality of an LED light bar is. In this guide, we will answer that question and shed light on the meaning behind the various IP protection code ratings.

How to Read an Ingress Protection Code

An Ingress protection code is always the letters “IP” followed by two digits. It is these two digits that are important in determining how much protection the outer casing of the light offers against intrusion from both solid particles and from water.

The first digit tells how well the light is protected from solid objects such as rocks, sand, and dust, while the second digit tells how waterproof the light is. The light’s protection rating against solid particles is rated on a scale from zero to six, with each digit meaning the following:

  • Level 0

No protection is offered against any size object. Essentially the light does not even have an outer casing

  • Level 1

Anything larger than 50mm across will not be able to pass through into the internal electronics.

  • Level 2

Anything larger than 12.5mm across will not be able to pass through into the internal electronics.

  • Level 3

Anything larger than 2.5mm across will not be able to pass through into the internal electronics.

  • Level 4

Anything larger than 1mm across will not be able to pass through into the internal electronics.

  • Level 5

The electronics inside the light are essentially dustproof. Some dust may get inside, but not enough to actually damage the light.

  • Level 6

The light is sealed tight and is completely protected against dust and other fine particles. Nothing will get inside.

The second digit in an IP code refers to how waterproof the light is. Its value ranges from zero to eight, and means the following:

  • Level 0

The light has no protection against water. Its internal electronics are essentially exposed to the elements.

  • Level 1

Water that is dripped down vertically on the light will not pass through to the electronics.

  • Level 2

If the case is tilted at fifteen degrees such that water being dripped slides down it, the electronics inside will remain dry.

  • Level 3

Water that is being sprayed from a 60 degree angle to completely vertical will not make it through to the electronics.

  • Level 4

Water splashed at any angle will not make it through the casing.

  • Level 5

Water being sprayed through a water jet will not compromise the light’s electronics.

  • Level 6

Water being sprayed through a high-power water jet will not compromise the light’s electronics.

  • Level 7

The light will not be compromised if it is submerged in one meter of water for half an hour.

  • Level 8

The light can be submerged at any reasonable depth of water for an indefinite length of time without sustaining any damage. In other words, the light is entirely waterproof.

When searching for an LED light bar, look for one that has an IP rating of either IP67 or IP68. This will allow you to use your light in any terrain, weather, and environment without worrying about it sustaining damage from the elements.