The IP Code, or Ingress Protection code, IEC standard 60529, sometimes interpreted as International Protection marking, classifies and rates the degree of protection provided by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures against intrusion, dust, accidental contact, and water. It is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The equivalent European standard is EN 60529.
The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. For example, a cellular phone rated at IP68 is "dust resistant" and can be "immersed in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes". Similarly, an electrical socket rated IP22 is protected against insertion of fingers and will not be damaged or become unsafe during a specified test in which it is exposed to vertically or nearly vertically dripping water. IP22 or IP2X are typical minimum requirements for the design of electrical accessories for indoor use.
The digits indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. The digit 0 is used where no protection is provided. The digit is replaced with the letter X when insufficient data has been gathered to assign a protection level.
This page contains a combination of IEC 60529 (also EN 60529) and other standards, such as ISO 20653. The original documents are available for purchase, and have important and specific requirements that cannot be fully reprinted due to copyright restrictions. This often includes drawings specifying the required test equipment, such as the shape of water nozzles used for water jet testing. Additional standards are often referenced that may contain important information. One must refer to the latest revision of the required standard when conducting tests for agency certification.
This table shows what each digit or part of the IP code represents.
|IP indication||First digit: Solid particle protection||Second digit: Liquid ingress protection||Third digit: Mechanical impact resistance||Additional letter: Other protections|
|IP||Single numeral: 0–6 or "X"||Single numeral: 0–9 or "X"||Single numeral: 0–9||Single letter|
|Mandatory||Mandatory||Mandatory||No longer used||Optional|
First digit: Solid particle protection
|Level sized||Effective against||Description|
|X||—||X means there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to this criterion.|
|0||—||No protection against contact and ingress of objects|
|Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part|
|Fingers or similar objects|
|Tools, thick wires, etc.|
|Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.|
|5||Dust 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.|
|6||Dust tight||No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.|
Second digit: Liquid ingress protection
The second digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against harmful ingress of water. The ratings for water ingress are not cumulative beyond IPX6. A device which is compliant with IPX7, covering immersion in water, need not be compliant with IPX5 or IPX6, covering exposure to water jets. A device that meets both tests is indicated by listing both tests separated by a slash, e.g. IPX5/IPX7.
(All tests with the letter "K" are defined by ISO 20653 (replacing DIN 40050-9) and are not found in IEC 60529, except for IPx9 which is the same as the IP69K water test.)
Further letters can be appended to provide additional information related to the protection of the device:
|C||Protection against access with a tool|
|H||High voltage device|
|M||Device moving during water test|
|S||Device standing still during water test|
The letter K is specified in DIN 40050-9, and not in IEC 60529.
IP69K and IPx9
DIN 40050-9 extended the older IEC 60529 rating system with an IP69K rating for high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down applications. Enclosures conforming with ISO 20653:2013 must not only be dust-tight (IP6X), but also able to withstand high-pressure and steam cleaning.
The IP69K standard was originally developed for road vehicles—especially those that need regular intensive cleaning (dump trucks, concrete mixers, etc.)—but it also finds use in other areas, such as food processing machinery and car wash systems. It was superseded by ISO 20653:2013 Road Vehicles-Degrees of protection (IP code), and complemented by the addition of a level 9 water ingress testing to IEC 60529, which includes essentially the same spray test as IP69K, but also includes, in Figure 10, a drawing for a test fixture designed to verify the correct water pressure.
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 seconds each. The test device sits on a turntable that completes a rotation once every 12 seconds (5 rpm). The IPx9 specification details a freehand method for testing larger specimens that will not fit on a turntable (see table above). The free hand method also requires (at least) one additional minute of spray time (1 min/m2, 3 min. minimum). The test distance also increases to .175 m (0.15–0.2 m per section 14.2.9).
North America (NEMA rating)
In the US, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association defines NEMA enclosure types in NEMA standard number 250. The following table outlines which IEC 60529 IP code each respective NEMA rating meets. Ratings between the two standards are not directly equivalent: NEMA ratings also require additional product features and tests (such as functionality under icing conditions, enclosures for hazardous areas, knock-outs for cable connections and others) not addressed by IP ratings.
|NEMA enclosure||IP Code|
|3, 3X, 3S, 3SX||IP55|
|4, 4X||IP66, IP65|
Ingress Protection for consumer electronics
The inclusion of an Ingress Protection rating has become increasingly common for use in the consumer electronics market with devices such as mobile phones, tablet computers and cameras now being sold as water resistant, waterproof and dustproof.
Some manufacturers have produced IP rated smartphones, aimed at consumers who are concerned about their handsets getting submerged in liquids or getting covered in dust.
With the availability of portable devices, and the desire to get outside with active lifestyles, portable speakers have become popular with the rugged consumer market for those who enjoy outdoor recreation, extreme sports as well.
- IEC 60529, Edition 2.2, 2013, page 19
- IEC 60529, Edition 2.2, 2013, page 21
- Ingress Protection: The System of Tests and Meaning of Codes, archived from the original on 2012-12-29.
- Table 8, IEC 60529, Edition 2.2, 2013
- IEC 60529, table 8
- DIN 40050-9: Straßenfahrzeuge; IP-Schutzarten; Schutz gegen Fremdkörper, Wasser und Berühren; Elektrische Ausrüstung [Road vehicles; degrees of protection (IP-code); protection against foreign objects, water and impact; electrical equipment], May 1993. An English translation of the German original is available from DIN.
- ISO 20653:2013 Road Vehicles-Degrees of protection (IP code) Protection of electrical equipment against foreign objects, water and access
- "NEMA Enclosure Types" (pdf). National Electrical Manufacturers Association. November 2005. pp. 7–9. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
- "Understanding IP rating for smartphones – What do the numbers mean". SlashGear. 2019-05-12. Retrieved 2019-10-30.