Like most life pondering questions, this one comes with the obligatory ‘it depends’ clause. What your lights will be used for and where they are located will naturally affect the ingress requirements required.
As our international stamp of protection for all things electrical and mechanical, the IP system sets the universal benchmark for quality and application. A peace of mind warranty for contractors and consumers that products will have a life span ‘fit for purpose’.
How the IP rating works
A two-digit grading system applied to the enclosure of a mechanical or electrical item, the IP rating measures the degree of protection for foreign bodies like dust, dirt and vermin, and its resistance to moisture.
The first number between 0 – 6, measures the protection from solid objects like dust, dirt. The second between 0 – 8 measures resistance to moisture at varying intensities, angles, depths, pressures, exposure and immersion.
IP Rating Chart
IP Ratings are represented by combining the first and second digits of the following columns. See the example below.
IP Ratings for Outdoor Lighting
When it comes to outdoor lighting, location and purpose are key. Incorrect or poorly manufactured products can result in premature deterioration or potential electrical faults.
Security, Deck and Patio Lighting
Given they are often subject to full weather exposure, pressure washers and foot traffic, this group require a higher protection level. Aim for an IP65 rating to avoid damage or electrical problems.
Water and Submerged Lighting
If you’re illuminating pools, ponds or water features your light needs to be a minimum of IP68 rating. This will supply a low voltage product, adequately waterproofed and able to withstand any surrounding water pressure.
Why does the IP matter?
Having an IP rating that suits the application will naturally reduce failures and ensure the product will last. Outside of being a frustrating and potentially costly error to fix, there may also be liability and damage to the reputation of contractors who get this wrong. Reputable manufacturers clearly mark IP ratings on the packaging and back this with a suitable warranty period.
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