IP Rating Scale Explained

Some of the products that we recommend (sewer camera, underground wire locator, digital micrometer, Elcometer 311-B paint thickness meter, digital caliper, etc), often come with an IP rating. If you find them with codes such as IP64, IP65, IP67, it’s IP rating.

For the easiest product example, you could check the Mitutoyo 293-340-30 that has an IP65 rating. This rating is important to know especially if you are going to buy a new product that you will use in a harsh environment.

In this post, we will discover what it is actually, what the meaning of the first and the second number is. The table chart of the IP rating is also available to let know what IP rating that you really need in your device/instrument.

IP Rating Explained

What is IP Rating?

Simply, it’s the code that informs the users in a quick way about how resistful a certain device/instrument against liquid and solid thing from breaking through that device/instrument.

IP stands for International Protection, followed by two-digit numbers after it (IPXX). It’s an international rating standard that indicates how well-performed an enclosure protects the internal components against the ingress of external liquid and solid materials.

While working, it’s common to find the water, dirt, and other things stain our measuring instruments. Our measuring instruments also could possibly drop into the water. Even, it suddenly rains while doing an outdoor measurement. The water could possibly ingress and harmfully cause damage. By means of this IP rating, we have an overview about know how long the device enclosure can resist those intrusions.

Need to remember that IP rating means resistance. It doesn’t mean your device is either waterproof or dustproof. Your device is still endangered by the water if exposed for a long period of time.

The IP rating is applied widely. Many electronic devices use it. Especially digital measuring instruments, the component inside the case is highly sensitive. This rating is one thing you could think about before choosing an item for an extreme condition.

The Two-Digit Breakdown

The IP rating is always followed by two digits of numbers behind. The first digit interprets the scale (from 0 – 6) for solid protection such as dust, dirt, mud, sand, human body parts, and other direct physical contacts. And the next digit interprets the scale (from 0 – 8) for liquid protection such as moisture, mist, water splash, oil, water submersion, etc.

Solid Protection

Based on IEC 60529, Edition 2.2, 2013, page 21, the following table represents the interpretation of each number.

0 Totally open and no protection
1 Protection against objects greater than 50 mm such as the back of a hand.
2 Protection against solid objects greater than 12 mm such as fingers.
3 Protection against solid objects greater than 2.5 mm such as tools, thick wires, etc.
4 Protection against solid objects greater than 1 mm such as most wires, slender screws, large ants, etc.
5 Dust protection with allowable air ingress that doesn’t interfere with the system working.
6 Extreme protection against dust. The test is conducted up to 8 hours against air flow.

Liquid Protection

0 Totally open and no protection
1 Protection against dripping water (vertically falling drops of water)
2 Protection against dripping water (vertically falling drops of water)  when tilted at 15°
3 Protection against water spray
4 Protection against water splash
5 Protection against water jet
6 Protection against more powerful water jet
7 Protection against 1-meter depth immersion
8 Protection against more than 1-meter depth immersion

So, basically, this rating standard refers to two sorts of external materials: liquid and solid. In case you are looking for a rating of fire protection, keep looking.

Keep in mind if your tool has a certain higher IP rating, it doesn’t mean it has passed the other lower tests. For example, when your tool has passed a series of IP67 test (water submersion) and labeled with IP67, it doesn’t mean it’s safe from the water jet.

However, if your tool has IP67 which is the highest protection against the solid material, it has passed the test against bigger contact. It’s possible to own two ratings at once (IP65/67), however, we never find a kind of measuring tool like that. You may comment and give us a suggestion on the comment section below.

Can I Get It?

It’s not cheap to get this rating. Therefore, the higher the IP rating a certain instrument has, the more expensive it is.

A product that comes with this rating must pass some tests. And the test must be done in a proper way. Since the test charges a certain budget, that means adding more cost to the production, then the price becomes raises. However, it’s worth it as the device with this rating is what we need and our precision device doesn’t easily fall apart if we use it in a harsh environment.

Last Thought

It’s important to purchase a product labeled with this kind of rating. For professionals, working in the field may frequently encounter unexpected incidents. A digital caliper works based on the electronic system inside of the enclosure, even a small amount of water can result in damage to the stability. By having this rating, any incident that happens cannot affect the digital caliper you are using. You save time, money, and energy.

Ideal IP Rating for digital micrometer infographic
Ideal IP Rating for digital micrometer infographic

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