Ingress Protection IP Codes - What do They Mean?

If you look at the product description of an LED light bar, chances are you will find a code that begins with the letters "IP" followed by a set of numbers. This code is known as an Ingress Protection (IP) code and is a rating of how much protection the light bar's external casing provides against intrusion of both solid particles and water. Understanding these codes is important in order to gauge how protected the light’s internal electronics really are, so here is a quick guide to the various IP codes and what they mean.

The First Digit—Protection Against Solids

The first digit past the IP in the code tells you how well protected the light’s internal workings are against intrusion from solid objects such as dust and sand. The value of this digit can range from zero up to six, with six being the highest level of protection. Here is a summary of what these seven digits mean:

  • Level 0

This level offers no protection. You can basically stick your hand through the casing and into the electronics inside.

  • Level 1

Anything larger than 50mm across will be blocked.

  • Level 2

Anything larger than 12.5mm across will be blocked.

  • Level 3

Anything larger than 2.5mm across will be blocked.

  • Level 4

Anything larger than 1mm across will be blocked.

  • Level 5

The internal electronics are basically protected against dust. Some may get in, but not enough to do any real damage.

  • Level 6

The unit is entirely sealed against dust and other fine particles.

Most every good LED light bar will have an IP code where the first digit reads six, meaning the light is completely protected against mud, dust, and sand.

The Second Digit—Waterproofing

The second digit in an IP code refers to how waterproof the light is. The value of this digit can range from zero to eight. Here is a summary of what these digits mean:

  • Level Zero

The device offers no protection against water intrusion.

  • Level 1

The device is protected against water dripping down vertically on it.

  • Level 2

The device is protected from water dripping down on it with the case tilted at 15 degrees.

  • Level 3

The device is protected against water being sprayed on it from a 60 degree angle to vertical with no effect.

  • Level 4

The device is protected against splashing water at any angle.

  • Level 5

The device is protected against being sprayed by a water jet.

  • Level 6

The device is protected against being sprayed by a high-power water jet.

  • Level 7

The device can be submerged in one meter of water for half an hour with no damaging effects.

  • Level 8

The device can be submerged for an indefinite amount of time at a depth specified by the manufacturer with no effect. This rating means the device is completely waterproof.

Most good LED light bars will have a waterproof rating of either level 7 or level 8.

By paying attention to the IP protection codes, you can accurately judge how well protected the light is against the elements. All LED light bars at Black Oak LED have earned an IP security rating of either IP67 or IP68.