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IPX waterproof ratings explained

IPX waterproof ratings explained

Certain electrical products are designed to be used outside or in close proximity to water.  Items like portable speakers frequently denote an IP code to indicate “how waterproof” the item is designed to be.

IP stands for Ingress Protection, and is a standardised scale which for the UK market has codes assigned in accordance with British standard BS EN 60529:1992.

The following table indicates how weather-proof or waterproof an item is designed to be.


Protection from dripping water, sweat, etc.  when the item is upright.


Protection against vertical drops of water when the item is tilted up to 15° from its normal position.


Protection assured against direct sprays of water at any angle up to 60°.


Protection against water splashing from any direction.


Protection against low-pressure jet (6.3mm) of water from any angle.


Protection assured against powerful water jet projected by a nozzle (12.5mm) from any angle.


Protection against immersion in water between 15cm and 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.


Protection against immersion in water, deeper than 1 meter, and/or for longer than 30 minutes.


Protection against high-pressure, high-temperature jet sprays, wash-downs or steam-cleaning.


Additionally, the IP scale can be used to denote protection against solid particles (e.g. dust, sand).  A similar scale is used, with the relevant digit replacing the “X” in the scale shown above.  The numbers in the following table indicate solid particle protection.


Protection against solid objects larger than 50mm (e.g. open hand).


Protection against solid objects larger than 12mm (e.g. fingers).


Protection against solid objects larger than 2.5mm (e.g. wires, screws).


Protection against solid objects larger than 1mm (e.g. fine wire, larger insects).


Partial protection against dust and other small particles, such that any ingress will not damage or impede the satisfactory performance of internal components.


Fully dust tight and complete protection against solid particulates.


These IP scales are designed to be combined as required.  For example, a Bluetooth speaker which the manufacturer claims to be IP67 rated, means that it is fully protected against dust, sand and other small particles, and also being immersed in up to 1m of water – in other words, it can be safely used in the garden or on the beach.

In all cases, it is important to read the product operating instructions or user guide supplied by the manufacturer.  This will give the most accurate information about how to safely operate the product, and any care instructions that should be followed.

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