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IP Ratings Explained | How to Read the Code

Posted by Eric Miller on August 28, 2019 at 10:33 AM. Filed under Insider, How To


There are some products – think earbuds – where “waterproof” or “dustproof” are selling points. But what do these terms really mean?

You should be able to find a rating beginning with the letters IP and followed by one or two numbers. But for those who are unfamiliar with the IP rating system, these numbers and letters do not necessarily answer the question.

If that last sentence applies to you, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered!

IP Ratings Explained

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) sets the IP standard. Depending on who you ask, the acronym “IP” stands for either “International Protection” or “Ingress Protection.” Either way, the idea is that words like “waterproof” alone are too vague to adequately represent what a customer is buying. The solution is to apply specific ratings based on a standardized code that will be the same everywhere in the world.



The Code

The waterproof rating ranges from 0 to 8, with an 8 offering the most protection. Although waterproof status generally gets the most attention, a product might also provide some measure of protection against foreign objects like dust and dirt. This ranges from 0 to 6 and is actually the first number in the rating. However, because many products only guard against water, this number is often replaced with a X, which serves as a kind of placeholder.

To provide a couple of examples, a rating of IPX1 would mean that a product is protected against vertical dripping water but nothing more than that. On the other end of the spectrum, a rating of IPX8 would protect against continuous immersion. Falling somewhere in between, a product like the Enbrighten LED Battery-Operated Mini Lantern offers an IP rating of IPX4, or protection against splashing water.

Note that, in the examples above, the “dustproof” rating is not a factor (hence the X). By contrast, a rating of IP65 would mean a 6 for dust and a 5 for water.

If you would like to refer to the code next time you’re in the market for awesome waterproof products, you can find a chart here.


About the Author | Eric Miller

Eric is a copywriter for Jasco’s marketing department. He has been writing and editing in various professional capacities for more than a decade, including stints with newspapers and contributions to magazines. When he isn’t helping the company craft content, he is finding and taking pictures of local urban ruins as practice for eventual photographic excursions in distant lands.

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