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What does IPXX Rating Mean? IP Rating FAQ

Many products stocked on Daffodil use IPXX ratings. For an explanation of these products and their resistances see our complete guide to headphones and earphones IPXX Ratings.

However, more than headphones and earphones use the system and this blog serves as a smaller, refined explanation of IP ratings and what they mean

What does IP Stand For?

“IP” as in an “IPXX” rating stands for Ingress Protection. The factor really does describe what it says on the label! The numbers determine the protection a device has from ingress from two different types of material; Physical and Liquid.

What do the numbers mean on IP Ratings?

The IP rating tells us the physical and liquid ingress protection of a product, in that order. For example, an IP67 rated smart watch is “6” rating against physical and “7” rating against liquid!

What is physical ingress?

Physical ingress can refer to any of the following:

  • Dust
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Mud
  • Hair
  • Other similar particulates

The protection indicates how hard it is for these particles to invade the product and disrupt usage, and the size of said particles.

What is liquid ingress?

Liquid ingress can refer to any of the following:

  • Water Submersion
  • Liquid Splashes
  • Liquid Jets
  • Sweat
  • Condensation
  • Rain
  • Other sources of liquid

The protection indicates how easy or hard it is for liquids to get inside and damage the device, and how strong the liquid would have to be to do so. It can also help indicate submersible depth but not the pressure and temperature rating of a device.

What do the IP numbers mean?

A detailed look at the exact stages of the IP Rating system shows us a physical ingress scale and a liquid ingress scale:

Physical Ingress IP Scale -
  1. At IP1X a device can keep large solid objects out. Anything bigger than 5cm or so will be stopped.
  2. At IP2X a device can filter out down to around 1cm! This makes IP2X drastically more protective than IP1X.
  3. At IP3X a device can protect the electronics inside from particles as small as 2.5mm.
  4. At IP4X a device can only be invaded by particles smaller than just 1mm.
  5. At IP5X a device is protected from dust to the degree that no damage could occur.
  6. At IP6X a device is entirely enclosed and no dust, even enough to not interfere, can enter.
Liquid Ingress IP Scale -
  1. At IPX1 a device is protected from small liquid drops only from directly above the device.
  2. At IPX2 a device is protected from water drops at up to a 15-degree angle.
  3. At IPX3 a device is protected from spraying water (More forceful than drops) from up to 60-degrees reaching around the sides of the object.
  4. At IPX4 a device can withstand spraying water from any angle.
  5. At IPX5 a device can withstand jets of water (More forceful than spray) from any angle.
  6. At IPX6 a device has even more protection from all angles for stronger currents and jets.
  7. At IPX7 a device can be submerged, but only under specified temperature, depths and times.
  8. At IPX8 a device can be submerged with no time constraints

What an IP Rating Doesn’t Tell You

An IPXX Rating can clearly show you how protected your electronics are, from your phone or smart health watch to your earbuds and headphones. However, do not mistake ingress protection for protection from other dangers.

Ingress protection measures how easy or difficult it is for foreign materials to enter a device. Physical ingress protection therefore says nothing about the physical resistance to force or shocks. For example, your phone might be airtight and not let in any dust, but hitting it with a hammer still breaks it open.

Similarly, liquid ingress protection says nothing about pressure and temperature limits. A device might be able to be submerged and keep the water out, but the physical pressure of being under deep water or the high / low temperature of the water can still cause serious damage to a device.

Shop in Safety

Armed with this knowledge you can make smarter decisions over which products will suit your purposes, and even enlighten your friends with some technical manufacturing jargon that the paying customer should know about too!

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