A Beginners Guide to Lighting IP Ratings

The IP rating of any light fixture should be one of the primary considerations that shoppers should take into account when looking for new lights. IP ratings for lights can indicate where it is safe to place them depending on the conditions, meaning that skipping over a light’s IP certification would be a grave mistake. Below, you’ll find IP ratings explained in an easy to understand way.


What Does IP Rating Mean?

An IP rated light refers to a fixture’s Ingress protection. In other words, it is a system that is used to indicate a light’s protection against solid matter and moisture. IP ratings are seen with “IP” in the front, followed by two digits. In both cases, a higher number indicates a greater level of protection.

The first digit refers to the light’s ability to resist entry of solid matter, while the second digit refers to moisture. It is a globally recognized system, which makes manufacturing items to a certain standard more streamlined, and shopping for lights an easier task.


Why is IP Rating Important For Lighting? 

Since IP ratings indicate how well a light can withstand certain conditions, it is essential to get familiar with the IP waterproof rating of any given light. IP ratings for outdoor lighting is especially important, as the lights are exposed to the weather and elements outdoors, posing a greater risk.

Besides their functionality, safety is one of the most important reasons to take note of any given IP rating. These ratings ensure compliance with various safety standards and regulations, and in some industries, they may be used to meet certain safety codes. Choosing lights with the appropriate IP rating will further the safety of the space and those who use it.

Furthermore, lights that have a higher IP rating are usually more durably built, making them stronger and more resistant to damage over time. This will allow them to maintain their performance as the years go on, meaning you’ll be spending less to maintain and replace them.


IP Ratings Chart Explained

Understanding IP ratings for lighting starts with knowing what the various digits in the IP rating mean. As you can see in this IP rating chart, the IP rating is broken down into two digits, with the first referring to solid matter and the second referring to moisture.

For example, an IP44 light will be protected against solid objects larger than one millimeter, such as in the case of wire. It will also be protected against splashes of water from any direction. An IP65 light, on the other hand, will be completely dust tight and be protected from jets of water.

As the number gets higher, you’ll notice that more protection is offered. Outdoor lighting IP ratings and bathroom lighting IP ratings will almost always be on the higher side, as they require more protection against moisture in particular. Bathroom shower lights, for example, will have an IP65 rating or higher, since waterproof lighting fixtures are a necessity here.

Lower IP ratings, like those rated IP44 or below, are typically used for indoor spaces. They are found in areas that have little to no exposure to water or dust, such as in a bedroom or living room.

Lighting IP ratings Chart


What IP Rating Should You Use For Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor waterproof lights are generally preferred in order to ensure that no rainwater or other precipitation will damage the fixtures. That said, an IP rating between IP44 and IP65 will do just fine for general outdoor use.

Standard garden lights should be rated a minimum of IP44. IP44 lights are safe for use in rain, but they shouldn’t be exposed to any pressurized jets, such as from a power washer. Water that splashes against it won’t cause any damage.

With an IP65 rated light, you can skip all concerns about that entirely, as it can withstand everything from light drizzles of rain to water jets blasting it. Deck and patio lights most commonly use this IP rating for this reason.

If you intend to install lights underwater, such as in a pond or fountain, you should opt for IP68 rated lighting for maximum protection.



What IP Rating Should You Use For Bathroom Lighting?

Bathroom IP ratings are equally as important to note as outdoor IP ratings. The moisture and humidity in this room is significantly higher compared to other rooms in the house, so the lights need protection from it.

Depending on where you place the bathroom lights, the IP rating requirements will differ. These are known as the bathroom zones:


  • Zone 0 –  This area is found inside of the shower or bath itself. Lights in this zone need to have a minimum rating of IP67, which means the light will be waterproof even when immersed for long periods of time.
  • Zone 1 –  This area sits above the shower or bath as high as 2.25 meters above the floor. You will need a minimum rating of IP45 here, though it is recommended you use an IP65 rated light just to be safe.
  • Zone 2 –  This location extends 0.6 meters outside of the bath’s perimeter as high as 2.25 meters from the floor. Here, you will need a light with a minimum of IP44.

Other zones outside of these areas do not have any special IP rating requirements, but it is recommended that you choose lights that have a minimum rating of IP20.

Lighting zones for a bathroom

How is IP Rating Tested?

Lights get their Ingress protection ratings through an international standard against which they are tested. This standard is known as the International Protection marking. When undergoing the IP test, the following steps are usually taken:


Solid Object Testing:


  • The light is put in a test chamber where several items of various sizes are introduced to the chamber. This ranges from tiny particles of dust to larger items of debris.
  • The chamber is then sealed, and the test runs for a certain period of time.
  • Once the test is complete, the fixture is examined to see what solid objects, if any, entered the light.


Water Ingress Testing:


  • The light is placed in a chamber and exposed to varying amounts of water, such as immersion, jets and light splashes.
  • The light is tested under various water pressure levels for certain periods of time.
  • The light is examined following the test to see if there is any damage or ingress to speak of.

Higher rated lights undergo a more stringent test, while lower IP rated lights get a more general testing. IP rating tests are conducted by certified testing facilities and labs to ensure that the standards are met and the lights are tested with adequate materials.

After a light has been tested, it will receive the proper IP rating. This rating will be added to product labels and descriptions so the eventual customer will know exactly what to expect.



Wiring Considerations for IP Rated Lighting

There are a few things to keep in mind during installation of your IP rated light to ensure the integrity of the rating. Some wiring considerations include:


  • CABLE – It is important to select cables that meet the IP rating requirements of any given fixture. They should have proper protection against dust and moisture just as the lights do. For this reason, the cable should match or exceed the light’s IP rating.
  • ENTRY OF THE CABLE – Note how the cables go into the light fixture and make sure that proper seals are in place to maintain the IP rating. Tight seals will securely fit around the cables, stopping dust, moisture or any other particles from entering there.
  • ENCLOSURES AND JUNCTION BOXES – If there are either of these in the setup, be sure their IP ratings match or exceed that of the light to ensure consistent protection throughout the wires.
  • CONNECTIONS – Ensure that the connections are secure and tight as not to compromise the IP rating of the light. Loose connections might also pose a safety hazard if not properly maintained.
  • GROUNDING – Be sure that the electricity and wires are properly grounded to prevent damage, increase safety and maintain the ability of the IP rating.

Generally speaking, it is recommended that you have a professional electrician take a look at your wiring system, or better yet, install the wiring system for you, to ensure proper installation and safety.



Outdoor and Bathroom IP Rated Light Ideas


  1. LWA705 7 Watt Square Black Outdoor Wall Light

LWA705 7 watt black square LED Garden Wall Light

With the LWA705 7 Watt Square Black Outdoor Wall Light, you can light up your outdoor space without fear of the light taking on damage. This light has an IP65 rating, making it safe for exposure to jets of water. It is ultra-bright with 700 lumens of 3000k warm white light being output through the acrylic diffuser. Thanks in part to its durable aluminium construction, it is well suited for outdoor use.



  1. LWA386 12 Watt Round Black Outdoor LED Wall Light

LWA386 round black outdoor garden wall lights

When it comes to outdoor lighting, you can enjoy modern flair with the LWA386 12 Watt Round Black Outdoor LED Wall Light. This light features a sleek body fashioned out of hardwearing aluminium that can withstand the effects of the elements. It has an IP65 rating to further protect it from weather. This light is finished in a sleek black colour and measures 150 millimeters in diameter.



  1. ODL047 1 Watt Round Brass Finish LED Ground or Decking Light

ODL047A 1 watt brass LED ground lights outdoor

By using the ODL047 1 Watt Round Brass Finish LED Ground or Decking Light, you can elevate the appearance of your deck or patio without fear of it taking on water damage. This deck light has an IP67 rating, making it entirely waterproof and dust tight. The simplistic fixture measures 38 millimeters in diameter and is finished in a durable polished brass. It outputs 70 lumens of 3000k warm white light.


  1. LDC469 3 Watt Mini Recessed LED Bathroom Downlight

LDC469 3 watt P65 recessed LED downlight

Modernize your bathroom with the inclusion of the LDC469 3 Watt Mini Recessed LED Bathroom Downlight. This mini recessed light sits in the ceiling with only its exterior ring exposed, available in your choice of either gray or black finishes. This IP65 rated light is well suited for use in the bathroom without compromising its integrity. It outputs 120 lumens of 3000k warm white light.



  1. LWA431 6 Watt Round IP65 Bathroom Wall Light

LWA431 6 watt bathroom wall light bathroom light fixtures

Make your bathroom feel like a spa with the contemporary addition of the LWA431 6 Watt Round IP65 Bathroom Wall Light. This thin wall light is more durable than it looks, crafted out of durable aluminium and rated at IP65. It outputs 600 lumens of 3000k warm white light and offers particularly pleasant accent lighting. A black or white finish allows it to work well in bathrooms of any design style.



  1. LWA338 9 Watt LED Stainless Steel Bathroom Wall Light

LWA338 9 watt bathroom mirror light modern bathroom lighting

The LWA338 9 Watt LED Stainless Steel Bathroom Wall Light is a classic bathroom wall light that can illuminate vanities, mirrors and beyond. This light features an IP44 rating, making it good for use in outer zones of the bathroom. It outputs 720 lumens of 3000k warm white light from behind its opal acrylic shades mounted along a durable stainless steel backplate. Overall, it measures 390 millimeters by 107 millimeters by 90 millimeters in size.

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