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What is IP in lighting?

Published : 2019-06-06 13:36:21
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What is IP in lighting?

What is IP in lighting?

Sometimes you ask us about the meaning of the degree of IP protection that you can find in lamps, luminaries or spotlights that we have in Therefore, we intend to give you a general explanation - not technical - so that in a quick and simple way you can understand its meaning and understand it, especially if you are thinking of buying a lamp either for outdoor, indoor or semi-covered spaces such as porches or balconies.

 IP degree for outdoors

The IP degree of protection refers to the international standard IEC 60529 "Degrees of Protection" used very frequently in the technical data of electrical or electronic equipment, in general industrial use as sensors, meters, controllers, and so on. In our case or specialty, the IP is applied to lamps, luminaries as well as to any lighting equipment.  This international standard was developed with the objective of qualifying in an alpha-numeric way the equipments according to their level of protection that their container materials provide against the entrance of foreign materials (solids such as dust or liquids such as water). Thus, with these numerical codes, we can quickly identify the degree of protection of the luminaire.

The IP (International Protection) grade is made up of two digits that mark the IP (XY) grade.

The first digit (IP....X) as a general rule indicates the protection of the device against penetration by solid bodies.

0 Not protected

1 Protected against penetration by solid bodies with ∅ ≥ 50 mm.

2 Protected against penetration by solid bodies with ∅ ≥ 12 mm.

3 Protected against penetration by solid bodies with ∅ ≥ 2.5 mm.

4 Protected against penetration by solid bodies with ∅ ≥ 1 mm.

5 Protected against dust

6 Totally protected against dust.

The second digit (IP....Y) indicates that the device is protected against rain.

0 Not protected.

1 Protected against falling drops of water.

2 Protected against rain with a maximum angle of 15º above the vertical.

3 Protected against rain with a maximum angle of 60º above the vertical.

4 Protected against splashes and water protection.

5 Protected against water jets.

6 Protected against powerful water jets.

7 Protected against temporary flooding.

8 Protected against prolonged immersion.


Recommended IP grade for use in the baths

Bathroom lighting


A recessed luminaire with IP68 degree of protection is perfect for underwater lighting.

 Recessed light swimming pool

To summarise, we could mark 00 as "no protection - protection 0" and the maximum IP would be IP68, in which we would be faced with a product that is completely waterproof (including flooding) and dustproof. For example, a light bulb for swimming pools would have to have this IP in order to work correctly.

Currently, most lamps, appliances, sensors or photoelectrics sold in the market for outdoor use have a level of protection IP67 to withstand without any problem all types of inclement weather or aggressive environments that occur in everyday use in gardens, terraces, balconies and any outdoor environment in general.


With this short explanation we have tried to clarify in a simple way the meaning of the IP degree of protection that is used internationally in the lighting sector.

 decking light

If you want a more technical clarification, you can download a very interesting PDF that you can find in the National Institute of Security in the Work (Government of Spain), where it is defined to the perfection all the norm as for the system of codification IP.NTP 588: Degree of protection of the envelopes of the electrical materials.

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