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IP Ratings Explained

Well it stands for Ingress Protection and it measures a product’s resistance to solids and liquids. This is particularly important when we consider the potential harm that can arise from water meeting electronics. With this in mind, the required IP rating of a product will depend on the product’s application. For example, a light that is going to be used above a shower is far more likely to be subjected to a jet of water than one in a living room, so the bathroom fitting will need to have a higher IP rating.

Each IP rating consists of two digits, the first indicating the protection offered against solids, while the second digit details the protection against liquids. The different ratings can be outlined in this handy chart. We read the first digit and second digit separately to get the solid and liquid rating of the product.

Looking at this chart we can work out what IP rating is required based on where it is going to be used. For example, our P-LUX Lantern range is IP44 rated throughout, so is perfect for outdoor applications. The entire range is able stop small objects entering and withstand water sprayed from any angle, making it more than sturdy enough for the British weather.

While for interior use if the fitting is likely to come in contact with jets of water, from a sink or shower for example, an IP rating of 65 would be required. That is why our range of D-Lux downlights come as IP65 rated to give you the protection you need for kitchen and bathroom applications.

When judging what IP rating is required for bathroom lighting it is worth being familiar with the different zones of a bathroom. This breaks up a bathroom into zones based on how close a water source is.

This is inside the bath or shower basin. Any appliance located here needs to be totally immersion proof. This requires an IP67 rating and for the use of Separated Extra-Low Voltage (SELV) circuit.

This zone spans the width of the bath or shower basin and extends 2.25m above. The minimum IP rating required here is 44. Again, appliances in this zone must use a SELV circuit.

This zone requires a minimum IP44 rating. This zone applies to the same height as zone 1 (2.25m) and extends to 0.6m to each side. As with the other zones, a SELV circuit must be used here. It is also best practice to consider a 60cm radius around any tap as zone 2.

There are no IP requirements in the area outside of zone 2, however it is worth considering the effects high levels of moisture and steam will have because this can cause early failure in lighting. To ensure a long life for your lighting a higher IP rating is recommended even in this area.