What is IP Rating? IP53, IP54, IP67, IP68, IP69, Dust and Waterproof Explained

IP Ratings are things you see in the specifications of top-end smartphones. Some common ones include IP68, IP67, and IP53. So, what are IP ratings? IP stands for “Ingress protection”. IP ratings indicate the level of water and dust resistance that is built into a device. IP Ratings come in the format “IP” followed by two numbers, e.g., IP53.

Dust-resistance: The first number represents the level of protection provided against dust, and ranges from 0 (the lowest) to 6 (the highest). An X is used, e.g. IPX6, when there is no official data about the degree of protection available.

Water-resistance: The second number represents the level of protection against water and other liquids, and ranges 0 (the lowest) to 9 (the highest). Again, where there is no official data about the degree of protection available, an X is used. E.g., IP6X.

Example: IP69 refers to the highest degree of dust resistance (6) and the highest degree of water resistance (9). IP06 refers to the lowest degree of dust resistance and a water resistance of 6. device rated IP69 has the highest level of Ingress protection available now.

But that is not all, we need to look at what those degrees of protection translate to in usage. For example, having the highest degree of protection does not mean you can go scuba-diving in deep waters with your smartphone. There are limitations for each rating that you must be aware of.

IP Ratings Explained
IP stands for “Ingress protection” and specifies what level of dust and water protection is available for an electronic device.

Common IP Ratings Explained

Below are some of the most common Ingress protection or IP ratings in use for electronic devices, and what they mean.

What is IPX3?

IP stands for ingress protection, and the X means that the solid particle (e.g. dust) protection is not specified. The last digit, 3, means that the device is protected against spraying water. This means that water sprayed at an angle of up to 60 degrees from the vertical will not harm the device. However, IPX3 does not mean that the device is waterproof. It is still vulnerable to damage from high-pressure water jets or immersion.

What is IP53?

IP53 is a code that indicates the level of protection that a device has against dust and water.

The first digit, 5, means that the device is dust-protected. This means that some dust may enter the device, but it will not interfere with its normal operation.

The second digit, 3, means that the device is protected against spraying water. This means that water sprayed at an angle of up to 60 degrees from the vertical will not harm the device.

However, IP53 does not mean that the device is waterproof or dustproof. It is still vulnerable to dust intrusion and damage from high-pressure water jets or immersion.

Simply put, an IP53-rated device is partially protected from contact with dust and light sprays of water when the device is tilted at an angle up to 60 degrees.

What is IP54?

IP54 is another IP rating that indicates the level of protection that a device has against dust and water.

The first digit, 5, means that the device is dust-protected. This means that some dust may enter the device, but it will not interfere with its normal operation.

The second digit, 4, means that the device is protected against splashing water. This means that water splashed against the device from any direction will have no harmful effects.

However, IP54 does not mean that the device is waterproof or dustproof. It is still vulnerable to dust intrusion and damage from high-pressure water jets or immersion.

What is IP64?

The first digit, 6, means that the device is dust-tight. This means that no dust can enter the device and it is completely protected against dust.

The second digit, 4, means that the device is protected against splash water from any direction. This means that water splashed against the device from any angle will not harm the device, but only limited ingress is permitted.

However, IP64 does not mean that the device is waterproof or dustproof. It is still vulnerable to damage from high-pressure water jets or immersion.

An IP64-rated device has full protection from dust and from water sprays and splashes from all directions. So, you can use this in light rain and scenarios where water is being splashed.

What is IPX7?

The X means that the solid particle protection is not specified. The last digit, 7, means that the device is protected against immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. This means that the device can withstand accidental drops in water, rain, shower, or washing under tap water. However, IPX7 does not mean that the device is waterproof. It is still vulnerable to damage from high-pressure water jets, steam, or deeper or longer immersion.

An IPX7-rated device has not been officially rated for protection from dust but is protected from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter or 3.3 feet for no more than a period of 30 minutes.

What is IP67?

The first digit, 6, means that the device is dust-tight. This means that no dust can enter the device and it is completely protected against dust.

The second digit, 7, means that the device is protected against immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. This means that the device can withstand accidental drops in water, rain, shower, or washing under tap water.

However, IP67 does not mean that the device is waterproof. It is still vulnerable to damage from high-pressure water jets, steam, or deeper or longer immersion.

An IP67-rated device is fully protected from dust and also from immersion in water with a depth of up to 1 meter or 3.3 feet for no more than a period of 30 minutes.

What is IPX8?

The X means that the solid particle protection is not specified. The last digit, 8, means that the device is protected against continuous immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. This means that the device can withstand accidental drops in water, rain, shower, or washing under tap water.

However, IPX8 does not mean that the device is waterproof. It is still vulnerable to damage from high-pressure water jets, steam, or deeper or longer immersion.

An IPX8-rated device can survive being submerged in water, then, but it hasn’t officially been rated for any protection from dust. 

An IP68-rated device is fully protected from dust and from immersion in water of more than 1 meter depth for Mo more than 30 minutes.

What is IP69?

IP69 is a code that indicates the highest level of protection that a device has against dust and water.

The first digit, 6, means that the device is dust-tight. This means that no dust can enter the device and it is completely protected against dust.

The second digit, 9, means that the device is protected against high-pressure, high-temperature jet sprays, steam-cleaning, or washdowns. This means that the device can withstand harsh cleaning methods that are commonly used in environments that require frequent and intense sanitation, such as food processing, medical equipment and certain industrial settings.

However, IP69 does not mean that the device is completely waterproof. It is still vulnerable to damage from deeper or longer immersion in water.

Is IP69 the same as IP69K?

No, IP69 and IP69K are not the same. IP69 is a rating that indicates the level of protection that a device has against dust and water according to the international standard IEC 60529.

On the other hand, IP69K is a rating that indicates the level of protection that a device has against high-pressure, high-temperature jet sprays according to the international standard ISO 20653.

Both ratings mean that the device is completely dust-tight and can withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. However, IP69K also means that the device can withstand washdown at pressures of 80 to 100 bar/1,160 to 1,450 PSI, in phases of 14 to 16 l/min, and at temperatures up to 176°F/80°C.

IP69K is a more stringent rating than IP69, and it is mainly used for devices that are exposed to harsh cleaning methods in environments that require frequent and intense sanitation, such as food processing, pharmaceutical applications, and certain industrial settings.

An IP69K-rated device is fully protected from dust and high temperature, high pressure water e.g. hot water from a nozzle. This is usually for devices used in an industrial setting.

What kind of mobile devices have IP ratings?

Usually, premium flagship smartphones have an IP rating, though some models have been known to not have. As such, if you are shopping for a premium flagship phone, check the specs to see what IP rating is available for it. It does not hurt to have some measure of Ingress protection for a phone that costs that much.

Also, rugged smartphones and feature phones, designed for tough usage scenarios, are another category of mobile devices that have IP ratings specified. Rugged devices tend to have the highest level of Ingress protection possible.

Usually, if a device has no IP rating at all, IP ratings are totally excluded from its specs. It won’t be labelled as IP00. The IP rating is only included in the specs information when an official ingress protection is available.

Leave a Comment