What IP rating do I need?

By LED Lighthouse

When purchasing electrical products for outdoor lighting it is useful to understand some of the common terminology used to differentiate the features and attributes of each.

What Is An IP Rating?

The Ingress Protection (IP) rating is the attribute given to products which can effectively block water, dust and other foreign bodies from entering electrical internals. The IP rating contains two numbers, the numbers are a formula which indicates the effectiveness of the protective layer surrounding electrical wires or cases of hardware, for example, outdoor LED Light strips or a camera case.

The first digit indicates, between 0-6, the level of protection of the electrical product from dust, dirt, insect, pressure from human touch and foreign other particles. While the second digit, between 0-8,  represents how the level of waterproof protection of the product. Depending on the rating protection ranges from splashes of water to high-pressure jets.

To establish the rating of a product, health and safety experts consider two main factors:

1.) Resistance to ingress from foreign bodies such as dust or dirt.

2.) Resistance to water and moisture exposure.

Why do LED Lights need IP Ratings and what is the minimum IP rating for outdoor use?

From our range, an example of the usefulness of an IP rating can be found when purchasing outdoor lighting such as outdoor LED lights. The waterproof LED light strips have an IP rating of IP65-68 so they are suitable for use in exposed areas, such as pathways, for garden lighting.

The IP68 rating shows they are both dust tight and completely waterproof. This means they are more water resistant than our splashproof LED strip light range which has an IP65-rated light,  so we recommend them for sheltered areas because the IP rating shows they are dust-tight and only water resistant. Therefore the minimum IP rating for outdoor lighting is IP55 to IP65 depending on the use and area the lighting will be placed. 

Check out our selection of Garden LED Strip Lights

IP Rating:

Look at the table below for more information about the different ratings and how effective they are against moisture, dust, weather, and deliberate pressure or access.

IP Rating – Dust Protection
1Can protect from objects greater than 50mm. Does not protect against force. 
2Can protect access from objects larger than 12.5mm. It also can protect against hand/finger access. 
3Often used for tools and some cables, this rating can protect against objects greater than 2.5 mm. 
4Can protect from insects, and objects larger than 1mm. Often used for screws and most wires. 
5Partly protected against dust particles, dirt and other foreign bodies unless there is a large quantity. 
6Protected from dust and other particles of large quantities. This is due to a vacuum within the protective coating which blocks access to any particles. Often products with this rating are known as dust tight. 




IP Rating – Waterproof Protection
1Limited protection against vertically dripping water. Tested for 10 minutes.
2Protection against vertically titled electrical at 15 degrees. 
3Can protect against spraying water for up to 60 degrees.
4Splashproof at any angle. Tested for up to 10 minutes. 
5Can protect from water pressure from a jet up to 30kPa from all angles. 
6More protection from higher pressure water jets up to 10kPa from all angles. 
7Waterproof when submerged up to 1 metre deep for a maximum tested time of 30 minutes
8Completely waterproof when submerged up to more than 1 metre deep. 

What IP rating do I need for these uses?

  • Outdoor lighting: General outdoor lighting needs to have a minimum IP55 rating to be completely waterproof if exposed to rainfall and dirt. Outdoor lighting can include LED light strips, neon light strips, bulbs, lanterns, and fairy lights, all of which need to at least withstand splashes of water and condensation to last.
  • Phones and Tablets: The smartphone and tablet industry uses IP ratings to indicate how waterproof and dust-protected the latest technology is. More protection means these devices may last longer and are resistant to water damage. This means people can use their phones in the pool and at the beach. The recommended IP rating for phones is IP68 for maximum protection.
  • Cameras: For photographers who work in challenging environments, such as underwater or in deserts, using cameras with high IP ratings means their equipment can withstand changing weather conditions and rainfall. The IP ratings we recommend for cameras are IP65 or IP68 to prevent wear and tear.
  • Accent lighting: Feature lighting used to illuminate pillars, sculptures, statues and fountains, will need to be both waterproof and dust protected. For example, we recommend for water features like waterfalls an IP55 -IP68 rating to withstand high pressure, prolonged exposure, and extended submersion in water deeper than 1 metre.


  • Ship Equipment: For equipment on board a ship or boat we recommend the equipment has a high IP rating between IP55 and 68 to resist damage from water pressure, severe rainfall and weather. This equipment is often expensive so replacing it regularly due to water damage or exposure to foreign bodies would be costly.
  • Bathroom or Kitchen: Household appliances used in kitchens and bathrooms need to have a high IP to ensure water and condensation do not get in contact with electrical appliances. This could lead to electric shocks and fire damage if they are not correctly waterproof.  Household appliances must have an IP65 or IP68 rating.
  • Vehicles: Cars and other vehicles are also at risk of leaks or other water damage. Features used in vehicles have a recommended rating of IP69K. This is the highest rating, especially in the automotive industries, for maximum protection from high-pressure jet washes, steam cleaning procedures and for transporting large liquids. 

Now you know how to determine the different attributes of waterproof and dust-tight electrical equipment, you can shop our range of outdoor lighting including our waterproof and splashproof  LED lighting.

LED Driver Calculator

By LED Lighthouse

Try our LED Driver calculator to work out the size of the LED power supply required for your LED installation.

More Resources

By LED Lighthouse

Below are a few useful guides to helping you choose the right LED lighting for you project. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

About LED Lighthouse

Specialist supplier of quality LED lighting

Established in 2011, we are dedicated to supplying quality LED lighting at an affordable price. We offer LED Lights and components from some of the best manufacturers including Integral, Samsung, Epistar, Meanwell and Ltech.
Due to customer demand, in recent years we've grown to specialise in LED Strip Lights and associated parts, developing many of our own products.