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26 Jul 2018, 9:43

Safety first: finding safe lights with IP protection ratings

To ensure that lights continue to work over the long term in demanding circumstances and under various environmental conditions, adequate protection is a must. The following factors affect the amount of protection that is required for lights:

  • Humidity
  • Water
  • Vapours

Additionally, dirt, dust, viruses and bacteria must not be able to enter the interior of electronic lights. The latter applies particularly to lights used in medical facilities, which must also comply with specific hygiene standards. As a rule, safety is the top priority when dealing with any electrical device, and lights are no different. To ensure no accidental injuries occur, for example when replacing a bulb, the protective housing is an essential requirement.

What IP protection ratings and IP codes mean

Standards specify the degree of protection provided by the construction of lights, among other things. The IP rating can help you determine before you buy whether a particularly light is adequately protected for its intended use. For example, whether the light is suitable to be located outside or indoors. IP code means International Protection code, and this rating indicates to what extent the light is protected against moisture or other external elements. IP codes range from IP 00 to IP 68, with the first number indicating the degree of protection against solid objects and the second number representing the level of protection against liquids such as water.

First code numbers:

  • 0: The light is not protected against the penetration of solid foreign bodies
  • 1: Protection against solid objects starting at a size of 50 mm
  • 2: Protection against solid objects from a size of 12.5 mm, for example, a finger
  • 3. Protection against solid bodies from a size of 2.5 mm, such as a tool
  • 4: Protection against solid bodies from a size of 1 mm, such as a wire
  • 5: Protection against dust particles in larger and more harmful quantities, as well as protection from contact
  • 6: Complete protection against dust and contact

Second code numbers:

  • 0: The light is not protected against water or other liquids
  • 1: Protection against vertically dripping water
  • 2: Protection against dripping water when the housing of the light is tilted by 15 degrees
  • 3: Protection from water spray which hits from and incline of up to 60 degrees
  • 4: Protection against water splashes from any direction
  • 5: Protection against jet water streams from a nozzle onto the housing
  • 6: Protection against heavy streams
  • 7: Protection against water penetration even during brief submersion
  • 8: Protection against water penetration even during prolonged submersion


In order to detect possible errors and reveal potential safety gaps, lights are subjected to thorough testing. Testers mimic scenarios in which accidents commonly occur, such as with the penetration of fingers, tools or wires.

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26 Jul 2018, 9:43