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IP Ratings Explained


What is an IP Rating?

An Ingress Protection (IP) rating (officially titled IEC Standard 60529) is a way of showing how resistant a fixture is in blocking foreign bodies such as dust, dirt, moisture, and liquids. Some locations, such as bathrooms and exteriors, require a light fixture to meet a minimum IP rating to ensure they are safe to operate.

What Do the Two Digits in an IP Rating Mean?

The higher the number in an IP rating, the better the protection against foreign bodies. The first digit represents the product’s ingress rating against solid particles and the second digit represents the rating against liquids. Sometimes a number is replaced by an X, which indicates that the fixture is not yet rated for that requirement. For example, IPX6 indicates that the product can resist high-pressure, heavy sprays of water but is not rated for dust or solid particles.

IP Ratings for Outdoor Use

Generally, lights with IP ratings of between 44 and 65 can be used both indoors and outdoors. Anything lower than IP44 should only be used indoors. There are always exceptions to the rule, so if you are unsure, please get in contact with our team or discuss with an electrician.

IP Ratings for Bathroom Use

Bathrooms are divided into zones that determine what / if an IP rating is required for that environment.  Please refer to the diagram below for guidance on the zoned areas.

ZONE 0: Inside the bath or shower itself. A low voltage (max 12v) and rating at least IP67 is required.

ZONE 1: Area above the bath to a ehight of 220cm from the floor. IP65 recommended and a minimum rating of IP44 is required.

ZONE 2: 60cm outside the perimeter of the bath and to height of 300cm from the floor/ around a wash basin within.a 60cm radius of any tap or water source. A rating of at least IP44 is required.

ZONE 3: Anywhere outside zones 0, 1 and 2 and where no water het is likely to be used. No IP rating/ IP20 is required.

At CTO Lighting, we have a range of IP44 rated products, including Modulo Wall Lights, Anvers Ceiling / Wall Lights and Artés Wall / Ceiling Lights – please see our Bathroom section for the complete collection available. As detailed in the diagram above, these lights can be used in zones 2 and 3.

Please note that not all bathroom lights require a rating of IP44. If you are planning to use the fixture in zone 3 (outside zones 0, 1, and 2, and where no water jet is likely to be used) you can use lights with a rating of IP20. This will give you greater flexibility and allow for a greater choice of decorative lighting.

For questions about IP rated products or for any other lighting enquiry, please get in contact with our team


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