The IP protection class in detail

As its name suggests, the index of protection (IP) is an official classification established in 1989 by the International Electrotechnical Commission. This international standard is affixed to luminaires, so that consumers can adapt their purchases according to their intended use: outdoors, wet areas of the home (bathroom), naturally subject to intrusion by solid and/or liquid bodies. How to understand this essential indication, which guarantees the safe use of luminaires?

Why is it important to study the protection rating of a luminaire at the time of purchase? Quite simply for optimal adaptation to the place where you are going to install it, whether it is the outdoor or a wetland. Indeed, a luminaire whose numbers indicate compliance for the bathroom will not necessarily be suitable for the garden.

The IP protection class is expressed in figures which can be read separately:

   > The first number corresponds to the luminaire's resistance to solid bodies and ranges from 1 to 6;

   > The second number corresponds to its tightness to liquid bodies, it goes from 1 to 9

A graduated scale:

   > The higher the first number, the greater the protection against solid body intrusion ;

   > The higher the second number, the greater the protection against intrusion of liquid bodies

A few examples to familiarize you with the IP :

The IP69 protection rating:

   > The first digit (6) corresponds to the maximum dust tightness of the luminaire;

   > The second number (9) indicates that the luminaire is protected to the maximum against water jets


   > Totally protected against dust;

   > Protected against prolonged immersion

IP67 waterproof :

   > Totally protected against dust;

   > Protected against the effects of immersion


   > Protected against solid bodies larger than 1 millimeter;

   > Protected against small splashes of water coming from all directions


   > Protected against solid bodies greater than 12 mm;

   > No particular protection against liquid bodies

Your turn, with two questions:

   > What do the two indices IP54 and IP55 express?

   > In what context would you choose an IP44 luminaire?

What level of tightness expressed by the first and second numbers?

The protection class table will guide you:

The first number expresses the level of tightness against solid bodies

IP0XZero protection
IP1XProtects against solid bodies larger than 50 mm
IP2XProtects against solid bodies larger than 12.5 mm
IP3XProtects solid bodies larger than 2.5 mm
IP4XProtects solid bodies larger than 1 mm
IP5XProtects against dust deposits
IP6XDust proof

The second number expresses the level of tightness against liquid bodies

IPX0Zero protection
IPX1Protected against falling water drops
IPX2Protected against falling water for a maximum inclination of 15°
IPX3Protected against water falling in rain (maximum inclination of 60°)
IPX4Protected against splashing water
IPX5Protected against water jets
IPX6Protected against sea water
IPX7Protected against temporary submersion (up to a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes)
IPX8Protected against prolonged immersion
IPX9Protected against high pressure cleaning and steam cleaning

The importance of protective classifications for outdoor luminaires.

In general terms

Once fixed outdoors, your lights will naturally come into contact with many different substances and objects. They can be touched, trampled on, damaged, for example, during a gardening or maintenance session, dust, dirt, etc. For the safety of people against electrical injuries and accidents, but also to ensure that your luminaire is used in a durable manner and offers protection against cleaning, it is important to consider the IP rating.

Of course, it is not a question of choosing an IP69 protection rating for your entire outdoor luminaire system. Two interesting examples :

   > Standard path lighting should not be protected against total submersion, but only against moderate contact with water ;

   > The swimming pool lighting should be able to withstand total submersion and possibly the electric cleaner.

Good to know

The IP44 degree of protection is adequate for outdoor lighting, provided it is not frequently exposed to water splashes. For a splash-proof luminaire, a minimum of IP65 is required.

Choose the right protection class for your outdoor luminaires

The garden

For standard lighting, e.g. for a path, you can, for example, install recessed spots on the ground with a minimum IP44 rating. This rating will not only provide your luminaires with a high degree of protection against splashes and water in general, but also against contact with various objects.

The terrace and the patio

Here, these outdoor areas require a higher level of protection, being subject to frequent passage and washing. Choose a minimum protection rating of IP65 so that your luminaires are protected against dust, chemical deposits, human contact and water jets.

Aquatic areas

If your garden is home to a pond, swimming pool or water activity area, choose luminaires with a minimum protection rating of IP68. This means that it will be a low-voltage, waterproof lighting that can withstand higher pressure.

indice de protection éclairage extérieur

Protection class for indoor luminaires

Here we are mainly talking about the bathroom This is where you need optimal, warm and comfortable lighting without compromising safety. Specialists strongly recommend installing two light sources in this room of the house, one main and one auxiliary. Again, given the higher humidity level than elsewhere in the home, it is important to consider the IP protection rating.

Things to remember

The bathroom is divided into four distinct areas, classified from 0 to 3 :

Zone 0: it houses the shower or bathtub, and is therefore susceptible to being submerged. Choose a luminaire with IP67 / IP68 protection.

Zone 1: it is located around the shower or bath tub without being in direct contact with this equipment. Choose a luminaire that is waterproof, but does not need to be submersion resistant, therefore IP65.

Zone 2: this zone can be subject to splashes, so you will install a lighting that is IP44 and located 60 cm from any water point.

Zone 3: this zone is far from water points, about 2.25 meters away. Whether it is a recessed spotlight or a ceiling light, it will be IP20 and/or low voltage (12V).

indice de protection éclairage salle de bain

What about other areas of the house?

If you want to ensure the longevity of your indoor luminaires, it is best to use the dust protection class. Whether you choose to use a LED bulb, LED spotlights, pendant lights, LED ceiling lights or even wall lights, choose IP20 electrical equipment.

Easier shopping with our filters!

Use the filter available on our pages to choose your lights according to their protection class (IP)! To make your purchases easier, each index is accompanied by the number of items available in that category.