“IP67 Rated.” “IK10 Rated.” “NEMA Type 4X Rated.”
Looking over any spec sheet for a security camera (or smartphone!), you’re sure to come across a rating or code that sounds like one of those. But what do they mean?
The ratings refer to industry standards for durability. Each standard includes a method for testing an item to ensure it meets the standard. So you know if you see IP67, the item in question has been tested according to a reliable, universal method.
- IP Rating — Resistance to ingress of solid particles and water
- IK Rating — Resistance to impact
- NEMA Rating — Quality of enclosure
IP and IK ratings are codified by the International Electrotechnical Commission. NEMA ratings are codified by the National Electrical Manufacturing Association.
The actual standards are quite technical. We’re going to translate those technical standards into language you can understand.
IP Rating — Resistance to ingress of dust and water
IP stands for International Protection. An IP code typically has IP and two numbers, e.g. IP67. Put together, the two numbers tell you how resistant the item is to ingress of solid particles or water. Sometimes there will also be a letter, which indicates an additional level of protection or something about the item.
Ingress is a fancy word that means “entering.” So an IP rating means how well protected the item is against dust or water getting in.
The two numbers in an IP rating each stand for something:
- Resistance to solid particles getting in
- Resistance to water getting in
|1||Protects against large parts of the body|
|2||Protects against fingers|
|3||Protects against tools or large wires|
|4||Protects against thin wires, screws, ants, etc.|
|5||Dust won’t mess with item’s operation|
|1||Protects against dripping water|
|2||Protects against dripping water when tilted|
|3||Protects against spraying water|
|4||Protects against splashing water|
|5||Protects against water jets|
|6||Protects against powerful water jets|
|7||Protects against being submerged up to 1m under water|
|8||Protects against being submerged more than 1m (usually up to 3m)|
|9||Protects against powerful high temperature water jets|
|F||Resistant to oil|
|K||Water jets used increased pressure|
|M||Item was moving during water tests|
|S||Item was still during water tests|
If you’re looking at older equipment, you might see an IP code with a third number, e.g. IP66(9). That third number refers to resistance to impact and was added to IP codes in a non-standard way until the late 90s. To standardize this useful information, they came up with a new rating: IK.
IK Rating — Resistance to impact
IK ratings indicate how well an item resists impact, for example, from being hit or from being dropped.
Unlike IP ratings, the numbers of IK ratings all refer to resistance of impact, not to two separate things. The ratings are written IK01, IK02, IK03, etc., but the initial zero doesn’t indicate anything, nor does IK10 indicate two separate things.
IK ratings are based on joules, which is a measure of impact energy. To give you some idea, 1 joule is roughly equivalent to the impact of a medium-sized tomato dropped from three feet.
|Number||Resistance to Impact in Joules|
NEMA Ratings — For enclosures
NEMA stands for National Electrical Manufacturing Association. NEMA ratings indicate the quality of the enclosure. They’re comparable to IP ratings, but not quite identical.
NEMA ratings are like IK ratings in that the numbers all not to be read separately. You’ll often see a letter as part of a code, e.g. NEMA Type 4X. As with IP ratings, the letters indicate additional protection (or in one case, a protection that’s omitted).
|3||3 — Weather-resistant
3R — Weather-resistant, except against windblown dust
3S — Weather-resistant, works when covered in ice
3X — Weather-resistant, plus corrosion protection
|4||4 — Water-tight
4X — Water-tight, plus corrosion protection
|6||6 — Submersible
6P — Submersible for occasional extended periods
|7||For hazardous conditions — indoor, against gases|
|8||For hazardous conditions — indoor and outdoor, against gases|
|9||For hazardous conditions — indoor and outdoor, against dust|
|10||Meets mining industry standards|
|11||General purpose — meets drip and corrosion tests|
|12 & 12K||General purpose — meets drip, dust, and rust tests|
|13||General purpose — meets oil and rust tests|