IP Ratings – What You Need to Know

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Today every business uses mobile devices such as tablets, barcode scanners, mobile computers, two way radios, satellite radios and printers. Understanding IP Ratings is a key piece of information to help you pick the right device especially where ruggedness is important.

Pick a device with an IP rating that is higher than you require and you are probably paying for more that you need. Pick a device with an IP rating that is lower and you will probably end up paying too little for a device that you will end up replacing.

Mobile Device IP Rating

Industries benefit from IP ratings on their devices. This Zebra 3600 Series scanner is rated for IP67 and the cradle is IP65.

The IP Rating, which stands for Ingress Protection, is a system defined by the IEC standard 60529. This lengthy standard ultimately shows what you can expect for dust and water. It is easy to put to use based on the two numbers that follow the IP:

  • The first digit indicates Solid Resistance – think dust
  • The second digit indicates Moisture – think water

The following easy-to-reference table shows the ratings for each:

IP Ratings Breakdown:

First Digit

Protection From Solids

Second Digit

Protection From Moisture

0 No protection 0 No protection
1 Protected against a solid object greater than 50mm (such as a hand) 1 Protected against vertical drops of water. Limited ingress permitted.
2 Protected against a solid object greater than 12.5mm (such as a finger) 2 Protected against vertical drops of water (when enclosure tiled up to 15 degrees from vertical). Limited ingress permitted.
3 Protected against a solid object greater than 2.5mm (such as a screwdriver) 3 Protected against sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical. Limited ingress permitted.
4 Protected against a solid object greater than 1mm (such as wire) 4 Protected against water splashes from all directions. Limited ingress permitted.
5 Dust protected. Limited ingress of dust permitted. Will not interfere with operation of equipment. 5 Protected against jets of water. Limited ingress permitted.
6 Dust tight. No ingress of dust. 6 Protected against powerful jets of water. Limited ingress permitted.
7 Water tight against the effects of immersion in water between 15 cm and 1 mm for 30 minutes
8 Water tight against the effects of immersion in water, under pressure for long periods.

So for example, a device rating IP57 would allow limited amounts of dust to enter the device and could be submerged in up to 15cm of water for 30 minutes without compromising its operation.

If at any point you’re buying mobile equipment, it’s quite easy to determine what IP rating is best for the technology in your workplace. Often times, if your IP rating is on the lower scale, it may be better to go up a number to ensure you’re getting the most from your purchase, and what your technology requires in the future.

We frequently have customers who say they need a waterproof device.  A deeper understanding of the specific use case can mean they need IPx5 and not IPx8 – with the difference in IP rating resulting in a big difference in price. (An X is used to ignore a rating, in this case a solid object).

What product and IP rating is the best for you? We want to make sure you feel good with your investment, and you get the right product for your team the first time. Our team of experts at Nova Communications are available to help you now, or in the future with any mobile device you may need.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.





M2M Technology




Cellular, Mobile Devices, Professional Services, Two-Way Radios, Uncategorized

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