IP44 vs. IP54 – Differences and Applications

Sarah
DeGuzman

The IP (Ingress Protection) enclosure system uses a 2-digit suffix to describe the degree of ingress protection for enclosures. An IP44 rating protects from solid particles that are over 1mm in size vs IP54 which offers partial protection against dust. In this article, you will learn about the IP protection system, compare IP44 vs. IP54 ratings, and learn about typical IP applications.

IP Protection System

Ingress Protection rating explanation
Courtesy: Light Adviser

The IP rating is an international standard. It determines the degree of protection or sealing efficacy in enclosures against the infiltration of objects, water, dust, and contact. Also, it is compliant with European Standard EN 60529.

Products are noted by the initials IP (Ingress Protection), followed by two digits and an optional letter in the IP code. The two digits denote the level of intrusion protection versus solids and liquids. The optional letter notes the product’s resistance to pressure.

IP Ratings – Intrusion Protection

LevelIntrusion Protection
XNo protection.
1Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access); from solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter.
For example, accidental touch by hands.
2Protection against fingers or other objects not greater than 80mm in length and 12mm in diameter. For example, fingers.
3Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc, with a diameter of 2.5 mm or more. For example, tools, and wires.
4Protection against solid objects larger than 1mm. For example, wires, nails, screws, larger insects, and other potentially invasive small objects such as tools/small, etc.
5Partial protection against dust that may harm equipment.
6Totally dust-tight. Full protection against dust and other particulates, including a vacuum seal, tested against continuous airflow.
IP LEVEL FOR INTRUSION PROTECTION

IP ratings – Moisture Protection

LevelMoisture Protection
XNo protection.
1Protection against vertically falling droplets, such as condensation. ensuring that no damage or interrupted functioning of components will be incurred when an item is upright.
2Protection against water droplets deflected up to 15° from vertical
3Protected against spray up to 60° from vertical.
4Protected against water splashes from all directions. Tested for a minimum of 10 minutes with an oscillating spray (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
5Protection against low-pressure jets (6.3 mm) of directed water from any angle (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
6Protection against direct high-pressure jets.
7Protection against full immersion for up to 30 minutes at depths between 15 cm and 1 meter (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
8Protection against extended immersion under higher pressure (i.e. greater depths). Precise parameters of this test will be set and advertised by the manufacturer and may include additional factors such as temperature fluctuations and flow rates, depending on equipment type.
9(K): Protection against high-pressure, high-temperature jet sprays, wash-downs, or steam-cleaning procedures – this rating is most often seen in specific road vehicle applications (standard ISO 20653:2013 Road Vehicles – Degrees of protection).
IP LEVEL FOR MOISTURE PROTECTION

IP44 vs. IP54 Difference

Water protection for IP44 vs IP54 is the same (4). The differences lie in the dustproof grade number (4 vs. 5).

RatingDifferenceSimilarities
IP44Protection against solid objects larger than 1mm. For example, wires, nails, screws, larger insects, and other potentially invasive small objects such as tools/small, etc.Protected against water sprays coming from all angles. A minimum of 10 minutes of testing with an oscillating spray (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
IP54Partial protection against dust that may harm equipment.Protected against water sprays coming from all angles. A minimum of 10 minutes of testing with an oscillating spray (limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects).
IP55 VS. IP56 PROTECTION

Common IP Applications

The universal IP rating system gives buyers confidence that they can use products in certain environments. For example, the term ‘waterproof’ doesn’t provide a clear definition of where and to what extent an item can resist moisture ingress. Therefore, an IP rating provides a far more specific account.

Protective IP cases may apply to lighting, controllers, electric instruments, power supply, industrial camera housings, desktop electronics, and measuring/control equipment, to name a few. Instrument applications such as volt-meters, digital thermometers, and flow readers are also common. Additionally, electrical motors often bear the IP designation.

IP-rated enclosures compete in the industrial market with the NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) designation.

Common IP44 Applications

IP44 rated outdoor lighting
Courtesy: Pinterest

A product with an IP44 rating is frequently referred to as “splash proof” and is protected from anything larger than 1 millimeter in size as well as water spray coming from any angle. In a place where it might rain or spray, such as an outdoor light fixture or a bathroom light fixture, an IP44-rated fitting would be utilized. 

Common IP54 Applications

IP54 rated traffic control cabinets
Courtesy: KDM Steel

The IP54 enclosure offers an excellent defense against non-corrosive particles like dirt, dust, and grease. Additionally, it safeguards anyone who comes into contact with the enclosure from voltage and moving parts. Additionally, IP54 protects against water splashing against the machine from any angle. Due to a stronger ability to protect from dust than its IP44 counterpart, IP54 enclosures frequently protect sensitive controls and automation equipment. An example of such an application is a traffic control cabinet.

IP44 vs IP54 – Which To Choose?

When determining the right IP rating to specify, engineers must be vigilant to consider potential ingress from less obvious sources of moisture or particulates, such as condensation, steam, and accumulating dust in harder-to-reach areas.

IP44 and IP54 see similar amounts of use in industry. In most cases, the IP44 rating applies to lighting applications whereas the additional protection of IP54 makes it more suitable for enclosures.