Decoding the IP Code

When you’re shopping for a custom case to protect valuable equipment, terms like waterproof, water-resistant, dustproof and dust-resistant aren’t really specific enough. How waterproof is waterproof? How dust-resistant is dust-resistant?

That’s where the IP Code comes in. The IP Code stands for International Protection Marking, but it’s also commonly referred to as Ingress Protection Marking.

In short, the IP Code gives you detailed information about how well something resists intrusion from dust and water.

The IP Code is made up of two digits. You may be familiar with ratings like IP65, IP66 or IP67. The first digit indicates how well the object protects against intrusion from solids and dust, and the second indicates how well the object protects against intrusion from water and other liquids. A higher number generally means more protection.


A Sample IP Rating




“Ingress Protection” or “International Protection” First digit: Protection against solids and dust Second digit: Protection against water and other liquids


The First Digit: Dust & Solids

The first digit of the IP Code refers to how well an object protects against dust and solids. Lower IP solids ratings are generally used for electrical equipment or machinery where something coming into contact with the object could damage a person, or the object itself. For example, an electrical socket designed to keep people from sticking their fingers in it might have an IP solids rating of 2, which wouldn’t stop dust, but would stop fingers.

When it comes to custom cases, solids ratings of either 5 or 6, which protect against dust intrusion, are more common.

IP Solids Level Protects Against Object Size Protects Against
0 None No protection against ingress of solids
1 > 50 mm Protects against large surfaces of the body, but not against intentional contact with a body part
2 > 12.5 mm Fingers and other similarly sized objects
3 > 2.5 mm Most tools and thick wires
4 > 1 mm Most wires, screws and other small tools
5 Dust Protected Protects against dust entering in sufficient quantities to interfere with equipment operation
6 Dust Tight Complete protection against dust contact


The Second Digit: Water & Liquids

The second digit refers to how well a device is protected from intrusion by water, in a specific scenario. These scenarios can range from a light drip of water from straight above, to total immersion and even high-pressure, high-temperature water jets.

For custom cases, the most common liquid IP ratings are 5, 6 and 7.


IP Liquid Level Protects Against Protection Details
0 None No liquid protection
1 Dripping Water Water dripping vertically on an upright object
2 Dripping Water at 15° Water dripping vertically when the object is tilted up to 15° from vertical
3 Spraying Water Water falling as a spray at up to 60° from vertical
4 Splashing Water Water splashing against the object from any angle
5 Water Jets Water sprayed as a jet from any angle
6 Powerful Water Jets Water projected from powerful jets, at 100 kPa (14.5 PSI) from 3 meters
6k Very Powerful Water Jets Water projected from powerful jets, at 1,000 kPa (145 PSI) from 3 meters
7 Immersion Up to 1 Meter Protected from complete immersion at up to 1 meter, for up to 30 minutes
8 Immersion Over 1 Meter Suitable for continuous immersion in water, at a depth specified by the manufacturer
9k Powerful, High-Temperature Water Jets Protected against close-range, high-temperature, 80°C/176°F spray downs


IP-Rated Custom Cases

Manufacturer Standard IP Certifications Offered
Pelican IP57, IP66, IP67
Zarges IP54, IP65, IP67


Pelican and Zarges are the two manufacturers we carry that offer IP certifications on nearly all of their cases. So, if you’re looking for an IP-rated custom case solution, that’s a great place to start. From there, the next step is to contact our team of engineers with your specifications and let us build you the perfect solution.