What's an IP Rating?
What is an IP rating?
If you’ve spent any time looking for waterproof technology—be it a phone, camera, or audio equipment—you might have noticed the phrase “IP Rating” here and there. It’s important to understand what this rating stands for as well as the different levels of protection these ratings represent to ensure you’re getting the right kind of environmental protection to suit your needs and environment; for example, the IP rating for outdoor use of a device will likely need to be higher than that for an indoor audio device.
IP ratings are particularly important for audio equipment, such as stereos, speakers, subwoofers, and other devices designed for environments where liquids and/or solids could threaten the efficacy and lifespan of a device.
IP stands for “Ingress Protection”.
“Ingress” means “to enter” and in this sense refers to water or dust entering an electrical device, a problem that typically interferes with or results in a total breakdown of the device in question. Ingress protection or the IP Rating of a device is a technical term used to refer to the level of protection offered by an electrical enclosure designed to keep water and dust out. Seeking out products with the right IP rating for your needs and the environment they are going to be used in is one of the best ways you can ensure you are purchasing a product that is correct for your purposes and less likely to need a speedy and/or expensive replacement after exposure to the elements.
A device’s IP rating lets you know how protected it is from the intrusion of liquids or solids.
An IP rating includes two numbers, the first of which refers to a device’s protection against intruding solids, while the second refers to a device’s protection against intruding liquids (i.e. it’s “waterproofness”). The highest level of protection against solid intrusion is 6, while the highest level of liquid intrusion is 9k. Common IP ratings typically range from 65-68, providing different levels of protection for different situations. To determine the IP rating of a product, it must be independently tested by a certified company. The IP rating can usually be found in the specifications list or “spec sheet” included with a product; while the spec sheet can often be found in a product’s user manual, it should also be visible wherever the product is for sale, be it online or on the product’s physical packaging.
Understanding IP ratings is important for anyone who may need to purchase audio devices for use in a wet or harsh environment.
Marine, motorcycle, powersport, and spa enthusiasts are notable groups of people that could benefit from understanding IP ratings, especially in regard to their respective sound systems. Whether a biker is looking to purchase a new head unit stereo that can stand up to the wind and rain, or a boater is looking for a new set of speakers that can stand up to ocean spray and salt, audio equipment can be particularly susceptible to damage from water and dust if not properly designed and manufactured; not only can this damage affect the sound quality, but may prevent the equipment from working altogether.
Aquatic AV prides itself on creating durable, waterproof audio products for a variety of challenging environments.
Aquatic AV in particular understands the importance of thorough testing and reliable IP ratings so that everyone from outdoor adventurers to spa enthusiasts can make responsible purchases that will allow them to continue listening to their favorite music as long as possible, without worrying about damage from water, salt/fog/UV, and even heat and chemicals.
Do you have questions about IP ratings or about how to choose the right audio products for your environment? Reach out to [email protected] for more information!