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IP ratings outdoor lights

IP Ratings for Exterior Lights - Everything you Need to Know

Here at Discount Lighting we often get asked what the IP rating displayed in the specifications of our exterior light fittings really means, and which IP rating we recommend for lights installed on exterior walls, on covered decks, on steps or out in the open with bollard or garden lights.

In this article, we will delve into the world of IP ratings for lighting, unravelling how they work, and highlighting key factors to consider when selecting exterior lights for your home or business. 

And if you are still unsure after reading this article, please contact our lighting specialists who can advise which lights would be most suitable for your home or small business. 

Understanding IP Ratings

When it comes to exterior lighting, in particular, it is essential to understand the concept of IP (Ingress Protection) ratings. These ratings provide valuable insights into a light's ability to withstand dust, water, and other environmental factors. 

IP ratings are a standardised system that classifies the level of protection a light fixture offers against the intrusion of solid objects and moisture.

  • The rating is denoted by the letters "IP" followed by two digits.
  • The first digit represents the degree of protection against solids, such as dust.
  • The second digit signifies the level of protection against water.
  • The higher the digits, the greater the protection.

IP Rating Table

IP Rating Dust Protection Water Protection When to Use
IP20 Limited None Interior
IP40 Limited Dripping water Interior
IP44 Limited Splashing water Exterior - Under Cover
IP65 Dust Tight Water jets Exterior - Uncovered
IP67 Dust tight Immersion Exterior - Flood areas
IP68 Dust tight Continuous immersion Pool Lighting
Dust tight
High-pressure jets Any exterior

Recommendations for Exterior Lights

For lights which will be out in the open, such as bollard lights, we usually recommend IP65 or IP67 ratings. 

For lights which will be under covered areas, such as a pergola or eave, we recommend IP44 ratings and above. 

Ingress Protection and Exterior Lights

Exterior lights are exposed to a range of challenging conditions, including rain, dust, and extreme temperatures. To ensure longevity and safety, it is crucial to choose lights with appropriate IP ratings for the specific outdoor environment. When considering exterior lights, here are a few factors to keep in mind:

  1. Solid Particle Protection:
    The first digit of an IP rating indicates the level of protection against solid particles. For example, an IP65 rating ensures dust-tight protection, preventing any ingress of dust that could compromise the light's performance. Consider the environmental conditions in your location and choose an IP rating that aligns with the level of dust exposure.

  2. Water Resistance:
    The second digit in the IP rating denotes the level of water resistance. Exterior lights with higher ratings, such as IP65 or IP66, provide reliable protection against heavy rain and water jets. If the lights are intended for areas where direct water exposure is expected, such as near swimming pools or fountains, opt for lights with IP67 or higher ratings, ensuring they can withstand temporary immersion.

  3. Corrosion Resistance:
    When selecting exterior lights, particularly for coastal regions or areas prone to high humidity, consider the material's corrosion resistance. Look for lights constructed from durable materials like stainless steel or corrosion-resistant finishes to ensure longevity and performance in harsh environments.

  4. Impact Resistance:
    While not directly indicated by IP ratings, it is essential to consider the impact resistance of exterior lights, especially in areas prone to vandalism or accidental damage. Look for lights designed with robust materials and impact-resistant features to maintain their functionality and appearance over time.


Selecting the right exterior lights is crucial to ensure optimal performance, longevity, and safety in outdoor environments.

Understanding IP ratings empowers you to make informed decisions when choosing lighting solutions.

Consider the specific requirements of your location, including the level of dust, water exposure, corrosion risks, and impact potential. By aligning the IP ratings with these factors, you can confidently illuminate your outdoor spaces while enjoying the beauty and functionality of well-designed lighting fixtures.

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