If you are looking to purchase outdoor solar LED lights, you will often see they have an IP65 waterproofing rating. This figure represents the level of moisture protection of the outdoor unit. However, you may also find that the product description of other types of solar lighting that come with IP66, IP67, or IP68 ratings. So, buying solar LED lights can be confusing because some products seem to offer a better protection level against the elements than others. So, what does IP mean, and what do the numbers mean?
This article is a simple guide to understanding waterproofing ratings for outdoor solar lighting. This information is helpful if you want to buy solar security lights, solar-powered driveway lights, solar pond LED lighting or outdoor fairy lights. Understanding IP65 waterproofing will help you purchase the type of solar LED lighting that you require.
What is an IP Waterproof Rating?
Outdoor electrical items such as solar panels and solar lights have a waterproof rating. IP is an acronym that stands for “Ingress Protection.” This rating is the degree of protection the unit has against environmental conditions. So, IP is the ingress protection rating against water, dust, sand, liquids, and moisture.
What Does an IP Rating Measure?
The two numbers following IP give specific information about the type and level of protection. The first number is a scale of zero to six and refers to solids—dust, sand, and other fine particles. The second number is a scale of zero to eight and refers to liquids.
To understand the IP rating better, all outdoor LED lighting typically has “6” as the first number. This indicates that the unit is tightly sealed and has the best protection from dust—no dust particles can ingress.
Understanding the second number is more crucial when choosing solar lighting for your property. Here is a breakdown of what the numbers mean:
- 0- No protection
- 1- Partial protection against water drops
- 2- Protection against water dripping at a 15° angle
- 3- Protection against a water spray at a 60° angle
- 4- Complete protection against any type of splashing
- 5- A high degree of water protection against water jets from any angle
- 6- Protection against powerful water jets, such as from a pressurized hose
- 7- The unit can be underwater up to 3 ft. (1 m) for 30 minutes
- 8- The unit has complete ingress protection and can be submerged in water permanently
Therefore, a solar lighting unit with an IP65 rating will not allow any dust ingress and is water-resistant. So, you can install IP65 solar lighting in dusty areas, and heavy rainfall won’t affect its operation. Although many people refer to IP65 as being waterproof, it can’t withstand immersion in water entirely.
IP65 Waterproofing for Solar Lighting Explained
Using the IP65 rating as an example, let’s see how this can help you choose the best type of solar LED lights for security, ambient lighting, or to illuminate your yard. An IP65 “waterproof” solar light will not allow dust in the unit or water ingress from a nozzle.
First of all, the number “six” on the IP65 rating means that the solar lighting unit can be installed in outdoor areas where a lot of dust, dirt, or moving debris is an issue. So, you can be sure the unit is dust-tight.
The second number, “five,” means that water won’t get into the unit. For example, suppose there is heavy rain coming down at an angle. In that case, the unit will be safe as there is no water ingress. Also, there won’t be any damage if you accidentally turn the garden hose on the solar panel or lights.
But let’s say that the IP65 solar security light is wall-mounted. But then, during a storm, a crack in the gutter leads to a constant downpour of water, and the stream of water directly falls on the lighting unit. In that case, the unit may experience damage because it’s not intended to be submerged at all in water. Therefore, in some cases, solar lighting with an IP66 or IP67 would be a better choice.
The Difference Between IP65, IP66, IP67, and IP68?
If you are looking for the best solar lights to illuminate your garden, what is the difference between IP65, IP66, IP67, and IP68? Because the first number, “6,” is the same on all models, there is no difference with the dust protection they offer—all meet the highest criteria for ingress of dust. The difference is with the unit’s waterproofing capabilities.
If you want to buy deck lights or patios lights, you require a minimum weatherproof IP65 rating. This ensures that the patio or deck lighting is dust resistant and will withstand powerful jets of water.
What about IP66 and IP67 solar lighting units? Buying a solar LED lighting unit with IP66 or IP67 protection is a good idea if you experience a harsh environment. Protection against the ingress of powerful water jets from driving rain is guaranteed. In addition, the IP67 rating will ensure that partial water immersion of up 3 ft. (1 m) for a short period won’t result in damage.
Solar lighting with a minimum IP68 is necessary for solar-powered illumination in ponds, pools, or water features. So, underwater lighting—solar powered or wired—must have an IP68 waterproof rating. The low-voltage solar lighting in a sealed unit will withstand the pressure of being submerged in water 24/7.
Waterproofing IP65 Rating — FAQs
Can I submerge IP65 LED lights?
No, solar lighting with a rating of IP65 cannot be underwater constantly. But, of course, the IP65 rating shows that the unit doesn’t allow dust ingress and is OK with accidental contact with water. However, IP65 is not entirely waterproof and only has limited resistance to water ingress. But IP65 waterproof lighting is solid enough to withstand harsh conditions like wind, rain, and snow.
What are the differences between IP65 and IP67?
The enclosure with an IP65 rating means it gives protection against low-pressure water jets. The IP65 waterproof casing is suitable for most outdoor LED lights because it won’t encounter extreme weather such as flooding. On the other hand, IP67 offers much more protection against liquid ingress in the harshest of weather conditions. In addition, this enclosure protects against temporary submersion at depths of up to one meter.
When choosing solar lighting for outdoor use, it is vital to understand IP ratings. For most security, patio, deck, and wall-mounted lighting, solar lighting with an IP65 waterproofing rating is suitable. If you need more protection, outdoor solar LED lights with an IP66 or IP67 rating will survive the harshest weather conditions. But if you need underwater lighting, then solar lights with an IP68 rating are the minimum requirement.