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Making Sense of IPX Ratings


If you’ve been looking for a new flashlight, you may have noticed ratings such as IPX4 and IPX7 and wondered what they mean. You may also be wondering how they apply to your specific needs as a consumer. In the following short article, we will discuss those questions in an effort to help you find the best flashlight for your particular needs.

The IP in IPX stands for Ingress Protection, in other words, the degree of protection against what could enter and harm the light, such as objects, dust, and water. IP ratings describe the degree of protection against solid and liquids in various products. The X, or sometimes a number, (the third character in the IP rating, such as the X in IPX, or the 4 in IP4) refers to the degree of protection against solid objects such as fingers, hands, tools, wires, etc. The X in this case simply means that no tests have been made in this area. It does not mean that the light won’t protect against such things, only that no quantifiable tests have been administered. Flashlight manufactures, being primarily concerned with tests that apply specifically to flashlight design and usage, are more likely to conduct tests required by the ANSI Flashlight Standard. Since solid objects are not part of the ANSI Flashlight Standards, many manufactures do not test in this area.

The fourth character, the 4 in IPX4 for example, refers to the degree of protection against liquids, namely water. This is the aspect of the IP ratings that is most applicable to the flashlight industry and to the end customers who purchase their products.

If you’re purchasing a flashlight, you will likely see ratings from IPX4 to IPX8. Let’s talk about these common ratings and discuss what they mean.

IPX ratings definitely helped me choose the right flashlight for my boat.



IPX4 Rating

The designation of IPX4 means the flashlight is weatherproof. Weatherproof means the light has been tested to resist splashing water on all sides. The test duration is five minutes, with 10 liters of water splashing the light per minute. An IPX4 designated flashlight will be protected against moisture, condensation, and exposure to the elements such as rain. Any flashlight which bears no harmful effect from the above test can be designated with the IPX4 weather resistant rating and use the ANSI Flashlight Standard Icon. Lights with this rating can’t be continuously submersed in water, but if water gets splashed on them or they come into contact with rain, they will be perfectly fine.

IPX5 Rating

IPX5 means that the light is protected against low pressure water jets from any direction. This is a similar test to the IPX4 test, only with higher water pressure.

IPX6 Rating

IPX6 means the light has been tested to resist high pressure water jets hitting the light from any direction. This is similar to the IPX5 test, only with higher pressure water jets.

IPX7 Rating

The IPX7 rating means that the light is waterproof when submersed in water at a depth of one meter, for 30 minutes. Unless you require a diving light or flashlight that needs to be underwater for more than half an hour, a light with this rating should meet your needs.

IPX8 Rating

This rating means the flashlight is continuously submersible in water up to a specified depth. For example, a rating may say IPX8 up to 20 meters. This means the flashlight can be continuously submersed in water up to 20 meters without it having a harmful effect on the light. Most diving lights have the IPX8 rating. This is a good choice for anyone who needs the light to be underwater for long periods of time and at more extreme depths, as well as anyone wanting the highest level of water protection.

Lights with the IPX8 rating will have an icon with a specified depth listed in meters. For example, the Dorcy 41-1466 Dive III light has an IPX8 waterproof rating up to 100 meters.


We hope this short article has answered some of your questions about the IPX rating. Most importantly, we hope the information helps you to find the right the light for your particular needs.

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