IP Ratings for Surveillance Cameras

An IP Rating (or IP code) is a rating system for network security camera enclosures (not the camera) created by the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) international standard 60529. Security camera manufacturers can voluntary submit to have their cameras tested by the standard. Because it is a voluntary system, some surveillance cameras can actually be weatherproof without having obtained an IP rating.

Understanding the IP rating system

An IP rating can be a bit difficult to read, and is usually represented by two digits and may contain an additional letter. The numbers represent how difficult it is for solids and liquid to enter the security IP camera enclosure and the optional letter at the end represents how tamper-proof the enclosure is. The most consistent use of the IP rating system is to help customers determine if the camera will be able to withstand rain, wind, snow, and condensation and if it is safe to use the camera outside. The three most common IP ratings are IP66, IP67 and IP68. As we talk about what each digit means, we will be using these three designations as our examples.

The first digit of the IP rating

The first digit of the IP rating represents the level of protection provided by the camera’s enclosure against solid objects foreign to the camera and against access to hazardous parts. Higher numbers relate to more protection, and here are the criteria:

  • 0. No protection
  • 1. Protection against object 50 mm or larger
  • 2. Protection against object 12.5 mm or larger
  • 3. Protection against object 2.5 mm or larger
  • 4. Protection against object 1 mm or larger
  • 5. Some dust protection
  • 6. Full protection from dust

So, referring back to our IP66, IP67 and IP68 examples, all three of these cameras offer full protection from dust.

The second digit of the IP rating

The second digit represents the level of protection against liquids, most notably water. The second digit can range from zero to eight, with zero meaning no protection at all and eight indicating immersion possible over one meter in depth.

  • 0. No protection
  • 1. safe from vertically dripping water
  • 2. safe from vertically dripping water and dripping water when tilted up to 15 degrees
  • 3. safe from spraying water at an angle of up to 60 degrees
  • 4. safe from splashing water from any direction
  • 5. safe from water projected from a nozzle
  • 6. safe from powerful water jets
  • 7. safe for immersion up to 1 meter*
  • 8. safe for immersion beyond 1 meter*

*Exact length of time and the exact amount of depth of pressure for which submerged cameras can continue to operate is not measured by the IP rating.

Again, referring back to our IP66, IP67 and IP68 examples, you can see that the IP66 camera is safe from powerful water jets, the IP67 camera is waterproof up to a depth of one meter, while the IP68 camera is waterproof for a depth greater than one meter.

Understanding the third digit of an IP rating

The third digit of an IP rating is optional and represents how tamper-proof the security camera system is. Not all cameras that qualify for a solid and liquid rating also qualify for a protection rating represented by the third digit. If there is no additional protection, the additional letter is simply dropped from the rating. So, unlike the first two digits that will have a zero, should they not meet the solid or liquid standards, if no additional protection is offered by the camera the letter will simply be missing.

If the third digit includes one of these letters, it means that the camera includes protection from Intrusions:

  • A. back of the hand
  • B. finger (and lower)
  • C. tool (and lower)
  • D. wire (and lower)

The following letters may be used to indicate the additional protection to the camera: