The IP Rating Guide for Your Bathroom - Get the Inside Story

The IP Rating Guide for Your Bathroom - Get the Inside Story

Whilst shopping for outdoor or bathroom lighting fixtures, you may have noticed the term ‘IP rating’, but what does this rating actually mean? This guide helps you to understand what lighting IP ratings mean, how they are defined and how to apply IP ratings in the bathroom.

What do the numbers stand for?

IP stands for Ingress Protection Rating (also known as International Protection Marking) and this code indicates how well a light fixture is protected from intrusion by solids and liquids. It consists of two numbers: the first number of an IP rating relates to the level of protection from solids, such as dust. This ranges from 0-6 with 0 indicating no protection from solids to 6, indicating that it is dust tight. The second IP rating number relates to protection from water, and ranges from 0-8 with 0 indicating no protection and 8 indicating protection from even powerful water jets.

The most common IP rating for light fittings that are intended for interior use is IP20, whereas other fixtures that are more likely to come into contact with water in bathrooms or gardens, are normally rated IP44 or higher.

Have a look at the chart below to better understand the protection offered with each number.

Image by Flex Fire LEDs

IP Rating in the Bathroom

In the past, a simple ceiling lamp was generally mounted in the middle of the bathroom ceiling. Nowadays, multiple sources of functional and mood lighting is often found in sanitary facilities. A bathroom is a humid space, and water and electricity don’t go together. That places specific demands on lighting choices according to their location relative to water sources in the bathroom. 

The bathroom area is essentially divided into four zones, with each zone requiring a different IP rating. Put simply, the closer you are to a water source, such as a sink, bath, or shower, the higher the IP value needed. Below is an image showing the different zones in a bathroom. A minimum protection class (IP rating) has been established for the lighting fixtures used in each zone.

Zone 0: minimal IP 67 (this is the darkest blue area in the image)

Zone 1: minimal IP 65 (this is the middle blue area in the image)

Zone 2: minimal IP 44 (this is the lightest blue area in the image)

Zone 3: minimal IP 21 (this is the dark grey area in the image)

Image by Lamp Online

It is best to choose a warm color temperature in a bathroom, such as 2700 Kelvin which provides the kind of mood lighting that will make your bathroom feel like a spa. However, for your mirror area, you can choose a neutral white color between 3500 to 5000 Kelvin the best illumination when you are carrying out your “bathroom tasks”. This light is functional for carrying out your “bathroom tasks” like brushing your teeth. A small tip: In this area, it’s best to place lighting above your mirror, this way you won’t be standing in your own shadow.

Pendant Crocodile in bathroom

Now you’re ready to find the lights with the right IP rating for each area in your bathroom!

With this information, you can get started with your search for lighting fixtures with just the right IP rating. Looking for options in our collection with the right IP rating? Don’t hesitate to get in touch and we can steer you in the right direction. You can find our contact details here.