Ingress Protection ratings, what’s important?

Ingress Protection IP ratings
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Ingress Protection, whats important and why?

Ingress Protection (IP) Two letters that can cause much confusion. Today we aren’t talking about Internet Protocols or Intellectual Property. Ingress Protection is the name of the game. Though that isn’t terribly helpful either. By the end of this wild ride you should be able to wow your friends & co-workers by knowing what Ingress Protection is and why it is so important when choosing your rugged tablet.


IP Ratings where developed & are maintained by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). They break down into two digits. The first is the amount of protection the device has against solid objects (from dust to your hand). The second digit denotes how sealed the unit is against liquid intrusion.

Solid Object Defense

Ingress Protection Rating First Digit

(Solid Objects)

What it is rated for What that means in the real world
0 (Sometimes shown as X) Nothing This device has not been rated for protection against solid objects. Though it may still be rated for liquid intrusion.
1 Objects Larger than 50mm (~1.9”) This rating is not typical when referring to tablets or mobile phones. Anything smaller than 50mm can get into your device… As you can imagine almost anything could pass this test, even a chain link fence.
2 Objects Larger than 12mm (~0.47”) Much like ‘1’ this is not typical. You can’t stick your finger into the device but you could probably get a screwdriver or a straw in.
3 Objects larger than 2.5mm (~0.098”) Tools & Wires are often listed are things your device is protected against but really anything larger than 2.5mm shouldn’t be getting in. I think that even includes puppies.
4 Objects larger than 1mm (~0.039”) I’m running out of imaginary items for you to stick into your new tablet but you would be hard pushed to get a nail into the device, just don’t try too hard.
5 Partial protection against dust You can’t poke anything into the device but some dust can get in. Though it won’t stop the device from working. Though not suitable for environments with heavy dust or airborne particulates (such as a carpentry workshop)
6 Full protection against dust Dust can’t get in. You don’t need to worry about dust damaging your device.



Ingress Protection Liquid Defense

Ingress Protection Rating Second Digit

(Liquid Intrusion)

What is it rated for What this means in the real world
0 (Sometimes shown as X) Nothing This device has not been rated for protection against liquid intrusion. Though it may still be rated for protection against solid objects.
1 Vertically falling droplets You just bought a flat roof. Any form sideways air movement (wind) will allow moisture droplets into the device.
2 Vertically falling droplets with variation of up to 15° You just bought a slanted roof. Most forms of sideways air movement (wind) will allow moisture droplets into the device.
3 Vertically falling droplets with variation of up to 60° You just bought a better, slanted roof, it might even have a gutter. Some forms of sideways air movement (wind) will allow moisture droplets into the device.
4 Splashing water from any direction for a minimum of 10 mins. This is still a long way from waterproof. But you can carry your device in most types rain, from your office to the car, without fear. Just don’t try to use it as an umbrella.
5 Low Pressure Jets of water from any angle This is where we start to get towards waterproofing. If you (not Bear Grylls) can stand in the rain & work this device will be able to as well. If your brave it could even go through a car wash.
6 High Pressure Jets of water from any angle Bear Grylls could use this in a typhoon just don’t drop it in a river.
7 Full immersion in water of at least 15cm (~5.9”) for 30 mins You can drop this in a river and then take it out & carry on using it without worry. Just don’t try to use it underwater.
8 A step up from ‘7’ but the standards for the test would be set by the manufacturer & should be advertised So long as you don’t plan on using a steam cleaner or jet washing your device, you should be fine.
9 (K) High Pressure & High Temperature Jets. Also suitable for ISO 20653:2013 applications. Nothing can be truly waterproof but this is as close as you can get.


So what does this Ingress Protection mean for my Rugged Tablet, I hear you cry! Like the tricky minx I am there is no definite answer. This mostly revolves around the environment you want the tablet for.

Should the idea of human contact terrify you (and you don’t want to give us a call and ask for a recommendation) IP65 is a safe bet for most environments.

If you any form of dust heavy environment go straight for an IP6X device. This has become the defacto standard for most enterprise devices and it’s just one less thing to worry about. I would recommend IP6X devices for any user who doesn’t spend their entire day chained to their desk.

Should you want to use the device outside for any period of time aim for IPX5 or above. Below this point you are just opening the door to multiple repairs over the life of your device. The cost you save at the start will be quickly gobbled up by paying your staff to arrange repairs & replacements.

While tough to find on devices with a screen larger than 8” IPX7 will cover you for the vast majority of real world conditions. Unless you have some obscure use case or want to be using your tablet underwater for hours at a time choosing an IPX8 or above device is probably overkill.

Though I have focused on particularly rugged environments an IP65 rated device (especially when paired with a decent drop or tumble rating) can dramatically reduce the TCO of your devices. Have a look through our rugged devices and see how they can transform your workplace.

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