Need a quick guide to NEMA vs IP ratings? View our handy at-a-glance guide. And for more information, read on…

IP – the International Protection Mark (IEC 529)/Ingress Protection system – is more commonly used in Europe. NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturers Association) ratings are for the United States, although IP ratings are gaining ground there too.

Tests are different for the two systems but it is possible to make broad comparisons.

IP 66, NEMA 4 and NEMA 4X

IP 66 enclosures – and indeed any IP rated enclosures where the first digit is a 6 (IP 6-) – are completely dust-proof. The second 6 in the rating confirms that the enclosure is waterproof against temporary flooding (such as heavy seas). But IP 66 does not offer sufficient protection against complete and sustained immersion (IP 67) or against high pressure jetwashing (IP 69K).

View ROLEC’s range of IP 66 electronic enclosures >>

NEMA offers two equivalent ratings for IP 66:

  • NEMA 4 – enclosures for either indoor or outdoor use, offering protection against ingress of solid foreign objects (falling dirt and windblown dust) and water (rain, sleet, snow, splashing water and hose directed water). They will be undamaged by ice on the exterior
  • NEMA 4X also offers the above safeguards but provides greater protection against corrosion.

IP 67, NEMA 6P

IP 67 enclosures are – like their IP 66 counterparts – completely resistant to dust. But unlike IP 66 cases, they are waterproof when immersed in water to a depth of between 6" and 39". Despite this greater level of protection, IP 67 enclosures still do not offer protection against high pressure water sources (IP 69K). IP 67’s closest equivalent NEMA rating is 6P, offering protection when the enclosure undergoes “prolonged submersion at a limited depth.”

But NEMA 6P is not intended for continuous submersion.

View ROLEC’s IP 67 electronic enclosures >>

IP 69K Protection

This rating is the really tough one! IP 69K enclosures will withstand repeated high pressure washing at close range. That makes them perfect for abattoirs and other food processing applications.

So what’s the NEMA equivalent of IP 69K? There isn’t one. If your enclosures need IP 69K protection then that is what you should specify. For the sake of your circuit boards, accept no substitutes!

ROLEC’s IP 69K enclosures >>

Important Note: This blog is provided as a guide only. NEMA and IP ratings are not equivalent, the methods used to test the enclosures are not the same. It is important to note that while NEMA standards can meet or exceed IEC 60529 IP ratings, it does not work the other way round. IP ratings cannot be used to comply with a specific NEMA classification.

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