Understanding IP ratings for radios can be incredibly useful when buying a new radio, as it will let you know what conditions your radios can withstand. Knowing what these codes mean will help you to make an informed decision before you commit to a purchase.
When buying a new radio, it's important to know that it's going to be able to stand up to the environment that you'll be using it in. One of the key ways to determine whether this will be the case is the radios Ingress Protection rating, or IP rating for short. This is an internationally agreed upon system that helps to categorise how resistant radios are to particles or moisture.
The code for IP ratings is fairly easy to understand, and it's incredibly helpful when buying new radios.
The first digit categorises the level of resistance to particles like dust or sand from a scale of 1 to 6. Many high-quality professional grade radios will have a 6 as their first digit, meaning they are completely dust proof. This is great for environments where there may be a lot of dust or dirt in the air, such as a construction site or farm.
The second digit describes how water resistant the radio is, from a scale of 1 to 8. A common IP rating for professional grade radios is IP67. This means it is completely dust resistant, and can stay in up to a metre of water for 30 minutes without being damaged. It is possible for radios to have a perfect IP rating of IP68, but it is not necessary for every industry.
Breakdown of IP Ratings
Dust Protection Scale (First Digit)
- Protected against objects larger than 50mm
- Protected against objects larger than 12.5mm
- Protected against objects larger than 2.5mm
- Protected against objects larger than 1mm
- Protected against dust that may affect operation of device
- Completely dust-proof
Water Resistance Scale (Second Digit)
- Protected from water dripping vertically
- Protected from water dripping at a 15 degree angle
- Protected from water spraying at a 60 degree angle
- Protected from water splashing at any angle
- Protected from water jets from any angle
- Protected from powerful water jets or heavy seas
- Protected from being submerged in water for 30m at a depth of 1 metre
- Completely waterproof up to 3 metres
The Motorola VX-454 is a great all around analogue radio, and has a IP rating of IP57. This means is almost completely dust proof, as well as being able to be submerged in up to a metre of water for 30 minutes. This makes this radio great for most environments, provided they are not too dusty or wet.
One of ICOM's new flagship radios, the IC-F52D is equipped with a reliable IP67 rating, meaning it is completely dust-proof and has a high water-resistance rating. This makes this radio great for environments where there may be a lot of dust such as a construction site.
As a marine radio, this radio is meant to be used in environments where the probability of coming in contact with water is high. Due to this, they have prioritised water protection over dust protection, and this radio has an IP rating of IPx7. This means it has not been rated for dust protection, but it is highly water resistant. This is common in radios meant for marine environments.
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