Protection from the ingress of water or moisture comes in various degrees. Buyers of industrial equipment, including LED lights, for marine environments typically encounter the following references on product labels: water repellent, water resistant lighting and waterproof.
Contrary to popular belief, these designations do not offer the same level of protection against water. Read on to understand how these references differ.
Water Resistant and Water Repellent
Out of the three levels of protection, water resistant is considered to be the lowest form. In most cases, such references can be found on watches and consumer products. To withstand the presence of water, units with water resistant labels can be treated with a special coating.
On the other hand, water repellent provides highly resistive protection against water and moisture. Like water resistant products, such devices may also be treated with robust coatings. But going a step above that, the units could come with features that prevent the ingress of water at various parts (not just the case or lens).
Without a standard to adhere to, manufacturers must define ‘water resistant’ and ‘water repellent’ references properly on the label.
The Waterproof Standard
Waterproof is the highest level of protection from water. However, the term ‘waterproof’ does not provide the exact level of protection without an accompanied ingress rating (IP). The IP scale is applied to determine the type of environments and water-based activities the product can withstand.
Without an IP rating, it is difficult to tell how ‘waterproof’ a device really is. This is because the scale used to measure its effectiveness ranges from 0 to 8 (the second number in the rating). At the bottom of the scale, products are only protected from dripping water or splashing water. By comparison, the top of the scale allows immersion up to three feet or one meter.