NEMA Ratings and What They Mean

United States

A critical aspect of vent selection begins with defining the level of protection your application, device or housing requires.

IP ratings cannot be “converted” to NEMA ratings, since NEMA requires additional testing not included in IP. However, there are minimum NEMA ratings that will meet or exceed a given IP code.


International standards for Ingress Protection (IEC-60529) are commonly known as "IP ratings." They define the degree to which an enclosure protects against:

  • foreign solid objects (access to hazardous parts and against solid foreign objects)
  • ingress of water

North American standards for protecting electrical enclosures from ingress of particles or liquids, as well as incidental contact by personnel, are defined by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). The NEMA 250 standard also defines additional protective requirements, such as:

  • corrosion resistance
  • gasket aging
  • oil resistance
  • external icing
  • enclosure construction (mechanical impact resistance, door and cover latching, etc.)
NEMA IEC Enclosure Classification Designation
1 IP20
2 IP22
3 IP55
3X IP55
3R IP24
3RX IP24
3S IP55
3SX IP55
4 and 4X IP66
5 IP53
6 IP67
6P IP68
12 and 12K IP54
13 IP54

More about IP ratings and what they mean

The Key to Ingress Protection Ratings

IPxy
Type of Protection x = Foreign Solid Objects y = Liquids and Moisture
Level of Protection 0 None 0 none
1 Foreign solid objects (>50mm) 1 Drops of water or condensation (falling vertically)
2 Foreign solid objects (>12.5mm) 2 Direct sprays of water (up to 15° from vertical)
3 Foreign solid objects (<2.5mm) 3 Direct sprays of water (up to 60&deg; from vertical)
4 Foreign solid objects (>1.0mm) 4 Direct sprays of water (from all directions)
5 Dust (limited, non-harmful ingress) 5 Low-pressure water jets (from all directions)
6 Dust (zero dust ingress) 6 High-pressure water jets (from all directions)
  7 Temporary immersion in water (up to 1m)
  8 Continuous immersion in water (up to 2m; user-defined)
  9k High-pressure steam jets (from all directions)

In order for a vent to be able to meet a certain IP rating, the key parameters are the housing design and the part size.

Gore has an extensive portfolio of venting products engineered to meet or exceed the most demanding performance standards, for virtually every application need.

Our vent materials and constructions are rigorously tested and characterized against international standards for dust, splash, and immersion protection as well as acoustic performance. We also employ additional testing protocols, developed by Gore engineers, which more effectively measure the impact of real-world environmental challenges on vents, housing performance, and application longevity. To learn more about how Gore strives to exceed the standards in portable electronic devices, download our white paper:

Whether your device and housing must meet IP54, IP64, IP65, IP67, IP68, or IP69k standards our representatives and application engineers can help you determine if a vent is needed and if so, help you select the optimum venting solution. We are eager to collaborate with you, from design through testing and manufacturing integration, to meet those requirements.

More about NEMA Ratings and what they mean

The Key to NEMA Ratings

NEMA ratings use a numeric scale, from 1 to 13, to specify the types and levels of environmental protection an enclosure provides to the internal electronics.

If one or more letters follow the numeral, it indicates a variant in protection levels.

4 4X

For example, NEMA 4X includes the same protections as NEMA 4, but the X indicates a difference. In this case, additional protection against corrosive agents is required.

The types of protections typically required to seal or vent enclosures that contain electronics are briefly summarized in the chart below. (Please visit www.nema.org to obtain the complete definitions, features and test criteria for all NEMA enclosure types.)

NEMA Enclosure Rating Non-Hazardous Location Enclosure protects equipment with from:
Ingress of Solid Foreign Objects Ingress of Water Other Damaging Conditions
1 Indoor Falling dirt (but not dust-tight) Incidental contact with equipment  
2 Indoor Falling dirt. Incidental contact with equipment.
Dripping.
Severe condensation, as in cooling & laundry rooms.
3 Indoor or Outdoor Falling dirt, windblown dust. Rain, sleet, snow. External ice buildup.
3X Same as 3, with additional protection from Corrosive agents.
3R Indoor or Outdoor Falling dirt (but no dust protection). Dripping/light splashing.
Rain, sleet, snow.
External ice buildup.
3RX Same as 3R, with additional protection from Corrosive agents.
3S Indoor or Outdoor Falling dirt, windblown dust. Dripping/light splashing.
Rain, sleet, snow.
External enclosure mechanisms operate when ice-laden.
3SX Same as 3S, with additional protection from Corrosive agents.
4 Indoor or Outdoor Falling dirt, windblown dust. Rain, sleet, snow.
Splashing or hose-directed water.
External ice buildup.
4X Same as 4, with additional protection from Corrosive agents.
5 Indoor Falling dirt, settling airborne dust, lint, fibers, and flyings. Dripping/light splashing.  
6 Indoor or Outdoor Falling dirt. Dripping/light splashing.
Rain, sleet, snow.
Hose-directed water.
External ice buildup.
Occasional temporary submersion in water at limited depth.
6P Same as 6, with additional protection from Prolonged submersion and corrosive agents.
12 Indoor Falling dirt, circulating dust, lint, fibers, and flyings. Dripping/light splashing For enclosures WITHOUT knockouts.
12K Same as 12, except For enclosures WITH knockouts.
13 Indoor Falling dirt, circulating dust, lint, fibers, and flyings. Dripping/light splashing Spraying, splashing, and seepage of oil and noncorrosive coolants.

Gore has an extensive portfolio of venting products engineered to meet or exceed the most demanding performance standards, for virtually every application need.

Our vent materials and constructions are rigorously tested and characterized against multiple international and North American standards for dust, splash, and immersion protection.

We also employ additional testing protocols, developed by Gore engineers, which more effectively measure the impact of real-world environmental challenges on vents, enclosure integrity and application longevity.

To learn more about how Gore strives to exceed the standards by venting electronic devices, download our white papers:

When your device and housing must meet IP or NEMA standards, our representatives and application engineers can help you determine if a vent is needed and if so, help you select the optimum venting solution. We are eager to collaborate with you, from design through testing and manufacturing integration, to meet your requirements.

FOR INDUSTRIAL USE ONLY

Not for use in food, drug, cosmetic or medical device manufacturing, processing, or packaging operations.