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IP Ratings Explained

Important to so many industries and businesses, washdown and waterproof scales are often the most misunderstood. IP ratings can be difficult to understand and it can be tricky to know the level or protection that’s right for you. This comprehensive blog aims to simplify IP rating in weighing scales, and include vital information on what an IP rating is, who controls them and whether or not you need one.

What do IP ratings mean?

An IP rating (also known as ingress protection rating or sometimes an IP code) is a grading system that is used to determine the level of protection from foreign articles, such as water, dust, dirt or tools, from entering the internals of any electronic device. The rating is split into two numbers, such as IP68, with the first representing the level of protection from solid ingress and the second representing the level of protection from liquid (see our chart below for more information on this). For weighing scales and balances, an IP rated instrument would be labelled as either washdown or a waterproof.

Who gives the IP rating?

In the UK, IP ratings are assigned in accordance with British standard BS EN 60529:1992, which is in itself in accordance with the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission). The IEC is an international, none-profit organisation responsible for setting and maintaining standards in electronics that are used globally. The standards for IP ratings were made to ensure that all users have a definitive way of measuring the level in which an electronic item is protected from foreign bodies.

Do I need an IP rated weighing scale?

Simply, if your business regularly operates in dirty or wet conditions, weighs any form of liquid or weighs in an outdoor environment, you should be using some kind of IP rated washdown scale. This will ultimately protect the internal mechanisms of your weighing scale or balance from any damage and ensure that it continues to be operational. Not having an IP rated scale could mean that your instrument breaks, which could result in spending more money on repairs or replacements, costing both time and money.

Adam Equipment Aqua ABW Washdown Bench Scale


Who would use an IP rated weighing scale?

IP rated weighing scales offer different levels of protection which can be beneficial to an expansive range of industries. Here are some of the main ones:

IP rated scales for industrial and commercial environments – For harsh industrial or commercial environments, such as busy warehouses or dirty factories, an IP rated weighing scale or balance is necessary to provide protection from any tools, dirt, dust or liquids. This ensures that all weighing results remain accurate despite the challenging surroundings.

If you need a simple bench scale, we recommend the ABW ‘Aqua’ Washdown Bench Scale from Adam Equipment, as it combines impressive features such as parts counting, checkweighing and percentage weighing with a high IP67 rating.

IP rated scales for professional kitchens – IP rated food scales for professional kitchens, breweries and catering businesses can be used to ensure protection from any potential spillages or food items from damaging your weighing scale. These environments are often high-tempo and require equipment that can quickly be cleaned down in-between use to keep it hygenic.

We recommend our very own IWS Waterproof Bench Scale as it features an easy to use display with bright red LED lighting, impressive IP68 rating and a rechargeable battery enabling it to be used anywhere.

IP rated scales for butchers and fishmongers – When working with raw meats and fish, IP rated weighing scales can be quickly and easily cleaned down to avoid cross contamination. Washdown weighing scales of IP65 and above can be sprayed down after use to ensure that they remain hygienic at all times. They will also be protected from any fish scales, offcuts or liquids from entering the scale.

We recommend the Gladiator IP68 Approved Washdown Scale from Adam Equipment because it offers an easy to clean trade approved version with a stainless steel design and a high IP67 rating. Additionally, our IWW is a tough and highly dependable waterproof floor scale. Its IP68 indicator, and IP67 base with encapsulated loadcells mean it's capable of regular weighing tasks in wet, damp or dusty areas - whether that's breweries, fishmongers, food production or chemical plants.

IP rating chart

Solids  Liquids 
1. Protected against solid objects greater than 50mm (a hand, large tools)  1. Protected against vertical drops of water - limited ingress allowed 
2. Protected against objects greater that 12.5mm (small tools, small machine parts, a finger)  2. Protected against vertically falling drops when the enclosure is tilted to 15 degrees to the vertical - limited ingress allowed 
3. Protected against objects greater than 2.5mm (nails, screws, a small screwdriver)  3. Protected against sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical - limited ingress allowed for 3 minutes 
4. Protected against objects greater than 1mm (wire)  4. Protected against water splashes from all directions - limited ingress allowed 
5. Protected from dust - limited ingress allowed but not enough to interfere with operations  5. Protected against jets of water - limited ingress allowed 
6. Protection from dust - no ingress allowed  6. Full protection from jets of water 
  7. Protected from full immersion of up to 1 meter for 30 minutes or less 
  8. Protected against full immersion under high pressures for long periods of time 
  9k - Protected against high pressure, high temperature sprays at extremely close range  


Inscale stocks a wide variety of IP rated washdown weighing scales and balances for an assortment of different industries, ranging from scales with IP65 to IP69k protection. For more information about our range of washdown scales and balances, please Get In Touch.

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