Exterior Rating Guide


Understanding what exterior light to use in which circumstances can be somewhat confusing.

This guide aims to help demystify what you need to be looking for in an exterior light by explaining IP ratings and what you need to be looking for to meet your scenario.

At a basic level exterior lights are any lights that are situated on the exterior of a building or in place that is open to the elements, this can often include wall lights, step lights, festoon lighting and garden lighting.

It's important to understand that not all exteriors are equal and there are a number of different scenarios that will require you to think more carefully about the lights you select.

Outside but well protected from the elements, especially rain and spray (e.g. lights on a covered decks)

Outside with some protection from the elements (e.g. wall lights under eaves)

Fully open to the elements (e.g. uncovered exterior walls, step lights and garden lighting)

Understanding IP Ratings

IP Ratings are otherwise known as ‘Ingress Protection Rating’ are used to define levels of sealing effectiveness against foreign bodies such as dirt and moisture.

You will often see IP followed by 2 numbers (IP00), the first number in an IP rating is the level of protection against solids such as dust and the second number indicates the level of protection against water - IP(dust protection level, water protection level).

When only one rating is being addressed generally a letter is substituted, normally an 'x', for example IPx4 is only referencing the moisture rating.

According to the EN 60529 classification system:

Selecting lights for exterior usage

When selecting light fittings for exterior usage, Lighting Collective recommends the following IP ratings for the different use cases:-

Less than IP33 = Generally not recommended for exterior usage.

IP34 - IP44 = For use in well-covered roofs and protected areas (e.g. on a deck)

IP44 - IP55+ = For use on covered exterior walls (e.g. under eaves)

IP65+ = For use in fully exposed areas (e.g. garden lighting, uncovered exterior walls, step lights)

In some circumstances, fittings with lower IP ratings may be suitable for certain protected exterior uses. We always recommend contacting our team and/or your electrician to discuss your specific needs before making a purchase.

A note on coastal locations!

All fittings and materials have a risk of degradation in coastal locations exposed to salty sea air. For those more exposed coastal locations, we suggest selecting materials like Brass, Copper and Concrete that are more resilient to corrosion.

Please read Our Guide to Coastal Grade for more information about the pros and cons of these materials.