LED Strip lights are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to enhance the appearance and mood of any space, both indoors and out. Using a well-protected strip light is crucial when working with LED strip lights in an outdoor or wet environment.
Before purchasing, this post will discuss everything you should know about IP68 strip lights, from frequently asked questions to the best waterproof LED Strip lights for the outdoors, pools, and other popular outdoor lighting projects.
What to look for in Waterproof LED Strip Lights
Every living, breathing adult human being knows that water and electronics do not mix. Anyone that has jumped in the pool on a hot summer day before removing their phone could tell you from first-hand experience. However, if they jumped in after 2018 (or whenever they started waterproofing phones better), they could tell you how excellent waterproof protection is.
Like a phone, LED strip lights can come in various protections that serve different purposes. The most basic strip lights can be offered in their basic tape light form or come encased in air-tight, flexible enclosures that can directly contact water or even be submerged!
IP Rating is the specific metric showing the protection a strip light has. Confused about what IP stands for? I’m glad you came along; let’s see what IP ratings are and which will provide the best waterproof protection for those tough jobs.
What does IP stand for?
IP is an acronym that stands for Ingress Protection. It measures an item’s protection against solid objects (dust, sand, etc.) and liquids.
Every IP rating has two numbers which will give you information about the protection level. In the simplest terms, the higher the number, the greater the protection against both solids and liquids. Let’s break it down a bit more:
- The first number ranges from 0 to 6. This number shows the level of protection against solid objects and moving parts such as dust, debris, or any other solid matter you can dream up that could get in and disrupt the strip light.
- The second number can range from 0 to 8 and shows the protection against different liquid and moisture exposures.
The chart below will help you understand the differences within each number.
Difference between IP65 vs. IP67 & IP68
The differences between commonly sold “waterproof” strip products are slight but essential. Using the above diagram, we can see that all IP65, IP67, and IP68 strip lights are protected at the highest level from solids and dust. The differences come with the protection against the liquids, aka waterproofing.
- IP65 – Water-resistant and protected against water jets at any angle. *Do not submerge these strip lights.
- IP68 – Fully waterproof and protected against the events of permanent submersion up to 12 feet.
Where to use Waterproof LED Strip Lights
If you don’t anticipate a harsh environment that is extremely dusty or wet, then a lower IP rating would suffice.
When working with strip lights outdoors, you will want to be at least at the IP65 rating, ensuring the lights will stay safe through both wind and rain.
IP68 waterproof strip lights shine in areas where IP65 would fail. Like areas with a lot of water build-up or high heat. In these more harsh environments, you want to ensure you have the highest level of protection, keeping your LED strip lights running long into the future.
Let’s take a look at the top uses for Waterproof LED Strip Lights:
Lighting around pools or hot tubs is a great way to enhance the mood and offer safe lighting on steps or around the edges. A popular pool light trend is illuminating the inside edges of an above-ground pool for more enjoyable nighttime swimming.
With IP68 strip lights, you will not have to worry about any failure as they are suitable in pool splash areas and underwater pool lights if you need them. The most challenging part is waterproofing all your connections which we go over in the FAQ section here at the bottom.
Sauna and Steam Room Lighting
Saunas and steam rooms have many health benefits that have made them more common in residential homes in the 21st century. Since you are sitting in a room with such high temperatures, it is nice to be as comfortable as possible. This includes finding sauna lights that will ensure the area is well-lit and you can see clearly.
IP68 waterproof strip lights are what you need to buy if you want to use LED lights in a sauna, steam room, or any humid setting with pressured steam.
High temperatures are the other factor that will affect your sauna lights. We did a temperature test where we left the IP68 strips in a 180° F oven for four days straight. The strips kept running strong and only experienced minor yellowing at their edges.
Outdoor LED Strip Lighting
Many customers come to us asking for the best outdoor led light strips we have. IP65 versus IP68 strip lighting could be a back and forth argument that you must determine your safest bet overall. If the strip lights are within a cove or covered from the elements while well off the ground, then IP65 strips will suffice.
On the other hand, if your strips are lower to the ground where standing water could reach them during a rainy season, you will need to go with IP68 strip lights.
These examples should give you a good idea of what applications IP68 strips will shine in. We have always carried our IP65 strip lights but ran into many users who wanted IP68 strip lights for pools, saunas, shower lights, or outdoor led strip lighting that needed a little more protection.