Rating NEMA Boxes versus IP Boxes

There is often confusion about the various rating systems for the protection of equipment within an enclosure.  We are often asked which system is best and how are they different?  If the customer is in the US, are they better off buying NEMA boxes or one with an IP rating, or does it even matter?  While there are no hard and fast answers to the question of which is best, we thought it might be helpful to provide a few details to help the customer navigate these systems.

NEMA Box that is also an IP Box

NEMA Box in the Bud PIP series

IP, or ingress protection marking, is the International standard, typically used throughout the world and only recently gaining adherents in the US.  It is based on the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) standard 60529.  NEMA ratings were established by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and take a somewhat different approach to designating protection levels than does the IP system.  While there can be self-testing (and these are typically noted by phrases such as “designed to meet IPXX”), there are regulatory agencies such as UL for NEMA and TUV for IP that will perform and certify the tests for the various levels of protection.    While there are charts that purport to show the relationship between and IP rating and a NEMA rating, the differences can be subtle yet important.

An IP ratings typically is a two digit number.  The first digit stands for the level of solid particle protection while the second digit represents the level of liquid ingress protection.   The levels for the solid particles range from 0 for no protection to 6 which is dust tight.  The second digit ranges from 0 (no protection) to 9.

The NEMA system uses one number to represent the level of protection although confusingly the higher the number does not necessarily represent increased security but rather different types of water resistance.

The other difference is that the tests performed to certify the ratings might be quite different although they produce a similar level of protection.  For example, the spray test on a NEMA 4 box is 65 GPM of water from a 1 inch nozzle delivered from at least 10 feet away for 5 minutes.  Some may suggest that NEMA 4 is the same as IP66, but the IP66 test is for 3 minutes instead of 5, 3 meters instead of 10 feet and with a slightly different sized nozzle.  Although close, they are not the identical.

Below are the charts with a brief explanation of the protection levels and testing process. used to rate IP Boxes and NEMA Boxes.  As always, if you have any questions, never hesitate to contact the enclosure manufacturer for exact details and certifications.


IP Protection Explanation:


First Number
Solids Protection
Level Object size protected against Effective against
0 No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1 >50 mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 >12.5 mm Fingers or similar objects
3 >2.5 mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1 mm Most wires, slender screws, ants etc.
5 Dust protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.
6 Dust tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow


Second Number
Liquid Protection    
Level Protected against Effective against Details
0 Not protected
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 1 mm rainfall per minute
2 Dripping water when tilted up to 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position. Test duration: 10 minutes
Water equivalent to 3 mm rainfall per minute
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes
Water volume: 0.7 litres per minute
Pressure: 50–150 kPa
4 Splashing of water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes
Water volume: 10 litres per minute
Pressure: 50–150 kPa
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute
Pressure: 30 kPa at distance of 3 m
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 100 litres per minute
Pressure: 100 kPa at distance of 3 m
6K Powerful water jets with increased pressure Water projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 75 litres per minute
Pressure: 1000 kPa at distance of 3 m
7 Immersion up to 1 m Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion). Test duration: 30 minutes
Tested with the lowest point of the enclosure 1000 mm below the surface of the water, or the highest point 150 mm below the surface, whichever is deeper.
8 Immersion 1 m or more The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and/or duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7. Test duration: continuous immersion in water
Depth specified by manufacturer, generally up to 3 m
9K Powerful high temperature water jets Protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs. Test duration: 30 seconds in each of 4 angles (2 minutes total)
Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable, larger specimens are tested freehand for a longer time. Smaller specimens are tested from 4 specific angles. Water volume: 14–16 litres per minute
There are specific requirements for the nozzle used for the testing. Water temperature: 80 °C


NEMA Ratings:


NEMA Type Definition
1 General-purpose. Protects against dust, light, and indirect splashing but is not dust-tight; primarily prevents contact with live parts; used indoors and under normal atmospheric conditions.
2 Drip-tight. Similar to Type 1 but with addition of drip shields; used where condensation may be severe (as in cooling and laundry rooms).
3 Weather-resistant. Protects against falling dirt and windblown dust, against weather hazards such as rain, sleet and snow, and is undamaged by the formation of ice. Used outdoors on ship docks, in construction work, and in tunnels and subways.
3R As 3, but omits protection against windblown dust.
3S As 3, but also operable when laden with ice.
3X, 3RX, 3SX X indicates additional corrosion protection; commonly used near salt water.
4 and 4X Watertight. Must exclude at least 65 GPM of water from 1-in. nozzle delivered from a distance not less than 10 ft for 5 min. Used outdoors on ship docks, in dairies, and in breweries. X (as 4X) indicates additional corrosion resistance.
5 Dust-tight. Provided with gaskets or equivalent to exclude dust; used in steel mills and cement plants.
6 and 6P Submersible. Design depends on specified conditions of pressure and time; submersible in water or oil; used in quarries, mines, and manholes. 6 is temporarily submersible, 6P withstands occasional prolonged submersion. Neither are intended for continuous submersion.
7 Certified and labeled for use in areas with specific hazardous conditions: for indoor use in Class I, Groups A, B, C, and D environments as defined in NFPA standards such as the NEC.
8 Certified and labeled for use in areas with specific hazardous conditions: for indoor and outdoor use in locations classified as Class I, Groups A, B, C, and D as defined in NFPA standards such as the NEC.
9 Certified and labeled for use in areas with specific hazardous conditions: for indoor and outdoor use in locations classified as Class II, Groups E, F, or G as defined in NFPA standards such as the NEC.
10 MSHA. Meets the requirements of the Mine Safety and Health Administration, 30 CFR Part 18 (1978).
11 General-purpose. Protects against the corrosive effects of liquids and gases. Meets drip and corrosion-resistance tests.
12 and 12K General-purpose. Intended for indoor use, provides some protection against dust, falling dirt, and dripping noncorrosive liquids. Meets drip, dust, and rust resistance tests.
13 General-purpose. Primarily used to provide protection against dust, spraying of water and noncorrosive coolants. Meets oil exclusion and rust resistance design tests.
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Hi Tech Engineers Often Need Low Tech Electronic Enclosure Support

Today’s engineers are often very well trained in everything that is needed for tech from the latest embedded systems to the internet of things. However, it can be the simpler things that trip them up, such as dealing with an electronic enclosure for their projects. We have found that, although the enclosure is quite low tech, it can intimidate engineers who do not want to risk their projects on making the wrong protection choice. To assist, Bud has created a wealth of information and tools that help avoid the common mistakes in enclosure selection.


First, Bud has a very easy to use product selector. Use the sliders to select the key dimensions and drop downs to determine materials and protection levels and the system presents options, with photos that are easy to research. With the option of searching by internal or external dimensions, the engineer can readily insure that her components will fit perfectly. One click on the part and they are taken to a detailed page with everything from photos to drawings.

Bud's NEW Extruded Electronic Enclosure Series

Second, Bud has a wide variety of white papers all of which focus on the selection process. From determine the best level of protection for industrial automation to the proper selection of a server rack, these all guide the user to the most cost effective yet user friendly solution. Other white papers provide assistance with both accessories and the simple process of modifying an enclosure as well as avoiding many of the common pitfalls in the enclosure selection process.


Now, Bud has developed an e-book which provides the latest details on the newest products being developed as well as suggestions for the best applications. As Bud expands into the Atex market as well as with higher levels of protection (IP68) for its popular die cast box series, there is no question that the best enclosures are at your fingertips. While you are there, test your knowledge and see whether you can get all of the extreme engineering questions right.


For all of your needs, contact Bud or our website for complete support.

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One of the most common phone calls that we receive here at Bud Industries is requesting help in selecting the best 19” cabinet rack for the intended solution. As Bud offers many families of enclosure ranging from the Economizer Series to the stylish BRP series to the full featured SRP Server Rack Series, some customers find the selection process to be daunting. We help them unravel the task and have decided to share the relatively simple approach in five steps.

19" cabinet rack from Bud

Bud’s versatile BRP 19″ Cabinet Rack


Of course, most know that the “u” (1.75”) is the industry standard of measuring the available vertical panel space in a rack.  But there are many other features that need to be considered.  Will you need extra width or depth for cables to flow outside of the equipment to be mounted?  Are you thinking about the future realistically so that you plan for potential expansion and purchase a cabinet that has enough extra panel height to allow for that?  On the flip side, are you buying a 42u rack because you always have, but for this application, you only need something shorter?  These decisions have significant cost as well as functional impact since the cost of the metal is a major component of the rack’s price.


If you are mounting components that are likely to generate significant heat, does the rack have louvers or perforations in all major surfaces to allow for heat dissipation?  Does it have the preparation for an exhaust fan?  Are you installing an air conditioner or water cooling system that will require a more closed system?


How much weight do you need to install in the rack and how will you distribute that weight?  All cabinet racks come with suggested weight load limits, but what is often not mentioned is that it can vary based on whether the weight will be evenly distributed or will be loaded near the top or bottom.  Also, will the components be stable or will they need to slide out for service or other purposes


Much like a fast food chain asks about fries with your burger, you need to think about what else you need to go with that rack and if the vendor can provide it.  These can range from the simple (extra mounting rails for additional support, cable mounting brackets, or casters) to the more complex (ventilated slide out shelving, power outlet strips, or internal lighting).  Also be sure to  consider that even if you do not buy those accessories from your enclosure manufacturer, is the cabinet rack equipped to accept them.


Sometimes, you just need something extra and it is important to consider that with enough advance notice to allow for the proper delivery.  Customization can be as simple as populating the rack with the required accessories in a specific location to speed installation.  More complex and time consuming options can include non-standard heights or other dimensions, special colors, specific types of mounting provisions or even extra welds to allow for heavier loads.  These all take extra time.

Selecting a cabinet rack is fairly basic as long as you have given thought to your application and installation process as well as your future needs. As always, a quick call to your local distributor can provide you with all of the tools you need to make your selection with confidence. Or click on Bud’s product selector to assist you in your process.

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Atex Protection is More than Just Meeting NEMA Enclosure or IP Enclosure Requirements

Bud's ATX series of ATEX Rated Enclosures

Bud’s ATX series of ATEX Rated Enclosures

Why would Bud introduce an ATEX rated Enclosure? Enclosures are designed for two purposes, protection and beauty. Often, when we think of protection, the focus is on external issues, causing testing to levels such as NEMA 4x or IP65. These NEMA or IP Enclosure ratings deal with keeping the environment out of the enclosure, whether that is rain, dust, or water. Recently, we realized that there are situations where we need to protect the environment from the dangers that emanate from the electronics, typically, some sort of sparking or flashing of the electrical charge. This becomes a significant issue as electronics are now used in applications that one might never have considered such as farming or gas. The ATEX ratings are provided based on tests of how well the enclosure keeps these discharges from the atmosphere in various conditions. The ratings for Bud’s ATX die cast enclosure family note that it is safe to use in work spaces that have either dust or grain rarely or intermittently and the same for gas environments. It is not suggested for use in mines or underground locations.   With 10 sizes, a great price, and additional ratings of IP66, this series represents a new way of thinking for BUD and continues our efforts to be the enclosure supplier of choice for the industry. Check out Bud’s ATX series today.

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Resolve to Buy Modified Enclosures from Bud

This is the time of year when people look back with embarrassment at their New Year’s Resolutions and realize that with the best of intentions, they are already falling short of their goals. Those who are still working out at the gym notice that it is becoming much less crowded there. For those of us who run in the mornings, there are a lot fewer people out on the streets doing their early morning dash. And somehow, those extra five pounds seem to be increasing as we celebrated such holidays as Super Bowl Sunday. If you are a buyer or engineer, perhaps your resolutions included work related goals as well. One that is on the top of everyone’s list is increasing the value that you bring to your company and smooth the always complex supply chain. While we can’t help you at the gym, we certainly can help you with your enclosure needs.


Not only does Bud offer a wide range of enclosures, allowing you to satisfy your needs from a single source, but we also offer the fastest modification service in the industry. So if you need a NEMA rated plastic box, for example, Bud typically will have it in stock and can add holes and slots for you in 5-6 days. Making it even easier for you, we do this in partnership with our extensive distribution network. So if you are buying the electronic components that you will put into the enclosure from distribution, you can also get your enclosure, modified to you specifications, at a great price incredibly fast. This eliminates your need to find a source for the box, an alternative source for the modifications, and somehow coordinate it all with the component deliveries. We do it all for you. Check out our video on our five day process and then call your favorite distributor for more details.

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Bud’s Extruded Enclosure Offers Maximum Versatility

Today, new products drive our industry. With enclosures, while the technology is often unchanged, the visuals demand updating on a regular basis. For customers, as they introduce new designs, they look for more than functionality in an enclosure, but also a sense of style that will distinguish their product. In response to these trends, Bud has introduced a new extruded box line, the EXN, that has it all, great price, a variety of styles and colors, light weight, and a broad range of applications.


The EXN is made from extruded aluminum and comes in an incredible 17 sizes ranging from 2.7 x 1.4 x 2 to 7 x 2.25 x 8.   Each size comes in 5 anodized colors (black, blue, silver, red, and gold) and each color comes with two types of endcaps, die cast aluminum and plastic. The grooved design has two advantages, it assists in heat removal and it allows for optional pc boards to slide into place. Also unique to Bud, the gaskets that quickly pop into place, seals the boxes to an impressive level of IP66. The top is recessed to allow for labeling or printing. Their design also allows for easy modifications which Bud can do as a part of our industry leading 5 day modification program. Contact your local Bud Distributor for more information on these versatile products.

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Bud Industries Drone Contest Winner Announced

Bud Industries ran an incredibly successful contest in 2015.  With interest at an industry high rate, we asked people to take a pop quiz to demonstrate how quickly Bud can modify our standard product line.  With a 5-6 day leadtime, we can provide a custom box almost quicker than many others provide a simple standard enclosure.

Bud 595x500-v6

We are excited to announce that Paul Chevalier was our winner.  Check out the video of our President, Josiah Haas, drawing his name.  Congratulations, Paul.  Keep following our marketing and website www.budind.com for news of our exciting plans for this year.



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2015 – A Great Year for Bud Industries and Our Enclosure Customers

As 2015 wraps to a close, it has to go into the record books as one of the most unusual. From politics (remember that Scott Walker was the favorite for the Republican nod early in the year) to the weather (remember the Polar Vortex as now the East Coast is basking in record heat?), nothing seemed to go as projected. Therefore, it is with pride that we note that Bud continues to be as consistent as ever. As we celebrated our 87th year in business, we have bucked the trend with double digit growth and increased market share. Why do we think this happened? There have been a number of good reasons:

  1. We have had an aggressive new product introduction program this year.  From many new sizes and styles of NEMA 4x plastic boxes to high end extruded pc enclosures, from snap together utility boxes to explosion proof boxes we have led the market in pushing into new industries and broadening our base
  2. We have upgraded some of our best sellers.  A great example is our AN die cast NEMA enclosure which are now rated IP68, suitable for submerging for extended periods of time.
  3. We continue to lead the industry in our modification capabilities and lead time.  Our five day turnaround on most modified boxes helps us serve the customer as quickly as their local job shop with higher quality and more consistency.  On all significant quotations, we booked more than 1/3, which includes many that did not get funded


As we look back on 2015, we vow to you, our customers, that we will continue to innovate, continue to strive to exceed your expectations and deliver the best enclosures rapidly to speed your design. Thank you all of a great 2015 and our best to you for the holidays and the year to come.


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Discover Bud’s Rack Mount Chassis Series

AS-5000-A One of the challenges of being a broad line manufacturer of enclosures is that customers often think of us only for the products that they have used in the past. For example, if the engineer had a small board that he needed to enclose, he might have bought one of our small plastic enclosures such as the PN series, which would give him not only the ability to mount the board, but also environmental protection as well. However, when that engineer was looking for a rack mounting cabinet, she might not consider Bud, not recognizing that we offer several products in that area as well. Therefore, one of the roles of this blog is to make sure that potential and current customers are aware of the breadth of our capabilities and know when to turn to us.


Speaking of the rack mount chassis product line, Bud has several versions of this product. Our best-selling series is creatively called the Rack Mount Chassis series. It comes with a front panel, rear panel and a pair of perforated sides. It can be ordered with an optional top or bottom panel that can either be solid or ventilated. There is also an optional internal chassis for each size. The standard perforated sides allow for an almost infinite number of mounting options. Made from durable but light weight aluminum, these enclosures are perfect for protecting your components inside a cabinet or rack and also for making their installation much more simple and secure. Bud can also rapidly provide variations on the chassis dimensions. Discover the value of a full line enclosure vendor…discover Bud.

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Polycarbonate Enclosures with 10% Fiberglass – the perfect combination

New products are always exciting for us here at Bud. In the coming weeks, this blog will be highlighting some of the significant new product areas and sharing with you the key features and benefits of the diverse group of products that we are introducing this fall. The first is the PTS series of 10% fiberglass plastic enclosures. These join the very successful PIP series and the PTQ series that just came out last spring. As you may remember, the material of polycarbonate reinforced with 10% fiberglass is an ideal compound that provides the shatter resistance of polycarbonate with the strength of fiberglass.

The new PTS series comes in 15 different sizes ranging from 2.5” x 2.0” x 2.0” to 22” x 11” x 5”. Each size has the option of ordering it with a clear lid as opposed to the opaque lid. They latch with captive screws and meet IP67 ratings as well as UL NEMA 4x and 6. This means that they can be submerged for brief periods of time as well as being perfect for factory floors where they are hosed down or subjected to occasional splashing. They provide significant advantages to metal enclosures in both pricing and weight, allowing for quick installation. There are optional metal or plastic panels that conveniently fit into the box for the mounting of your components without the need to drill additional holes. Finally, if you do need holes or slots, they can be modified as a part of Bud’s industry leading 5 day modification program, giving the customer instant access to a turn-key system.


The PTS offers great flexibility, a breadth of sizes, and application. Check them out at the website of your favorite Bud distributor.

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