IP66-rated enclosures are dust-tight and provide a strong level of indoor-outdoor protection. Boxes that qualify for this rating will prevent ingress of water directed at high pressure. Typically, IP66 waterproof enclosures are used in washdown and outdoor applications, such as factories, rooftops, solar installations, and agricultural settings. They give maximum protection against pressure-washing and weather short of water immersion.
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When deciding which rating is best for your enclosure, consider the application. IP65 is the basic standard for factory washdown locations; IP66 kicks protection up a notch. The test for IP66 includes hose-directed water through a nozzle that is twice the size of the hose used for IP65 (12. 5 mm versus 6.33 mm). The IP66 test also has more pressure, up to 1 bar (about 14.5 psi). Watch a video of a hose washdown of an IP66 enclosure. As the design engineer cannot control the way equipment will be cleaned, an IP66 enclosure gives an extra margin of safety.
Of course, if the enclosure can handle hose-directed water, it will also withstand heavy rain and wind. Note that not all IP66 enclosures are suitable for outdoor use. UV light can degrade plastic, so check if the IP66 plastic enclosure you are buying carries a UV rating. Our blank is a popular solution; see video.
The IP rating system was developed in 1976 by International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The ratings classify the degree of protection an enclosure provides under the international standard IEC 60529. While the IEC is associated with the European Union, its standards are widely adopted globally, and manufacturers who sell globally often use the standards. They are similar to NEMA enclosure protection ratings published by NEMA in North America.