If you spend much time outdoors in the UK – running, dog walking, hiking, camping or even working as an electrician, a mechanic or a breakdown recovery driver – at some point you are going to get wet.
For that reason many head torches now come with an IP rating. This standard is referred to as IPX.
- IP stands for International Protection Marking or Ingress Protection Marking.
- The actual rating is just ‘IP’ followed by two numbers and one or more optional characters. The first number is actually for dust exclusion – most devices are not tested for this, so use an X instead. It is safe to say though that if a head torch is reasonably waterproofed, it is likely to be fairly dust proof as well.
When searching for a waterproof head torch, the second number on the IP rating is what is important.
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What IP rating is waterproof?
IP ratings always have 2 numbers as there are different “levels” of water resistance that are standard.
The first digit (0-6) shows the level of protection from solids such as dust, debris and other discarded fine material.
The second digit (0-8) shows the level of protection from moisture. Moisture here is defined as any liquid contact from water sprays, drips and total submersion.
The X acts as a placeholder since there is not a particle (or dust rating). If something has a dust rating of 6 (dustproof) and a water rating of 5, you write it as IP65. In the rare instance that the dust and water rating are the same (let’s say 6), you write it as IP6.
To put it into context, the higher the number, the better the protection.
The IP rating chart below shows it clearly;
IP ratings in waterproof head torches.
Given the wide range of IP ratings available, not every single one can be covered. Head torch manufacturers have however chosen to standardise the IP rating often used in waterproof head torches.
These often fall into three categories – IPX4, IPX6 and the IPX8
Best IPX4 rated headlamp
This IP rating is effectively rain proof as it refers to protection from splashing water. These water resistant headlamps can withstand a light rain shower as they are protected against splashing or sprayed water from any angle for some time.
These headlamps are ideal to be used when there is a light risk of rain showers.
Other outstanding choices -
LED Lenser H14.2 Head Torch
Yoart Waterproof Headlamp Rechargeable Headlight with 6 CREE LED 8 Modes Running,
Best IPX6 rated headlamp
An IPX6 rating means the LED head torch is fully weatherproof. These products can survive ‘powerful water jet’ conditions
In order for a product to receive an IPX6 rating, one of the many tests that the product must endure is a minimum of three minutes of powerful jets spraying at least 100 litres of water per minute all over the outer casing of the product without the water ever penetrating.
There are also various dust tests conducted to ensure the product is sealed and completely dust tight. It is important to remember that an IPX6 rated product is not submergible in water.
Other Outstanding Choices -
MALLSTAN IR Motion Sensor USB Rechargeable Head torch, Waterproof Helmet Light, Adjustable Head Lamp with Red Safety Light for Runners
nyteBright T6 Headlamp – Head Torch w/ White, Red & Strobe CREE LED Lights for Running, Camping
Best IPX8 rated headlamp
An IPX8 head torch is typically protected in water beyond 3 feet. The exact depth is specified by the manufacturer.
This is for snorkelling, diving activities, stuff at the bottom of a pool, lake.
It can also be used for surfing, fishing and kayaking.