Buying a luminaire: Why ratings and protection classes are important!

Invisible, powerful, universal. Electricity. However, sometimes, this form of energy can become dangerous. Therefore protection against electrical voltage is the main priority for all devices. What should you look out for when buying a new light bulb for your home? We’ve gathered everything you need to know.

You never had to install a new light fixture in your bathroom. Everything must be perfect: Only the best is good enough for the temple of health at home. In addition to style and charm, one thing is especially important: Your safety. Equipped with the knowledge of all classes of protection and degrees of protection, you can successfully implement any project – guaranteed.

Protection class and protection degree – what’s the difference?

Let’s talk about protection: If you want to know how safe your lamp is with respect to the built-in electricity, a quick look at the packaging is all it takes. There you will find information about the protection class. This is divided into three categories: I, II and III.

But it’s not just you as a user who needs protection. Depending on the room in which you mount the light fixture, it should also be safe from dirt and water. The specification for this is called the degree of protection. This allows conclusions to be drawn about the ambient conditions in which the luminaire can be used.

DEFENSE CLASSES – a separate class

Unpack the illuminator, turn it over and see its shape. In certain circumstances, what you already see may be the most important component of your defense. Depending on the material and design, the outer layer of a light fixture offers more or less protection from electrical voltage. This protection is divided into three classes:


Precautions of this class prevent the current from flowing in an uncontrolled manner due to a fault. The protective conductor (yellow-green wire) acts as a conductor in the event of a fault. Triggering the fuse prevents further damage. All our luminaires have at least this protection class or higher.

Practical tip: It must be ensured that the protective conductor is always connected to the mains.


Class 2 equipment has continuous, double or reinforced insulation. Prevents contact with live parts. Therefore, these devices do not require an earth connection.


Protection class 3 electrical equipment is also fully insulated and thus protects the user from an electric shock. In addition, these devices are exclusively operated with a low voltage (max. 50 volts AC or 120 volts DC). For appliances you plug into your home’s electrical outlet, this means using a transformer. This reduces the normal voltage from 230 volts to less than 50 volts

DEGREES OF PROTECTION – so that water and dust have no chance of damage!

How would you best describe the defense? Electrical engineering does this by means of protection steps. They tell you to what extent a device is protected against the penetration of water and dust.

Depending on the use, make sure the luminaires have the right degree of protection. Just avoid dangerous situations: You install a light fixture in your living room? Then you need a lower degree of protection than when installing in the bathroom because of the humidity that can be caused.

The degree of protection is indicated by the IP code (International Protection Code). This consists of two “IP XX” code numbers and ranges from IP 20 to IP 68.

The first number of the code indicates what protection a housing offers against foreign objects, the second number of the code describes the degree of protection against water or moisture. All our luminaires are protected to at least IP 20. This means that solid bodies with a diameter of more than 12 mm have no chance of penetrating the luminaire.

To put it simply: the higher the degree of protection, the more difficult it is for substances to penetrate into the interior. We have compiled some examples of luminaires with different degrees of protection for you:

IP 20 – All Eglo luminaires have at least this degree of protection.

Observe the degrees of protection at home

Shower, fun and safety

Special circumstances require special measures: But that’s okay – when you buy your new bathroom lighting, just pay attention to the different areas of protection. Keep in mind a simple rule: the more water that can occur in an area, the higher the degree of protection should be. Basically, all luminaires from IP20 can be installed in the bathroom. However, there are some areas where a higher degree of protection is required.

Luminaires with a degree of protection IP44 or higher should be used within a radius of 60 cm around the bath, tap and shower. Luminaires with protection class IP65 or higher should be used in the shower or shower head area. From a height of 2.25 m from the stand area, the IP20 luminaires can be mounted anywhere.

Protection levels in the outer area

If you use luminaires in the outdoor area, choosing the right luminaire becomes easier with regard to the degree of protection. IP23 outdoor luminaires (eg wall luminaires, floor luminaires, pole luminaires, roof exit luminaires, etc.) are generally suitable for all outdoor areas as long as they are not installed on the ground. For recessed floor luminaires or pool luminaires, a luminaire with protection rating IP65 or higher must be used.

Just think about different situations when choosing your outdoor lighting: Heavy rain in summer, snow in winter, windy evening in autumn – so you are prepared for any situation.

Now you are well prepared for your next project. You just remember: Protection classes indicate protection against electric shock. Degrees of protection, on the other hand, describe how easily substances can get inside the luminaire. The higher the degree of protection, the more difficult it is for liquids and dust to enter the housing. But don’t let that bother you. In most cases, a luminaire of protection class IP20 / 23 can be used without hesitation.

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