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Electrical junction boxes, primarily utilized in housing electronic equipment, are usually listed with UL, NEMA, and IP ratings. But precisely what do these ratings mean? And what’s the difference? If you bought a junction box which was listed as dust-tight but features no rating within it, should you exercise caution? West Tool Enclosures provides the best rated junctionboxes on the market. With a vast catalogof sizes and configurations to choose from.Get Startedhere!
When it comes to manufacturing, there are essentially three critical standards used in determining the various junction box grades and their degree of resistance to certain materials. However, while all serve a similar purpose, and each uses different parameters and approaches to define their standards.
Let us look at these ratings and what it all means.
NEMA Junction Box Ratings & What They Mean
Typically, NEMA-rated junction boxes are “enclosures” built for indoor or outdoor usage to offer a distinct level of protection against accidental contact of enclosed gadgets. They afford a certain protection level against circulating dust, fiber, and lint flying, not to mention against light liquid splashing.
NEMA is an acronym that represents the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, an organization established in 1962. This organization published guides and standards for equipment, with its members producing equipment that has adequately met these standards.
NEMA rated junction boxes are allocated a numerical rating between 1 and 13. This rating is non-progressive, and thus, higher number ratings don’t necessarily have all the perks of numbers below it. Instead, every number represents resistance to a given lot of varying environmental hazards. What’s more, there are letter ratings like S, X, and R that outline a certain degree of added resistance.
Some of the popular NEMA ratings and their meanings are as follows:
NEMA Type 1
These are boxes that are utilized in the protection of connections, controls, and terminations from personnel and objects. These junction boxes are used in places where you need to seal out dust, water, and oil.
NEMA Type 2
These junction boxes are for indoor usage to afford a level of protection against dirt and non-corrosive water (limited amounts). This is essentially against light splashing and dripping.
NEMA Type 3
These junction boxes are used outdoor and indoor to afford a certain level of safeguard against sleet, rain, and windblown dust, and keep the box undamaged by external ice formation on it.
NEMA Type 3R
These junction boxes are typically utilized in outdoor applications. They are used to afford protection against hail, the external formation of ice, falling rain, and snow. Indoors they safeguard against water (dripping).
NEMA Type 3S
They are designed to suit outdoor use to primarily afford a level of safeguard against sleet, windblown dust, rain, and external ice formation.
NEMA 4 Junction Boxes
These junction boxes are used in multiple applications where wash-down operations occur frequently or where there is the use of a machine tool cutter. These junction boxes also find use in applications where there is the use of pressurized water streams.
NEMA 4X Junction Boxes
These junction boxes are usually made of high-quality plastics or stainless steel. They are typically utilized in more adverse settings compared to regular NEMA 4 options. NEMA 4 boxes find use in applications that use caustic cleaners or corrosive materials.
NEMA 6P Junction Boxes
These are distinct junction boxes designed to suit both outdoor and indoor use. They offer a level of safeguard against water entry during a prolonged submission, although at a shallow depth.
NEMA 12 Junction Boxes
These junction boxes are used to protect enclosed gadgets against dust, oil, or water ingress. They are also commonly utilized for outdoor applications, mainly concerning electronic drive systems and automation control such as manufacturing applications.
NEMA 13 Junction Boxes
These junction boxes are purposed for indoor usage. They primarily offer a level of safeguard against water spraying, non-corrosive coolant, dust, or oil.
IP Junction Box Ratings & What They Mean
The International Protection Rating/Ingress Protection rating represents set codes utilized in defining certain protection levels. These codes comprise the IP prefix, accompanied by two numbers (digits) followed by an exclusive optional letter.
IP ratings (Ingress Protection) represent standards for the level of safeguard a junction box affords for users from various distinct factors such as water and foreign objects from harming the electrical components. They also offer protection for users from internal components.
IP ratings on junction boxes are used in measuring protection levels like preventing liquids and solid objects from intruding an enclosure. Solid objects are inclusive of debris, dust, and body parts of personnel. As for liquids, it involves moisture, water, and oils.
As previously mentioned, IP ratings boast two numbers: digit rating outlining the ability of the enclosure to safeguard against foreign solid object ingression; and the second, a digit outlining the degree of protection against liquids ingression.
First Digit: Protect Against the Entry of Foreign Items
- Solid objects > 12.5 mm: (2)
- Limited ingress, dust-protected: (5)
- No ingress, dustproof: (6)
Second Digit: Safeguard Against the Entry of Water
- No protection: (0)
- Water sprayed equal to 15° from a vertical: (2)
- Water sprayed from virtually any direction: (4)
- Low-pressure water jets projecting water from any direction: (5)
- High-pressure water jet projected water (any direction): (6)
UL Listed Junction Box Ratings & What They Mean
UL is an acronym for Underwriter Laboratories, an independent safety certification organization established in 1894 that sets safety and quality standards for junction boxes containing high voltage equipment and industrial control panels among others.
Designed for indoor use to afford a level of safeguard against personnel contact with internal components as well as against a limited falling dirt amount.
For indoor usage to afford a level of protection against dirt and falling water (limited amounts)
IP-rated junction boxes are used outdoor and indoor to provide a certain level of safeguard against sleet, rain, windblown dust, and keep the box undamaged by external ice formation on it.
Outdoor/indoor usable junction boxes to offer a level of safeguard against falling sleet and rain. The box can also not be damaged by external ice formation on it.
Junction boxes for outdoor/indoor usage that offer a certain protection level against the entry of rain, sleet, and windblown dust. These boxes can also not be harmed by the formation of ice on it.
Outdoor/indoor use to afford a level of safety against the entry of hose-directed or splashing water, windblown dust, and rain. Keep the junction box unharmed by ice formation on it.
Junction boxes for outdoor/indoor usage to afford a level of safeguard against windblown dust, rain, hose-directed, and splashing water. Also, it protects it from damage by external ice formation on it.
Type 6 Junction Boxes
Outdoor/indoor usage to afford a level of protection against water entry during limited depth temporary submersion. It is undamaged by external ice formation.
Outdoor/indoor usage to offer a level of safeguard against water ingress during prolonged immersion, but relatively shallow depth.
Junction boxes designed for outdoor usage to afford a level of safeguard for the enclosed gadgets against corrosive effects from corrosive gases and liquids, by oil submersion.
Junction boxes designed for indoor use to offer a level of safety against falling dirt and dust, as well as dripping liquids (non-corrosive).
Junction boxes/enclosures designed to afford a certain level of safeguard against dripping non-corrosive liquids, falling dirt, and dust.
Distinct junction boxes for indoor to offer a protection degree against spraying water, dust, non-corrosive coolants, and oil.
Difference Between NEMA, UL, And IP Rated Enclosures
Since all these organizations set exclusive safety standards, it is inevitable that some of the standards effectively overlap. Nonetheless, these ratings have been independently established, and therefore the standards of these three organizations are varied. These ratings, however, are centered on similar performance expectations and application descriptions.
Even so, the significant difference between these three standard sets is primarily in the testing area. Essentially, IP and NEMA ratings are ideally “self-certifying”. This means that the manufacturers can typically design products to satisfy the standards and subsequently specify this rating devoid of any certification or approval of any third-party agency.
On the contrary, the UL junction box ratings require that the manufacturers systematize independent testing of their distinct standard compliance by use of independent evaluators.
Your Trusted Source for UL, NEMA, And IP Rated Junction Boxes
As such, if you need a junction box and are unsure which one best suits your applications, hopefully you now have a more informed understanding of the different types of junction box ratings. This way, you can make a better judgment of the electrical enclosure you should purchase to ensure it effectively safeguards the various components within.
If you are looking for a junction box or assistance finding the right one, we are here to aid you in landing the best solution. West Tool Enclosures fabricates and designs quality IP, UL, and NEMA rated junction boxes to your precise specifications, that effectively meets your stated lead times.
What’s more, we believe that by taking care of your specific junction box needs as you are configuring that which goes into it, we will save you money, time, and frustrations. Be sure to contact us, and we will be certain to deliver you the ideal enclosure to suit your needs and applications.
What is the difference between NEMA enclosure and IP rating? ›
IP ratings cover protection only against the ingress of water and solid objects while NEMA includes supplementary protection standards against corrosion resistance and atmospheric gasses (such as acetylene or gasoline). NEMA ratings also include distinctions between hazardous and non-hazardous environments.What is a NEMA junction box? ›
NEMA enclosures are boxes that are designed to protect electrical components from the surrounding environment. Depending on the specific NEMA rating, devices in a NEMA enclosure are protected in: Indoor, outdoor, and indoor or outdoor locations. Moderately wet conditions - dripping water and light splashing.What NEMA rating is needed for explosion proof enclosures? ›
If you need explosion-proof performance from your enclosure, you'll want to go with a NEMA 7 or NEMA 8 rating. These enclosure types are designed to offer protection in indoor environments with explosion hazards from flammable gasses or vapors.What IP rating for junction boxes? ›
For personal safety and the safety of your employees, you need a junction box with an IP rating of at least IP1x (x stands for the value of water resistance level). Junction boxes rated IP10 to IP17 protect electrical components from solids greater than 50mm in size (hands, objects, etc.)What is a NEMA rating and IP rating? ›
IP ratings specify standards primarily for protection against ingress of solid foreign objects or liquids, while NEMA ratings also specify protection against other conditions, such as the presence of corrosive agents.What is NEMA 4 enclosure vs IP? ›
For example, in the case of NEMA 4X enclosures vs. IP65 enclosures, the main difference between the two is corrosion protection. Since IP enclosures are not rated for protective qualities against corrosion hazards, a NEMA 4X enclosure is a must-have for applications that demand corrosion resistance.What is the difference between junction box and enclosure? ›
What is the difference between an enclosure and a junction box? Although there are many differences between enclosures and junction boxes, the biggest one is size. Junction boxes are generally smaller like 5”x5” while enclosures can get fairly large. The largest enclosure that we offer is around 18”x16”.What is a NEMA enclosure used for? ›
NEMA 12 ELECTRICAL ENCLOSURES
NEMA 12 enclosures are used for indoor applications and provide protection against water drips, falling dirt, dust and non-corrosive liquids.
NEMA 3 Rating: NEMA 3 enclosures are the most basic type of outdoor enclosures and provide solid protection for non-hazardous outdoor environments. NEMA 3R Rating: NEMA 3R enclosures are similar to Type 3, but provide slightly less protection against windblown dust.What is NEMA requirements? ›
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) defines standards used in North America for various grades of electrical enclosures typically used in industrial applications. Each is rated to protect against personal access to hazardous parts, and additional type-dependent designated environmental conditions.
What is NEMA 1 enclosure vs NEMA 3? ›
NEMA 1 enclosures are used in applica- tions where sealing out dust, oil, and water is not required. water and dirt. NEMA 3 enclosures are intended for outdoor use primarily to provide a degree of protection against windblown dust, rain, sleet, and external ice formation.What is the minimum IP rating for electrical enclosures? ›
In general EVERY piece of equipment that is installed must have a minimum IP rating of IP4X on all horizontal surfaces and IP2X on all vertical surfaces.What is an IP rated enclosure? ›
An IP Rating (also known as an Ingress Protection Rating or International Protection Rating) is a way of showing the effectiveness of electrical enclosures in blocking foreign bodies such as dust, moisture, liquids, and accidental contact (2022).What is IP rating for electrical enclosures? ›
The IP rating or IP code classifies the degree of protection provided by an enclosure, for electrical equipment with a rated voltage not exceeding 72.5 kV. This standard defines levels of sealing effectiveness against “ingress” i.e. intrusion from foreign bodies such as tools, dirt and liquid water.What NEMA rating is best? ›
NEMA Type 6 and 6P Enclosures
A NEMA 6- or 6P-rated enclosure ranks among the most durable and watertight protection that an electronic device can have.
NEMA ratings are standards that are useful in defining the types of environments in which an electrical enclosure can be used. The NEMA rating system is defined by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and frequently signifies a fixed enclosure's ability to withstand certain environmental conditions.Which IP rating do I need? ›
|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||>12.55 mm||Fingers or similar objects.|
|3||>2.5 mm||Tools, thick wires, etc.|
|4||>1 mm||Most wires, slender screws, large ants, etc.|
The protection Type 4 enclosures afford slightly ramps up things further, however the main difference between UL and NEMA definitions is just the common language used. Unlike NEMA, UL requires manufacturers to perform independent checks, and the same applies to type 4 enclosures.What is NEMA 5 enclosure? ›
NEMA 5 enclosures and boxes are made from impact-resistant polycarbonate to protect electronics or electrical devices. Meeting the NEMA 5 enclosure rating ensures components remain protected against the ingress of solid objects, like dirt, dust and debris, along with light splashing or dripping water.What is NEMA 3 enclosure? ›
Generally, NEMA 3 means the enclosure is weather-resistant. It protects the components against falling dirt and windblown dust, against weather hazards such as rain, sleet and snow, and is undamaged by the formation of ice.
What is a Type 4 junction box? ›
Type 4 & 4X SJB Series Junction Boxes with Continuous Hinge are intended for use outside in corrosive and non-corrosive environments. If you are looking to protect your equipment from climate, heat, various liquids and contaminants, Steeline's Junction Box Type 4 and 4X will fit your enclosure needs.What is the difference between a Type 1 and Type 2 junction box? ›
Like the NEMA Type 1 enclosure, the NEMA type 2 electrical enclosure is designed for indoor use only. The main distinction between NEMA type 1 and type 2 is the added layer of protection keeping water or other non-corrosive liquids from coming into contact with its components.What are the NEC requirements for junction boxes? ›
Material: NEC 314.28
Junction boxes must be made of non-combustible material, such as metal or plastic. They must be suitable for the specific environment in which they are installed. For example, if you need to install your junction box in a damp or wet location, it must be rated for use in wet locations.
Ultra-strong, fireproof, and incapable of being melted, metal boxes offer the greatest level of security for all electrical wiring applications. Even when slightly stressed, plastic boxes can twist. With enough stress, plastic boxes will distend.Can switch enclosures be used as junction boxes? ›
Enclosures shall not be used as junction boxes, auxiliary gutters, or raceways for conductors feeding through or tapping off to other switches or overcurrent devices, unless the enclosure complies with 312.8. 404.4 Damp or Wet Locations.What is the difference between NEMA and non NEMA? ›
The main diffrerences between NEMA and non-NEMA configurations are the blades and grounding stem on the plug and the connecting blades. Grounding blade is formed using the same thickness of material as the other blades for a solid, rigid connection.What is NEMA 3 vs 3R enclosure? ›
NEMA 3R gives the mostly the same protection as NEMA 3, but it subtracts the protection against windblown dust. The other protections are the same as NEMA 3 regarding rain, sleet, snow, and formation of ice. NEMA 3R enclosures are commonly used where the enclosure is in a protected structure.What is a NEMA Type 4 enclosure? ›
Type 4: Weather tight (weatherproof) enclosures. Constructed for either indoor or outdoor use to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow, windblown dust, splashing water, and hose-directed water. Will be undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure.What is the difference between Type 1 and Type 12 enclosures? ›
NEMA 12 Enclosures
They provide more protection than a NEMA 1 enclosure against both solid and liquid ingress. A NEMA 12 enclosure will stand up to common hazards such as settling dust, dripping water and condensation of non-corrosive liquids on the outside of the enclosure.
What does NEMA 1 mean? NEMA 1 is the most basic level of NEMA-rated protection. A NEMA 1-rated enclosure is rated to protect against small amounts of falling dirt, as well as accidental contact by employees or tools with live components inside the enclosure.
What is NEMA 4 vs 4X enclosure? ›
What is the difference between NEMA4 and NEMA4X? NEMA 4 is a rating that indicates the HMI, when properly mounted in a panel, can provide protection against dirt, rain, and windblown dust, including hose directed water. NEMA 4X is the same as NEMA 4 but must also provide protection against corrosion.Is NEMA mandatory? ›
It's not mandatory for all electrical components to be designed or built with a NEMA enclosure. Instead, NEMA ratings are merely used as an industry standard and are completely voluntary.What is NEMA Type 2 enclosure? ›
NEMA 2 enclosures are indoor electronics enclosures that provide basic protection against common environmental hazards.What is IP value for electrical equipment? ›
The IP value indicates the degree to which electrical appliances like lighting fixtures are protected against solid objects or materials, and water. The IP value always consists of two digits. The first digit indicates the protection against solid objects or materials.What is the minimum IP rating for an outdoor switchboard? ›
When installing an outdoor switchboard, the minimum IP rating allowed in accordance with AS/NZS 61439 is IP23 if no supplementary protection is provided, and no agreement is made between the manufacturer and the user.What is IP rating for outdoor? ›
As a standard rule, you should look for products with an IP rating of IP45 or higher when you're purchasing outdoor lights. IP65 provides the highest level of protection against outside elements.What is the highest IP rating? ›
That's from no protection up to high-pressure and high-temperature water jets. In other words, if you see IP69 somewhere, you know it offers the highest IP rating for both dust and water resistance.What is NEMA 7 rated enclosures? ›
NEMA 7 enclosures are designed to contain an internal explosion without causing an external hazard. These enclosures are intended for indoor use in hazardous locations classified as Class I, Division I, Groups A,B,C, or D.What type of NEMA electrical enclosures are specified for outdoor areas? ›
NEMA Type 3
Type 3 NEMA enclosures are commonly used for outdoor as well as indoor uses to offer protection against the access to hazard parts. Additionally, enclosures under this type of rating also afford a degree of defense against falling dirt and windblown dust.
IP65 Enclosure - IP rated as "dust tight" and protected against water projected from a nozzle. IP66 Enclosure - IP rated as "dust tight" and protected against heavy seas or powerful jets of water. IP 67 Enclosures - IP rated as "dust tight" and protected against immersion.
What is the IP rating of an enclosure? ›
The IP rating or IP code classifies the degree of protection provided by an enclosure, for electrical equipment with a rated voltage not exceeding 72.5 kV. This standard defines levels of sealing effectiveness against “ingress” i.e. intrusion from foreign bodies such as tools, dirt and liquid water.What is NEMA 3R compared to IP? ›
A NEMA 3R vs. IP would indicate different conditions. The 3R rating means the interior has protection against dust, rain, ice, snow and accidental contact with electrical parts. This rating roughly equals an IP14, which protects against solid objects up to 50 millimeters in size and water entry from any side.What does IP stand for NEMA? ›
IP stands for ingress protection and NEMA stands for National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Both IP and NEMA are rating systems for equipment that might be exposed to liquids, rain, ice, corrosion and contaminates such as dust.What IP rating is fully waterproof? ›
Since 8 is the highest number on the IP water rating scale, any IP enclosure with a rating ending in 8 offers the best possible waterproof protection. However, IP68 is usually acknowledged as the most protective IP waterproof rating in common use.What IP rating do I need for outdoor? ›
As a standard rule, you should look for products with an IP rating of IP45 or higher when you're purchasing outdoor lights. IP65 provides the highest level of protection against outside elements.How much IP rating is waterproof? ›
The ratings widely accepted as 'waterproof' for most general purposes are IP65, IP66 and IP67.Which is better NEMA 3R or 4X? ›
WHAT IS THE MAJOR DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NEMA 3 AND NEMA 4 ENCLOSURE RATINGS? A NEMA 4 rated enclosure generally provides a higher level of protection than does a NEMA 3 enclosure. As we noted, the spray test for the NEMA 4 enclosure is much more stringent and suggests different types of applications.What is NEMA 3R enclosure used for? ›
NEMA 3R Enclosures constructed for either indoor or outdoor use to provide a degree of protection against rain, sleet, wind-blown dust, and will remain undamaged by the external formation of ice on the enclosure.Can NEMA 3R be used outdoors? ›
NEMA 3R is one of several ratings in the NEMA 3 category. All NEMA-3-rated enclosures are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.What is the material for NEMA 3R enclosure? ›
Nemaco offers NEMA 3R Enclosures made from premium grades of carbon steel with oven baked & durable powder coated finishes.
Can I self certify IP rating? ›
It does not imply the enclosure is entirely immune to ingress even with the highest rating. Manufacturers are allowed to self-certify the IP ratings according to the IEC 60529 document's testing guidelines.What does the P and R mean in NEMA? ›
P indicates plug or receptacle. P is plug. R is receptacle or socket.What is NEMA vs non NEMA? ›
The main diffrerences between NEMA and non-NEMA configurations are the blades and grounding stem on the plug and the connecting blades. Grounding blade is formed using the same thickness of material as the other blades for a solid, rigid connection.