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Vapor Tight vs. Watertight LED Light Fixtures
November 10, 2021/in Warehouse Lighting, Industrial Lighting, Commercial Lighting, LIDERADO
When you’re trying to choose the best LED lighting for a factory or other commercial
property, the differences between watertight and vapor-tight lights need to be carefully
considered. On the surface, the two may appear very similar, but we thought it would be
useful to do a comparative overview to help you make the best choice. The difference may
Grab your hot drink of choice and keep that water vapor well away from your keyboard as we
dive into everything you need to know about vapor-tight vs. watertight LED light fixtures.
What are Watertight LED Lights?
Light fixtures need to be waterproof when installing them in areas like warehouses or any
outside facilities. LED lights that are advertised as being watertight have been designed
explicitly with resistance to water in mind.
For this reason, watertight LED lights are especially suitable for any outdoor environment,
whether you’re in rainy Seattle or easy-breezy Los Angeles.
It is important to note that just because the LEd light fixture is watertight doesn’t mean
you’re inhibited in design and materials. Watertight LED light fixtures can be any shape
you can imagine and come in various sizes and materials, including:
The choice is yours and probably determined by the particular environment you need the LED
light to withstand.
Example: This COMLED floodlight is a medium-sized, high-performance LED solution
specially designed for use outside. The high performance doesn’t mean you have to miss out
on rugged, die-cast aluminum housing.
What are Vapor Tight LED Lights?
Vapor tight LED light fixtures are sometimes also referred to as wet location fixtures.
They are specifically created with harsh weather conditions in mind. Perfect for
illuminating areas both inside and outside that can be affected by water, humidity, and
dust. Your garage is a good example!
Most vapor-tight LED lights have an outer shell made of either polyurethane or fiberglass.
In turn, this outer layer is lined with a complete metal fixture for extra protection.
Key Differences Between Vapor Tight and Watertight LED Lights
Watertight light fixtures are designed to handle water, while vapor-tight lights can merely
prevent dirt and vapor from getting into the fixture.
Do you want to know a little secret of the trade? Frequently these types of LED lighting
are virtually the same but marketed differently. The best way to tell whether or not a
light fixture is suitable for a wet environment is to ignore the marketing language and
look at the IP rating.
Ingress Protection Explained
When looking for a watertight or vapor-tight LED light, you need to look at the IP (Ingress
Protection) rating. An IP rating gives you two essential bits of information about the
functionality of the lights:
how much the enclosure protects people from any moving parts inside
how protected the equipment is from foreign bodies, including dust
the protection level from moisture such as drips, sprays, and full-on submersion
The IP rating is made up of two digits and the first refers to intrusion protection, and
the second refers to moisture protection.
Intrusion Protection: rated from 0(sometimes marked by an X), meaning no special
protection, to 6, meaning dust-tight.
Moisture Protection: rated from 0 (sometimes marked by an X), meaning no protection from
moisture to 9, meaning protection from high-pressure, high-temperature jet sprays and spray
Real-World Example: COMLED’s Floodlight is IP65 rated. From what we’ve just learned,
this means it is dust-tight (6) and protected against low-pressure jets from any angle (5).
That makes these floodlights perfect for parking lots, auto dealerships, billboards, and
general outdoor lighting.
Areas to That Need Water Resistant LEDs
Whichever name you want to give your watertight LED light fixture of choice, you need them
in the following places:
Garages: whether you use a garage to park cars or do workshop work, you need it to
withstand dust and moisture.
Spas: these hallowed halls of relaxation have water splattering everywhere, and clients and
spa workers alike need to be kept safe.
Car Washes: take everything we said about the garage and multiply it by 100. There are jet
streams and hot soapy water every which way.
Parking Lots: exposed to the elements and need some illumination to ensure safety from the
elements. Keep yourself from getting sued in case Mrs. Richardson taxes a tumble on your
dark parking lot late at night in February.
Refrigerators: constantly exposed to cold air as well as high humidity. Any freezer and
refrigerator LED lights need to be unaffected by water and moisture. Naturally, this