Vapor proof lights are luminaries that are shock-proof, waterproof, and dustproof. They come in many different styles and varying levels of water and dust protection.

An LED Vapor proof light takes this a step further with energy efficiency and a long lifespan. It makes a fixture that’s versatile, long-lasting, and durable. But what vapor-proof light is best for your facility? Below is our guide to all you need to know about LED versions of vapor-proof lights.

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What are Vapor Proof Lights?

We’ve already given a very general definition, but what are they exactly? Vapor-proof lights are like Vapor Tight lights and Tri-Proof Lights. They are waterproof, dustproof, and corrosion-resistant light fixtures.

They do this by using silicone sealing rings and corrosion-proof materials. They feature waterproof connectors for a secure and seamless electrical connection.

As any and every facility manager knows, each environment has different requirements. Some operations are more concerned about exposure to water and corrosion. Other facilities are more concerned with protecting their lights from dust and debris.

And so, protection must also vary from place to place. Here are some of the common characteristics of a LED Vapor-Proof light:

  • Dust-proof: Protection against solid particles such as dust, powder, etc.
  • Water-proof: Protection against sprayed water on the shell from any direction.
  • Corrosion-proof: Refers to the protection of a luminaire against corrosion.
  • Moisture-proof: Prevents water molecules from getting into the equipment. Moisture that exists in the air is not as noticeable as water.
  • Shock-proof: Built to survive impacts without damage to the fixture body or lens. Also known as IK impact rating,

Benefits & Advantages of Using Vapor-Proof Lighting

  • Anti-glare – Vapor-proof lights designed with a somewhat opaque diffuser. It emits a soft, warm light that’s easy on the eyes. This is especially helpful in environments like parking lots where glare can be dangerous.
  • Maintenance-free – Vapor-proof fixtures are heavy-duty and made to withstand harsh conditions. LED lights need less maintenance and have a long lifespan.
  • Simple wiring – These durable and reliable lights are also easy to install.
  • Low hazard – LEDs don’t emit UV or infrared rays.
  • Long lifespan – LED lights have an average lifespan of 50,000 operating hours.
  • Energy-saving – Switching to LED Vapor-proof lights can help you cut back on energy usage by up to 85%.
  • No flicker – Unlike fluorescent lights, LEDs run on a constant current. This means no annoying flickering or buzzing.
  • Easy Disposal – At the end of their life, you can throw them away or recycle them. This is because LEDs don’t contain mercury or produce toxic gases.
  • Versatile Mounting – Vapor-proof LED lights can be suspended from the ceiling. Or suspended from wires.

When Does it Make Sense to Use Vapor Proof Lighting?

When the area the light is being installed in is corrosive or damp/wet. The potential damage would shorten the lifespan of the fixture. You often see these lights used in:

Can You Re-lamp a Vapor Tight with LED?

You can. Many of these fixtures are fluorescent fixtures. So, you can replace these fixtures’ tubes and ballasts with LED tubes. Take extra caution to ensure the fixture’s seal is not altered or damaged.

Are Vapor-Proof LED Light Fixtures Acceptable in Class 2 Locations?

No. Never use a vapor-proof led light fixture in an explosive environment. They are not explosion-proof rated fixtures.

What are Some Common Issues with Conventional Fluorescent Vapor Tight Fixtures?

The same issues with most fluorescent fixtures. Humming, strobing and flickering tubes, short life, and expensive recycling costs. When converting to vapor proof fixtures, all these problems disappear.

How are They Installed?

A hardware kit is included with the fixtures to mount them on walls. A hanging kit can also be used to suspend them from ceilings. The most common installation method is the surface mounting method. This keeps the lights out of the way and help lessen their exposure to flying debris and projectiles.

There are two different ways to install an LED Vapor-proof light. The first method is to use the kit on the top of the fixtures to directly install it against the wall. This, as we said, is the most popular for its ease and protective qualities.

You can also use a cable or chains to suspend the lights from the ceiling. This method is less popular. But most often used in facilities with high ceilings.

What is the Difference Between Explosion Proof and Vapor Tight Lighting?

First, let’s say never use a vapor tight fixture in an area that needs an explosion proof fixture.

An explosion proof fixture is not vapor tight. It actually allows the ‘explosive’ environment into the fixture. If an explosion does occur, the fixture’s design does not allow the explosion to escape. It does this by channeling and cooling down the explosion inside the fixture. So by the time it leaves the fixtures, it’s cool enough not to cause an issue.

While it may sound like a vapor proof fixture would work, it won’t. A vapor proof fixture’s design keeps explosive gases from entering the fixture. It is not designed to hold in an explosion if one occurs.

While that may sound like a scenario that may never happen, it’s still possible. Hitting a fixture with a piece of machinery might compromise its life. That’s when the vapor proof fixture becomes a liability.

What are the Best Applications for Vapor Proof Lights

Not every facility needs a light that is this sturdy. And, in most cases, even facilities that need this level of lighting, don’t need it everywhere. Although Vapor proof lights are versatile, they aren’t the best choice everywhere.

Vapor proof lights are great for rough conditions and wet environments. They’re ideal for commercial warehouse lighting, parking garages, cold storage lighting, lighting for oil rigs and outdoor canopy areas.

What Ip Rating is Adequate?

The design of Vapor-proof lights keeps out dust and withstands water wash downs. The IP rating for vapor-proof light is between IP65 and IP69K.

These ratings, though all completely dust-proof, offer varying protections against water exposure.

You need to select a vapor-proof light with an IP rating between IP65 and IP69. The higher the rating, the better the fixture is at preventing water infiltration.

For example, an IP65 rated fixture is perfect for installations where the fixture might get wet from rain fall. An IP69 fixture can handle high pressure, high heat jet water spray.


Different Types of Vapor Proof Lighting

LED Tube Vapor-proof Light

As the usurper of fluorescent lighting, LEDs offer many, many advantages. The LED tube was the first to replace the fluorescent in the three-proof lamp.

It has a more complicated installation process than when you’re replacing the fluorescent tubes. Once you have LEDs installed, you can forget them. Their energy efficiency, powerful light, and durability make them the top choice.

LED Tube


IP69K is special because it offers the highest level of protection currently available. These lights can withstand a rigorous high-pressure and high temperature flushing process.

The seamless and structural integrity of the fixture eliminates the possibility of water and dust entering. You’ll most often see these lights used in very specific environments.

Led Nsf Tube 4ft

IP66 Vapor-proof Light Replacement

This is a more advanced version of the LED tube we discussed above. It consists of a PC cover, die-casting aluminum housing, LED light source board, and an LED driver.

It is more expensive than the other options. But it’s more energy efficient and offers control options. These include 1-10v dimming, motion sensors, and even an emergency power pack. EMBs allow the lights to work for several hours without a power source.

Vapor Tite Light Fixtures

So, Which One is Right for You?

This all depends on your facility and your budget. As we said, the IP69K LED Vapor-proof lights are the most powerful and effective at preventing the intrusion of both water and dust.

But these lights are expensive and that level of protection is not always needed. Check your environment, taking note of the necessary IP Ratings, and keep your budget in mind.

This should help narrow your fixture selection down. You’ll also need to decide on bulb type. Choosing an LED fixture, as opposed to a fluorescent one, is the best way to ensure that your light lasts a long-time and runs efficiently.  


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About the Author

Cory Peterson is Director of Sales & Marketing at LED Lighting Supply where he focuses on improving customer experience and revenue operations. Cory writes about commercial & industrial lighting, along with topics important to contractors and facility managers. In his free time, Cory enjoys traveling, snorkeling, exercise and cooking.

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