Electrical Enclosure, Electronics Enclosure, Electrical Boxes, NEMA 4, NEMA 12, NEMA 4 Enclosures, NEMA 12 Enclosures,

NEMA 4 vs. NEMA 12 Electronics Enclosure: Which One is the Right Option?

Once the customer recognizes their need to use electronics enclosure for their engineering project, the user should take into consideration the type of protection they need.

The National Electrical Manufacturer Association (NEMA) has successfully identified and established different enclosure ratings to help the company and the customer alike.

If in case the customer made a wrong decision on the electronics enclosure they purchased, it is both waste of money and time. They should have the right knowledge in mind before making a purchase decision. Wrong enclosure could also bring damage to their equipment because of incompatibility in terms of use, type of protection needed, and where it will be used.

Two of the most commonly confused ratings are NEMA 4 and NEMA 12. Many customers assume they need NEMA 4 which has one of the highest levels of enclosure protection. However, the protection rating is so high that it may exceed the needs of the customer, resulting in unnecessary cost.

With this in mind, there are two most commonly confused electronics enclosure ratings – the NEMA 4 and NEMA 12. Several customers easily assume that they need a NEMA 4 for their engineering project, simply because it has one of the highest level of protection. However, if the needs are not well identified, the user can spend too much on buying a NEMA 4 – and opt for a NEMA 12 instead.

There’s a simple way on how to identify if a user should purchase a NEMA 4 or NEMA 12.

If an engineer or company plans on buying enclosure to protect and support systems & technology situated in an outdoor environment, where a potential water ingress is expected or there is a potential direct exposure to sunlight, the user should use NEMA 4.

If however the user is planning to protect an equipment being used inside a covered warehouse structure where there is potential object ingress from floating dust in the environment, the customer should opt for a NEMA 12. Given that the environment has minimum to no water present or even moisture.

NEMA 4 Common Application: typically utilized to protect a standard IT networking series of connection, automated electronics, or equipment used for transportation signal controls, phone and cable network distribution, and security or communications equipment.

Used to protect equipment in automation control or electronic system drives, this also includes the equipment used in packaging, material handling, and non-corrosive process control in manufacturing plants.

Indoor Use
Outdoor Use  
Light water ingress protection (light drips and splashes)
Foreign solid object ingress protection (including non-hazardous objects)
External ice formation protection  
Strong water ingress protection (hose down or pressurized streams)    
Corrosion Protection