Which NEMA 4X Enclosure Type Is Right for You?

bw waterproof symbol

If you know that your manufacturing or industrial application requires a NEMA 4X enclosure but aren’t sure how to go about selecting one, we’re here to help! Polycase offers many different types of NEMA 4X-rated enclosures and our two most popular–polycarbonate and stainless steel–each has its own set of strengths. Today, we’ll provide a quick introduction to NEMA 4X, what it means to you and how to select the best material for the enclosures you need.

NEMA 4X Standards: Fast Facts

NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, sets industry standards for electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturing. Their enclosure standards help manufacturers choose the right type of enclosure for their application. Whether it’s from dust, dirt, water, wind or other environmental factors, NEMA standards outline in detail what kind of protection a manufacturer can expect from a given enclosure.

NEMA 4X is one of the most frequently-used enclosure classifications. The 4X standard certifies that an enclosure is suitable for a variety of demanding environments, including sites with frequent use of caustic cleaning chemicals and high-pressure washdowns. The 4X-rated enclosures are required to protect against:

  • Airborne foreign particles, particularly dust and dirt
  • Water ingress from dripping, splashing or hose-directed water (NOT submersion)
  • Damage caused by freeze-overs of ice
  • Corrosion, including corrosion caused by caustic chemicals

These high standards of resilience make NEMA 4X-rated enclosures suitable for a wide range of applications, including:

  • Light and heavy manufacturing
  • Marine industries
  • Livestock processing
  • Food and beverage service
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Breweries

These enclosures can be made from a variety of materials, but Polycase’s two most popular options are polycarbonate and stainless steel. When deciding which to use, it’s important to consider all of the relevant environmental factors for your application. Each material has its own strengths and limitations, but with a solid understanding of what you need from your enclosure, you can confidently make the right choice.

Polycarbonate NEMA 4X Enclosures

polycarbonate nema enclosure

Polycase has been an industry-leading manufacturer of polycarbonate enclosures for many years. Polycarbonate enclosures are lightweight, durable and highly cost-effective. If the following factors are important in your decision, you’ll want to consider polycarbonate enclosures:

  • Corrosion Protection: All NEMA 4X-rated enclosures must offer increased protection against corrosion, but polycarbonate enclosures are among the best. For this reason, they’re an ideal choice for marine industries and other applications that require frequent exposure to salt water or other corrosive elements.
  • Lightweight: Our polycarbonate enclosures are the perfect mix of durable and lightweight. If weight is a concern for your application, polycarbonate is a great choice.
  • UV Resistant: Polycarbonate material offers excellent protection against UV rays, although its temperature resistance is not as great as stainless steel.
  • WiFi-Friendly: WiFi signals can pass through polycarbonate with minimal attenuation, making it a great choice for outdoor WiFi.
  • Cost-Conscious: In environments where a specific enclosure material isn’t necessary, polycarbonate enclosures are among the most cost-effective options.

Polycase offers a full line of polycarbonate enclosures. Our offerings include:

  • HD Series: Our popular HD series is an ideal solution for outdoor enclosures. It comes equipped with flanges for wall or surface mounting and is designed for rugged, watertight performance.
  • SG Series: This ultra-tough polycarbonate enclosure is manufactured in Germany by Spelsberg and is IK08 impact-rated. It is also available with a clear cover option.
  • YH Series: UL-rated for a wide variety of applications, UL94V-0 flame-rated and featuring an all-polycarbonate hinge system, the YH series is one of our most versatile.
  • ML Series: Available with an optional clear cover, these enclosures are NEMA 4X- and 6P-rated for high-performance protection and come with wall-mounting flanges.

Stainless Steel NEMA 4X Enclosures

disassembled steel enclosure

When you need the toughest and most durable enclosures, stainless steel is the material of choice. Polycase offers a complete line  of high-performance stainless steel enclosures. Stainless steel is probably the best choice enclosure for you if you’re considering the following factors:

  • Temperature Resistance: Stainless steel has the best temperature tolerance of any enclosure material and can tolerate wide and sudden temperature swings.
  • Sanitation and Maintenance: Stainless steel is a non-porous material that is highly resistant to pathogens. This makes it excellent for medical applications as well as food service and livestock processing. It’s also exceptionally easy to clean and safe for use with common cleaning chemicals.
  • Durability: Stainless steel has the longest life of any enclosure material. If longevity is a top concern for you, stainless steel outperforms other options.
  • Aesthetic Excellence: Our stainless steel enclosures go beyond durable. Their sleek and attractive aesthetic makes them a classic choice.

For performance that only stainless steel can provide, the SA Series is now available from Polycase. These enclosures have an industry-leading feature set that includes:

  • Quarter turn keyed latch for secure access
  • Internal panel and all necessary mounting hardware included
  • Waterproof gasketing and corrosion-resistant construction
  • 18 sizes available, all the way up to 24” x 24”

Polycase is your one-stop shop for your electronic enclosure needs. We don’t just offer an industry-leading selection of enclosures sold directly to the customer, we also provide customized machining and printing! Start your customized enclosure solution project today by visiting our online quote tool for instant pricing.