When your electronic device is described as ‘waterproof’ what does that mean, exactly? Can you drop it in the pool, or does that mean some wine splashed on it won’t do damage? With electronic devices like smartphones, speakers and headphones, guessing at the waterproofedness or water resistance is a recipe for disaster. That’s why manufacturers created a rating system that can tell you exactly how much water your device can handle. It’s called an IP rating.
What is an IP Rating/ IP Code?
Something called an “IP Rating” is more officially called the International Protection Marking or Ingress Protection Marking and it rates how well protected your electronics are against water getting in.
What do IP ratings mean?
An IP Rating, or IP Code will have a series of letters and some numbers (like IPX5 or IP67), but what do they mean and how will they affect your devices?
Depending on what you read, the letters “IP” stand for either Ingress Protection or International Protection.
An “X” in the IP Rating indicates there is no data for a certain criteria.
The numbers in the IP Code correspond to levels of protection. A ‘0’ is used where something has no level of protection.
How to read an IP rating
The first digit or letter after the letters IP denotes how well protected a device is against solids or objects getting inside. That means things like dirt, sand, dust, and even fingers, or pencils. If a speaker has not been tested for solids getting inside, you’ll see the code “IPX” and then a number. It’s worth noting that the “X” doesn’t mean there isn’t any barrier against dirt getting into your gadget, it’s just not been formally tested and rated.
What does IP rating mean?
The second digit in an IP Rating measures the level of protection against liquids. For the most part this tested with plain old water, so if you get Sprite, saltwater or vodka shots on it, you may not have the same level of protection.
There are some other considerations for water resistance. How long has the item been exposed to water? Was it hosed down by the fire department? Or dribbled on by a two-year-old?
Waterproof vs water resistant
IPX1-IPX6 are basically water resistant, meaning they resist water intrusion. Anything above that can be considered waterPROOF, and will often have seals around plugs or gaps to block out water.
Here are the different levels of water resistance and waterproof protection:
IPX0 – No water resistance
IPX1 – Protected against vertical water falling from above.
IPX2 – Protection against vertical water dripping, even when the device is angled up to 15°.
IPX3 – Water falling on your device won’t harm it, even when it hits from an angle of up to 60°
IPX4 – Splashed liquid from any direction likely won’t get inside
IPX5 – Protection from water jets from any direction, projected from a nozzle up to 6.3mm.
IPX6 – Protects from more powerful water jets from a nozzle of up to 12.5mm, coming in from any direction.
IPX7 – Your device can be fully immersed in water and withstand pressure up to 3 feet or 1 meter.
IPX8 – Your device won’t be harmed by ending up in water over 3 feet.
Take note if you can of how your device has gotten wet to know for sure it it may be damaged. But the best thing to do is not to bring a piece of technology into a situation that cold destroy it; so don’t bring your water resistant, IPX4 wireless speaker to the pool.