We’ve been using waterproof, and water resistant tech for quite a few years with things like watches, headphones, and cameras. In recent years, we’ve seen the waterproofing of devices spread across all sorts of kit. Most of the big mobile phone manufacturers are now making phones that can be fully submerged in water, and there are plenty of waterproof Bluetooth speakers on the market.
Waterproof tech is great for sport because it means you can go for a swim or a run in the rain - and track your workout with your smartwatch while listening to music with your waterproof mp3 player and earphones. But not all kit is water resistant to the same level.
Rather than being labelled as ‘waterproof’, some products might say ‘water resistant’ - this isn’t the same as waterproof.
Water resistant devices are able to resist the ingress of liquids to a degree, but not fully. All products labelled as either waterproof or water resistant should have an ‘IP rating’, this is a code that tells you just how water resistant it is.
IP stands for International Protection but is sometimes referred to as ‘Ingress Protection’ because it indicates how well the device can stand up to water and dust under certain circumstances. There are two numbers associated with this rating system - the first number represents solid material, and the second number represents liquids.
So here’s what all the numbers mean.
5 - Dust protected. Ingress of dust isn’t completely prevented but any dust that gets in mustn’t affect the operation of the equipment.
6 - Dust tight. No ingress of dust; complete protection against particles of solid material.
3 - Spraying water. Water should be able to fall as a spray without causing any harm to the equipment.
4 - Splashing water. Water splashing against the equipment from any direction should have no harmful effect.
5 - Water jets. Water projected from a nozzle (up to 6.3mm), from any direction, should cause no harmful effects.
6 - Powerful water jets. Water projected from a nozzle (up to 12.5mm), from any direction, should cause no harmful effects.
6K - Powerful water jets with increased pressure. Water projected in powerful jets from a 6.3mm nozzle in any direction should cause no harmful effects.
7 - Immersion up to 1m depth. The equipment can be submerged in water (up to 1m for 30 minutes), with no harmful effects.
8 - Immersion in water at a depth of 1m or more. The equipment can be submerged in water at a depth specified by the manufacturer. Certain types of equipment can allow water in, but this should not cause any harmful effects.
9K - Powerful high-temperature water jets. Equipment is protected against close-range, high pressure, high temperature sprays from all directions.
So a phone that has a rating of IP67 would be both dust-tight and able to withstand being submerged in water at a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.
Hopefully, that's helped you to understand a bit more about how waterproofing ratings work, and what to look out for.
If you'd like help with anything else, you can contact one of our Team Knowhow experts here.