What the hell is this IP Rating?
Yes, I know you are as eager to learn & understand the so called IP Rating Standard for Waterproof or Water Resistant or Dust Proof Ratings of Mobile, Smartwatch, Tracker, Headphone or Speaker.
Do remember ….. Water-resistance does not necessarily mean waterproof by any measure.
Over years many of you might have lost the gadgets due to misunderstanding of Waterproofing!!
How Water Resistant Is My Gadget?
Both IP and IPX standard indicates the Ingress Protection or International Protection rating.
IP rating is defined as the Water & Dust Resistance of an electrical or electronics device.
Hence the term “Waterproof” should really be understood as “Water-resistant within the parameters specified by the manufacturer under standard test conditions.”
And This Is Exactly Why I have Done Some Research:
To begin with, just observe manufacturer specifications for Electronics Devices like:
- Bluetooth Speakers
- GPS Trackers
- Smart Watchs
- Mobiles / Smartphones
- Bluetooth headphones
They all mention Waterproof or Water Resistance Standard Ratings in product specifications, which you need to understand and study before buying for a specific purpose like Swimming, Skiing, Surfing etc.
In this blog-post I shall explain you IP ratings in table format, as well as explain how to read combination ratings for famous products as an example.
IP Standard Basics Explained:
IP followed by letter X and a number : Means only water proofing test is done,
as an example IPX7, Temporary immersion in water upto 1 m
IP followed by two numbers : Means both water proofing and dust resistance are tested,
as an example, IP67 rating, The first number (6) indicates the dust resistance, and the second number (7) indicates the water proofing ability.
IP followed by a number and X : Means an equipment is tested for dust resistance and not for water resistance,
as an example IP5X, Dust-protected
IPX Water Resistance Rating Chart:
|IPX||Official Terms||Testing for||Test Details|
|ipx1||Dripping Water||No harmful effects with Vertical falling water drops||Test Duration: 10 minutes
Water Equivalent to 1 mm rainfall per minute
|ipx2||Dripping Water when tilted up to 15°||Vertically falling drops shall have no harmful effects when the enclosure is tilted at any angle up to 15° on either side of the vertical||Test Duration: 10 minutes
Water Equivalent to 3 mm rainfall per minute
|ipx3||Spraying water||Water sprayed at an angle up to 60° on either side of the vertical shall have no harmful effects||Test Duration: 5 minutes
Water Volume: 0.7 Liters/minute
Pressure: 80-100 kN/m2
|ipx4||Slashing water||Water splashed against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects||Test Duration: 5 minutes
Water Volume: 10 Liters/minute
Pressure: 80-100 kN/m2
|ipx5||Water jets||Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects||Test Duration: min 3 min
Water Volume: 12.5 Lit/minute
Pressure: 30 kN/m2 at distance of 3 m
|ipx6||Powerful water jets||Water projected in powerful jets (12.5mm) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects||Test Duration: min 3 min
Water Volume: 100 Lit/minute
Pressure: 100 kN/m2 at distance of 3 m
|ipx7||Temporary immersion in
water upto 1 m
|Ingress of water in quantities causing harmful effects shall not be possible when the enclosure is temporarily immersed in water under standardized conditions of pressure and time||Test Duration: 30 minutes
Immersion at depth of 1 m
|ipx8||Continuous immersion in water beyond 1 m||Ingress of water in quantities causing harmful effects shall not be possible when the enclosure is continuously immersed in water under conditions which shall be agreed between manufacturer and user but which are more severe than for numeral 7||Test Duration: Continuous immersion in water
Immersion at depth beyond 1m, as specified by the manufacturer
|ipx9||Protected against high
pressure and temperature
|Water projected at high pressure and high temperature against the enclosure from any direction shall not have harmful effects||Fan jet nozzle: 15 Lit/min
Turntable speed 5 rev/min
Spray at 0°, 30°, 60°, 90°
30 seconds per position
IPX Dust Resistance Rating Chart:
|IPX||Official Terms||Testing for|
|ip0x||No test required||—|
|ip1x||Protected against solid foreign objects of 50 mm ∅ & greater||The object probe, sphere of 50 mm ∅, shall not fully penetrate|
|ip2x||Protected against solid foreign objects of ∅ 12.5 mm & greater||The object probe, sphere of 12,5 mm ∅, shall not fully penetrate|
|ip3x||Protected against solid foreign objects of ∅ 2.5 mm & greater||The object probe, sphere of 2,5 mm ∅, shall not penetrate at all|
|ip4x||Protected against solid foreign objects of ∅ 1.0 mm and greater||The object probe of 1,0 mm ∅, shall not penetrate at all|
|ip5x||Dust-protected||Ingress of dust is not totally prevented, but dust shall not penetrate in a quantity to interfere with satisfactory operation of the apparatus or to impair safety|
|ip6x||Dust-tight||No ingress of dust|
IPX Dust & Water Resistance, Explained with examples
|ip20||Led Strip Lights||Means Protected against solid foreign objects of ∅ 12.5 mm & greater, example adult fingers|
|ip44||Most commonly used in Bathroom lighting||Means Protected against solid foreign objects of ∅ 1.0 mm and greater (4) and Slashing water (4) protected|
|ip54||PowerRider Bone Conduction Headphones||Means Dust protected (5) and Slashing water (4) protected|
|ip65||Sony Xperia Z5||Sony Xperia Z5 is Certified with an IP65 and IP68 rating
Means Fully protected from dust (6) and against low-pressure water jets, when all ports are closed (5)
Can be submerged in 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) of fresh water for up to 30 mins. (8)
|ip66||Bullet Outdoor Security Camera||Means Fully protected from dust (6) and Powerful water jets (6)|
|ip67||iphone7||Fully protected from dust (6) and can also withstand being submerged in 1m (about 3.3 feet) of static water for up to 30 mins (7)|
|ip68||Samsung Galaxy S7||Fully protected from dust (6) and can also withstand being submerged in static water, Immersion at depth beyond 1m, as specified by the manufacturer
Here for Samsung Galaxy S7 it is:
1.5 meters (about 5 feet) for up to 30 minutes.
|ipx7||Apple Watch Series 1||IPX-7 rating is more than enough for outdoor sporting requirements|
Let me explain!
Consider the case of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus which are specified as IP67 protection by Apple.
Theoretical explanation of IP67 is:
Fully protected from dust (6) and can also withstand being submerged in 1m (about 3.3 feet) of static water for up to 30 mins (7)
On Apple official website they have clearly indicated that both these phones are splash, water and dust resistant
[as tested under controlled laboratory conditions]
However they have further clarified: Read Apple Official Reply on Swimming with iPhone 7
“Splash, water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and resistance might decrease as a result of normal wear.” and one more thing “Liquid damage is not covered under warranty.”
To prevent liquid damage to your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, avoid these:
- Swimming or bathing
- Exposing to pressurized water or high velocity water, such as when showering, water skiing, wake boarding, surfing, jet skiing, and so on
- Using in a sauna or steam room
- Intentionally submerging in water
- Operating outside the suggested temperature ranges or in extremely humid conditions
- Dropping or subjecting it to other impacts
- Disassembling, including removing screws
- Minimize exposing your iPhone to soap, detergent, acids or acidic foods, and any liquids—for example, salt water, soapy water, pool water, perfume, insect repellent, lotions, sunscreen, oil, adhesive remover, hair dye, and solvents.
This example of iPhone clearly indicates that whatever theoretical meaning of IP rating for your electronic device, you should always visit the website of manufacturer and study the instructions for that specific product against the claims.
Coming to iPhone 6 and below, Apple has not specified IPX ratings, I suggest to select waterproof cases with IP68 protection level, Read my review on Lifeproof vs Otterbox Which is Best iPhone Case ?
Apple Series 1 & 2:
The Apple Watch Series 1: IPX7 rated
Means that the watch is submersible up to 1 meter.
The Apple Watch Series 2: Specified as water resistant to a depth of up to 50 meters.
Next example I shall explain for Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy S7 which are specified as IP68 protection by Apple.
Theoretical explanation of IP68 is:
Fully protected from dust (6) and can also withstand being submerged in static water, Immersion at depth beyond 1m, as specified by the manufacturer
On Samsung Official website they have indicated that both these phones are Water resistant up to 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. Remember Samsung has also indicated rating as Water-resistant and not Waterproof!
Logical reason that I understand is, even the test has been done for 30 minutes under 5 feet, while you are swimming or doing dynamic activity, there are chances that the water pressure exceeds 5 feet head, also the impact of water may penetrate inside. Hence even with IP68 rating you need to take care of your device. Also the temperature, salt in sea water makes a difference, as the testing for IP rating are normally done at standard operating conditions!!
Yes, by now I can surely say that IP68 indicates tough smartphone device, which can fight to dusty and watery conditions. So if you are an athlete, sportsman doing regular jogging, swimming, skiing, water sport activities, then you should at least have your electronic device to IP68 rating.
IP rating guide :Waterproof lighting: Outdoor:
[Warning! Always check manufacturer’s information before any installation].
- Garden Lights:
Minimum IP rating shall be IPX3 (normally IP43), which will protect against Rain or Spraying water at a 60° angle from vertical. And if you are fitting lights in exposed area, better you choose an IPX4 (normally IP44) rating.
In-general a rating of IP44 is suitable for outdoor use when not exposed directly to heavy rains.
- Decking or patio lights:
Since these needs to be jet-cleaned (mostly), I suggest to select an IPX5 rating or above. Believe me IP65 will be a good target, which indicates a dust-tight housing as well as resistance to water jets.
- Under-Water Installation:
If you wish to install the lights below shallow water up to 1m deep require a rating of IPX7.
- Ponds or Swimming Pools:
Mostly ponds or swimming pools, will have lights at depths of over 1m, hence you shall opt for a fitting with an IPX8 rating.
[Warning! Always check manufacturer’s information before any underwater installation].
IP Rating Guide: Security Cameras:
Security Cameras are normally deployed outdoors, hence subjected to rain, wind, snow, and condensation.
The two most common IP ratings for Security Cameras are IP66, IP67 and IP68.
General Guideline can be :
- Indoor IP44
- Indoor / Outdoor (Weather resistant) under shelter IP44 – IP65
I recommend CCTV installation under a roof structure or canopy, else you can also think of a homemade shelter to protect from direct Snow / Rainfall.
- Indoor / Outdoor (Weatherproof) IP66 – IP67
- Underwater IP68
Till now you were looking at the first two digits of IP code, now look at the image given at beginning of this post, where third and fourth digiti is also explained.
For Security cameras these digits will also play a role.
Look at the third digit if it includes one of these letters, which shows the camera protection from Intrusions:
- Back of hand
- Finger (and lower)
- Tool (and lower)
- Wire (and lower)
The following letters may also indicate the additional protection to the camera:
H. High voltage device
M. Device moving during water test
S. Device standing still during water test
W. Weather conditions
IP rating shows Water Resistance then What is meaning of ATM?
Let me Answer:
You can specify Water Resistance of a gadget using IP Rating or ATM Rating.
The first one i.e. IP Rating I have already explained.
Second one is Atmospheres (ATM) rating which I will explain now.
Manufacturer will take one of the above test and specify in technical specs.
Generally you will see an ATM rating on fitness-gadgets like smart-watches, wrist-worn trackers.
[This refers to the early days of water-resistant watches where they used to specify ATM ratings].
Whereas the IP rating is more predominantly used for larger sized gadgets like SmartPhones, Bluetooth speakers, Headphones etc.
Back to explanation of ATM:
ATM stands for atmospheres
Each ATM is equivalent to 10 meters (33 feet) of static water pressure.
Below you will find a chart that outlines that basic water-resistance levels.
|Water Ratings||Withstands pressures equivalent to||Usage|
|1 ATM||a depth of 10 meters
|Improved resistance to rain and splashes.
No showering or swimming.
|3 ATM||a depth of 30 meters
|Rain, splashing, accidental submersion & showering.
|5 ATM||a depth of 50 meters
|Rain, splashing, accidental submersion, showering, surface swimming, shallow snorkeling|
|10 ATM||a depth of 100 meters
|Rain, splashing, accidental submersion, showering, swimming and snorkeling. No deep water scuba diving or high-speed water sports.|
|20 ATM||a depth of 200 meters
|Rain, splashing, accidental submersion, showering, swimming, snorkeling, surface diving and water sports. No deep water diving.|
Let me explain!
Consider the case of Garmin Forerunner 230/235 which are specified as 5 ATM protection by Garmin
Theoretical explanation of 5 ATM is:
The device withstands pressure equivalent to a depth of 50 m
“5 ATM” or “50 meters” doesn’t confirms that the device is water-resistant under all conditions to 50 meters below the surface of the water. But it simply indicates that under Standard test conditions (static Water) at 50 meters below the surface of the water the pressure of the water will not enter the gadget.
And hence when you take a dive inside water with your “5 ATM” smart-watch, there is likely possibility that it will face more dynamic pressure (remember 5 ATM is for Static Pressure) and hence may end-up water inside!
One more example of Fitbit Flex 2 is specified as 5 ATM protection
What Fitbit says on their website ? Check here
All Fitbit trackers are water-resistant, which means they are rain-proof and splash-proof and can stand up to even the sweatiest workout. Do not swim or shower with your tracker unless noted below:
- The Fitbit Flex 2 is swim and shower proof
Note : FitBit does not recommend wearing Flex 2 in a hot tub or sauna.
- The Fitbit Alta is shower proof.
Another popular smartwatch / fitness bands like Jawbone UP2, UP3, and UP Move company has specified Water-Resistance as following:
“The UP3™ band is rain, splash and sweat-resistant. However you should remove your UP3™ before showering, swimming, surfing or exposure to other extreme conditions and activities like saunas and steam rooms. Do not submerge your UP3™ in liquids, including hot tubs or baths, at any time.”
Coming to next Brand Misfit :
Misfit Shine is claimed as “Swimmer’s Edition” by Misfit but only carry a 5 ATM rating. Maybe it is because, the Shine is port-less (No charging port and sync via Bluetooth).
The Pebble, Pebble Steel, Pebble Time are rated for 5 ATM and, are splash proof for your kitchen cleaning and showering needs.
Higher the Better:
Use simple rule for selection of gadgets like smartwatches, in the given budget and functional requirements, select the device having higher ATM rating.
Even though above blog-post explains IP Water & Dust Resistance in details.
Before you begin using your device for Swimming, Showers, Skiing, Surfing, Cycling on dusty roads.
I suggest strongly to check the device’s website and carefully study the company recommendations for use.