Once upon a time, devices used to be creepy, and you needed to take extreme care while handling them with water or dust, but now the time has changed, with Fully Waterproof and Dustproof electronic devices you are free to roam around the world. And this capability of device to sustain through water or dust is indicated by international coding system called as IP Rating and ATM rating for headphones, earbuds, mobile phones, action cameras and almost all electronic gadgets.
So in this post you will learn & understand the IP Rating Standard for Waterproof or Water Resistant or Dust Proof Ratings of Mobile, Smartwatch, Tracker, Headphone or Speaker or any other electronic gadget.
Further I will also tell you something about the ATM ratings which are mainly intended for the garden lighting or outdoor CCTV cameras.
Do remember ….. Water-resistance does not necessarily mean waterproof by any measure.
Waterproof Versus Sweatproof?
Sweat consists of Water + Uric Acid + Sodium Chloride + Lactic Acid which is almost 100 times more corrosive than normal water, hence it is important to protect internal components of electronic gadgets like headphones, earbuds which comes into close contact with sweat during intense workouts. So most of the manufacturers today use Hydrophobic Nano-coating to protect the sesitive hardware components and circuits from getting damaged due to short circuit and corrosion.
At the end of this post you can please find link for IP rating chart PDF Download
Over years many of you might have lost the gadgets due to misunderstanding of Waterproofing!!
IP Rating meaning : What is Rain & Shower waterproof rating?
IP = Ingress Protection or IP = International Protection
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: Higher the number means higher protection
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 Rating Chart: [ Water Resistance / Waterproof]
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 inwater 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 jets]
- 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
Can you shower with ipx7?
- Lets take an example of Apple Watch with IPX7 waterproof rating. The Apple Watch with its IPX7 rating shall be able to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.
Practically you can take a shower, use it in the rain for a while, or need not remove it during hand washing, it will survive. However if you use it for swimming, surely it will be harmful.
- So IPX7 will be fine for most of the outdoor use but not for swimming.
galaxy s8, iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max waterproof rating
- The Galaxy S8, S8+, iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max are IP68 waterproof rated
- The IP68 rating means that the Galaxy S8, S8+, iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max are water resistant up to 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) for 30 minutes.
- Practical tests indicated to various people that dropping in water does not cause harm to Galazy S8
IPX Dust Resistance Rating Chart:
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
- 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
- No ingress of dust
IP Rating Chart, Dust & Water Resistance, Explained with examples [dustproof]
ip20 rating [Led Strip Lights]
- Means Protected against solid foreign objects of ∅ 12.5 mm & greater, example adult fingers
ip44 rating [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 rating [PowerRider Bone Conduction Headphones]
- Means Dust protected (5) and Slashing water (4) protected
ip65 rating [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 rating [Bullet Outdoor Security Camera]
- Means Fully protected from dust (6) and Powerful water jets (6)
ip67 rating [iphone7, iPhone X]
- 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 rating [Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max]
- 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.
So ip68 waterproof rating is good for water sports
- iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max are Rated IP68 (maximum depth of 2 metres up to 30 minutes) under IEC standard 60529
ipx7 rating [Apple Watch Series 1]
- IPX7 waterproof rating is more than enough for outdoor sporting requirements
ip67 vs ip68 waterproof IP ratings explained
The first digit 6:
ip67 vs ip68 :
Here the digit 6 : indicates dust resistance, means Fully protected from dust (6) which is same for both ip67 vs ip68
The second digit 7 or 8:
ip67 vs ip68 :
Here the digit 7 or 8 indicates the waterproof rating,
ip67 device can withstand being submerged in 1m (about 3.3 feet) of static water for up to 30 mins (7)
ip68 device can also withstand being submerged in static water, Immersion at depth beyond 1m, as specified by the manufacturer
Example explained :
Here for Samsung Galaxy S7 it is:
1.5 meters (about 5 feet) for up to 30 minutes.
So ip68 waterproof rating is good for water sports
Let me explain!
Are the iPhone X, XS, XS Max waterproof ?
Is the iphone 8 waterproof ? NO, its not waterproof its water resistant to level IP67
- iPhone X and iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 are rated IP67 Water Resistance Rating meaning that it is completely dust-resistant and water-resistant when submerged at a depth of 1 meter or less.
- [iPhone X], iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are splash, water, and dust resistant
- Liquid damage not covered under warranty, so Swimming not recommended.
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, 7 Plus, 8, X, XS and XS Max 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.
Shall I use waterproof case for my iPhone XS or XS MAX?
As you have seen that Apple on their official website also clarifies that Liquid damage not covered under warranty, it is necessary to take care of your phone while thinking of using it outdoor conditions such as Boating, Hiking in rainy season, underwater photography or even using it in bath tub to see movie!
If you wish to take AppleCare coverage, those fees are upto $99
So given that the water damage can cost you pretty much, it surely makes sense to use a waterproof case with an iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, Check out my review and suggestions on waterproof cases with IP68 protection level, Lifeproof vs Otterbox Which is Best iPhone Case ?
Are AirPods also rated IP67?
No, AirPods are not listed as having any water resistance.
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!!
Tough: IP68 [dustproof, waterproof]
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.
ip68 phone list
Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8 Plus, LG V30, LG G6, Sony Xperia XZ1, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and the Samsung Galaxy S7 range.
IP67 phone list
iPhone X, Huawei Mate 10 Pro, Google Pixel 2 and Pixel XL 2, HTC U11 and the iPhone 8, as well as the iPhone 7.
IPX 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].
IPX 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
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.
Can you take a 3 ATM watch in the shower?
NO. please do not assume that a watch with 3 ATM will survive a deep sea dive of 30 meters ! As a general guideline even a 3 ATM watch may encounter water inside a shower, so get at least 10 ATM resistance to keep your watch on while swimming.
Most watches sold in market shows 3 ATM water resistance, which practically can resist accidental water damage and spillage, however they are surely not meant for any deep water activities like diving, in that case buy a watch with minimum of 20 ATM rating. So to be foolproof in shower and swimming, get minimum 10 ATM.
Below you will find a chart that outlines that basic water-resistance levels meaning.
How deep in water is 1 atm?
1 ATM [a depth of 10 meters (33 feet)]
- Improved resistance to rain and splashes.
- No showering or swimming.
How many feet underwater is 3 ATM?
3 ATM [ a depth of 30 meters (98 feet)]
- Rain, splashing, accidental submersion & showering.
- No swimming.
What does 5 ATM on a watch mean?
5 ATM [a depth of 50 meters (164 feet)]
- Rain, splashing, accidental submersion, showering, surface swimming, shallow snorkeling
10 ATM [a depth of 100 meters (328 feet)]
- 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 (656 feet)]
- 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.