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Everything You Need to Know About Waterproof Electronics

by Waverly Wilde

What do all the different terms mean? Will your electronics really be safe in water? Let’s take a look and break down exactly what each rating means.

The March of the Resistance

Water resistance is exactly what it sounds like -- your device is able to resist water. Resist it. Resiting is not the same thing as successfully keeping it out. If something is water resistant, we wouldn’t risk it near water. The same could be said for the water repellent designation -- in actuality there isn’t much difference between something saying is water resistant or water repellent.

The Proof is in the … Water

If you want something to have a chance of surviving in water, you should be checking to see if it is waterproof. 

It’s important to note, however, that waterproof does not mean that a device can stay underwater forever and continue to function. Everything has its limits, even waterproofing. How To Geek has a good explainer on why consumers shouldn’t trust into marketing hype when it comes to waterproof devices, and it’s totally worth checking out.

IP Ratings of Certain Devices

No, no, we aren’t talking about IP addresses or Intellectual property, at least this time. Instead we are going to look at Ingress Protection Marking, which is the classification system for how well machine and electrical enclosures resist dust and water. We’ll ignore the dust stuff for now, and just look at how this impacts water. 

In an IP code, the second digit of the code corresponds to how it manages liquid ingress protection. Note that not all of these ratings are cumulative, either. Yeah, it’s tricky. Here’s the full chart from Wikipedia that breaks down all of the levels of protection.

A Few Examples More

Now that we have some idea how devices are rated, let’s take a look at the ratings of a few common devices and what these markings can mean on actual products. 

The iPhone X has an IP67 rating, which means it can handle immersion in water up to 1m in depth, given the specific testing conditions used.

The Samsung Galaxy X10 is IP68, given it a higher rating, but again, the test duration and conditions are specified for Samsung. 

The long story short: Always be careful with all of your electronics around water, no matter how they are rated.

Water resistance is improving with electronics, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! And don’t forget -- if you are looking for the best place in town, rain or shine, to buy electronics, you’ve found yourself in the right place! Give us a call today and we’ll be glad to help you with all your electronics-related needs.