Is my device waterproof or water resistant?

I owned a Motorola Defy phone in 2011 and used to brag about how water-resistant my phone was because I could take a stroll in rain without worrying about water damage.

With more and more electronic devices from smart bracelets to smart TVs claiming to be water and dust proof or resistant, how do you know if you can take your device to the poolside?

To improve the strength of an electronic gadget and to secure it from water and dust, as any entry will damage the electrical circuit of the equipment, it becomes imperative for a rating to determine how much intrusion a device can tolerate to avoid damages and ensure maximum efficiency. Hence, every electronic device has an IP (Ingress Protection) code.

What is an IP rating?

An Ingress Protection (IP) Rating classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion from fingers, dust, accidental contact, tools and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. It is used to define levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures.

The IP code is made up of the letters IP and two numbers (for example, IP67). There are sometimes extra letters at the end of the code, showing whether the device is oil resistant (F) or high voltage (H), whether the device was moving (M) or standing still (S) during the test, also weather conditions (W) and high pressure (K) are considered.

The two-digit number that follows IP each have a specific meaning and they tell us about the actual protection. The first indicates the degree of protection from moving parts and from foreign bodies, basically solid objects. The second characterises the protection level various forms of moisture (drips, sprays, submersion) relating to liquids.

Understanding Symbolical Values of IP Digits

First Number Indicators (Protection Against Solids)

0 No special protection
1 Protection from a large part of the body such as a hand (no protection from deliberate access) from solid objects greater than 50 mm in diameter.
2 Protection against fingers and other objects not greater than 80 mm in length and 12 mm in diameter.
3 Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc., with a thickness diameter greater than 2.5 mm.
4 Protection from entry by solid objects with a thickness diameter or thickness greater than 1.0 mm
5 Protection from dust (no harmful deposit) that would interfere with the equipment operation.
6 Totally protected against dust.


Second Number Definitions (Protection Against Liquids)

0 No special protection
1 Protection from vertically falling water drops or condensation.
2 Protection from water sprayed at an angle up to 15 degrees from vertical (light rain in wind).
3 Protection from sprayed water at an angle up to 60 degrees from vertical (heavy rainstorm).
4 Protection from sprayed water in all directions.
5 Low pressure water projected from a nozzle (residential hose).
6 High pressure, powerful jets of water.
7 Temporary immersion protection (15 cm to 1 m)
8 Protection against complete, continuous submersion in water (submarine)
9K High temperature, high pressure spray

Hence, a Xiaomi Mi Band 2 with IP67 means that it is totally protected against dust and temporary water immersions up to a depth of 1m.

The key takeaway is, unless your device is IPX8 rated, it is just water resistant not waterproof.


As an ever-increasing number of gadgets claim to be “waterproof”, it’s a smart thought to look into your gadget’s spec sheet so you can better comprehend its limitations. Do note that most resistance testing is performed in fresh water and there is no guarantee your device will hold up in sea water, coke or toilet water.

Let me add that, currently, no mobile manufacturer covers liquid damage as part of its warranty.

The typical minimum requirements for the design of electrical accessories for indoor use is IP22 and minimum water-resistant ratings are IP67, IP66 and IP65 for all devices.

Here you go! Go ahead and check your specs sheet, and see if you can occasionally wash your phone clean after a dusty trotro trip.

Let us know if you have questions.

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