Water Proof, Water Resistant, and IPX - What Does It All Mean? - Outdoor Tech Blog

Water Proof, Water Resistant, and IPX – What Does It All Mean?

A lot of the Bluetooth stuff we make is water resistant and some is even fully water proof, obviously you are stoked on that. This means that if you are playing in the snow, the sprinklers, the bath-house, in the middle of a super-soaker fight, or all male wet t-shirt contest with some of the rad speakers or power banks we make, it’s gonna be fine. But hold on kiddies, water resistant is different than water proof. There are different “levels” of water resistance that are standard. This standard is referred to as IPX, kinda.

And now, a picture that represents flowing liquid. I sure am getting thirsty…

Booze, and lots of it.

If something has a water only rating (whether 4, 5, or 6) you write it as IPX5. The X acts as a placeholder since there is not a particle (or dust rating). If something has a dust rating of 6 (dustproof) and a water rating of 5, you write it as IP65. In the rare instance that the dust and water rating are the same (let’s say 6), you write it as IP6. This isn’t used nearly as often as the other two models.


Here is a breakdown of the IP standard as it relates to water proof and water resistant:

IPX0 – This means it’s not water resistant at all. Think of what happens to paper when it gets wet. It’s a mess and your novella is ruined.

IPX1 – This will protect a device from some water drops that are falling vertically on said device. I guess it’s possible for this situation to actually occur but so is winning the lottery. If you or someone you know has won the lottery, sharing is caring.

IPX2 –  This will protect your thingy from some water drops when the device is tilted up to and including 15°. If you have your device at 16°, you are screwed, sorry but there are limits in the world.

IPX3 – Getting better, you can now spray your gear up to 60° from the top of the device. So that’s cool, I guess.

IPX4 – Now we are getting somewhere. This will keep “yo ish chill” from splashing water from any direction. So if you drop some cubes of ice into you scotch and it splashes, there is no need to worry. Well, except for those drops of scotch that didn’t make it into your tummy.

IPX5 – (this is where the super soaker is allowed). Will protect your stuff from water jets at any direction. Spray away kiddo, spray away.

IPX6 – Protects from powerful water jets. So if you modified your super soaker with an air compressor and an aftermarket tip, your stuff is still safe.

Everything after this is now water proof.

IPX7 – Full splashdown accepted captain. If you drop your device in water up to 3 feet (1 meter but this is ‘Merica and we don’t do the metric system. USA USA USA) your device is still going to work.

IPX8 – You can protect your device in water over 3 feet. This is for your stuff at the bottom of a pool, lake, or even a super deep public hot tub. What’s up with that one couple that never gets out of the hot tub?

In a very strange, completely unplanned, and non-thought-out coincidence, here is a list of some of our products and their IP rating.

The Turtle Shell Bluetooth speaker has an IPX6 dust and water resistant rating.

The Buckshot Pro bike speaker with light has an IPX5 water resistant rating.

Water Resistant Bluetooth Speakers

The science has been dropped and knowledge has been performed. Everyone is actually smarter for having read this. You can thank me by sharing on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, puffing with Smoke Signals, tapping on the Telegraph or discussing during your drum circle.

  • Burnerjack

    For a topic as dry as water resistance, this explanation was actually pretty entertaining! Great job! It was as if I wrote it myself. Really, who ever wrote this has agreat sense of humor and a talent for connecting with the audience. Again, great job!
    Oh, and thanks for the info…

  • NK Shukla

    Thank you for all the knowledge explained in such laymans terms. It has greatly helped me in deciding to buy a birthday gift for my child who has already spoiled one iPod while listening to music in the shower. I was contemplating to go in for IPX7, mow I think a less expensive IPX4 is good enough.

  • Jack

    This was informative and hilariously entertaining. You get a share on Facebook just for this article being great.

  • Radical Rob

    Learn something new today!!! Thanks for taking the time to do this helpful article. Now I know electronics are safe unless tilted 16° haha

  • Vinit Kothari

    Thank for informative article. Keep it up !!!

  • Chris Drysdale

    Great article!

  • Miriam Mose

    Awesome article! We just bought an IPX7 rated speaker. After reading the setup manual there were some interesting additional points that the manufacturer wanted to include. such as 1.dont get it wet and 2.dont drop it (it’s shockproof).
    All the reasons that we bought it for on the outside of the box, were blown to smithereens after reading the manual inside… What’s the point of that? We purchased it for use in our steam shower. It’s gonna get wet.

    • It sounds like you should get a Turtle Shell. http://www.outdoortechnology.com/Shop/Turtle-Shell/

    • hyhybt

      Sounds like that diet pill commercial a few years ago. First few seconds were “What if you could leave a little on your plate at the end of every meal?” The whole rest of the time was side effect warnings; basically, the medicine caused almost all the things you want to lose weight to prevent, like high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks…


    Is IPX6 also applied to swimming and diving at more than 3 m deep??

    • As the article clearly outlines, NO! IPX7 is not even good enough for 3+ft. You need IPX8.


        Thank you.

    • No, IPX6 is not meant for going underwater for any prolonged period of time.

  • Joel Hoffman

    So when you say, “The Turtle Shell Bluetooth speaker has an IPX6 dust and water resistant rating”, the “X” actually means that the Turtle Shell is not rated for dust at all – correct?

    • Think it just means not tested for. If water cannot get in it’s not likely that dust will as dust particles are larger than water.

    • Actually, it is rated for dust. We need to update some of the copy on the product page and maybe even the packaging…

  • One “important point” missing; IPX8 is waterproof at a depth of +1M and that depth and time is set by the by the Manufacturer! In short, the manufacturer has to state what the product is waterproof to and for what period of time! A diving light rated at 100M (~333′) has to withstand a pressure intrusion of approximately 148 pounds of pressure (approximate because sea water weights more than fresh water) per square inch or 21554 pounds of pressure per square foot. At the surface the pressure is ~ 14.7 pounds per square inch, times ~10 atmospheres will equal ~ 148 pounds per square inch. One more point, when diving to 330′ depth and I have been there, in silt that can block out all light, silt (dust) cannot penetrate the waterproof barriers at that pressure or the light will fail, especially in salt water which is electrically conductive compared to fresh water conductivity, which is determined by the material within the water. //Elad\

    • Joshua Lucas


  • Bill

    Hello. I am making a outdoor flashlight for a customer and we have made prototypes but are finding the light is not IPX8 standard, its not waterproof. What protocols should have we defined in the prototype phase to make sure the product was IPX8 certified? DO we need to redesign the product completely and redo the CAD prints for the individual components? I hate to start over, but if the product was not designed with IPX8 specs in mind from the beginning, the product might have been designed wrong and will never be IPX8? Also, what is used for the waterproofing in most products? Epoxy and gaskets alone?

    • Your product engineer should be able to revise the design to make it IPX8. Usually gaskets are used for making items waterproof but sometimes a combination of gaskets and water resistant coatings are used too. Really, it depends on the product and the engineer.

      • Bill

        Hello, thank you for the helpful reply. I do not have an in house product engineer that can make the Rev changes to have the light be IPX8 certified. Do you know of any 3rd parties in the USA that I can work with the make the small adjustments? Thank You!

        • Sorry, I don’t know of any that I can recommend. There are plenty of individuals and companies that should be able to do that for you though.

  • Yannick Noel

    Hi, I am trying to find a GPS receiver or small GPS waterproof IP68 device that I could place on my buoys at sea so that I could know their location remotely on my phone. Can anyone suggest some options that would be under $100? Thanks

  • Joshua Lucas

    sooo, whats IPX65? is that fully ‘waterproof’? because it says above that anything above IPX6 is waterproof. does it mean ANYTHING, or just IPX7 and above?

    • Technically, IPX65 isn’t a correct rating. IP65 would mean that there is a 6 rating for dust and a 5 rating for water. IPX6 isn’t waterproof but it’s highly water resistant. IPX7 and IPX8 are waterproof.

      • Joshua Lucas

        So would it be fine under a tap or in a shower??? Or if i accidentally dropped in water for a sec? Would it still work?

        • Yeah, it should be fine in the shower. Dropping in the water is a little tricky. If you get the device out quick it will most likely be fine.

      • Esperologist

        Things like IPX65 occur because companies believe it is the IPX rating, not the IP rating. And this came about because of the IPX-8 format. I personally prefer writing it as IP-xx or IPxx. I refuse to write it as IPx-x since that seems to confuse a lot of people. I’ve had people tell me that IPX and IP are two different rating scales and that they can’t be converted between each other since they measure things differently.

  • sunaan mohamed

    for an IPXY ,what do the X and Y represent

    • Nathan

      The first digit (X ) refers to particle protection. The second digit (Y) refers to liquid protection. The scale starts at 0 and increases in value as protection increases. If a device has not been test for protection, then the digit is simply the given letter. For example, IPX7 means that it has not been tested for particle protection, and the liquid protection is level 7.

      • sunaan mohamed

        thanks nathan

  • El Jangalang

    What material do you need to make things such as a speaker IPX8 waterproof?

    • Imagination and silly putty.

      • El Jangalang

        Good one but what about IPX7?