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.

waterproof speaker

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 IPX7 waterproof rating.

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

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??

  • 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.

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

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

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


    Thank you.

  • 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\

  • 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.

  • 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

  • I don’t know of any, sorry.

  • 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?

  • Joshua Lucas


  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • John Smith

    Get yourself a HS education. Child. I mean Dude.

  • Eian Wahgener

    So basically a rating of 5 or more for water (IPX5 or IP65, whatever combo) is good to be out in heavy rain?

  • IPX5 should be safe in the rain.

  • UpsideDown DownsideUp

    There is an IPxxx rating.

    The third x is for impacts:
    IPx (solids, such as dust)
    IPxx (liquids, such as water)
    IPxxx (impacts, such as dropping it)


  • Keegan G.

    So i just got a new Bose speaker with a rating of IPX4, would this be ok in the shower or no.

  • You should check with Bose on that one. If you got an Outdoor Tech speaker, it would be fine in the shower.

  • H.M. Mammal

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

    You *just* stated that the X is used only in water-only ratings, and that when something has an equivalent rating for both it is denoted with one number, so this example would be IP6.

  • InsertName

    Sony.com tells me their Xperia XZs has a “Durable IP65/682 rated construction means rain and dust won’t damage your phone.” can anyone tell me what it means in more words?

  • Unholy Impetuous Ritual Plague

    So i guess i should keep any flashlights lower than IPX5 out of rain.

  • ABN

    With all due respect, some people in actual professional occupations where their torch can literally mean success or failure (sometimes failure = death, or a VERY bad time), that information is absolutely vital, and should be appreciated.

  • Adria

    What are the best headphones for swimming? Can you recommend?

  • The Rhino’s will work in the pool but those aren’t available yet.

  • Martijn van der Haven

    Will wireless earbuds with ipx5 hold up in a shower?

  • Anything rated IPX5 should be fine in the shower.

  • Thomas

    Can I use an ipx4 speaker in the shower?

  • It’s hard to say for sure. They speaker will probably be fine if the shower isn’t directly on the speaker. You should just get a Turtle Shell 3.0 ’cause that would be fine in the shower or tub because it’s fully waterproof.

  • Imogen

    So if i was looking for a speaker that i could use for music when showering IPX7 or 8 would be best? Or could you go lower?

  • IPX7 or IPX8 would be best but you can get something that is IPX5 or IPX6.

  • sown laughter

    Don’t play the reality to stupid people, it hurts them which is cruel; so let what is natural happen.

    Some person assumes they can dive in water with ANY waterproof headset, problem solved; then again Joshua may not have any idea what manners is when around society, and is actually impressed and grateful for the information with that boisterous statement.

  • So let me be clear, I just bought new Bluetooth earbuds that say they’re IPX7, I can shower and swim without a problem…

  • CCTrollz

    Yessir, as long as you dont go further than three feet under water

  • Marcelz Ndamix

    please, can someone clarify what IP54 means in connection with water. I need this info for a claims dispute, trying to return something that I was told can’t touch even a drop of water.

  • fistdeyuma

    What I need to know is will IPX5 let you use them in the shower? Just ordered some IPX5 earbuds and would hate to harm them in a shower. However I really want to hear music in that dead time.

  • You should check with the manufacturer of the earbuds you purchased.

  • PureAbsolute

    the “4” means can be splashed from any direction (just going by the post’s contents). So clearly “drops of water” are allowed. But no water jets, no pressured water jets, and no submersion.

    So if you brought it into the shower by accident, you should be fine. If it fell into a tub full of water, you are not.

  • Marc Armal

    Got a question : does it require tests to give a product an IP rating ? If you’re too lazy to check or don’t have the money for proper tests, can you just give it an IPX0 rating, even though it might be resistant to some exposure to water ?

  • If you dont want to test your product, you wouldn’t give it an IP rating at all.

  • Marc Armal

    I thought it might be necessary for mandatory certifications such as CE marking. Does that mean that giving a IP rating to an electrical product isn’t mandatory if you want to sell it ?

  • The Ingress Protection (IP) rating isnt a mandatory certification. However, you will probably want to double check the specifics with your manufacturer and your product engineer.