What are the water resistance ratings and list of ratings: waterproof or water resistant? What’s Behind an IP Rating?

In today’s interconnected world, where electronic gadgets and mechanical equipment are integral parts of our daily lives, understanding the level of protection against water and dust intrusion is paramount. This is where IP ratings come into play. IP, or Ingress Protection, ratings provide a standardized classification system developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to determine how well a device can withstand the intrusion of foreign objects and moisture.

But what exactly do these ratings mean, and how can they guide your purchasing decisions? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve deeper into the world of IP ratings, exploring their significance, deciphering the digits, understanding water resistance ratings, and providing insights into choosing the right IP rating for your devices.

What is an IP Rating?

An IP rating, shorthand for Ingress Protection, is a two-digit grading system applied to the enclosure of a mechanical or electrical item. It provides customers with a clear indication of the item’s resistance to various types of unwanted intrusion, including solid particles and moisture. These ratings are standardized globally, ensuring uniformity in understanding the level of protection offered by different devices.

Understanding the Digits

Two digits of IP Rating represent specific aspects:

  • Protection Against Solids (First Digit): The first digit indicates the level of protection against solid particles such as dust and sand. Ranging from 0 to 6, a higher number signifies better protection. For instance, an IP6X rating ensures complete protection against dust, making it ideal for harsh outdoor or industrial environments.
  • Protection Against Water and Moisture (Second Digit): The second digit signifies the degree of protection against water and moisture. This scale ranges from 0 to 9, with higher numbers indicating greater protection. Let’s take the illustration of the IPX7, the device can be deep in water up to 1m for 30 mins without damage.

Water Resistance Ratings Explained

Here’s a breakdown of common water resistance ratings and what they entail:

  1. IPX1: Protection against vertically falling droplets, such as condensation, sufficient that no damage or interrupted functioning of components will be incurred when an item is upright.
  2. IPX2: Resistance from dripping water equivalent to 3 mm rainfall per minute at angles up to 15°.
  3. IPX3: Protective towards continuous spray at up to 60° from vertical.
  4. IPX4: Protection against splashes of water, suitable for workouts or light rain.
  5. IPX5: Protection against low-pressure jets of directed water from any angle, limited ingress permitted with no harmful effects.
  6. IPX6: Withstands power jets of water from any direction, ideal for rainy commutes or outdoor activities.
  7. IPX7: Fully waterproof and submersible up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, suitable for extreme weather conditions or underwater use.
  8. IPX8: Protects against extended immersion under higher pressure i.e. greater depths.

Choosing the Right IP Rating

The ideal IP rating for your device depends on your specific needs and usage patterns. For general everyday use, ratings above IPX4 or IPX5 should suffice. However, if you require maximum durability and protection, opt for higher ratings like IPX7 or IPX8. Consider the environment in which you’ll be using the device and the level of exposure to water and dust it will encounter.

Considerations in IP Rating

  • Intended Use: Determine how and where you’ll be using the device. For outdoor activities or environments with high moisture levels, opt for higher IP ratings.
  • Environmental Conditions: Consider the environmental conditions the device will be exposed to, such as humidity, rain, or dust.
  • Durability Requirements: Assess the level of durability required based on the device’s usage patterns and the potential hazards it may face.
  • Budget: Higher IP ratings typically come with a higher price tag. Consider your budget constraints while choosing the appropriate IP rating for your needs.


The absence of an IP rating does not necessarily indicate a bad product. It may simply mean that the product did not undergo specific IP testing. Look for other quality markings or certifications that indicate water or dust resistance.

Bottom Up

In conclusion, understanding IP ratings is essential for assessing durability and protection level of electronic and mechanical devices. Whether you are choosing earbuds for workouts or industrial equipment for outdoor use, knowing the IP rating can ensure your devices continue to function reliably in various environments. By considering these ratings, you can make informed decisions and select products that meet your needs.

With this comprehensive guide, you now have the knowledge to decipher IP ratings and choose the right level of protection for your devices. Waterproof or water-resistant, understanding what is behind an IP rating empowers you to make wise purchasing decisions and safeguard your investments. So, next time you are in the market for electronic devices or mechanical equipment, remember to check the IP rating and ensure it meets your requirements for durability and protection against water and dust intrusion.