The Ultimate Guide to IP Ratings: Waterproofing Decoded

Posted on: 29 January, 2024

Waterproofing has become an essential aspect of electronic devices, protecting them from damage caused by water and other liquids. To determine the level of protection provided by a device, we rely on IP ratings.

Let’s explore IP ratings and explain their significance in ensuring the durability of our electronics.

What are IP Ratings?

IP ratings, or Ingress Protection ratings, are a set of standards used to classify the degree of protection provided by electronic devices against solid particles and liquid ingress. The ratings are expressed in an IPXX format, where the two X's are replaced by digits representing the level of protection.

Understanding the First Digit and Second Digit

The first digit in an IP rating refers to solid particle protection. It ranges from 0 to 6, with higher numbers indicating better protection against dust, dirt, and other solid particles. For example, an IP6X rating signifies complete protection against dust.

The second digit represents liquid ingress protection. It ranges from 0 to 8, indicating the level of protection against water and other liquids. A higher second digit signifies better resistance to liquid ingress. For instance, an IPX7 rating indicates the device can withstand temporary immersion in water.

Common IP Ratings and Their Meaning

  1. 1. IPX0 and IPX1:

  2. These ratings offer no protection against water. Devices with these ratings are extremely vulnerable to water damage and should be kept away from liquids.

  3. 2. IPX2:

  4. This rating provides protection against dripping water when the device is tilted up to 15 degrees. It is commonly found in devices like radios and alarm clocks.

  5. 3. IPX3 and IPX4:

  6. Devices with these ratings can withstand spraying and splashing water from different directions. They are suitable for outdoor gadgets like Bluetooth speakers or portable radios.

  7. 4. IPX5 and IPX6:

  8. These ratings indicate devices that can withstand water jets and powerful water jets, respectively. They are ideal for outdoor cameras, smartphones used in wet environments, or handheld GPS devices.

  9. 5. IPX7:

  10. This rating means a device can withstand temporary immersion in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. Many waterproof smartphones and smartwatches carry this rating, making them suitable for swimming or accidental submersion.

  11. 6. IPX8:

  12. Devices with these ratings can withstand spraying and splashing water from different directions. They are suitable for outdoor gadgets like Bluetooth speakers or portable radios.

Understanding IP Ratings in Consumer Electronics

When it comes to consumer electronics, it's crucial to understand IP ratings to make informed purchasing decisions.

For example, smartphones often feature IP67 or IP68 ratings, making them resistant to accidental spills, rain, or even a brief dip in water. These ratings offer peace of mind for users who enjoy outdoor activities or simply want a device that can withstand everyday mishaps.

Limitations of IP Ratings

While IP ratings are valuable indicators of a device's resistance to water and solid particles, they have limitations. It's essential to recognize that the ratings are assigned under controlled laboratory conditions and may not accurately reflect real-world scenarios. Factors like aging, impact, or extreme environmental conditions can impact a device's actual waterproofing capabilities.


Understanding IP ratings is vital in comprehending the waterproofing standards of electronic devices. These ratings offer guidance to consumers, ensuring they choose devices suitable for their needs and environments. However, it's essential to remember that IP ratings are not foolproof guarantees and should be considered alongside other factors when assessing a device's waterproofing capabilities. By deciphering IP ratings, we can protect our electronics and enjoy their functionalities even in challenging conditions.

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