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What is IPX protection from water and dust resistance?

What exactly does that cryptic code on IPX protection of your hearing aid, a watch a smart phone and how can you apply it to daily use? In case you did not know, this number indicates the classification of resistance to water and dust, but very rarely it is explained in a simple way, especially for those who are looking for an article to practice sports or an outdoor adventure.

What does IPX protection mean?

EU Wonderboom speaker floating on water | What is IPX protection?

The IPX, IPXY or simply IP protection corresponds to a standardized classification on the resistance of a product to prevent liquids and liquids from entering, which could damage its electronic components. Officially, IP means “international protection” because the standard was developed and is maintained by the International Electrotechnical Commission. But it is more commonly known as Income Protection.

The two numbers that follow the IP letters indicate what type of protection you can expect.

The X is the resistance to solids / dust, from zero to six, where zero means that there is no protection and six that is airtight, even after exposure for up to 8 hours. Because very few devices are designed to prevent dust, this part is often set aside. Therefore, most of the time we see an X after IP, for example, IPX5, which means that there is no qualification for the entry of solids / dust.

The Y is the protection of liquids, which goes from zero to eight. Zero means that there is no shelter and eight, which can withstand water immersion, generally up to a depth of three meters, for at least 30 minutes. Technically, there is a ninth level, but it is not used for mass consumption products.

What does it mean to me?

If you have already guessed it, an IP68 rating is the best you can get for protection against dust and liquids. But between IP00 and IP68, there is a lot of variety, so let's review with some examples. We will focus only on protection against liquids, because both level 5 and 6 are similar: IP5 means that something may come in, but not cause any problems, and IP6 means that no dust enters.


Galaxy Buds headphones on a table | What is IPX protection?

With IPX2, your device can withstand a small amount of water without damage. In practice this translates into "moderately sweat resistant." Samsung's Galaxy Buds headphones, rated IPX2, easily survived a 10-kilometer race while they were in the ears of a very sweaty person. Do not try to wash them with water, it is better to clean them with a damp cloth.


Yellow Bose Soundport headphones on a table.

IPX4 offers decent protection against water splashes. It is not waterproof, but has an excellent degree of protection for ultra-active workouts or long marathons in adverse weather conditions. Most sports headphones are rated IPX4 and should not have problems for regular use. Bose SoundSport Free headphones are IPX4. Again, do not immerse them.


A person holds in his hands the SBode M400 horn

The IPX6 is the protection against powerful water jets, so you can take a shower without side effects, but don't make it a habit either. Actually, do not place them underwater, for example, do not go swimming or expect to necessarily survive an encounter with a toilet. The Sbode M400 Bluetooth speaker, rated IPX6, is perfect to accompany you to the side of the pool.

IPX7 / 8

A man holds the iPhone XS Max and the Galaxy S10 phones in one of his hands

If you are one of those people who frequently drops the phone or camera into the water, you should not settle for anything less than IPX7. This will protect your device from accidental drops in a meter of water for up to 30 minutes, while IPX8 allows the same period of protection in deeper waters, which must be specified by the manufacturer.

Speakers designed for water such as the UE Wonderboom or the JBL Boombox are IPX7. Our best options for eBook readers of 2018 had this rating, which makes them the ideal vacation companions.

The Samsung Galaxy S9, S10, and the iPhone XS and XS Max are rated IP68, as are the most recent Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus and iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, which means that their sealing prevents entry of dust and water. These products can be rinsed safely with mild running water, but always follow the manufacturer's instructions.

If it is IPX8, does it also include levels 1 through 7?

No. As annoying as it may be, each level of IPX protection has its own standard, which means that, unless a manufacturer indicates otherwise, you cannot be sure that a product that can withstand accidental immersion. Sony XBR-510AS headphones, for example, are specifically labeled IPX5 / 7, which means that it is moderately splash proof and can survive accidental immersion.