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Waterproof and Dustproof ratings (IP) explained

Gone are the days when we had to constantly worry about keeping your device away from water. A constant fear of damaging our devices never really leaves our mind. Does it?

This fear has been addressed by the manufacturers in today’s devices, thanks to constant research and development. We now have certified waterproof and dustproof phones.

This of course doesn’t mean we can go deep diving into the ocean and take selfies. However, devices today can definitely keep unwanted water and dust away from your devices, up to a certain extent.

When we read about the description of smartphones, we often the certification as IP58 or IP68 certified. Have your ever thought about what does that stand for? Which one is better?

Lets clear the thoughts.

Waterproof and Water resistant.

Is something is termed as waterproof, it means the item can withstand exposure to water for a prolonged period of time. Waterproof items are made to work continuously under water.

Therefore currently all the commercial smart phone devices are water resistant and not “waterproof”.

Ratings and Certifications

All smartphones are certified under International Protection which is determined by the International Electroctechnical Commission (IEC). The IP code rates the degree of protection a device has against dust and water. We often see these codes are displayed as IP followed by a 2 digit number.

You would find this code written in the following manner: IP68 certified. Here IP stands for International Protection, sometimes it is also referred as Ingress Protection. The following two number signifies the level of protection against solid and liquid particles respectively.

For example, the first digit in IP68 is 6. The first digit in the certification stands for solid foreign particles like dust. Solid protection scale ranges from 0 to 6. Where 0 stands for no protection against contact and ingress of objects and 6 represents dust tight; No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.

Sometimes the certification is also marked as IP6X. This example means that the device is completely protected against ingress of dust but not protected from water or liquid.

This brings us to the second digit in the rating. The second digit in the example IP68 signifies the level of protection against liquids. This scale ranges from 0 to 8. Where 0 means no protection against moisture or liquids and 8 means the device is suitable for complete immersion in water beyond 1m.

And similarly if the device states IPX8, it means that is water resistant but not protected against dust. One thing to note here is that, it is not very likely that a device is water resistant but not dust resistant.


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