What IPX Ratings Are and Why They Matter

If you’re trying to figure out if your earphones are waterproof or not, you may have come across this certain term: an IPX rating.

While it may come off as a completely foreign term, it may be best to learn more about IPX ratings so you can determine if a certain gadget is waterproof or not and more.

What is an IPX Rating?

In the simplest terms, an IPX rating is a scale that measures the water resistance or solids resistance a gadget has, such as protective phone cases, cameras, or even flashlights.

IPX Rating stands for “ingress protection rating” or “international protection rating.” In other words, this IPX standard was created to make a universal way to determine if a gadget is fully waterproof or fully dustproof.

How the Ingress Protection Scale Works

An IPX rating is usually written like this: IPXX. It consists of the letters “IP” followed by two digits or one digit and one letter, depending on what it was rated for. The first symbol denotes its dustproof abilities, while the second symbol indicates its waterproof endurance.

Polk MagniFi Mini Top View

So for example, you could write down a certain product’s proof of being dust resistant as IP5X. As for a waterproof device, you would write it as IPx7.

And if they’ve been rated for both water resistance and dust resistance, it would be written as IP65.

However, there is an optional third letter that can be supplemented at the end of a rating.

What Rating Means Water Resistant?

If you want to bring outdoor speakers to the pool and hang around, bring one that’s rated IPX4 and above.

tweeter design of Polk Audio Signa S2

Devices with an IPX4 rating can withstand splashes if you place them close to people who are wet from their swimming session.

Maybe you’re looking forward to doing some laps in a swimming pool while listening to your favorite upbeat songs with your sports headphones. If that’s the case, you’ll do best with headphones that’s IP rating is at least AN IPX7 rating.

However, if you’re looking to dive deep into the ocean with a flashlight, you better get one with an IP rating of IPX8.

What Rating Has Complete Protection?

Perhaps you have an adventurous spirit to you, and you’re ready to go to the down and dirty with several gadgets in hand that can tough out any weather conditions you’ll find yourself in.

Such devices should be rated as IP68 if you really need heavy-duty protection from different variables like the location, the weather, and temperature.

Polk Audio S20 Signature Series Bookshelf Speakers

A gadget with such a rating won’t fall prey to dust, nor will it sizzle and crack from totally submerging it in water.

Each IP Code and Their Meanings


If a device has an IP rating written with “XX”, it did not undergo product testing at all. This means the device’s level of protection against solid particles or powerful water jets is unknown.

Waterproof Ratings


IPX0 means that the device is not waterproof or water-resistant at all.

If you have a gadget that is rated IPX0 then it is most likely only for indoor use. If it comes in contact with water, it could easily break.


A gadget with such a waterproof rating, you can only guarantee its safety from vertically dripping water.

Sonos Play 3 Parts

From this point, all devices with this rating are considered sweat-resistant. So if you want to go out for a run and build some sweat, you can definitely use devices with this rating.


At this rating, your gadget’s protection from water is limited to water falling to it from a 15° angle. So allowing splashes of water to come by your gadget is still incredibly risky.


With a massive upgrade from the IPX rating above, your gadget’s water resistance is upgraded to 60° of water protection from splashes of water. It is tested by water falling to it with a nozzle with a counterbalanced shield for 5 minutes.


We finally reach the rating needed for a gadget to be truly called water-resistant. It can resist water falling on it from all directions, however, it isn’t water-proof yet. This means that during testing, it’s sprayed with water from four positions.


At IPX5 you can easily go out on a rainy day without an umbrella without fearing for the safety of your gadget.

Sonos Play 1 backside

It’s here that gadgets with an IPX rating like so can resist low-pressure water jets. However, if these gadgets are exposed to strong water jets, they will be damaged.


Gadgets with this rating can survive high-pressure water jets [1] with ease. So if you manage to find yourself under a waterfall, you won’t have to worry about the strength of the water destroying your gadget.

You can’t soak devices with this IP rating as it’s not completely protected against water ingress.


Your device having the IPX7 rating means that it is now waterproof and not just water-resistant. You can submerge your device in a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes without compromising its integrity.


With the IP rating of IPX8, this is the highest water resistance rating a device can reach when it comes to water only. The protection from water with this rating means it’s fully waterproof.

HIFIMAN HE400SE Over-Ear Headphones

During the testing of the product, it would have to be submerged by at least 1 meter or more, while the duration should be longer than that of the 30 minutes needed in the IPX7 rating.


This is the highest water resistance rating when you include the temperature of the water.

It is tested with high-temperature water at 80°C from a close distance at high pressure. Take note that even if your device is listed at IPX9 that doesn’t mean it reaches the IPX7 or IPX8 standards.

Dustproof Ratings


At this IPX rating, the device offers no protection against solid objects or solid particles. That means even big objects can enter the device and damage it. This also does not offer any liquid resistance.


With a rating of IP1X, that means you can use any surface of your body parts like the back of your hand without damaging it.

tribit ipx7

More specifically, objects of about 5 cm will not break it.


Devices with a rating of IP2X will be protected even when solid objects of about 1.25 cm will enter them. For example, if you have fingers that small, you may enter the device without breaking it.


If you plan on tinkering with your device to fix it or simply mess around, feel free to use solid objects like tools or thick wires inside it without fear of breaking it. That’s because it offers protection from objects that are as small as 0.25 cm.


At IP4X you can use thin wires inside this, various smaller tools that you can’t use with an IP3X rating, and you won’t have to worry about large ants entering it.

VIZIO Elevate speaker

However, the level of protection it offers against the ingress of solid is not enough for you to be able to bring your device to locations with a lot of dust. So it is only dust resistant but not dust-proof.


Products with this rating are dust-protected. While solid particles can still enter the device, it won’t be damaged as badly when dust enters.


This is the highest IPX rating you get when determining how protected a product is against the ingress of solid. It is here where there is complete protection from dust and dirt alike. It’s at this point that a product can be called fully dustproof.


The International Protection Standard is made to determine on what scale an object is protected from dust or water. IP ratings can come incredibly handy especially if you’re looking for gear to brave the elements, or for your next summer outing to the beach.

Either way, knowing what IPX Rating will give you a good overview of what level of protection a certain product offers, and from there, you can decide if whatever you’re buying is a good match for you or not!


Willie Greer
Willie Greer
Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.