Waterproof vs Water Resistant: What You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between waterproof and water resistant devices? If you are looking for a new smartphone, smartwatch, or fitness tracker or maybe just curious about these two terms, you might have seen these terms on the product specifications. But do they mean the same thing? And how do they affect the performance and durability of your devices? In this article, I will explain the meaning of waterproof and water resistant, how they are tested and rated, and what you should look for when buying a device that can handle water exposure.

What is being Waterproof?

Waterproof means that a device is completely protected from the effects of water. It can be submerged in water for a certain period of time and depth without any damage or malfunction. A waterproof device should have a seal or a coating that prevents water from entering or affecting any of its components.

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What is Water Resistance?

Water resistant means that a device can resist some water but not all. It can withstand water splashes, rain, or sweat, but it cannot be fully immersed in water. A water resistant device may have some gaps or openings that allow water to seep through after a certain amount of pressure or exposure.

How are Waterproof and Water Resistant Devices Tested and Rated?

There are two main ways to measure the level of water resistance of a device: the ATM rating and the IP rating.

The ATM Rating

The ATM rating stands for atmosphere rating. It is commonly used for watches and indicates how much water pressure a device can withstand. One ATM equals 10 meters of water depth. For example, a watch with a 5 ATM rating can survive up to 50 meters of water depth. However, this does not mean that you can swim or dive with it, as the rating only applies to static pressure and not dynamic pressure. Dynamic pressure is the force exerted by moving water, such as waves or jets. It can be much higher than static pressure and damage your device.

The IP Rating

The IP rating stands for ingress protection rating. It is widely used for smartphones, smartwatches, and other electronics. It consists of two digits: the first one indicates the level of protection against dust and solid particles, and the second one indicates the level of protection against water and liquids. The higher the digits, the better the protection. For example, an IP68 rating means that a device is dust-tight and can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.

What Should You Look for When Buying a Waterproof or Water Resistant Device?

When buying a device that claims to be waterproof or water resistant, you should always check its rating and specifications carefully. Some devices may have different ratings for different parts, such as the body and the ports. Some devices may also have limitations on the type, temperature, or salinity of water they can handle. For example, some devices may not work well in saltwater or hot water. You should also follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to care for your device after exposure to water, such as drying it properly or avoiding charging it until it is completely dry.

Remember that no device is truly waterproof forever. Over time, wear and tear, drops, scratches, or cracks may compromise its seal or coating and reduce its water resistance. Therefore, you should always treat your device with care and avoid unnecessary risks with water.

I hope this article has helped you understand the difference between waterproof and water resistant devices and how to choose one that suits your needs. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment below.


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