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by Nikita Ghate June 25, 2018

How often have we spoken about devices being ‘water-resistant’ or ‘waterproof’ and ‘dust-resistant’ or ‘dustproof’? Quite a few times. Yet, so many doubts arise when we are to actually use our devices. Is it okay if I carry it while it’s raining? Can I use it for my workouts? Can I go for a swim wearing it? Can i shower with it? Yes, as weird as that sounds, people do that. (and FYI, we aren’t judging you). The above quoted terms provide no specific clarification to answer these miscellaneous questions.

Well, Voila! There always is a solution for every problem we have. We just need to look for it. Before this turns into a philosophy blog, let us come back to the point.

Ever come across the term ‘IPX’ while looking for a pair of headphones and wondered what it meant? It sounds really fancy and I bet you scrolled on without taking the effort to question it. Well, now that you are here already, let us help you find out what it stands for.

The IPX Code or Ingress Protection Code (also known as International Protection Marking), is an internationally accepted standardized scale published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It classifies and rates the degree of protection provided by the device against water, dust and physical intrusion. This enables you to understand the resistance power of a device more specifically as opposed to the vague term ‘water-resistant’. The first digit after ‘IP’ indicates the level of protection from solid particles while the second digit indicates the level of protection against water ingress. Generally, higher the rating, better the protection. Shocking, right?

Given below is a tabulated form of the classification of IPX Ratings

 

Water IPX Standards

Level Protection Against Effective Against Details
0 None - -
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 10 minutes.
Water equivalent to 1mm rainfall per minute.
2 Dripping water when tilted up to 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position. Test duration: 10 minutes.
Water equivalent to 3mm rainfall per minute.
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes
Water volume: 0.7 litres per minute
Pressure: 50-150 kPa
4 Splashing of water Water Splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: 5 minutes.
Water volume: 10 litres per minute
Pressure: 50-150 kPa
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 12.5 litres per minute
Pressure: 30 kPa at a distance of 3 m.
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 100 litres per minute
Pressure: 100 kPa at a distance of 3 m.
6K Powerful water jets with increased pressure Water projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Test duration: at least 3 minutes
Water volume: 75 litres per minute
Pressure: 1000 kPa at a distance of 3 m.
7 Immersion, upto 1 m depth Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time. (up to 1m of submersion). Test duration: 30 minutes
Tested with the lowest point of the enclosure 1000 mm below the surface of water, or the highest point 150 mm below the surface, whichever is deeper.
8 Immersion, 1 m or more depth The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and/or duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPX7 Test duration: continuous immersion in water
Depth specified by manufacturer, generally up to 3 m.

 

Dust IPX Standards

Level Object size protected against Effective against
0 Not protected No protection against contact and ingress of objects.
1 > 50 mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of the hand but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part.
2 > 12.5 mm Fingers or similar objects.
3 > 2.5 mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 > 1 mm Most wires, screws, etc.
5 Dust protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact.
6 Dust tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.

For a product that shows no mention of an IPX rating, it simply means that the product was not tested for it. It’s also important to note that, say, ‘IPX3’ is not the same as ‘IP03’. In the former case, the product was not tested for particulate resistance. In the latter case, 0 indicates that the product provides no protection against contact and ingress of objects.

Typically for sports gear, Devices rated between IPX1 to IPX3 can work well with your light workouts. Any devices rated above IPX3 are fairly resistant to some amount of water and are best suited for heavier workouts. For those of you who are swimmers, go for headsets with IPX7 or IPX8 which can be practically immersed in water.

However, it is important to note that a device which is compliant with IPX7, covering immersion in water, need not be compliant with IPX5 or IPX6, covering exposure to water jets. Incase it is compliant with both the specifications, both ratings are mentioned for the product.

Glad you had this cleared out right? Now, go on…continue shopping

Done with your research?

Nikita Ghate
Nikita Ghate



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