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Have you ever heard about the IPX7 rating? Have you ever found it on the back of your headphone or speaker box but you didn’t know what it stands for? Well, if this is the case, we advise you to read this article and find out why it’s so important. Even if you have some basic knowledge about IP ratings, stay with us and you might be able to find some interesting information you haven’t heard before.
Many products today have some kind of IP protection and the level of that protection depends on the item’s purpose. However, this article focuses only on the IP protection of electronic devices in order to explain to the users why it’s so important and how to handle IPX7 devices properly. So, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
- What Does IP Stand For and Do We Really Need It?
- What Does IPX7 Rating Represent?
- How Should You Use Devices with IPX7 Rating Properly?
- Why is Waterproofing Important in Audio Devices?
- Why is IPX7 A Crucial Rating to Consider?
- Benefits of IPX7 in Audio Devices
- Best Products With Best IPX7 Rating
- How to Care for IPX7-Rated Devices
- Things to Be Aware Of
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Does IP Stand For and Do We Really Need It?
If you’ve been reading your device’s specs list and noticed IP rating, you have probably been wondering what it stands for, even if you bought that specific device because of its IP protection.
Well, IP actually stands for International Protection or Ingress Protection and it describes the level of protection of your device from intrusion of any solids or liquids that might cause any kind of malfunction.
The IP rating system includes two rating scales – dust and water protection rating scales. This is expressed by two letters/numbers standing after this well-known abbreviation and the first number/letter shows the level of dust protection while the second number/letter shows the level of protection against fluid intrusion.
Occasionally, there’s the third letter (in this case it’s just a letter), H, M, S, F or W, which shows us other kinds of device protection that haven’t become so common yet. For example, H means that your device was tested in high voltage conditions, M means that the device passed some kind of “moving through water” test, S shows that your device can stand in water, W implies that it was tested in different weather condition, while F stands for oil resistance.
Now that we have explained the most important terms related to IP protection, let’s see why do we need it.
IP protection should be one of the elementary requests when buying a new electronic device. Truth to be told, many devices already have it but we think that people are still not completely aware of its importance. Devices like smartwatches, smartphones, headphones or speakers are quite fragile when exposed to real-life conditions.
Watches and smartphones are constantly exposed to different impacts, especially weather conditions, raindrops, etc. but you must not forget about your headphones or Bluetooth portable speaker that are often used outdoors. If you tend to use them in the woods, by a pool, at the beach, or even in the shower, you should pay more attention to IP protection. We are saying this because these numbers and letters show you how and where to use your device and how to protect it from the unwanted breakdown.
As the greatest number of these devices are usually more endangered by water than by dust, we have decided to dedicate this article to the IPX7 level of protection.
What Does IPX7 Rating Represent?
Whenever you see the letter X in these situations, you should know it means that there is no information about the level of that kind of protection. In this case, X implies that we don’t have any information about the level of protection against dust, so we won’t pay any attention to that anymore. However, we have a more important thing to explain and that’s number 7.
IPX7 rating is extremely popular and we assume that you have already heard about it. It is popular because it implies that your device is waterproof and that it can be fully submerged into 1-meter deep water for up to 30 minutes and still be able to work properly after that. However, people usually misunderstand this information, so let’s reveal some hidden information that will extend your device’s lifetime.
When you read about different kinds of water protection, you will encounter different terms used in different articles. The authors of those articles often confuse us with terms such as water-resistant, water repellent or waterproof.
Water-resistant, water repellent and hydrophobic are terms that should be used mostly with products made from some kind of fabric such as clothes. When a piece of clothing is water-resistant, it means that the fabric is so dense that it will take quite some time before you get wet (although you eventually will).
Water repellent, on the other hand, implies that the piece of clothing has some kind of coating that prevents it from getting soaked.
Being hydrophobic is similar, with a small difference in quality. Hydrophobic products are more successful at repelling liquids.
Finally, waterproof means full product’s protection against water intrusion. It’s also achieved by coating and it’s commonly used to define the level of protection of electronic devices more than other products.
How Should You Use Devices with IPX7 Rating Properly?
All the headphones, earbuds, speakers, phones or watches that have this level of protection were tested in specific conditions in order to see if they can really handle being in such deep water for such a long time. The scientists immerse test devices into the water and leave them there for a specific period of time in order to define the maximum protection value. These tests are run only for the devices that are supposed to have IPX7 and IPX8 ratings.
The devices that survive the test get their label and are classified as waterproof, which means you can leave them next to a pool or at the beach while you’re swimming. If you suddenly drop it into the water, it will survive, as long as the water isn’t deeper than 1 meter and if you take it out in less than 30 minutes.
However, this doesn’t mean that a device with the IPX7 rating is tested for all the other IPX ratings. To be more specific, having the IPX7 rating doesn’t imply having IPX4, IPX5 or IPX6 ratings. Subsequently, this means that being waterproof and submersible into water doesn’t imply that your device can survive powerful water jets or splashes coming at it from any angle. It may sound strange but a waterproof device can be damaged if hit by a water jet, or even by pouring rain.
In addition, you should be very careful about taking your waterproof speaker or headphones in the shower or to the beach. This usually relates to headphones because many people like to swim while listening to music. However, headphones with an IPX7 rating are usually not tested in these conditions (moving so fast through the water) and this kind of contact with the water can severely damage the electronic parts.
Sadly, none of the additional data is listed in the specs, so you will have to contact the manufacturer in case you want a thorough explanation.
To conclude, in case you need an outdoor Bluetooth speaker, you should first define what do you need it for. For example, if you want to listen to music while swimming in a pool or the sea, you should go for a device with IPX7 or even IPX8 rating.
However, if you need it for hiking or a picnic in the woods and your biggest fear is rain destroying your device, you should look for IPX4, IPX5 or IPX6 – rated devices because they are resistant to water splashes and water jets hitting the device at different angles.
Understanding IP Ratings:-
|IP Rating||Protection against Solid Objects||Protection against Liquids|
|IPX0||No protection||No protection|
|IPX1||No protection||Dripping water|
|IPX2||No protection||Dripping water when tilted|
|IPX3||No protection||Spraying water|
|IPX4||No protection||Splashing water|
|IPX5||Limited protection||Water jets|
|IPX6||Limited protection||Powerful water jets|
|IPX7||Limited protection||Immersion up to 1m|
|IPX8||Limited protection||Immersion beyond 1m|
Remember that the first digit in the IP code refers to protection against solid objects (like dust) and the second refers to liquid protection. Note that ‘limited protection’ against solids usually indicates the device is resistant to dust but not entirely dustproof.
Why is Waterproofing Important in Audio Devices?
Waterproofing in audio devices is increasingly becoming a sought-after feature and for good reason. It provides an added layer of protection that can significantly enhance the longevity and versatility of these devices.
Firstly, waterproof devices are immune to accidental spills, sudden rain showers, or exposure to moist environments, reducing the risk of internal damage. This makes them more reliable and durable, saving consumers from frequent repair or replacement costs.
Secondly, waterproofing expands the usability of audio devices. With a waterproof rating like IPX7, speakers, and headphones can accompany you to the beach, pool parties, or even in the shower, providing uninterrupted entertainment without the fear of water damage.
Finally, waterproof audio devices are often built with robustness in mind, which often translates into enhanced resistance against dust, shock, and other forms of wear and tear. Therefore, waterproofing is not just about water resistance but also about creating a device that’s truly built to last.
Why is IPX7 A Crucial Rating to Consider?
The IPX7 rating is an internationally recognized standard for defining a device’s water resistance level. When an audio device boasts an IPX7 rating, it has been thoroughly tested and proven to withstand immersion in water up to 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes without suffering functional damage.
This rating is crucial to consider for several reasons. Firstly, it offers peace of mind. Whether you’re using your device near a pool, caught in a downpour, or even in the shower, you can rest assured that your IPX7-rated device is built to withstand such conditions.
Secondly, an IPX7 rating often indicates general robustness in device construction. Manufacturers who invest in achieving this rating are likely to prioritize overall durability, meaning these devices are often designed to withstand the rigors of various environments.
Lastly, considering the IPX7 rating is a matter of getting value for your money. In a world where technology is increasingly mobile and outdoor-friendly, investing in a device with solid waterproofing ensures that your audio gear is versatile, durable, and ready for all your adventures.
Benefits of IPX7 in Audio Devices
Audio devices with an IPX7 rating come with many benefits that enhance their appeal to users. Here are some key advantages:
- Increased Durability: IPX7-rated devices can resist water ingress up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. This means they can withstand accidental spills, rain showers, or even a quick dip in the pool, significantly reducing the risk of water damage and enhancing overall durability.
- Versatility: With an IPX7 rating, your audio device becomes suitable for various activities and environments. Whether you’re by the pool, at the beach, in the shower, or caught in a sudden downpour, you can keep the tunes rolling without fear of damaging your device.
- Greater Peace of Mind: Knowing your audio device is IPX7-rated can give you peace of mind, especially when using it outdoors or in potentially wet conditions. You can focus more on your activities and less on protecting your device from water exposure.
- Improved Resale Value: Devices with an IPX7 rating may maintain a better resale value. The enhanced durability and robustness of such a rating can be a selling point for potential buyers.
Savings on Repairs and Replacements: Water damage can lead to expensive repairs or total device replacement. An IPX7 rating significantly reduces these potential costs, saving you money in the long run
Check out our recent article on ‘Best Tailgate Speakers‘.
Best Products With Best IPX7 Rating
Here are a pair of earbuds and speakers that double down on your protection with IPX7 rating.
Released in mid-2023, the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds have proven to be a game-changer in the world of wireless earbuds. Offering an IPX7 rating, they assure you that water splashes or sweat won’t hinder your are listening experience. These earbuds outshine their competition in several categories, from their high-resolution audio capability to their innovative noise-canceling technology.
The LDAC codec allows for near lossless audio quality, making them perfect for the audiophile. Furthermore, they boast an impressive battery life of up to 8 hours with noise cancelling, which can be extended to 12 hours if you turn off noise cancellations. The Sony WF-1000XM4 is a worthy upgrade for superior audio performance combined with an IPX7 water-resistance rating.
2. JBL Flip 6
Launched in 2023, the JBL Flip 6 takes the legacy of the Flip series further by providing an exceptional portable listening experience with an IPX7 water resistance rating. This means that the Flip 6 is capable of withstanding even the heaviest of downpours or accidental submersion. Equipped with a powerful battery that offers up to 12 hours of playtime, it allows users to enjoy their favourite music without worrying about charging.
The JBL Flip 6 comes with a newly improved racetrack-shaped driver delivering the booming JBL Original Pro Sound, along with a separate tweeter for crystal clear highs. It also features PartyBoost, allowing you to pair multiple JBL Party Boost-enabled speakers for a more immersive experience. The JBL Flip 6 is an excellent choice for those seeking high-quality, waterproof audio for any adventure.
How to Care for IPX7-Rated Devices
Proper care for IPX7-rated devices can significantly extend their life and ensure optimal performance. Although they are designed to withstand water immersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, these devices aren’t meant to be kept underwater for extended periods. Always ensure they are completely dry before charging to avoid electrical shorting.
Also, avoid exposing them to other types of liquids like oils, sodas, or saltwater, as the IPX7 rating only guarantees protection against freshwater. If your device has been exposed to such liquids, clean it immediately with a damp cloth.
Temperature extremes can also affect your device’s performance. Avoid leaving your device in excessively hot or cold environments for a prolonged period.
Despite their ruggedness, it’s important to remember that IPX7-rated devices aren’t indestructible. Handle them with care, avoiding unnecessary impacts or drops, to maintain their performance and longevity.
Things to Be Aware Of
As you probably know, the market is flooded with so many types and models of electronic devices and many of them have fake specifications because some of the manufacturers care only about fooling people and getting more money.
So, as we have already said, you should read and analyze the specs carefully before buying the device that suits your needs and is worth your money. You should be even more careful when buying an outdoor device because it has to be made for specific conditions.
In case you have any doubts, you should contact the manufacturer and request a detailed explanation. For example, most of the waterproof devices are rated only as IPX7 without emphasizing if the device has any other level of protection.
Some of the manufacturers are fair and if their product is protected against both splashes and submersions, they will write that it has the IPX6/IPX7 rating. However, this is usually not the case, because most of the devices either don’t have double protection or it is not specified. This means that if you need more than one level of protection, you should get in touch with the manufacturer and try to get all the information.
Also, don’t ever trust the manufacturers who label their products as IPX-7 or IP-67. The minute you see this, run away from it because IP ratings are never written with hyphens or any other way apart from the way that was already presented in this article.
Frequently Asked Questions
IPX7 is an abbreviation for “Ingress Protection X7,” where “IP” refers to “Ingress Protection” and “X7” indicates the level of water resistance. IPX7 is a specific waterproof rating that signifies the device’s ability to withstand water immersion up to a certain depth and for a limited duration.
IPX7 waterproofing provides protection against water immersion. It ensures that the device is resistant to damage from accidental splashes, rain, or brief submersion in water. However, it is important to note that IPX7 does not guarantee the device’s resistance to other elements, such as dust or impacts.
While an IPX7-rated device is capable of withstanding temporary immersion in water, it is not designed for swimming or diving purposes. The IPX7 rating is based on tests conducted under controlled laboratory conditions and may not account for factors like water pressure and movement during swimming or diving activities. It is advisable to consult the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines to determine the device’s suitability for specific water-related activities.
No, phones and laptops that do not have an IPX rating or any specific waterproofing certification cannot be assumed to be waterproof. The absence of an IPX rating means these devices have not undergone standardized testing to determine their water resistance capabilities. However, some private tests may conclude that some smartphones, laptops, and MacBooks may be waterproof to some extent, but without a certified waterproof rating, there is a higher risk of water damage if these devices come into contact with liquids. It is advisable to check the manufacturer’s specifications or documentation to determine the device’s water resistance capabilities, if any, before exposing them to water.
In most cases, an IPX7-rated device that sustains water damage may not be covered under warranty, as exceeding the specified IPX7 limits may void the warranty. However, depending on the device and its design, it might be possible to repair or salvage the device by contacting the manufacturer’s authorized service center. It is important to contact the manufacturer or refer to the device’s warranty documentation for specific guidance in such situations.
Hello, my name is James Longman.
I’m a writer and editor at AudioReputation. I disassembled my first portable AM/FM radio when I was only 8. At the age of 11, I burned the circuit board on my old boombox cassette player. I’m not going to explain how but it was reckless and stupid.
Since then, I have become much more careful around radios, boomboxes, and other audio devices (at least, I like to think so) but I have never lost the passion for audio equipment. Throughout 20 years of my professional career, I’ve been working for various audio equipment manufacturers and even started building speakers on my own in my little workshop.
I love the work we do here at AudioReputation. Testing, comparing, and evaluating all kinds of audio devices (speakers, soundbars, headphones, home theater systems, etc.) is something I truly enjoy. I try to be unbiased and give you my honest opinion on every piece of equipment I test. Still, you should take my reviews with a pinch of salt and always be just a little bit skeptical. The fact that I liked some speaker or soundbar doesn’t mean that you are going to love it. If you have the opportunity, you should test it/hear it before buying it.