Waterproof And Water-Resistance: What Are Their Differences?

Samsung waterproof

If you have purchased a brand-new gadget before; a smartphone, smartwatch or smartband, headphones, etc, you must have stumbled across some gadgets with “waterproof” or “water-resistant” phrase written on them or somewhere in the user manual.

There’s a common misconception by people that waterproof, and water resistance mean the same thing, they actually mean different things. Even though some OEMs and smartphone brands use them interchangeably, we’re here to tell you that they’re not the same thing – they do not mean the same thing.

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Smartphones are becoming slicker and slimmer and can slip out of our hands easily, and ending up in the toilet, bathtub, and even pool. The easiest way to avoid this to get a water-proof phone or a water-resistant phone. But before you decide on which one to purchase, you should know the difference between waterproof and water-resistant.

Read: Why (and How) Does Water Damage your Electronics?

What Are Their Differences and Why Do Smartphone Brands Use Them Interchangeably?

Waterproof vs water-resistance

The truth is, none of the regular phones you see out there in the market is 100% waterproof; they cannot withstand long hours of swimming or scuba diving. Not the Samsung Galaxy S10 or even the latest iPhones. When you see a phone that is waterproof, it means it can last for a longer period in water than other phones, after which, they are vulnerable and are at risk of being damaged.  

Water-resistant phones are those phones that can survive water splash or a few minutes drop in a bathtub or pool. Taking those types of phones to swimming or scuba diving activities will get them damaged.

Phones that carry the “waterproof” inscription, however, are those that can last for an extended period in water.

How to Know If Your Smartphone Is Water Resistant or Waterproof

To do this, you would need the IP rating of your device. This IP rating is a standard set by the International Electrotechnical Commission to measure the effectiveness of eliminating water, dirt, dust, or sand. There are two common ratings; IP67 and IP68.

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The first digit represents the resistance level of a device to dust (six is the highest rating possible for dust), while the second digit represents the level of water-resistant (eight is the highest rating for water).

A phone with IP68 is regarded as a waterproof phone and it can last in water up to 30 meters deep and for up to one hour. IP67 phones which can only go down as low as one meter for only 30 minutes are considered to be water-resistant devices.

The recently released Samsung Galaxy S10 is rated as IP68 and therefore is waterproof – same as the recently-launched iPhone 11 series. But these devices, even with their ratings, can not be used while swimming or scuba diving. They simply cannot handle pressurized water.


Please note that a water-resistant or waterproof phone can only be exposed to water. Your phone might not be resistant to other liquids like beer, milk, or soda. If your phone gets wet or slips into a pool, make sure to dry it completely before charging or switching it on.

Read more: You dropped your phone in water? Here’s what to do

Also, we know that it is almost impossible to resist the temptation of testing a water-resistant phone in water after purchase. While the phone is in water, make sure you do not press any button, as this might let water slip in.


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