Have you ever noticed this curious mention on the boxes of your favourite portable gadgets? IPX6, IPX7, IP68…
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably already wondered what it’s for, right?
Manufacturers of portable electronic devices often describe their products as “dust resistant” or “waterproof”.
To confirm these claims, products may be classified as IP, which stands for Ingress Protection.
But what does this mean exactly?
Today, in descriptions of electronic products for outdoor use, such as Bluetooth speakers and Bluetooth headsets, we are used to encounter terms such as “waterproof”, “weatherproof“, “weather resistant” and countless other variations.
While they offer marketers many ways to get their message across, these terms can be confusing to many of us: Can I listen to my favorite music while I’m showering or bathing? Are my headphones weatherproof?
The IP Rating System (or IEC Standard 60529)
Fortunately, there is a way to compare these products based on a standardized rating scale. This scale is called “IEC Standard 60529”, established by the International Electrotechnical Commission. Familiarly, it is known as the IP rating or IP code.
If you would like to know more about this standard, we have devoted an entire article to it, which you can read on this page.
IP stands for “Ingress Protection” and indicates at which level a device is resistant to solid and liquid objects.
An IP rating can look something like this: IP58.
As you can see, it is composed of two numbers. The first digit is the protection rating against solid substances such as soil or dust. The second is the water resistance. The higher the number, the more resistant the product is.
It is not uncommon for a product to be tested, for example, for water resistance but not for dust.
In this case, it may have an “IPX7” rating. Here, “X” is not the same as “0”. This simply means that the manufacturer has not tested the product’s protection against solid products.
The IP protection rating is only officially assigned to a product that has been subjected to specific tests by a certified company.
Therefore, a manufacturer cannot assign its own IP rating to a product.
The IPX6 Rating
The test for protection class 6 is as follows: the object is subjected to powerful jets of water from all directions at a distance of 2.5 to 3 metres (with a 12.5 mm lance nozzle) for 3 minutes.
If the device withstands the test, it is then certified IPX6.
A device that is IPX6 certified can therefore be said to be “splashproof”.
However, please note: although the device can withstand even heavy splashes of water, there is no guarantee that it can be completely immersed in water.
In fact, this degree of protection corresponds to the IPX7 certification. In this case, the device is said to be “waterproof”.
The IPX6 protection is therefore better than the IPX4 level (which is one of the most encountered protections in the world of Bluetooth speakers and headsets), but if you want to be sure that your device can be immersed in water, prefer an IPX7 certification instead.
What If It Says IP66?
Well that’s even better: it means that your device can not only withstand water jets, but has also been tested against dust intrusion.
At level 6, the device is fully protected against dust. No worries if you are a bit lazy on the household. Just kidding, I’m sure your house is always clean as new 😉
What If There’s No IP Classification?
Now you know the basics for choosing your Bluetooth equipment for your outings in the rain!
So if someone tells you that their product is “totally waterproof” but refuses to show any certification, you may indeed ask yourself questions!
Did you find this article useful, even interesting? If the answer is yes, please feel free to send us your feedback in the comments section!