When looking for the best waterproof wireless headphones, it is essential to consider how durable they can be when coming into contact with water. Your headphones can come into contact with rain, sweat, or other unforeseen splashes of water — either way, knowing if earbuds are waterproof will help save you from water damage, and you need a new pair in the future.
How do you know if earbuds are waterproof? Well, waterproof earbuds are the highest level of defense against water damage. They are constructed with material that will not let water inside of the product. These earbuds can survive direct contact with or immersion in water at a designated depth without succumbing to damage. Waterproof earbuds have critical benefits to other earbuds for their ability to sustain long-lasting performance capabilities. They are also great for swimming, camping, running, and much more.
Certifications standardize how effective each earbud brand is at protecting the device, signifying it as either water-resistant or waterproof to protect your wireless earbuds against water damage. This certification, known as the IP rating, is the best solution to knowing whether your earbuds are waterproof.
International or Ingress Protection Rating Scale or (IP Rating) works like this:
Typically, the IP will have two characters after it that signifying how effective it is against water. After IP, the first character tells you how resistant wireless earbuds are against solid materials such as dust and wax. It ranges on a scale from 0 to 6. With a higher number, your earbuds will be more protected against dust and wax and will see minimal drops in performance from these objects.
The second character informs you of how effective your earbuds are against liquids such as water and sweat. The effectiveness ranges on a scale from 0 to 9K. With a higher number, your earbuds will be more protected against water damage with minimal drops in performance.
For example, a product with an IP Rating of IPX0 indicates that the earbuds protect against any liquid, and a product with an IP Rating of IPX8 means that the earbuds can survive constant immersion in water 13 feet deep.
IP Rating Pitfalls
Although the IP Rating has been standardized across wireless earbud brands, you should be careful. If there is a hyphen between IP and the other digits (IPX-65) or between IPX and the last number (IP7X), the rating is invalid. This rating usually means that the company has tested the device’s performance for either dust/water and not the other. Some companies, typically small manufacturers, write ratings such as IPX-65, which is not standardized. This invalid rating means that the product is not IP standard or the product has not been tested outside of the company by an independent source.
How IP Rating Determines How Waterproof Your Earbuds Are
Usually, when a pair of earbuds do not become damaged by immersion in water, they are waterproof. With a rating of IPX6 to IPX8, earbuds can be regarded as waterproof. Depending on the IP Rating, waterproof earbuds can withstand water at deeper depths and for more extended periods. IPX8 earbuds can last longer and in deeper waters than IPX6 waterproof earbuds.
Does Waterproof Mean Water Will Not Damage Your Earbuds?
Although the term “waterproof” usually means that objects will work just fine when coming into contact with water, this is not the case with earbuds. For earbuds, waterproof only means that your wireless earbuds are resistant to water for a certain period of time and not indefinitely. If you submerge waterproof earbuds for more than the recommended time and at a deeper level, they may become permanently damaged.
This also applies to the performance of waterproof earbuds underwater. When submerged, these waterproof earbuds may experience loss of connection and drops in audio acuity when going deeper than 2 meters of water.
So if you still are not sure how to know if your earbuds are waterproof, it is crucial to consider these few things. The IP Rating dictates how effective your earbuds are against dust/water damage, how certain companies can mimic the IP Rating certification, and the actual meaning of waterproof are vital to know the effectiveness of your earbuds against water damage. These considerations will help you better understand what to look out for when determining the best waterproof headphones for you.
Written By: Zachary Fauconier