If you are planning to buy a smartwatch, you may have noticed that the specifications contain a special indication for water resistance that is different from ‘ordinary’ watches. The most common are IP67 and IP68. In this article we explain what that means and whether you can take a shower or swim with your smartwatch with confidence.
For watches, the water resistance is indicated in meters, Bar or ATM, which represents a certain amount of pressure that the watch can withstand. Electronic equipment – such as smartwatches – is of course even more sensitive to water, temperature and other environmental factors than an ordinary watch. Therefore, different requirements apply.
A separate standard, the International Protection Rating (IP code), therefore applies to portable electronic equipment such as smartphones and smartwatches.
What does the code IP67 mean?
The IP Code is structured as follows: The first number (6) stands for ‘Protection against intrusion’. The higher the number (on a scale of 1-6), the better protected. This concerns dust and dirt, tools, contact, etc. The number 6 stands for completely dust-tight.
The second number (7 ) stands for ‘Protection against moisture’. Again, the higher the number (on a scale of 1-8), the better protected. You can see the descriptions in the table below.
|Does not apply
|Use indoors only
|No damage if subject to vertical drops
|10 minutes in drizzling rain.
|No damage if drops fall at an angle of 15°
|10 minutes in light rain.
|No damage if sprayed (maximum 10 litres/minute) at an angle of up to 60°
|5 minutes in the rain.
|No damage if sprayed (maximum 10 litres/minute) at any angle
|Rain, spray and spillage (contents of a glass of water falling over the device).
|No damage if sprayed (maximum 12.5 litres/minute) at any angle
|Hold under the tap running gently.
|No water penetration when sprayed (100 litres/minute) at any angle
|Keep under the tap or outside in stormy conditions.
|No intrusion when submerged (30 minutes at 1 meter)
|Survives an occasional submersion.
|Remains usable underwater under conditions specified by the manufacturer
|For example: accidentally leaving it in the sink while you let it fill up (without soap and at most lukewarm water)
Can I shower or swim with my smartwatch?
Now you may be thinking “Great, my smartwatch is IP67 waterproof so I can just wash, swim and shower with it”. Unfortunately, there is a catch. Smartwatches with this IP code can indeed withstand a little water, but the IP67 Rating only means that the device is completely dustproof and can withstand an immersion of 30 minutes in standing water.
Unfortunately, devices are not rated for the highest test they pass. An IP67 score does not mean that IP61 to IP66 have also been achieved. And since these watering tests, it is therefore not wise to shower with a smartwatch with this figure.
But if you accidentally forget to take off your smartwatch, this will not immediately destroy the watch.
If a smartwatch has multiple IP ratings, it might be possible. So pay close attention to this when purchasing a smartwatch, depending on what you want to be able to do with it. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for use and warranty conditions carefully. Unless otherwise stated, it is not recommended to press any buttons while your device is underwater. In this way, water can still penetrate, which causes damage.
Be careful with salt water and heat
As with regular watches, most tests are done with tap water in temperatures between 15 – 35 degrees Celsius. Sea water, but also swimming pool water with chlorine is therefore often not covered by the warranty, unless stated otherwise. It is also not wise to wear your smartwatch in a Turkish steam bath, sauna or bubble bath.
Easily interchangeable watch bands
Do you want to use your smartwatch more often under circumstances where the watch comes into contact with moisture, for example for running or hiking outside? Then choose a watch with a water-resistant strap made of plastic, rubber or textile.
Many smartwatch brands have easily interchangeable straps, so that you can put on a nice but not water-resistant leather strap for a night out.
Want to know more about water resistance of watches?
Do you want to know more about water resistance of watches? Then also visit our page about waterproofing.