‍Water resistance is a feature that’s been on our radar for a while now, but we’re only just starting to see it crop up in more and more devices as manufacturers continue to increase the capabilities of their latest gadgets. In this article, we’ll explain what IPX8 water resistance means and how it works.

What is IPX8 Water Resistance?

IPX8 is a subcategory of IP, which is an international standard for the protection of electronic devices against the ingress of water. When it comes to IP rating, the first thing to note is that IP stands for “interface protection.”

The IPX8 standard means that the device in question can be submerged in up to 2 meters of water for up to 30 minutes before damage is likely to occur to the device’s internals. That’s why there are warning labels on devices that are IPX8 certified: they let people know that they should not go swimming with any of these devices. The resistance also doesn’t include damage caused by currents with force behind them, like taps or house pipes, which can still cause damage to the device.

How Does IPX8 Water Resistant Work?

To understand the mechanisms involved, we first have to think about the components of electronics that are most susceptible to damage from water: the circuitry, the wires, the solder joints, and the component housing.

  • Electronic Components: The most common component that’s used in electronic devices is the circuit board, and these are generally made of wood or plastic. Water is one of the most common threats that these boards face, but it’s not necessarily the most harmful of them. Water can damage electronic components by first affecting the board’s surface, which is why IPX8 certified devices are not allowed to be used in the shower or the pool. If a water droplet hits or penetrates the circuit board, it can cause short-circuits, open the circuit, and damage the component that’s located on it.
  • Wires: The next component that’s susceptible to damage from water is the wires that connect the component to another component on the circuit board. The best way to think about water resistance in this context is that water resistance is like the protection offered by a rubber coating. Most electronic devices are powered by metallic components such as the battery and the pins that connect to the circuit board. Water resistance doesn’t do much to protect these components, but it won’t affect their performance.
  • Solder Joints: The final component that’s susceptible to damage from water is the solder joints that connect the components to each other on the circuit board. Solder joints are susceptible to damage because water can wash away the metal that’s used to make the joint, and the joint may break down.

Which devices are IPX8 certified?

Numerous different types of device can carry IPX8 certifications. Over the years we’ve tested everything from fitness trackers and running headphones to smartphones and laptops with the certification. However, most of the best phones we test tend to favour the more common IP67 and IP68 certifications in the current market.

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