Water-resistant Vs. Waterproof Earbuds

Do you know that one of the most common problems many earbud users experience is water damage?Therefore it makes sense to get earbuds that can protect itself.

Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing the wireless earbuds that can survive sweat, the shower, the pool, and water generally, there is a common problem. Many people think that water-resistant earbuds and waterproof earbuds mean the same when they are very different. Here is why: 


What Determines The Water Protection Level Of Earbuds?

When it comes to protecting wireless earbuds against elements, today’s earbuds generally have certifications that signal or tells you whether a device is water-resistant or waterproof. This certification is known as the IP rating.

What is the IP rating?

It means International or Ingress protection Rating Scale. The IP often have two characters after it. You should have seen something like this “IPX5, IP56, and more” in some of the devices you have. That is the IP rating. Each character has a different meaning. The first character after IP tells you how resistant the wireless Bluetooth earbuds is to solids such as dust. It is always on the scale of o to 6. The higher the number, the more protected your earbuds will be against dust. When you see 6 as the first digit after IP, it means your wireless earbuds are dust-tight.

 In IP rating the first character after IP is on the scale of 0-6 and it tells the level of earbuds protection against dust while the second character is on the scale of 0-9k and it tells the level of wireless earbuds protection against water. The higher, the better!

The second digit or character tells you the earbuds level of protection against liquid such as water. It is always on a scale of 0 to 9K. The higher the number, the more your wireless earbuds will be protected against water. xFyro earbuds are a perfect example of one of the few earbuds with a higher level of protection against water. They are the best Bluetooth earbuds that come with an IP67 rating.

Since our major concern here is to give an excellent understanding of the difference between waterproof earbuds and water-resistant earbuds, we are going to talk more about the second digit. Check the table below to see the major differences between the IP ratings. (First character will be represented by X)

Differences between the IP Ratings

IP Rating

Level of protection against water


The earbuds do not have any protection against water


When the earbuds are oriented normally, they are protected against vertically dripping water for a short time (about 10 minutes)


When the earbuds are tilted at about 15-degrees from normal orientation, they are protected against vertically dripping water


When the earbuds are rotated at about 60-degrees from normal orientation, they are protected against water falling as a spray


The wireless Bluetooth earbuds are protected against a splash of water from any direction


The earbuds are protected against water jet (6.3mm nozzle stream of water) from any angle


The wireless earbuds are protected against powerful water jet (12.5mm nozzle stream of water) from any angle


The earbuds are protected against the ingress of water. They survive water damage when temporarily submerged in 3 feet (one meter) of water depth for 30 minutes.


The earbuds can survive continuous immersion in water at a depth of 13 feet


This is not found in earbuds. But devices with this rating can survive powerful high-temperature water jets

What Are Water-Resistant Earbuds? 

 Water Resistant Earbuds

As mentioned before, water-resistant is the lowest level of water protection. If wireless Bluetooth earbuds are labeled as water-resistant, it means they are constructed in such a way that makes it difficult for water to get inside them.

Water-resistant earbuds are often coated with a very light substance that increases their chance of survival when they come in contact with water. However, take note that water-resistant can only provide water protection to a certain level. 

Water-resistant earbuds have a higher chance of survival in conditions where exposure to water is limited. For example, these earbuds can withstand sweat during workouts, and limited precipitation such as rain. They cannot withstand water at great depths or may not survive when submerged in water.

What IP rating tells that your earbuds are water-resistant?

If you check the table above you will see that wireless earbuds with IPXO cannot survive water at all. But ratings from IPX1 to IPX8 can survive water. However, for earbuds to be called water-resistant earbuds, the IP rating will be between IPX1 to IPX5. Take note that there is a difference between the levels of water-resistant. What do we mean? IPX1 rated wireless earbuds may not be as resistant to water as the IPX4 rated Bluetooth earbuds.

Let’s take a wireless Bluetooth earbud, for example, the Phiaton BT 150 NC Retractable headphones.

 Phiatan BT 150 NC Headphones

Even though these earbuds are one of those earbuds that comes with the latest technology and will give you access to your music, it comes with the IP rating of IPX4. Do you know what this means? It means it is water-resistant and sweatproof. You can use it at the gym, during exercise, while cycling, and during your morning runs. However, if you want to blast music during your swimming training session or while having your shower, this is a no go area.

What Are Waterproof Earbuds?      

Waterproof Earbuds 

Waterproof is the highest level of protection against water. Bluetooth wireless earbuds are known to be waterproof if they can survive a lot of water in any direction or immersion in water at a particular depth without taking in any amount of water. Waterproof earbuds are suitable for use in many activities such as swimming, diving, camping, snowboarding, cycling, running, and more.

Also, you can use them in the shower. Waterproof earbuds are constructed with materials that will not let water in. Take note that the length of time and depth you can submerge wireless waterproof earbuds in water varies depending on IP rating.

What IP rating tells that your earbuds are waterproof?

Generally, if a pair of earbud can survive immersion in water, it is waterproof. However, from the IP rating table, any wireless Bluetooth earbuds with a rating between IPX6 to IPX8 can be regarded as waterproof earbuds. However, the waterproof level and power can be different: IPX8 waterproof earbuds can withstand water at higher depth and for a longer time than IPX6 waterproof earbuds.

The xFyro xS2 wireless earbuds is a perfect example of the best waterproof Bluetooth earbuds you can find in the market.

 xFyro XS 2 Waterproof Earbuds

These earbuds come with the top technological features such as the Bluetooth 5.0 technology, 6.0 noise cancelation, ultra-convenient built, patented aluminum polishing technology, power bank case to charge earbuds and other devices, and more.

On top of that, the waterproof IP rating is IP67. It means it is fully dustproof and fully waterproof. With wireless Bluetooth earbuds having this rating, you can enjoy any outdoor activity without worrying about elements like dust, snow, water, rain, and more.

Does waterproof mean water will not have any effect on your earbuds?

The term “waterproof” usually communicates the idea that waterproof earbuds will never fail when they come in contact with water no matter the situation. This is not true! Don’t get it twisted; waterproof does not mean that your wireless earbuds are impervious to water infinitely. If you submerge waterproof earbuds above the recommended depth and time, they may get damaged.

Also, waterproof does not mean that your wireless Bluetooth earbuds will work perfectly underwater. Even though they might not break if you accidentally drop them in the pool, you may experience some break in connection if you are swimming below 2 meters.  

Waterproof vs. Water-resistant earbuds – Quick Comparison Chart

Water-resistant Earbuds

Waterproof Earbuds

IPX1 to IPX5 rating

IPX6 to IPX8 rating

Can be used in the gym, during exercise, in limited precipitation

Can be used for swimming, in the shower, gym, during exercise, in a high amount of precipitation, and can survive other weather elements

May not survive when submerged in water

Can survive when submerged in water

Water-resistant level varies with the amount of water and time

Waterproof level varies with the depth and time used in water

They cannot withstand a long period of submersion in water

They can withstand a long period of submersion in water


What If An IP Rating Is Not Provided For The Earbuds?

Even though an IP rating is an indication that your water-resistant or waterproof earbuds are designed to perform in certain wet condition, some earbuds do not come with IP rating. This does not mean that the earbuds are not resistant to water, but there is no real way to know their level of protection against water. If you see wireless earbuds without IP rating, it means the manufacturer or company does not put up the earbuds for testing and certification.

 Wireless Bluetooth earbuds without IP rating can have nano-coating that makes it water-resistant and sweatproof, but they cannot be waterproof except you confirm their certification.

There are some other certifications apart from IP standards that some manufacturers go for to determine how much pressure their wireless earbuds can withstand underwater. You can check the manual to confirm their level of protection against water.

Additionally, many earbuds that don’t come with specific IP rating often come with water repellent nano-coating. With earbuds like this, you will probably be fine with the odd splash of water, light rain, and accidental spills. However, they can’t survive too much of water or being submerged.


What to Consider When Buying Waterproof Wireless Earbuds    

So far, you should have known how important IP rating is in determining the level of earbuds protection against water. Before you can accept that the earbuds are waterproof, the manufacturer should be able to show you certifications. When you are checking the IP rating, you should be careful. If you see a hyphen between IPand the two digits or between IPX and the last digit, the rating is invalid/fake.

Finally, when you want to buy a pair of wireless earbuds, you need to consider the activities you want to use them for. It will help you purchase the perfect IP-rated earbuds for you. If you are looking for the best Bluetooth earbuds that are impressively strong, not outrageously overpriced, a good battery life, balanced sound, and highly waterproof with an IP67 rating, go with the xFyro wireless Bluetooth earbuds.