What is IPX Rating?

What is IPX Rating

There are many terms and words used when comparing speakers and headphones. Some can be a bit confusing, especially if you have not had much experience shopping for this equipment. We look at one of the specifications you will come across and answer the questions – what is IPX Rating?

Before we get into more detail and explain the specifics, the simple answer is that it is a rating that determines how well the equipment, be it speakers or headphones, can handle water as well as dust. 

Why an IPX rating is so important

If you go for a walk anywhere outdoors these days, you will see more and more people walking with headphones on. If at the beach or having a picnic in the park or playing music for a party you may have a wireless blue tooth speaker. 

People use headphones while jogging, cycling, and doing other exercise activities. Many people have outdoor speakers to enjoy music with friends and family when entertaining outside. 

Music has always been an integral part of people’s lives but they were only able to listen to it in their homes, at concerts or, theatres. With the advancement in technology, people are now able to listen to downloaded music of their own choice while walking around outdoors and being exposed to the elements or while exercising and possibly perspiring. 

It is thus very important to purchase a headphone or speaker that is resistant to dust and water which could damage the headphones or speaker. Quality headphones and outdoor speakers are now developed and manufactured to be dust resistant and water-resistant.

How does IPX rating work?

An international rating, IPX has been established to indicate the degree of protection afforded by each product regarding dust, and water protection. The IP stands for Ingress Protection.

An IP rating of a product is not assigned by its own company. An Independent certified company gives a product an IP rating after testing it. The standards were published by the International Electrotechnical Commission

Users would want their headphones to be waterproof and dust-protected when going to the beach, swimming pool or, being caught in a sudden rain shower. When we exercise we tend to sweat and without a good IPX rating, this could damage your headphones. 

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The same applies to outdoor speakers. Even if you do take them in at night, accidents or sudden downpours happen. It is always best to use outdoor speakers with a good IPX rating. 

It is advisable to purchase from a trusted brand to be sure that the brand stands true to all features that it claims the device has. 

If you are looking to buy an outdoor speaker or a set of headphones an IPX rating will be included in the specification list or on the box.

Most of the outdoor speakers or headphones will have at least an IPX5 or IPX7 rating. There are various levels of protection ranging from 0 to 8. The greater the IPX number the greater the protection

The different IPX ratings

As we said, IP stands for Ingress Protection but is sometimes referred to as International Protection. The IPX rating is the marking on a product that denotes the level of protection against water and dust.

The IP numbers are written as IPXX where “X”s are placeholders for numbers. The first “X” represents solid (dust/particles) resistance and the second “X” represents liquid resistance (water).

If the IP number is IP67 it indicates that the Solids Protection is 6 and the Liquids Protection is 7.

If the IP number is IPX8 it indicates that this device is completely waterproof but has not been tested for solid objects. X  means not tested.

If you find an IP number like this IPXX it means that the device has not been tested for liquid or solid protection.

Ingress Protection rates for Solids Protection are listed from 0 to 6. The resistance for each rating are as follows:

  • IPOX – No Protection
  • IP1X – Solid object greater than 50mm
  • IP2X – Solid object greater than 12.5mm
  • IP3X – Solid object greater than 2.5mm
  • IP4X – Solid material greater than 1mm
  • IP5X – The Device is dust protected
  • IP6X – The Device is dust-tight

IPX rating for liquids

Ingress Protection rates for Liquids are listed from 0 to 8

In all the ratings below, the third letter is marked with an X which indicates that the device has not been tested for solid objects.

IPXO Rating

The Device is not tested for solid objects and has no protection from liquids, mostly water. Keep your device away from water. Any contact with water could damage this device.

IPX1 Rating

The device has protection from water falling vertically onto it. There is a risk of damage if the device is exposed to water from the sides.

IPX2 Rating

The device can resist water falling vertically at an angle not exceeding 15 deg. The device is tested four times from four different positions.

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IPX3 Rating

This device can resist water sprayed from a nozzle at different angles up to angles of 60 deg from the vertical.

Is tested for five minutes and the volume of water used is o.7 liters per minute.

IPX4 Rating

Water splashing over the device from any angle will have no harmful effect. The test is conducted for five minutes and the water volume is 10 liters per minute.

The device with this rating is often considered to be splash-proof or sweat-resistant.

IPX5 Rating

This device can resist water projected in small jets through a 6.3mm nozzle at any angle. The testing lasts for15 minutes and the volume of water is 12.5 liters per minute.

IPX6 Rating

Strong water jets projected through a 12.5 nozzle at any angle will have no harmful effect on this device with a level 6 water resistance.

The test lasts for three minutes and the volume of water is 100 liters per minute.

Devices with IPX5 and IPX6 ratings are considered to be water-resistant and can be used at any place where water exposure is possible. They can however not be submerged.

IPX7 Rating

This device can be immersed in water of up to one meter for 30 minutes without any damage occurring to the device.

All devices with the IPX7 rating are considered to be fully waterproof and are safe to use anywhere.

IPX8 Rating

This device with a level 8 rating is the highest rating assigned to a waterproof device.

It can withstand immersion up to a depth of between one and three meters.

What IPX rating do I need? 

Before purchasing a headphone or Bluetooth speaker you must decide what you are going to use them for.

If you are looking for a good pair of wireless headphones an IPX4 that is splash and sweat resistant is ideal if you run long distances or have hectic workout sessions in the gym. 

A rating of IP55 or IP56 is the recommended headphone if you often go to the beach or to areas where you will be exposed to water or dust or both. Even if your speakers or headphones are for gaming, a good IPX rating could come in handy if you get very active or there is a spill. 

If you wish to buy speakers that you can carry to the beach an IPX rating of at least 5 or 6 is preferred.

Final thoughts

The main thing to do is to give some thought to how and where you plan to use your speakers or headphones. There is always a risk of water or dust but sometimes the risk is greater. Now that you understand the IPX ratings, you can buy with confidence according to your needs. 

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By Charl Jooste

Writing full time from home, Charl enjoys modern technology and advanced gadgets but still has a soft spot for quality reliable appliances. He is passionate about durability and quality going to great lengths to find the very best ideas and leading products to share with readers.