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What is IP44? The water resistance rating explained

If you’re currently shopping for some new tech, you might have come across the term IP44 and wondered what it means.

Here’s what an IP rating of IP44 means when it comes to a device’s ability to withstand objects like dust and water. 

What is IP44? 

IP44 is an IP rating used to indicate the dust and water resistance of a specific device. The acronym IP stands for Ingress Protection. 

The IP standard was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) who determined that IP ratings would consist of two numbers. The first number refers to the device’s ability to keep solids (like dust and dirt) away, while the second digit refers to its ability to shut liquids (including water and sweat) out. 

Some IP ratings also include an X to indicate no level of protection against either solids or liquids, though this isn’t the case with IP44. 

An IP rating of IP44 means that a device is “protected against solid foreign objects of 1.0mm Ø and greater” and is “protected against splashing water”. In other words, water splashed against the enclosure from any direction will have no harmful effect on the device. 

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How does IP44 compare to other IP ratings?

You might be wondering exactly how good IP44 protection is, along with how it compares to other IP ratings. 

As you can see in the table below (via the IEC), a rating of 4 sits about two-thirds of the way up the scale for solids, with 0 being the lowest possible rating and 6 being completely dust-tight.

Meanwhile, a 4 for liquids is just under halfway through the scale, with 0 equally no protection and 9 indicating the device is protected against high-pressure and high-temperature water jets. 

IP ratings
Image: IEC

This means that a product rated IP44 sits somewhere halfway between no protection and maximum protection against both dust and water, making it better protected from dust and rainfall than devices that carry no IP rating but less well equipped compared to a device with a rating of IP67 or IP68

To put that into context, most flagship smartphones these days – including the iPhone 14 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Google Pixel 7 Pro – have an IP rating of IP68.

However, we’ve tested some great running headphones that carry an IP rating of IPX4, as this rating can typically handle light rain and sweat making it a good fit for sporty pairs.

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