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What is IPX7? The water resistance rating explained

If you’re looking to pick up a new pair of earbuds, a speaker or another device, you may have come across the term ‘IPX7’. Here's what you need to know.

If you’re looking to pick up a new pair of earbuds, a speaker or another device, you may have come across the term ‘IPX7’. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this important spec. 

What is IPX7? 

IPX7 is an IP (Ingress Protection) rating that signifies a relatively high level of protection against liquids but no stated protection against solids. 

To explain what exactly IPX7 means for your device, we first need to understand what an IP rating is and how the popular rating system works. 

Attaching an IP rating to a device is one way that a company can guarantee a certain level of durability and waterproofing to its consumers. This is done by measuring the effectiveness of the device’s seal at keeping solids (dust) and liquids (water) out of the chassis. 

The results are measured on a scale of 0 to 6 for solids and 0 to 9 for liquids, with 0 being the lowest possible score and indicating the device offers no protection at all. Solids come first, followed by liquids. 

You can read the description for each score in the table created by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) below. 

IP ratings
Image: IEC

There’s also the possibility of an X in an IP rating, which is present in the case of IPX7. An X means that a device has not been tested for its durability against either solids or liquids and thus you should not expect any level of protection against that material. 

In the instance of IPX7, the X comes first followed by the 7. This means that the device in question has not been tested for its protection against solid intrusions but has scored a 7 for its protection against liquids. A rating of 7 means the device is protected against liquids when fully immersed at depths between 15 cm and 1 metre for a period of up to 30 minutes at a time. 

What devices are rated IPX7? 

IPX7 is an IP rating commonly found across earbuds, including some of our favourite wireless earbuds and running earbuds, the Back Bay Tempo and the Avantree E171.

The IP rating is less common on smartphones these days as most flagship handsets – such as the iPhone 15 and the Samsung Galaxy S24 – carry a higher IP rating of IP68.

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