IPX Ratings Earbuds and Headphones: What Is it? (Easy Guide)

What are IPX Ratings Earbuds and Headphones? We've reviewed headphones and TWS Earbuds numerous times on this site. And if you paid attention to the details and specifications of these headphones and TWS Earbuds while we were reviewing them, you'd have noticed that we mentioned that they were water-resistant, waterproof, dust-resistant, or dustproof.

We even mentioned their IPX ratings in some cases. While some people understand these ratings and are aware that the device they are purchasing can withstand water (at least to some extent), others are unaware of what they are.

Even if you do, you're not sure if it's safe to carry or use it while it's raining, to use it while working out, to wear it to swimming lessons, or to shower with it. If you fall into this category, this article will assist you in deciphering the jargon. Let's get started.

IPX Ratings Earbuds and Headphones:
IPX Ratings Earbuds and Headphones:

What Is IPX Rating And Why Is It Important? (Comprehensive Guide)


IPX Rating Chart Meaning for Waterproof and Water Resistant (Complete Guide!)

What are IPX Ratings Earbuds and Headphones: BASICS

Although many manufacturers incorrectly use the term “Ingress Protection,” IP stands for “International Protection.” This is an international standard that assesses a product's resistance to dust, dirt, and water. The rating is based on standardized tests, similar to how the IIHS subjects different vehicles to identical crash safety tests.

The rating follows a standard format. The first two letters of the word, IP, are always the same. Following that, you'll notice a pair of letters or numbers. There may be an additional number separated by a slash. Those kinds of ratings, however, are unusual, and we'll explain them at the end. Each letter or number represents a distinct meaning.


The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) published the Ingress Protection Code (IP Code), also known as International Protection Marking, as an internationally accepted standardized scale (IEC).

These ratings describe the level of protection a device (in this case, headphones and TWS Earbuds) has from outside contaminants such as water and particles (dirt, dust, etc.). With this rating, it is easier to understand – more accurately – your device's water or dust resistance power, as opposed to simply using the terms waterproof or water-resistant.


With the IPX ratings, the higher the rating, the better the protection.

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RatingProtection From
IPX1Dripping Water: Protection from dripping water and body sweat
IPX2Vertically dripping water: Protection from vertically dripping water (equivalent to 3mm rainfall).
IPX3Spraying water: Protection from water sprayed directly
IPX4Splashed water: Protection against splashed water from any direction.
IPX5Water jets: Protection against water projected at the device from a source with pressure. Eg. water projected from a nozzle.
IPX6Strong water jets: Protection from a stronger jet of water.
IPX7Immersion: Protection from immersion in water up to 1 meter (3ft)for about 30 minutes.
IPX8Deeper Immersion: Deeper immersion than IPX7.
IPX9High temperature and pressure water jets: Protection against close-range high pressure and high-temperature water.


Now that we've covered the fundamentals, it's time to get down to business. And when it comes to dust resistance, we place a premium on the “nitty-gritty” details. What exactly do these figures mean? Here's a quick recap:

  • IP1X – These devices are resistant to objects with a diameter greater than 50mm (about 2 inches). They are not dust-proof, but you will not be able to put your hand inside.
  • IP2X – These devices will not accept an object larger than 12.5mm in diameter (about half an inch). As a result, you won't be able to stick your finger inside.
  • IP3X – This rating indicates that the largest opening is less than 2.5mm in diameter (about a tenth of an inch). Wires, pins, and small screws are still able to enter.
  • IP4X – The largest opening at this point is 1mm or smaller. A narrow-gauge wire is the largest thing that can fit inside.
  • IP5X – These devices are not completely dust-proof, but dust will not obstruct operation. However, you may encounter difficulties if you are in an extremely dusty environment. For example, consider a construction site that is covered in concrete dust.
  • IP6X – A device with this rating is completely impervious to dust. To receive this designation, a vacuum is applied to the device for 8 hours. If no dust has entered, the device receives a coveted “6”.
IPX Ratings For Headphones And TWS Earbuds
IPX Ratings For Headphones And TWS Earbuds


As previously stated, most earbud manufacturers do not test for dust resistance. Most people are unconcerned about it. As a result, you'll usually see a rating that starts with IPX. Water resistance, on the other hand, is a major concern. So, let's take a look at what the final part of the IP rating actually means.

  • IPX1 – An IPX1-rated device is resistant to vertically falling water drops. The device is tested by dripping water over it for 10 minutes on a turntable. The flow rate is equivalent to one millimeter of rain per minute. Most devices, even if only by chance, achieve this rating.
  • IPX2 – To achieve this rating, the device must be able to withstand water falling from a 15-degree angle. The test is run in four different positions to see how it performs from various angles. The device is tested for 2 12 minutes at each angle, with a water flow equivalent to 3mm of rainfall per minute. This is the absolute bare minimum for wireless earbuds. What you're looking at with an IPX2 rating is essentially a small amount of sweat resistance. You can now go running with your earbuds without worrying about them getting ruined by sweat. However, you should avoid washing them in hot water. You'll be fine if you use a damp cloth.
  • IPX3 – This rating's test is quite interesting. It's a two-part test that's used from a variety of perspectives. The device is sprayed with an oscillating nozzle in the first part of the test. The nozzle oscillates at up to a 60-degree angle. This section of the test lasts 5 minutes. The device is rotated horizontally by 90 degrees for the second part of the test. It is then sprayed for another 5 minutes with a shield behind it.
  • IPX4 – IPX4-rated earbuds are often referred to as splash-resistant. The test is similar to the IPX3 test, but it is conducted from every angle. In other words, these earbuds must be water-resistant on both the top and bottom. You can rinse them under a gentle faucet at this point, but a strong jet of water will still penetrate.
  • IPX5 – The IPX5 test is similar to IPX4, but it uses a jet of water rather than a spray. The jets are low-pressure and fired from all angles for at least 10 minutes.
  • IPX6 – The earbuds are now tested with more powerful water jets. A device with an IPX6 rating is safe to use in the shower, so look for this rating if you want shower-safe earbuds. Nonetheless, they are not rated for submersion. As a result, if you drop them in the sink while doing the dishes, you may encounter some failure. IPX6 is more than adequate for most workouts. You won't have any problems even if you get caught in heavy rain.
  • IPX7 – This rating indicates that the earbuds are rated to withstand complete submersion. In this test, the earbuds are submerged to a depth of 15cm (about 6 inches). Over the course of 30 minutes, they’re lowered to a depth of 1 meter (just over 3 feet). If they’re still working when they’re pulled out, they receive an IPX7 rating. This is the highest rating you’ll normally see on a pair of earbuds.
  • IPX8 – This is a specialized rating. The earbuds can be submerged for longer periods of time at greater depths. The manufacturer specifies the exact criteria. Look for the exact depth and time if you see this rating.
  • IPX9 – Although this rating is rarely used in consumer electronics, it is worth mentioning. IPX9-rated devices are built to withstand high-pressure, high-temperature water jets. It's usually reserved for automotive products that must withstand a trip through the car wash.
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Wouldn't you think that an IPX8-rated pair of earbuds would also be IPX6-rated? After all, submersible earbuds must be able to withstand a little spray. Regrettably, this isn't always the case. Submersion in water only necessitates that the earbuds withstand moderate pressure from all sides.

Standing up to a jet necessitates resisting increased pressure from a single direction. Some manufacturers will subject their earbuds to multiple tests to assist with this. We've seen IPX6/8, IPX5/7, and even IPX4/7 rated earbuds. Never, ever make an assumption when in doubt.

Examine the manufacturer's specifications and see what they're willing to write down. That way, you'll be certain that you know exactly what you're getting.

IPX Ratings On Earbuds and Headphones
IPX Ratings On Earbuds and Headphones

FAQs About IPX Ratings On Earbuds

Which IPX rating is best?

If you want the best possible protection, look for an IPX7 rating (fully waterproof device) or even an IP67 rating (fully dustproof, fully waterproof). Even if a speaker is IPX7 certified, it does not float in water. That is a completely different matter. Before I go, there are two more things I'd like to mention.

Can I shower while wearing IPX7 earbuds?

But can I use IPX7 earbuds in the shower? Yes, but only if the earbuds are IPX7 or higher in the IPX rating. In that case, you can immerse the equipment in water up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes, and you can shower with it without exceeding the time limit.

Barry Moroney

Hi, Barry here. I'm a tech writer and blogger. I write about the latest technology, gadgets, and software. I also provide the best how-to and guides on the latest sound systems. I'm always excited to share my knowledge with others!


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