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Waterproof vs water repellent vs water resistant | Key differences

The main difference between a waterproof, water-resistant and water repellent material is given by the degree to which water is prevented from getting through. Waterproof materials offer the highest level of protection, water repellent materials offers a medium level of protection, while water resistant material offers the lowest protection from water.

Waterproof materials are completely impervious to water. Water repellent means that water won’t seep through the material for a limited period of time. Water resistant materials offer the lower level of protection against penetration of water.

What qualifies as waterproof?

Waterproof items are impervious to water. This means they remain completely impermeable for 30 minutes or more even when fully submerged. In other words, waterproof items are completely protected from water damage.

Waterproof items typically have an IP67 or IP68 rating.

What is considered water-repellent?

Water-repellent materials are not easily penetrated by water. They have a lower resistance to water compared to waterproof materials.

Water-repellent items are generally treated with a special coating that blocks water droplets from seeping through. The coating makes it difficult for water droplets to get inside the material.

Water-repellent items can withstand light rain or direct water contact for a very limited period of time. However, water will quickly seep through when submerged.

What is considered water-resistant?

Items with the water-resistant label can prevent water from seeping through only for a very limited time. After a few minutes, water will eventually seep through.

Water-resistant items can prevent water from soaking through immediately. However, they don’t offer much protection beyond that initial moment and should never be submerged.

Water-resistant materials typically have a special coating or layer that prevents water from seeping through.

A water-resistant item can resist the penetration of water only to a specific degree, and only for a limited period of time.

The Ingress Protection Rating scale

The Ingress Protection Rating scale ranges from zero to 8 and indicates the level of water resistance of various items. In other words, it shows how effective a material is at preventing water from seeping through.

According to the IP scale, a waterproof item has an IP 67 or IP68 rating. A water-resistant item has an IP55 rating.

IP Ratings explained

  • IP44= splashproof
  • IP55= water-resistant
  • IP66= water-repellent
  • IP67= waterproof
  • IP68= waterproof

What is the difference between IP67 and IP68?

The main difference between IP67 and IP68 is that waterproof items with an IP67 rating can be immersed in fresh water at a depth of 1 meter for 30 minutes without suffering any water damage. IP68 items can be submerged at a depth of over 1 m of fresh water for up to 60 minutes.

Waterproof items that carry the IP67 or IP68 label are also completely dust-proof.

Which is better: waterproof or water-resistant?

A waterproof material is definitely better than a water-resistant material. Water-resistant items can prevent water from seeping through only for a limited time. After a certain point, water will seep through.

Does waterproof mean it can go underwater?

Waterproof items can go underwater at a depth of up to 1 meter or 3 feet for 30 minutes without letting water seep through. After long periods of time, even waterproof items will eventually let water seep through.

What is considered waterproof?

A material is considered waterproof if it’s completely impervious to water for at least 30 minutes. Waterproof materials can be submerged between 30-60 minutes without letting water in or out.


  • Waterproof indicates complete protection from water
  • Water-repellent indicates medium or low protection from water
  • Water-resistant indicates very low protection from water

The water-resistant label indicates the lowest level of water protection of the three. The waterproof label indicates the highest level of water protection.


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