Understanding Smartwatch Water Resistance Ratings

Understanding Smartwatch Water Resistance Ratings

When shopping for a smartwatch, understanding its water resistance rating is crucial, especially if you lead an active lifestyle or are simply looking for a device that can withstand everyday water exposure. Here, we demystify the water resistance ratings, focusing on IP and ATM standards, to help you make an informed decision.

Key Highlights:

  • Water resistance ratings are typically listed in the product’s specifications.
  • IP ratings indicate protection against dust and water, with IPX0 offering no water protection and IPX9 offering high-pressure, high-temperature water jet protection.
  • ATM ratings denote the depth a device can theoretically withstand underwater, with ATM3 being unsuitable for diving and ATM10 capable of handling most water sports, including diving and snorkeling.
  • Ratings like 5ATM allow for swimming but not diving or snorkeling.
  • Factors such as time underwater and potential damage can affect a device’s water resistance.

Understanding Smartwatch Water Resistance Ratings

IP Ratings: Protection Against Water Ingress

IP ratings, or Ingress Protection ratings, indicate how well a device is protected against the entry of dust and water. The first digit after ‘IP’ signifies protection against solid particles, with ‘6’ being the highest, denoting complete dust resistance. The second digit represents protection against liquids on a scale of 0-9, where higher numbers indicate better water resistance. For example, an IP68 rating implies full dust protection and the ability to withstand continuous immersion in water under conditions specified by the manufacturer​​.

ATM Ratings: Depth and Pressure Resistance

ATM, short for ‘Atmospheres,’ measures water pressure resistance and is crucial for activities like swimming or diving. These ratings, assigned by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), indicate how deep a device can go underwater and still function. For instance, a 5ATM rating means the device can withstand pressures equivalent to a depth of about 45 meters (or 145 feet), making it suitable for swimming in shallow water but not for diving or snorkeling​​.

Delving into ATM Ratings

ATM ratings, provided by the ISO, are particularly relevant for users interested in using their smartwatch while swimming or engaging in water sports. An ATM rating not only indicates the depth to which a watch can be submerged without suffering damage but also its ability to withstand pressure at that depth.

A rating of 5ATM, for example, is generally considered safe for swimming at shallow depths but not suitable for diving or high-speed water sports, which may exert pressure on the watch beyond what it’s rated to handle. The ATM rating is thus a measure of both depth and pressure resistance, important for anyone who plans to use their smartwatch in various aquatic environments

Choosing a Water-Resistant Smartwatch

To select a water-resistant smartwatch that meets your needs, consider the following:

  • Determine your requirements: Assess whether you need a watch for everyday splashes, swimming, or more intensive water sports.
  • Read the manual: Look for detailed information on water resistance, including IP and ATM ratings, in the product’s manual.
  • Beware of chemicals: Protect your smartwatch from day-to-day chemicals like cosmetics, which can damage water resistance​​.

In summary, when choosing a smartwatch, it’s essential to consider both IP and ATM ratings to ensure it meets your water resistance needs. While IP ratings offer a good indication of protection against water ingress, ATM ratings provide a clearer picture of how much pressure the watch can withstand underwater. Remember, even if a smartwatch has a high water resistance rating, it’s crucial to protect it from chemicals and avoid assuming it’s invulnerable to all forms of water damage. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the most accurate information on maintaining your smartwatch’s water resistance over time.

About the author


James Miller

Senior writer & Rumors Analyst, James is a postgraduate in biotechnology and has an immense interest in following technology developments. Quiet by nature, he is an avid Lacrosse player. He is responsible for handling the office staff writers and providing them with the latest updates happenings in the world of technology. You can contact him at james@pc-tablet.com.