Can You Swim Wearing Your Smart Watch? These Waterproof Ratings Standard Will Answer This

Can I swim or shower with my wearable?

Sometimes you see statistics, such as 5 ATM or IP68 on the Parameter Description, but still confused about this. In fact, users need not worry about wearing our device in the pool, the rain or the cold shower, as it has a water resistance rating of IP68.

But what exactly do these numbers mean? And what is the difference between ATM ratings and IP ratings? Read on to find out.




IP Ratings – What does IP68 mean?


Due to the late appearance of smart watches, many standard specifications do not have a good definition of smart bracelets. It is also the fact that smart bracelets are very confused in terms of waterproof specifications. One of the commonly used standards at present is the IP standard, the Ingress Protection (IP) rating established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

A device’s IP rating consists of two numbers and is given in the format IPXY (i.e. IP67). X is the rating for physical ingress, or how resistant the device is to penetration by foreign solid objects such as dust, and ranges from 0 to 6. Y, meanwhile, represents the rating for liquid ingress, or how resistant it is to penetration by liquids under various conditions, and ranges from 0 to 8. Below are charts that summarize these protection levels.

IP ratings, IP XX standards

SOURCE: IEC 60529 ed.2.2 “Copyright © 2013 IEC Geneva, Switzerland.

Nowadays, most smart watches meet the IP67 standard. From the definition of IPX7, we can understand that it is not strictly waterproof, but refers to a simple half-hour immersion test. If you want to be truly waterproof, you should choose the highest level of IPX8.

Seeing this, I believe you have a certain understanding of the IPXY standard. So what do some sellers mean that their bracelets can be waterproof to 50 meters or 100 meters?


ATM Ratings – Water Resistance Under Pressure


Can I really dive to 100 meters with a 100 meters waterproof watch?

I just want to say, of course not...Many bracelets claim that their bracelets support XX meters of water resistance, and the standards used here refers to standards for waterproof watches. How many meters waterproof is just a specification used to indicate the waterproofness of the product, rather than the real waterproofness of 100 meters.

So what is this standard? What about the real waterproof performance of a smart watch that says it can be waterproof to 100 meters?

Let us first understand how the testing standards for waterproof watches come from. In terms of physical phenomena, every 10 meters of underwater depth will increase of 1 atmosphere pressure. When the pressure inside and outside the watch case is uneven, the watch body is prone to bursting. Therefore, the general watch factory uses the "pressure value" to test the waterproof function of the watch, and use the compression value unit (BAR or ATM) to indicate the waterproof depth. The following is the definition of the waterproof specification of the watch:

ATM ratings, ATM standards

From the chart above, we can know that:

When the watch is marked 3ATM or 30 meters waterproof, it means that it is suitable for daily use, not for swimming or soaking in water; it can resist a small amount of splashing water and rain, as well as for washing hands and face.

When the watch is marked 5ATM or 50 meters water resistance, it means that it is suitable for short-distance swimming in shallows, and cannot be used for diving or snorkeling.

When the watch is marked 10ATM or 100 meters waterproof, it means that it is suitable for swimming and snorkeling.

When the watch is marked 20ATM or 200 meters waterproof, it means that it is suitable for high-impact sports in the water and some diving activities, such as snorkeling.


So what kind of waterproof smart watch do we need?

5ATM means the result of simulating a water pressure test at a depth of 50 meters in a laboratory. In our actual life, the water pressure at a depth of 50 meters is actually much greater than that in the laboratory, so ATM can only refer to the basis of measurement. Don’t get me wrong, you can swim in water less than 50 meters deep.

For most users, the IP68 waterproof watch can already meet the user's needs well, whether it is daily use or wearing it to the swimming pool, there will be no problems. If you are not a user who often goes swimming, the 50-meter waterproof and IPX7 level can also meet your needs. Although soaking in water for a long time may cause problems, there is no problem for half an hour.



Key points:

5ATM is not allowed to diving! 5ATM is the measurement data of the laboratory, not in real life. The waterproof watch of 5ATM can only be used to wash hands, splashes, rain, short-distance swimming, etc. 

IP68-rated watches can be worn for swimming, and the IP68 waterproof test time is continuous immersion in water for at least 1 hour. The depth is specified by the manufacturer. For example, the test depth of a smart phone with a waterproof rating of IPX8 on the market is usually 2m.

However, the waterproof feature of a smart watch is not omnipotent. It also has some shortcomings of its own. The most important thing that needs everyone's attention is that you should never take it to the sauna or take a hot bath.

No matter how many meters it is marked to prevent, it cannot be used in hot water (>40C°). Vapor is not preventive, because high temperature will accelerate the aging of the waterproof rubber ring. Vapor can easily enter the watch and water molecules in the case of increased temperature, the permeability will be greatly enhanced. Maybe it’s okay once, but maybe not next time.

1 comment

Bob De Thomas

My wife gave me a Cubitt CT2 Pro Series 2 for Christmas. I’m a “gadget” kind of guy, so I immediately began to play around with the watch to become familiar with everything it can do. I love it.

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