Water-resistant Vs. Waterproof True Wireless Earbuds

IPX8 waterproof true wireless earbuds

Do you know that one of the most common problems encountered by many true wireless earbuds users is water damage? -Therefore, it makes sense to buy earbuds that can protect itself.

Unfortunately, there is a common problem when choosing TWS wireless earbuds that can withstand sweat, shower, swimming pools, and water generally. Many people think that water-resistant earbuds and waterproof means the same, but they are very different. The reasons are as follows:

What Determines The Water Protection Level Of TWS Earbuds?

When it comes to protecting true wireless earbuds from elements, today’s earbuds usually have certifications that can indicate or tell you whether the device is waterproof or waterproof. This certification is called an IP rating.

What is the IP rating?

It means international or Ingress protection level. There are usually two characters after the IP. You should have seen something like “IPX5, IP56, etc.” in some of the devices you have. That is the IP rating. Each character has a different meaning. The first character after the IP tells you how resistant the wireless Bluetooth earbuds are to solids such as dust. It is always in the range of o to 6. The higher the number, the better the dustproof effect of your earplugs. When you see that the first number after the IP is 6, it means that your wireless earbuds are dust-proof.

In IP rating the first character after IP is on the scale of 0-6 and it tells the level of earbuds protection against dust while the second character is on the scale of 0-9k and it tells the level of wireless earbuds protection against water. The higher, the better!

The second digit or character tells you the earbud’s level of protection against liquid such as water. It is always on a scale of 0 to 9. The higher the number, the more your wireless Bluetooth earbuds will be protected against water. X8 TWS earbuds is a perfect example of one of the few earbuds with a higher level of protection against water. They are the best Bluetooth earbuds that come with an IP68 rating.

Differences between the IP Ratings

IPX1 An IPX1-rated device is resistant to water drops that are falling vertically. The device is tested on a turntable, with water dripping over it for 10 minutes. The rate of water flow is equivalent to 1mm of rainfall per minute. Most devices achieve this rating, even if only by accident.
IPX2To achieve this rating, the device must withstand water falling from an angle of 15 degrees. The test is performed in a total of four different positions, to see how it performs from multiple angles. At each angle, the device is tested for 2 ½ minutes, with a water flow equivalent to 3mm of rainfall per minute. This is the bare minimum we’d consider for wireless earbuds. Essentially, what you’re looking at with an IPX2 rating is a small amount of sweat resistance. At this point, you can go running with your earbuds without having to worry about them getting damaged by sweat. That said, you won’t want to wash them under running water. Stick with a damp cloth, and you’ll be A-OK.
IPX3The test for this rating is pretty interesting. It’s a two-part test, which is applied at multiple angles. In the first part of the test, the device is sprayed with an oscillating nozzle. The nozzle oscillates at an angle of up to 60 degrees. This part of the test lasts for 5 minutes. For the second part of the test, the device is rotated horizontally by 90 degrees. It’s then sprayed again for another 5 minutes, with a shield in place behind it.
IPX4Earbuds that are IPX4-rated are often referred to as splash-resistant. The test is similar to the IPX3 test, but it’s performed from all angles. In other words, these types of earbuds need to be water-resistant both at the top and on the bottom. At this point, you can rinse them under a gentle faucet, but a forceful jet of water will still penetrate.
IPX5The test for IPX5 is similar to IPX4, but it’s performed with a jet of water, not just a spray. The jets are low pressure and shot from all angles for a minimum of 10 minutes.
IPX6At this point, the earbuds are tested with more powerful water jets. An IPX6-rated device is safe to take in the shower, so look for this rating if you want shower-safe earbuds. That said, they’re still not rated for submersion. So if you drop them in the sink while you’re washing dishes, you might experience some failure. For most workout purposes, IPX6 is more than sufficient. Even if you get caught in heavy rain, you won’t have any issues.
IPX7This 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.
IPX8This is a custom rating. The earbuds can be submerged to deeper depths for a longer period of time. The exact criteria are set by the manufacturer. If you see this rating, look for the precise depth and time.
IPX9This rating is almost never used with consumer electronics, but it’s worth mentioning. IPX9-rated devices are designed to withstand powerful, high-temperature water jets. You’ll generally only see it for automotive products that need to survive a trip through the car wash.

What Are Water-Resistant True Wireless Earbuds?

As mentioned before, water-resistant is the lowest level of water protection. If wireless Bluetooth earbuds are labeled as water-resistant, it means they are constructed in such a way that makes it difficult for water to get inside them.

Water-resistant earbuds are often coated with a very light substance that increases their chance of survival when they come in contact with water. However, take note that water-resistant can only provide water protection to a certain level.

Water-resistant earbuds have a higher chance of survival in conditions where exposure to water is limited. For example, these earbuds can withstand sweat during workouts, and limited precipitation such as rain. They cannot withstand water at great depths or may not survive when submerged in water.

What IP rating tells that your earbuds are water-resistant?

Ratings from IPX1 to IPX8 can survive water. However, for earbuds to be called water-resistant earbuds, the IP rating will be between IPX1 to IPX5. Take note that there is a difference between the levels of water-resistant. What do we mean? IPX1 rated wireless earbuds may not be as resistant to water as the IPX4 rated Bluetooth earbuds.

Let’s take a wireless Bluetooth earbud, for example, the X8 wireless earbuds

X8 wireless earbuds

Even though these earbuds are one of those earbuds that comes with the latest technology and will give you access to your music, it comes with the IP rating of IPX4. Do you know what this means? It means it is water-resistant and sweatproof. You can use it at the gym, during exercise, while cycling, and during your morning runs. However, if you want to blast music during your swimming training session or while having your shower, this is a no go area.

What Are Waterproof Earbuds?

Waterproof is the highest level of protection against water. Bluetooth wireless earbuds are known to be waterproof if they can survive a lot of water in any direction or immersion in water at a particular depth without taking in any amount of water. Waterproof earbuds are suitable for use in many activities such as swimming, diving, camping, snowboarding, cycling, running, and more.

Also, you can use them in the shower. Waterproof TWS earbuds are constructed with materials that will not let water in. Take note that the length of time and depth you can submerge wireless waterproof earbuds in water varies depending on IP rating.

What IP rating tells that your earbuds are waterproof?

Generally, if a pair of earbud can survive immersion in water, it is waterproof. However, from the IP rating table, any wireless Bluetooth earbuds with a rating between IPX6 to IPX8 can be regarded as waterproof earbuds. However, the waterproof level and power can be different: IPX8 waterproof earbuds can withstand water at higher depth and for a longer time than IPX6 waterproof earbuds.

The X8 is a perfect example of the best waterproof TWS Bluetooth earbuds you can find in the market.

These earbuds come with the top technological features such as Bluetooth 5.0 technology, noise cancelation, waterproof round charging case, and more.

On top of that, the waterproof IP rating is IP68. It means it is fully dustproof and fully waterproof. With wireless Bluetooth earbuds having this rating, you can enjoy any outdoor activity without worrying about elements like dust, snow, water, rain, and more.

Does waterproof mean water will not have any effect on your earbuds?

The term “waterproof” usually communicates the idea that waterproof earbuds will never fail when they come in contact with water no matter the situation. This is not true! Don’t get it twisted; waterproof does not mean that your wireless earbuds are impervious to water infinitely. If you submerge waterproof earbuds above the recommended depth and time, they may get damaged.

Also, waterproof does not mean that your wireless Bluetooth earbuds will work perfectly underwater. Even though they might not break if you accidentally drop them in the pool, you may experience some break in connection if you are swimming below 2 meters.

What is the principle of waterproof Earbuds

At present, there are generally two plans and methods for waterproofing earphones. One is structural waterproofing, which is to achieve the tightest and closed waterproof and steam-proof effects through the product shell and structure design. Usually, this method has a higher waterproof level to achieve IPX7 rating. The second type is nano-waterproof, that is, coating waterproofing. The corresponding coating is added to the shell through PECVD/Parylene and other technologies to obtain the thinnest waterproof and anti-corrosive coating.

Technical features of pecvd: 1. Fluorinated polymer type coating. 2. Long-lasting coating, not visible to the naked eye. 3. Flexible coating. 4. Achieve uniform coverage of complex three-dimensional surfaces. 5. The coating penetrates into the core of products with complex shapes (patented process). 6. Super hydrophobic and oleophobic oleophobic performance can reach level 8 (ISO14419-2010 standard).

Nano waterproof coating production process:

  1. The compound formed by the vaporization of gas or liquid is injected into the vacuum chamber.
  2. The high-frequency electromagnetic field triggers the plasma: the compound changes into a reactive monomer.
  3. The reactive monomer polymerizes on the surface of the material or product to form a thin film coating.

Parylene technology is commonly used to prepare Parylene by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The reactants undergo a spatial gas phase chemical reaction under gaseous conditions to directly generate solid materials on the surface of the solid substrate, and then form a coating on the surface of the substrate. A process technology. The preparation process of Parylene film is that the two connected methyl-carbon-carbon bonds of the cyclic dimer are broken at high temperature to generate active p-xylene benzene monomer. When it enters the deposition chamber in the room temperature environment from the high temperature environment , The unstable monomer will polymerize to form a film. The whole preparation process is divided into three steps: vaporization of monomer, cracking, and adhesion and deposition on the surface of the substrate.

Parylene processing process explained

First, in a vacuum environment, the solid tetrachloro-p-xylene ring dimer sublimates into a gaseous state at about 150°C; second, the tetrachloro-p-xylene ring dimer breaks down into a free radical activity at about 650°C 2 , 5-Dichloro-p-dimethylenebenzene; Third, at room temperature (25°C), free 2,5-dichloro-p-xylene benzene is deposited and polymerized on the surface of the solid substrate to form a pinhole-free conformal film.

Parylene film has the characteristics of uniform thickness, compactness without pinholes, transparency and stress-free, excellent electrical insulation and protection. It can be used in the fields of optoelectronic materials, magnetic materials, clothing and cultural relics protection, because of its biological compatibility and biological stability. It can also be used in the medical field. However, it should be noted that Parylene coating has relatively high requirements for the surface of the material, requiring good adhesion and no impurities. Therefore, before coating, the surface of the object must be pretreated to increase the attachment of the coated object. Focus on.

Waterproof technology:

1. Prepare a suitable container, as long as the PCBA is just contained.

2. Pour the appropriate amount of nano-waterproof agent, PCB board into the nano-liquid.

3. Let the PCB board completely immersed in the nano solution, immersion about 3-5 seconds, can be appropriate turnover, to achieve a more complete and more uniform conjunctival effect.

4. The PCB board from the solution, you can find nano-waterproof agent flow hanging droplets smaller.

5. Remove and leave at room temperature on a clean table. The nano-waterproof agent is of nanometer thickness and is almost invisible to the naked eye. The surface of the PCB still looks clean after finishing the coating process. It can dry completely in about 10-15 minutes.

6. Drop or spray water on PCB to observe the super-hydrophobic phenomenon of nano-coating.

7. Can be compared with the traditional three paint surface PCB, done nano waterproof coating PCB surface drops more round, more regular, like lotus leaf effect, water rolling. Water droplets on ordinary PCB surfaces are in sheets.

The cured product can also be subjected to live water testing. Do the effect of nano-waterproof agent is also very obvious, it completely covered in the headphones inside and outside, even if the water dripping directly on the motherboard, will not burn out motherboard. Can also be placed in the water for several hours without water, not damaged, in the water is still normal use, does not affect the signal output and heat, and touch, GPS, handset, microphone, reception and other functions as before processing.

How do factories generally test Waterproof Earbuds

There are two methods to detect the waterproof of TWS earphones, one is to observe whether the product produces air bubble by soaking, and then to judge the waterproof performance of the product The other is to determine the water-resistance of the product by measuring the pressure change of the Compressed air using an airtightness test instrument. The test system looks like this:

The AL600 air tightness detector + AF101 tooling is integrated as shown in the figure below:
  1. Test pressure: 13KPa (simulating the test pressure when the product is at a water depth of 1 meter)
  2. The upper limit of allowable leakage: 0.08KPa (equivalent to 80Pa)
  3. Test data: intake time 2S, stabilization time 1S, test time 3S, exhaust time 2s, the whole test process can be completed in 8 seconds.
  4. After setting the test parameters, you can place the TWS headset in the test mold for testing.

Waterproof vs. Water-resistant true wireless earbuds – Quick Comparison Chart

IPX1 to IPX5 ratingIPX6 to IPX8 rating
Can be used in the gym, during exercise, in limited precipitationCan be used for swimming, in the shower, gym, during exercise, in a high amount of precipitation, and can survive other weather elements
May not survive when submerged in waterCan survive when submerged in water
Water-resistant level varies with the amount of water and timeWaterproof level varies with the depth and time used in water
They cannot withstand a long period of submersion in waterThey can withstand a long period of submersion in water

What If An IP Rating Is Not Provided For The Earbuds?

Even though an IP rating is an indication that your water-resistant or waterproof earbuds are designed to perform in certain wet conditions, some earbuds do not come with IP rating. This does not mean that the earbuds are not resistant to water, but there is no real way to know their level of protection against water. If you see wireless earbuds without IP rating, it means the manufacturer or company does not put up the earbuds for testing and certification.

Wireless Bluetooth earbuds without IP rating can have nano-coating that makes it water-resistant and sweatproof, but they cannot be waterproof except you confirm their certification.

There are some other certifications apart from IP standards that some manufacturers go for to determine how much pressure their wireless earbuds can withstand underwater. You can check the manual to confirm their level of protection against water.

Additionally, many earbuds that don’t come with specific IP rating often come with water repellent nano-coating. With earbuds like this, you will probably be fine with the odd splash of water, light rain, and accidental spills. However, they can’t survive too much of water or being submerged.

What to Consider When Buying Waterproof Wireless Earbuds

So far, you should have known how important IP rating is in determining the level of earbuds protection against water. Before you can accept that the earbuds are waterproof, the manufacturer should be able to show you certifications. When you are checking the IP rating, you should be careful. If you see a hyphen between IP and the two digits or between IPX and the last digit, the rating is invalid/fake.

Finally, when you want to buy a pair of wireless earbuds, you need to consider the activities you want to use them for. It will help you purchase the perfect IP-rated earbuds for you. If you are looking for the best Bluetooth earbuds that are impressively strong, not outrageously overpriced, a good battery life, balanced sound, and highly waterproof with an IP68 rating, go with the X8 true wireless Bluetooth earbuds.

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