If you’re just looking for an answer to the question from the title, the answer is NO. IPX0 doesn’t offer any special protection against water ingress.
If you want to find out more about IP and IPX ratings in general, about the difference between X and 0 in an IP rating, or about water-resistant and waterproof audio equipment, keep reading, and you will learn a few new things today.
What Does an IP/IPX Rating Tell Us?
To simplify things, an IP rating is an indicator of dustproofness and waterproofness. More precisely, it tells us the level of protection against the ingress of solid objects (or dust) and the ingress of water.
The levels of protection are defined by the IEC, which stands for International Electrotechnical Commission. All the ratings are listed in the IEC 60529 international standard.
Besides the IEC’s standard, you also have the ISO standard (ISO 20653) that deals with ingress protection. All the ingress protection levels recognized by the IEC are also recognized by the ISO.
The only difference is that the ISO standard recognizes two IP ratings that are not recognized by the IEC – IPX6K and IPX9K.
IP and IPX ratings give us information on how we can use a certain device and what we can do with it.
Can you use a device in water or underwater? Can you use it in the shower? Can you use it in the gym or when it’s raining? If you know what each rating means, you will have the answers to all these questions, and you will know what to look for.
What Do the Letters and Digits in an IP/IPX Rating Mean?
IP ratings usually consist of two letters and two digits (or a letter and a digit). Rarely, you will see a third letter following the numbers.
IP/IPX Ratings Explained
The first two letters, IP, stand for Ingress Protection.
The first number after the IP abbreviation represents the protection against the ingress of solid matter or dust. It’s measured on a scale from 0 to 6. Zero stands for no protection, while 6 stands for dustproof.
If a device was not tested for dust ingress, you will see a letter X behind the IP. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a device offers no protection against the ingress of solids.
The second number after the IP represents the level of protection against water ingress. It’s measured on a scale from 0 to 9.
Level 4 is considered splash-proof, levels 5 and 6 are considered water-resistant, and levels 7 and 8 are given to waterproof devices. For each level, there’s a strictly defined test. If a device passes the test, it gets a certain rating.
Water ingress protection ratings beyond IPX6 are not cumulative. This means an IPX7 waterproof device is not necessarily resistant to water jets. If a manufacturer wants to add an IPX5 or IPX6 rating to its IPX7 waterproof device, the device has to pass an IPX5 or IPX6 test, in addition to the IPX7 test.
If a device is not tested for water ingress protection, you will see the letter X instead of a digit. If a device doesn’t offer any protection, it will receive a rating of zero (0).
Two digits (or a digit and a letter) are sometimes followed by an additional letter. This letter gives some supplementary information about testing conditions or resistance to other substances.
What Does IPX0 Mean?
IPX0 rating is given to a device that can’t even pass the IPX1 water ingress protection test. As mentioned before, it means that a device doesn’t offer any protection against water ingress.
IPX1 test is also known as the dripping water test. To get this rating, a device has to remain fully functional after the 10min-long IPX1 test. During this test, water is dripping vertically, and the amount of water is equivalent to 1mm rainfall.
If a device can’t pass the IPX1 test, it’s only natural to assume you shouldn’t expect any protection against water ingress. That’s why the device is given an IPX0 rating.
IPX1 Dripping Water Test
All the other tests (IPX2-IPX9) are harder to pass – they require devices to withstand greater amounts of water, higher pressure, and even submersion.
Is X the Same as 0 in an IP Rating?
No, it’s not. Letter X in an IP rating doesn’t mean the same thing as zero. For example, in an IPX0 rating, X means the device was not tested. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a device doesn’t offer any protection against the ingress of solid objects.
For example, if a device has tiny 1mm perforations on the top, it will not pass the IPX1 test, but it will get at least an IP30 rating.
The third level of protection against the ingress of solid objects indicates that a device is protected against the ingress of solid objects greater than 2.5mm. It’s not much, but it’s still something.
Here’s another example. An IPX7 device is considered waterproof and can be submerged in water. Such a device certainly doesn’t have perforations allowing water to enter.
So, it would probably pass one of the highest solid object ingress tests. The device may not be dust-tight (IP67), but it will probably pass the IP57 test (dust-protected and waterproof).
What Can You Do with an IPX0 Device?
You can do anything you want as long as the device stays away from water, rain, or sweat. Many devices don’t have an IP rating and wouldn’t pass an IP test.
The key here is to follow the instructions given in the manual. If a device is given an IPX0 rating, you know the device is not meant to get in contact with water.
Is IPX0 Acceptable for Audio Equipment?
When it comes to audio equipment, lots of devices are not meant for outdoor use and are not IP-certified. Most of them wouldn’t pass the easiest water ingress test and would probably receive an IPX0 rating. But they can all last for years if you use them properly.
So yes, IPX0 is perfectly acceptable for audio equipment if the equipment is used as intended.
If you’re buying a stereo amplifier or an AV receiver, you won’t be looking for an IP rating. The same applies to audiophile headphones or speakers. Or home theater systems. An IP rating is not a priority when looking for this equipment.
If you, on the other hand, are looking for an outdoor speaker, headphones for swimming, or earbuds for the gym, some level of water ingress protection is definitely recommended. IPX0 is not enough for these use scenarios.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Question: What Does IPX8 waterproof mean?
- Answer: It means that a device is suitable for continuous immersion in water. It can be used for swimming and some underwater activities (up to a certain depth). A device with an IPX8 rating passed a submersion test. During this test, the device is submerged in water (1-3m depth) for more than 30mins. The exact duration and depth are defined by the manufacturer.
- Question: What is IPX7 waterproof?
- Answer: A device with an IPX7 rating is submersible in water of up to 1m depth for 30mins or less. Such a device is suitable for temporary immersion in water.
- Question: Is IPX4 waterproof?
- Answer: No, IPX4 is considered splash-proof. An IPX4 device will not be damaged by water splashes coming from any direction. However, an IPX4 device is not submersible in water (not waterproof) and may not withstand water jets. IPX4 devices are good enough for workouts and gym use. In most cases, they are also good enough for use in the shower.
- Question: Which is better – IPX4 or IPX7?
- Answer: IPX7 (waterproof) is better than IPX4 (splash-proof). While IPX7 doesn’t necessarily offer protection against water jets or even water splashes, an IPX7 device should be able to survive harsher conditions than an IPX4 device.
- Question: Can you swim with IPX8 waterproof headphones?
- Answer: Yes, IPX8 waterproof headphones are suitable for swimming. However, the IPX rating is not the only thing to consider when buying swimming headphones. Since you want to use them for swimming, you are probably looking for something wireless. Now, when it comes to wireless, you can opt for Bluetooth or headphones with built-in storage. Don’t go for Bluetooth! Bluetooth doesn’t do well in water. While the max Bluetooth range through the air is 30ft, it’s much shorter through the water. So, your best option are IPX8 wireless headphones with built-in storage.
- Question: Is IPX8 better than IP68?
- Answer: Technically, IP68 is better than IPX8. An IP68 device is dustproof and waterproof. An IPX8 is waterproof, but it wasn’t tested for dust ingress. A device with an IPX8 rating probably provides some level of protection against dust ingress (most probably 5 or 6), but it’s not tested, so it’s only safe to assume that an IP68 device provides better protection than an IPX8 device.
- Question: What is the lowest IPX rating?
- Answer: The lowest IPX rating that offers some kind of protection against the ingress of water is IPX1. The lowest IPX rating recognized by the IEC is IPX0, which means that a device was tested for IPX1 and didn’t pass the test.
To sum things up, the IPX0 rating doesn’t offer any protection against water ingress. This is not necessarily a bad thing.
If a device is meant for indoor use only, IP rating should not be your priority. If such a device has an IPX0 rating, it’s just an indication that you should be extra careful with it.
However, if a device is meant for outdoor use and has an IPX0 rating, that’s not good. For outdoor use, you need a significantly higher IPX rating. In my experience, you should be looking for IPX4, at least.