3/5 ATM Water Resistant VS IP68/1P69: What’s The Difference?

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Smartwatches and other electronic devices these days come with water resistance which protects them from water damage. Now the question is: How you can check the water resistance level of your smartwatch or any other device?

What’s the Difference Between ATM and IP Ratings

The companies use IP or ATM Ratings to describe the water resistance level but the main question is: what do these ratings mean and which one is better?

Here is a related article that might interest you on Best 7 Watch Waterproof Testers | Safely Check your Watch’s Water-Resistantency.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll tell you the difference between 3/5 ATM and IP68/1P69 Ratings. Let’s get started.

What’s the Difference Between ATM and IP Ratings?

IP and ATM Ratings are two rating systems that tell you how resistant your smartwatch is to dust and water. In this section, we will take a detailed look over the two ratings and I’ll tell you the major differences between ATM and IP Ratings.

What is ATM Rating?

Let’s start with ATM Rating which is the abbreviation of “Atmospheres” Rating. It’s the rating that basically deals with atmospheric pressure and tells you about the static atmospheric pressure which your device can handle underwater.

It’s the earliest version of the rating system and it’s much older than the IP Rating system which will discuss later in the guide/

Now when it comes to ATM Ratings, they start with 1 ATM and goes up to 20 ATM. If a device has 1 ATM it means that it can’t handle a lot of static atmospheric pressure and you shouldn’t use it underwater.

3 ATM vs 5 ATM: Which One is Better?

If your device has a 3 ATM Rating it means that you can use it underwater for up to 30 meters and it can also handle water splashes and rain.

Similarly, If a device has a 5 ATM Rating, it means that it can handle up to 50 meters of static atmospheric pressure underwater. You can use 5 ATM Rated devices for swimming sessions. Most smartwatches such as Apple Watch, Galaxy Watch, and Fitbit smartwatches come with 5 ATM Water resistance.

If we go higher, some devices can have 10 ATM water resistance which means that they are water resistant up to 100 meters underwater. They are good to use in oceans and other high-velocity water activities such as waterboarding etc. 

Similarly, if a device has a 20 ATM Rating, it can handle static atmospheric pressure up to 200 meters underwater and you can use them for most water activities including jet skiing.

ATM RatingWater-Resistant (Meters)
1 ATM Up to 10 Meters (Not recommended to use underwater)
3 ATM Up to 30 Meters
5 ATM Up to 50 Meters (Water-resistant level of most smartwatches)
10 ATMUp to 100 Meters
20 ATM Up to 200 Meters

What is IP Rating?

IP Rating is the latest rating system and it’s the abbreviation of “Ingress Protection”. It’s a dynamic rating system that tells you the level of protection against liquids and solids. If we look at the IP Rating system, it always has three parts. The first part is the “IP” name, which suggests an IP Rating.

After IP Name, there are two numbers. The first number shows the protection level against solid particles and the second number shows the protection against  Liquids.

IP water resistant Rating

Now the question is how you can know what these numbers mean. It’s very easy and you can easily determine the protection level of your smartwatch or any other electronic device using the below table.

Solid LevelDescriptionLiquid LevelDescription
1Protects the device against particles with a diameter of over 50 mm1Protects the device against vertically dripping water
2Protects the device against the particles with a diameter of 12 mm2Protects the device against dripping water with 15 degrees of angle.
3Protects the device against particles with a diameter of 2.5 mm3Protects the device from rain drops.
4Protects the device against solid particles with a diameter of over 1 mm4Protects the device from water splashes 
5Protects the device against dust but doesn’t completely stop it.4KProtect the device against high-pressure water splashes.
6It’s the highest level of protection against dust particles and it will completely stop dust from getting into your device.5Protects the device against water jets
6Protect the device against powerful water jets
6KProtects the device against high-pressure water jets
7Protects the device against water immersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes
8Protects the device against prolonged immersion up to 1.5 meters for 30 meters
9Protects the device from high-pressure and temperature water jets
9K Protects the device from high-pressure cleaning jets or steam jets

You can use the above table to easily determine the protection level of your device against dust and liquid particles. 

What’s the Difference Between IP68 and IP69 Ratings?

These are two of the highest ratings which a device can have in 2023. If your device has an IP rating of IP68 it means that the device is completely dust-proof and you can immerse it underwater for up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes. The devices with IP68 ratings can be used when

Similarly If your device has a rating of IP69, it means that it has the highest rating in the IP System and it’s well protected against dust and almost full-resistant to water including rainwater, sweat, and high-pressure water jets.

5 ATM vs IP68 Rating: Which One is Better?

5 ATM and IP68 are two of the highest ratings in their respective systems and both are really good. However, if I evaluate them in terms of overall protection against water, 5ATM is better than the IP68 Rating because it provides complete water resistance up to 50 meters.

Many modern smartwatches these days are tested for both rating systems and many of them have both ratings. For Example, Galaxy Watches are rated for both IP68 and 5 ATM.

Can I Shower With IP68 Rated Smartwatch?

Yes, if your smartwatch has a rating of IP68 it means that it’s protected against dust and water jets. So, you can surely keep wearing it while showering.

However, if you intend to shampoo or use soap, I’d not recommend wearing your smartwatch because the chemicals in these products can damage the ability of your smartwatch to resist water.

What Does IP6X Rating Mean?

If a device has IP6X Rating, it means that the device is completely protected against dust ingression. Many smartwatches especially Apple Watch Series 7, Apple Watch Series 8, and newer versions come with a 1P6X Rating which means that they are fully dust resistant.

What Is The Water Resistance Rating Of The Apple Watch Ultra?

Apple Watch Ultra is a top-of-the-line smartwatch by Apple that can handle water up to 100 meters underwater. Interestingly, Apple doesn’t mention a 10 ATM Rating on its site which probably means that the company hasn’t tested the smartwatch against ATM Standard. 

Instead, Apple Watch Ultra is tested under ISO Standard 22810:2010. It’s the standard that provides testing methods that are used to verify the water resistance of watches.

How Reliable are IP and ATM Ratings?

IP and ATM Ratings are two widely accepted rating systems that give consumers peace of mind that their devices are protected against water and dust. However, you shouldn’t fully rely on them because various factors can damage the ability of your device to resist water and dust. 

In this section, I’ll share some useful tips which you can use to ensure that your smartwatches, smartphones, and other electronic devices are well-protected.

  1. Make sure that you shouldn’t wear your smartwatch when you are showering especially when you are using shampoo or soap because the chemicals in these products can damage the water-resistance seal of your device.
  2. Keep your smartwatch and smartphone away from salt water because it can also damage your device’s ability to resist water.
  3. If your smartwatch or smartphone has gone dirty, use fresh tap water to wash it, and don’t use any soap or shampoo to clean it.
  4. Don’t expose your smartphone to extreme temperature environments such as a sauna or high heat.

Conclusion

That’s all guys. In this guide, I shared the complete details of IP and ATM Rating systems which will give you an idea about how protected your devices are against solids and liquids.

I also shared some useful and effective tips which you use to take care of your water-resistant devices. I hope that you found the guide useful and if you liked it, please do share it with your friends.

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