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Water Resistance, Water Repellent, and Waterproof: What to know about IP ratings and more

Key Takeaways:

  • The numbers in IP ratings stand for how dustproof and waterproof a product is
  • From lowest to highest the scale of water protection goes as follows: water resistant, water repellent, and waterproof
  • 1-2 on the IP water scale is considered water resistant, 3-4 is considered water repellent, and 5-8 is waterproof

What are IP ratings?

You may see on the technical card, box, or product itself the letters IP with a set of numbers attached. While this may look like useless information, this string of numbers can tell you a lot about how dustproof and waterproof your product is. The letters IP stand for Ingress Protection which means that an IP rating tells you where your product sits on the IP scale for how much it is protected from outside particles. 

Let’s break down an IP rating even more though. Let’s take a look at the first number in the rating, for example, the Nitecore NU50 says its water resistance is IP68. Both the 6 and 8 mean different things. When it comes to the 6 in IP68, this means the NU50 is regarded as dust tight as you can see on our chart. When it comes to water, we look at the second number, in this case, 8. This means that the NU50 is protected against long periods of water immersion under pressure based on the IP chart. So when it comes to knowing how your product stands against water, you should always focus on the second number.

Ingress Protection (IP) Classification

First Number Second Number
IP Protection Provided (Solids) IP Protection Provided (Water)
0 No protection 0 No protection
1 Protected against a solid object greater than 50 mm such as a hand. 1 Protected against vertically falling drops of water (ex: condensation). Limited ingress permitted.
2 Protected against a solid object greater than 12.5 mm such as a finger. 2 Protected against dripping water when tilted up to 15 degrees. Limited ingress permitted.
3 Protected against a solid object greater than 2.5 mm such as a screwdriver. 3 Protected against sprays of water up to 60 degrees. Limited ingress permitted.
4 Protected against a solid object greater than 1 mm such as a wire. 4 Protected against splashing water from all directions. Limited ingress permitted.
5 Protected against dust for two to eight hours. Limited ingress (no harmful deposit). 5 Protected against jets of water. Limited ingress permitted.
6 Dust tight for up to two to eight hours.  6 Protected against powerful jets of water. Limited ingress permitted.
7 Watertight against the effects of immersion in water between 15 cm and 1 m for 30 mins.
8 Proteted against long periods of immersion under pressure.

Rating example: IP65 would mean a product is rated a 6 on protection against solids and a 5 on protection against water.

What do those ratings mean when it comes to my product?

Products that have 5 or up as their last number are all considered waterproof, 3-4 is water repellent, and 1-2 is water resistant. However, these words are more general and vague terms to roughly tell users how much water their product can handle. Using the IP scale though can give you a more accurate and specific way of knowing how much water your product can take and even for how long.

So what’s the difference between water resistance, water repellent, and waterproof?

Water Resistant

When it comes to the differences between water resistant, water repellent, and waterproof, we’ll start with the lowest of the three: water resistant. Water resistance means that a product may be built or have a coating on it that makes it difficult for water to get into the product. This term is found in products such as clothing or watches that can withstand a little bit of water from things like light rain or washing your hands. However, a product that is water resistant would not have a good chance of functioning after being subjected to a lot of water or even submerged.

A picture from a bird's eye view angle of someone wearing a watch that is covered with water. The background shows the person must be standing by a body of water.

Water Repellent

Water repellent is the next step up but it seems many industries vary on what this can mean for their product. Either way, water repellent items are usually made in a way where they have a coating that repels water upon contact, making it hydrophobic. This means a product can take on a good bit of water but wouldn’t be able to handle a strong force of water or be submerged for a long period. Products like these could handle being dropped in a puddle of water or heavy rain.


Waterproof is the highest level of protection your product can get. This means that the product is designed to be impenetrable to water and can be submerged for long periods. You could easily drop this into a pool or lake and it would be fine. As of now, there is no set standard for what waterproof definitively means, which is why companies like to use the IP rating system to give a better definition of how much protection your product has against water.

A picture of a waterproof flashlight submerged in water.

So which Nitecore products are waterproof?

Here we’ve separated all our applicable products with an IP water rating of 8.

Headlamps: NU50, NU40, NU43, HC68, HC65 V2, HC65 M V2, UT32, HC35, HC33, and HC30

Power Banks: NPB1, NPB2, NPB4 

EDC Pocket Flashlight: MH11, MH10S, MH10

Bike Light: BR25 

Lanterns: LR12

Multi-task Series: MT21C, MT06MD, MT10C, and MT1A, MT2A

Explorer Series: E4K and EA41

Hunting Flashlights: P35i, MH40S, P30i, MH25S, P30, CI7, and the SRT7GT

Multi-Color, UV, IR Flashlights: SRT7GT, CI7, GEM10UV, MH27UV, CU6

Tiny Monsters: TM12K, TM20K, TM9K LTP, TM9K TAC, TM39 Lite, TM39, TM28, TM10K  

Tactical Flashlights: SRT7i, SRT6i, P23i, TM12K, MH12SE, P35i, TM20K, TM9K LTP, MH25 V2, TM9K TAC, P10iX, P20iX, P20i UV, MH25S, P10i, P20UV V2, P20i, P10 V2, MH12 V2, MH27UV

Rechargeable Flashlights: MH10 V2, MH12SE, MH25S, MH11, MH10S, MH12 V2, R40 V2, MH25 V2, MH40S, P35i,  MH12SE, SRT6i

While you may notice not all of our products are on this list, after reviewing all our products we found that the lowest IP rating was a 4 while many were between the ratings of 6 and 7. This means that even if you aren’t getting an 8-rated product, you are still purchasing a product that is considered waterproof or water repellent.


In conclusion, terms like water resistant, water repellent, and waterproof can leave customers wondering how much water their product can handle. To avoid that confusion, Nitecore and many other companies use an IP classification system to give their customer a better understanding of how much water their product can take. Not only does this IP classification number represent water, but it also tells the consumer how much dust their product is protected from as well. In the end, products rated on the water IP scale of 5 or higher are considered waterproof, 3-4 is water repellent, and 1-2 is water resistant. 

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