Waterproof standards explained
The level of water-resistance on a phone can be found by checking its IP rating (International Protection Rating or Ingress Protection Standard), which is usually written in their description or list of specifications.
The IP rating is composed of two numbers, with each number dictating a certain level of resistance against water submersion. The first digit is almost always six, which means the phone is protected against dust. The second digit indicates the level of protection the phone has against water. The higher the number, the more resistant the model is.
- IP66 - protects against powerful water jets
- IP67 - protects against submersion up to one metre of water
- IP68 - protects against submersion between one and three metres of water
- IP69 - protects against hot, powerful jets
IP68 is the most common rating on modern phones, which generally indicates that the device can be submerged under water for up to 30 minutes before being damaged irreparably.
Although some phones are classified as waterproof, manufacturers still don’t recommend submerging your electronics! If your phone does end up in water and isn’t waterproof, here’s what you can do to try and save it.
Best Waterproof Phones
Samsung is one of the leading manufacturers in electronics, so it’s no surprise that they’ve already produced some waterproof models.
- Samsung S21 Ultra 5G - one of the newest smartphones on the market right now, the S21 Ultra 5G has a waterproof rating of IP68, huge 6.8 inch display screen, powerful quad cameras, a large 5,000mAh battery life, and S Pen compatibility
- Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G - a late 2020 release, the Note20 Ultra has an IP68 rating, largest screen size at 6.9 inches (almost tablet territory!), triple rear cameras, a 4,500mAh battery, and S Pen compatibility
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G - this powerful model has an IP68 rating, 6.9 inch screen perfect for films and gaming, impressive quad cameras, and a 5,000mAh battery
- Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G - a 2019 release that still packs a punch with an IP68 rating, a 6.8 inch screen, triple rear cameras, a 4,300mAh battery capacity, and S Pen compatibility
- Samsung Galaxy S10 5G - this phone has a higher waterproof rating at IP69, and also boasts a 6.7 inch display, triple cameras, and a 4,500mAh battery
Apple have been championing waterproof phones for a while now, with a large number of modern iPhones featuring some level of protection.
- iPhone 12 Pro - the iPhone 12s are the most recent Apple release as of Autumn 2020, and are all waterproof. The Pro, alongside having an IP68 rating, also offers a 6.1 inch display, triple rear 12MP cameras, 2,815mAh battery, MagSafe, and 5G compatibility
- iPhone 12 Pro Max - another IP68 rating, but this model is the largest of the 12 bunch, with a 6.7 inch screen. The Max has the same triple cameras, but sports the second highest battery capacity at 3,687mAh. Additional features include MagSafe and 5G compatibility
- iPhone 11 Pro - the 11 series from 2019 still have a lot to offer an Apple fanatic, with the Pro having an IP68 rating, 5.8 inch screen, triple 12MP cameras, and a 3,046mAh battery
- iPhone 11 Pro Max - larger at 6.5 inches, this IP68 rated model has the highest battery capacity of all iPhones with 3,969mAh. It also has the standard triple 12MP cameras and fast 4G technology
- iPhone XS Max - a 2018 release from the iPhone X family, the XS Max has an IP68 waterproof rating, a 6.5 inch display, dual rear cameras, and a 3,174mAh battery
- Huawei P40 Pro - with the common IP68 rating, the P40 Pro also has a slew of features alongside its 6.58 inch screen like its quad rear cameras, dual front camera, a 4,200mAh battery, and 5G compatibility
- Huawei P40 Pro Plus - this model shares the same display size, IP68 rating, quad rear cameras for the avid photographer, dual front cameras, a 4,200mAh battery, and 5G data
- Huawei Mate40 Pro - this 6.76 inch screen, 5G, powerful quad camera, and 4,400mAh battery phone has an IP68 waterproof rating
Introduced in 2013, Google have released three families of Pixel phones: the 3 range, 4 range, and 5. The 3s don’t have an IP rating, but most of the Pixel 4 range and the 5 do.
- Google Pixel 5 - the most recent release launched on Android 11, the Pixel 5 has a 6 inch flexible display, dual rear cameras, a 4,080mAh battery capacity, unlimited storage with Google Photos, 5G, and an IP68 waterproof rating
- Google Pixel 4XL - another IP68 rating, the 4XL boasts a 6.3 inch display, 3,700mAh battery capacity, unlimited storage with Google Photos, dual rear cameras at 16MP and 12.2MP, Qi charging, and 4G
- Google Pixel 4a with 5G - the 5G addition shares the same IP68 water-resistant rating and dual rear camera megapixels, but has a slightly smaller screen at 6.2 inches and the second highest battery capacity at 3,885mAh
Hammer phones are some of the most durable models on the market, with many having a military standard certificate proving they can withstand drops, as well as waterproofing.
- Hammer Explorer - the Explorer is the best model currently, with a portable 5.7 inch screen, sony rear camera, long-lasting 5,000mAh battery, 4G compatibility, and an impressive IP69 water-resistant rating as well as a MIL-STD 810 military certificate
- Hammer Energy 18 x 9 - this model is IP68 water-resistant and IK08 drop-resistant (with added magnesium frames), with a 5.7 inch screen, 5,000mAh battery capacity, 4G data, and NFC-enabled for contactless payments
- Hammer Energy - a budget phone which can be found for £200, this 5 inch phone has a single 8MP rear camera, 2MP front lens, huge 5,000mAh battery, expandable memory, 4G, and an IP68 rating
Nokia remains one of the most classic phone manufacturers of our time, leading the way with the flip phone craze that dominated the early 2000s.
- Nokia 9 PureView - with a 5.99 inch display, penta (five) rear cameras, and a 3,320mAh battery, this Nokia model definitely strays from the old-fashioned look of the introductory models. It’s also IP67 water and dust resistant, which means the model can be submerged up to one metre for a maximum of 30 minutes
- Nokia 8 Sirocco - another IP67 certified model, this phone has a dual rear camera, a nicely-sized 5.5 inch display, 3,260mAh battery capacity, and Qi wireless charging to get it back up to speed in no time
Sony are well-known for producing waterproof phones, with many of their flagships boasting water and dust-resistant capabilities without spoiling their sleek designs.
- Sony Xperia 1 II - this Sony flagship has an IP68 rating and a 3.5mm headphone jack, which aren’t usually put together due to the complexity of keeping water out of the headphone It also has a 6.5 inch display, 4,000mAh battery, triple rear cameras, and 4G technology
- Sony Xperia 5 II - similar in its specs to the 1 II, the Xperia 5 II has a 4,000mAh battery, triple rear cameras, speedy processor, and IP68 waterproof rating. It has a slightly smaller display at 6.1 inches, and is offered at a cheaper price
- Sony Xperia 5 - with an IP rating of IP65/68, the Xperia 5 protects against damage from spray jets as well as immersion up to one metre. Long and slim with a 6.1 inch screen, triple 12MP rear cameras, a 3,140mAh battery, and Bluetooth 5.0 for wireless listening rather than the 3.5mm jack
Best Waterproof Phone Cases
If your phone isn’t waterproof, you may want to invest in a waterproof case for protection purposes. Though an external case will only go so far in protecting your phone against water damage, it’s better than no security at all. And if you do have a waterproof phone, then adding a waterproof case as well will simply increase your chances whilst in rain or underwater.
- Ounne iPhone Waterproof Case - IP68 rating, with the ability to withstand up to six feet of water. It’s also shock-resistant and can support your phone from damage during a fall of up to 6.5 feet
- Kona Submariner Waterproof Phone Case - this case can withstand up to 100 feet of water, but only fits smartphones under 6.3 inches in length, so some of the larger 6.5 inch and above screens will have to skip this one
- Joto Universal Waterproof Case - allowing for phones up to six inches in size, this case has an IPX8 rating, which means it can protect your device against 100 feet of water for a maximum of 30 minutes
- Punkcase Galaxy S8 Plus Waterproof Case - if you don’t want all the bulk that’s usually added to waterproof cases, this one is ideal. More specifically designed for Samsung phones, the IP68 rating protects your model from water damage up to 6.6 feet
- Vanksy Floatable Waterproof Phone Case - capable of fitting iPhones and Android phones up to 5.7 inches in size, this IP68 case allows for full touchscreen ability whilst your phone is secured inside. With an external audio jack as well, the Vanksy case lets you do more while keeping your phone protected up to 100 feet of water
Waterproof phone pouches
If you’re doing any sort of water-based activity, like swimming, kayaking, or canoeing, you might want to consider picking up a waterproof phone pouch as well as, or instead of, a case.
These pouches look like little bags that completely seal your phone away from water, providing the largest level of protection against damage. They’re usually translucent, meaning you can still see and use your phone while it’s inside. They also normally float and are attachable to your body via a strap, so you can safely take your phone into the water without the fear of losing it.
It’s not just water that can damage your phone - find out what extreme temperatures can do to your electronic devices if you’re not careful.
Do you have a waterproof phone? Let us know on Twitter.