You’ve found a great set of speakers for your pool. They say that they’re “waterproof.” Perfect.
You take those speakers home. You’re excited to use them out by the pool. You get into the water and a light splash hits the speaker. You nervously look to see what will happen, but the music is still flowing.
Great. Then the kids come running over and kick the speaker into the pool. Once submerged, the music sputters and then quits.
Now you’re the proud owner of a dead pool speaker that won’t be covered by the warranty. Why? Because “waterproof” isn’t the same as waterproof.
Why the IPX Rating on a Waterproof Speaker Is So Important
Technologies are given an IPX rating that describes how waterproof the item happens to be. Rating numbers are assigned, from 0-8, to let you know what the speakers can do and what they shouldn’t be doing.
Here is a breakdown of what those IPX ratings mean when you see them in the product description or item packaging.
IPX0: A speaker with this rating has no water resistance. Any water exposure provides the potential of damaging the item beyond repair.
IPX1: This speaker can withstand a few drops of water, but nothing else.
IPX2: This rating is the same as IPX1, but allows the speaker to have minimal water-resistance up to a 15-degree tilt.
IPX3: This rating is still the same as IPX1, but allows the speaker to have minimal water-resistance up to a 60-degree tilt.
If a waterproof speaker says it cannot be submerged, then it likely has an IPX3 rating.
IPX4: This rating provides resistance to “prolonged splashing.” It won’t survive being submerged for any length of time, but a splash from the pool won’t kill it.
IPX5: This rating is the same as IPX4, but allows for a stream of water to encounter the device. These speakers can withstand higher water pressures, but only for a short period of time. It cannot be submerged.
IPX6: This is still the same rating as IPX4, but additional water pressure can be added. If an IPX5 device can stop the spray from a water gun, this rating can stop the spray from a pressure washer. It cannot be submerged.
IPX7: This is the first rating that allows for the pool speaker to be submerged. The rating allows for submersion of up to 1 meter (3 feet) for a specific time, usually 30 minutes. That assumes there are no flaws in the craftsmanship or materials used to create the device, however, so randomly testing this rating isn’t usually a good idea.
IPX8: This protection rating allows for a pool speaker to be submerged to depths beyond 1 meter. There is not usually a final depth rating, however, so some pool speakers might fail at 4 feet and others might fail at 20 feet. Check with the manufacturer if they have an assigned maximum depth level that their warranty will cover.
Do you want a pool speaker that can survive some occasional splashing? Or do you need something that can handle being fully submerged? Look for these ratings and you’ll know what to expect from your new speakers.