Are Smartwatches Waterproof ? Updated Deep-dive May 2024

Smartwatches have evolved from mere timekeepers to multifunctional devices that integrate seamlessly with our daily lives. One of the frequently asked questions about these gadgets is: Are smartwatches waterproof? This article delves deep into this topic, exploring the nuances of waterproofing, its importance, and how different smartwatch brands measure up.

Understanding Waterproofing in Smartwatches

What Does Waterproof Mean?

When we say a smartwatch is waterproof, it typically means the device can withstand water to a certain degree. However, the term "waterproof" can be misleading. In the world of electronics, "water-resistant" is a more accurate term. Water-resistant smartwatches can handle exposure to water but only to specific limits defined by their manufacturers.

IP Ratings and ATM Ratings Explained

Water resistance in smartwatches is measured using IP (Ingress Protection) ratings or ATM (Atmospheres) ratings. These ratings give consumers a clear understanding of the level of protection their devices have against water and dust.

  • IP Ratings: An IP rating consists of two numbers. The first number indicates the level of protection against solid particles like dust (on a scale from 0 to 6), and the second number indicates the level of protection against liquids (on a scale from 0 to 9). For example, an IP68 rating means the device is dust-tight and can withstand continuous immersion in water.
  • ATM Ratings: ATM ratings are commonly used in the watch industry to indicate water resistance. An ATM rating refers to the number of "atmospheres" of pressure the watch can withstand. For instance, a 5 ATM rating means the watch can handle pressures equivalent to being 50 meters underwater.

Common Ratings in Popular Smartwatches

  • Apple Watch: The latest Apple Watch models come with a water resistance rating of 50 meters under ISO standard 22810:2010, making them suitable for shallow-water activities like swimming in a pool or ocean.

  • Samsung Galaxy Watch: The Galaxy Watch series boasts an IP68 rating and is also rated for 5 ATM water resistance, allowing for swimming and other water activities.

  • Garmin Watches: Many Garmin smartwatches are rated for 5 ATM or higher, catering to athletes and adventurers who require robust water resistance.

The Importance of Waterproofing in Smartwatches

Daily Usage and Accidental Exposure

Waterproofing provides peace of mind for everyday activities. Whether you're washing your hands, caught in the rain, or sweating during an intense workout, knowing your smartwatch can handle such situations without damage is crucial.

Swimming and Fitness Tracking

For fitness enthusiasts, waterproofing is indispensable. Many smartwatches offer swim tracking features, requiring devices to function accurately underwater. These watches can track laps, strokes, and even heart rate, providing comprehensive data for swimmers.

Durability and Longevity

Water-resistant smartwatches generally have better durability. They are designed to withstand harsh conditions, making them suitable for outdoor adventures, hikes, and other rigorous activities. This durability translates to a longer lifespan for the device, providing better value for money.

How to Care for Your Waterproof Smartwatch

Rinse After Exposure to Chlorine or Saltwater

While smartwatches are designed to resist water, prolonged exposure to chlorine or saltwater can degrade seals and materials over time. It’s advisable to rinse your smartwatch with fresh water after swimming in a pool or the ocean to remove any residue.

Avoid Pressing Buttons Underwater

Even if your smartwatch is water-resistant, pressing buttons underwater can compromise its seals and allow water ingress. Use touchscreen functions or dedicated swimming modes that do not require button presses when the watch is submerged.

Regular Maintenance and Checks

To maintain the water resistance of your smartwatch, it’s essential to follow manufacturer guidelines. Regular checks for wear and tear, particularly on seals and gaskets, can prevent water damage. If you notice any cracks or damage, it’s best to get it repaired by an authorized service center.

Are All Smartwatches Waterproof?

Budget Smartwatches and Water Resistance

Not all smartwatches come with the same level of water resistance. Budget smartwatches may offer minimal or no water resistance. It’s vital to check the specifications of the device before exposing it to water.

Hybrid Smartwatches

Hybrid smartwatches, which combine traditional watch features with limited smart functionalities, often come with varying degrees of water resistance. While some models may be suitable for swimming, others might only handle minor splashes.

Luxury Smartwatches

Luxury smartwatch brands like TAG Heuer or Montblanc often offer high levels of water resistance, combining traditional watchmaking expertise with modern technology. These watches are built to withstand substantial water exposure while maintaining a high-end aesthetic.

Future Trends in Smartwatch Waterproofing

Advancements in Material Science

The future of smartwatch waterproofing lies in advanced materials and nanotechnology. Researchers are developing coatings that repel water and improve the durability of electronic devices. These innovations promise to make future smartwatches even more resistant to water and other elements.

Enhanced Fitness and Health Tracking

As smartwatches evolve, their health and fitness tracking capabilities are expected to become more sophisticated. This includes better swim tracking, more accurate underwater heart rate monitoring, and the ability to withstand deeper and longer immersions.

Integration with Smart Fabrics

The integration of smartwatches with smart fabrics and wearable technology could also revolutionize how we perceive water resistance. Imagine a smartwatch that seamlessly integrates with your swimwear, providing real-time data without the bulk of a traditional device.


Water resistance is a critical feature in modern smartwatches, providing convenience, durability, and advanced functionality for users. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast, a casual user, or someone who enjoys outdoor adventures, understanding the water resistance capabilities of your smartwatch ensures you can make the most of its features without worrying about water damage.

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