Water is an amazing substance, it is a part of us and we need it to survive, however, circuits, chipsets, and other delicate pieces of technology sure don’t like it too much. These days we have all the important data, photos, payment methods, and more on our phones, and we really can’t afford to lose all that due to our phones being in contact with water.
In the past, water-resistant phones looked extra heavy-duty, however, over the years technology evolved to the point, where these days you can get the latest, most sleek, most high-performing smartphone that is also waterproof.
Sure there are still waterproof flip phones available to those who prefer simplicity, but an average user prefers a smartphone with all its latest functions. As such, we decided to focus on the best waterproof phones herein and we will present you with 8 top waterproof cell phones later on.
However, first, we must cover some terms and aspects that will give you a much better understanding of waterproof phones.
What is the IP Rating For Waterproof Cell Phones
What phones are waterproof? Is my phone waterproof? These and similar questions may be running through your brain right now. Well, don’t worry, we will give you the answers very soon.
There is a special IP rating set in place that helps determine a phone’s ability to resist water or its waterproof ability. Phones’ IP rating is listed in their manual but can also be found online; sites like GSM Arena are a good place to obtain a phone’s specs, including IP rating.
The Ingress Protection (IP) rating is basically a two-digit number that determines how good a phone is at withstanding dust and water in that particular order; the first digit corresponds to dust resistance and the second one to water/moisture resistance. The scale for solid particle resistance (dirt, dust) goes from 1 to 6, 6 standing for the most resistant, while the moisture resistance goes from 1 to 9, 9 being the highest level of water resistance.
Putting the two digits together, you now know that IP69 would represent the highest level of both dust and water resistance aspects. Each rating level represents a specific set of tests (e.g.: water jets, immersion up to 1m, immersion beyond 1m, etc.). For all of you interested in more detail, there is a full list of resistance levels and their corresponding meaning below.
NOTE: Most water-resistance testing is performed in freshwater. Salt/seawater is a whole other story, and most manufacturers don’t test for it. However, the physics behind the waterproof ability lies in phone’s ability to resist pressure, and is that aspect salt water isn’t any different than freshwater. Just make sure to rinse your phone with fresh water when you use it in salty water.
NOTE 2: Phones with even the highest IP rating aren’t intended to be intentionally used in water. Their water-resistance ability is there to protect them in case of accidental water contact. Moreover, their ability to resist water and dust may weaken if they were exposed to harsh conditions often.
Hard-particle Resistance Levels Explained:
|Level||Object size it protects against||Effective against|
|0||Not protected||No protection against solid objects|
|1||> 50-millimeter||Protection against large surfaces like the back of the hand|
|2||> 12.5-millimeter||Protection against finger-sized objects|
|3||> 2.5-millimeter||Protection against thick wires and like objects|
|4||> 1-millimeter||Protection against wires, screws, etc.|
|5||Dust protected||Some protection against dust and complete protection against contact|
|6||Dust-tight||Complete protection against dust and contact|
Moisture Resistance Level Explained:
|Level||Object size it protects against||Effective against|
|1||Dripping water||Protection against 10 minutes of dripping water|
|2||Dripping water when tilted up to 15 degrees||Protection against 10 minutes of dripping water when tilted 15 degrees from the normal position|
|3||Spraying water||Protection against 5 minutes of spraying water at any angle up to 60 degrees from the vertical|
|4||Splashing water||Protection against 5 minutes of splashing water|
|5||Water jets||Protected against at least 3 minutes of water spraying from a 6.3-millimeter nozzle from any direction|
|6||Powerful water jets||Protection against at least 3 minutes of water spraying from a powerful nozzle (12.5-millimeter) from any direction|
|7||Immersion up to 1-meter||Protection against 30 minutes of water up to 1 meter of submersion|
|8||Immersion beyond 1-meter||Protection against continuous immersion in water up to depth specified by the manufacturer|
|9||High-pressure, close-range jets||Protection against continuous high-pressure, close-range jets of water from any direction — including high-temperature steam jets|
Buying Guide For Waterproof Cell Phones
As we promised, we will take a closer look at our list of best waterproof phones in a minute, however, we want to provide you with the information you need to be able to purchase a solid waterproof phone on your own. This section will serve you as a buying guide for waterproof cell phones and will help all of you who decide to look beyond the list of top waterproof phones provided in the upcoming section.
- Don’t make waterproof your #1 priority – having a waterproof phone is very handy and practical, however, it is important that your phone packs all other functions that you need. Pay attention to display size, RAM, internal storage, camera specs, battery life, and others to ensure that you get a phone that will enable you to perform the task you need it to.
- Choose the right level of water-resistance – now you know all about the IP rating; MAKE SURE TO CONSIDER IT. Know what you plan on using your phone for. Do you want it to be resistant to water splashes, or do you want it to survive swimming with it in your pocket? If you want the latter, you must aim for IP68 or IP69.
- Brands & Budget – If water resistance is one of your main concerns and you have a limited budget, make sure to look at less popular brands. All top brands will charge you quite a lot for their phones that offer the highest level of waterproof ability. However, perhaps you have a specific brand in mind. Do you want a Samsung waterproof phone or a waterproof iPhone?
- Flip phone vs. smartphone – decide if you want simplicity and additional compactness or all you interested in having all the latest connectivity options and apps available on your phone. There are smartphones and flip phones with maximum waterproof ratings available, however, a flip phone is always slightly more compact.
- Design – Do you care how your phone looks? Do you want it to be as modern as possible? Super thin? Would you mind your phone being extra-rugged?
Make sure to go through the above point before purchasing waterproof cell phones. Answering the questions above will help you determine the type of phone you really want. Only with those answers in mind, will you be able to make the best purchase.
Top Waterproof Cell Phones
We finally got to the section, where we will present you with our list of 8 top waterproof cell phone options, currently available on the market. Our selection is as diverse as possible; it includes 7 different brands. All phones listed below are high-end smartphones, capable of performing the most advanced tasks. Thus, they are also at a higher price level, so keep that in mind if you decide to stick to the list below for your next waterproof cell phone purchase.
1. iPhone 11, 11 Pro & 11 Pro Max
If you are an iPhone fan or just someone who is looking for the highest quality smartphone with waterproof capabilities that operate on iOS, then iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max are your best options.
All three models represent the best and the latest that the iPhone has to offer. And yes, they all have an IP score of IP68. iPhone 11 can survive up to 2m for 30 mins, while Pro and Pro Max are able to survive up to 4m for 30 mins.
iPhone 11 is the most “affordable” of the three and can be your for $699, while the 11 Pro Max currently goes for $1099. All three pack the same state-of-the-art Apple A13 Bionic (7 nm+) chipset and run on iOS 13 (upgradable to iOS 13.4). They also have the same Hexa-core (2×2.65 GHz Lightning + 4×1.8 GHz Thunder) processor.
Their main difference is size, camera capabilities, and battery capacity. iPhone 11 has a 6.1” display (with lower resolution), iPhone 11 Pro has a 5.8” display, and iPhone 11 Pro Max has a 6.5” display. The iPhone 11 Pro Max has the best battery, which can last up to 20h for multimedia and 80h for music playing. Essentially, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max pack the same features in two different sizes, while iPhone 11 comes with slightly less capable performances and a size right about in the middle.
When it comes to water resistance, none of the three models won’t let you down.
2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Note 10 Plus &S10e
This trio is for all Samsung and Android fans. Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Note 10 Plus and S10e, are all highly capable smartphones, with Galaxy Note 10 Plus being arguably the best that Samsung currently has to offer. The Galaxy S10e, is a slightly more affordable option, with the ‘e’ standing for ‘essential’.
As far as the water resistance goes, all of the three models earned the IP68 score and can handle the same conditions. They can all survive up to 30mins in up to 1.5m of water.
Samsung Galaxy S10e is the most “affordable” among the three models. It does, however, still pack some very impressive features, including the Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame, the Dynamic AMOLED capacitive 5.8” touchscreen (16M colors) with 1080 x 2280 pixels resolution, powerful dual camera (12MP and 16MP), fingerprint scan (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, and barometer.
The Note 10 models have slightly more powerful processors and even more advanced rear cameras. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus offer a huge 6.8” display, while Note 10 comes with a 6.3” one. The Note Plus also has the most powerful 4300mAh battery with the fastest 45W fast charging. They are all equipped with the Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging capability.
You can see that the best Samsung waterproof phone slightly falls behind the best iPhone, however, they all pack IP68 rating, which should cover all your water resistance needs.
3. Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL
Are you a Google fan? Well, who better to make the Android phones than Google themselves, right? Samsung and iPhone still seem to outperform Google’s flagship smartphone, however, they offer some amazing options.
We chose Pixel 4 and 4 XL to cover those of you who prefer small displays on one hand and those of you who love large screens on the other.
Both Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL come with the IP68 dust/water resistant rating. They match the above Samsung phone’s results. Both Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL can survive up to 30 mins in up to 1.5m deep water.
Both models are high-performing smartphones, capable of conquering all most advanced multitasking. They are both powered by a powerful Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855 (7 nm) chipset and Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 485 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 485 & 4×1.78 GHz Kryo 485) processor. They also both have 6GB of RAM, and dual 12.2MP and 16MP rear cameras. Both sets also offer many extra features, including Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, and barometer.
Essentially, the only noticeable difference between the two models lies in their sizes, display resolutions, and battery capacity. The Pixel 4 comes with a 5.7” display with a 1080 x 2280 pixels resolution and Li-Po 2800 mAh battery. On the other hand, the Pixel 4 XL packs a 6.3” display with a 1440 x 3040 pixels resolution and a Li-Po 3700 mAh battery.
If you decide to go with either Google Pixel 4 or Pixel 4 XL, your waterproof worries will be something of a past.
4. iPhone XR
If you are an Apple fan but iPhone 11 falls out of your price range, then you may want to take a closer look at the iPhone XR. This power iPhone is slightly less expensive, however, it still packs many impressive features and capabilities.
As far as its waterproof ability goes, it is one grade below the above models, as it has the IP67 rating. It can survive for 30 min in water no deeper than 1 meter.
The iPhone XR packs the glass front (Gorilla Glass), glass back (Gorilla Glass), aluminum frame (7000 series) body, dual SIM option (not for all markets), Liquid Retina IPS LCD capacitive 6.1” touchscreen (16M colors) with 828 x 1792 pixels resolution and a very solid 12MP camera. It is powered by the Hexa-core (2×2.5 GHz Vortex + 4×1.6 GHz Tempest) processor and the Apple A12 Bionic (7 nm) chipset. The iPhone XR comes with 3GB of RAM and three internal storage options – 64GB, 128Gb, or 256GB. It also has a solid battery, which is able to run for 16h (multimedia use) and comes with a fast-charging function that can be charged up to 50% in only 30 minutes.
5. Samsung Galaxy Note 9
As you can guess by the name, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is the Note 10’s predecessor and is as such less capable but also less expensive, which makes it a highly suitable choice for all of you who want to spend slightly less on their smartphone.
As far as waterproof cell phones go, Note 9 has the same capabilities as the NOTE 10. It comes with the IP68 rating and can survive for up to 30 minutes in water up to 1.5 meters deep.
Galaxy Note 9 is a powerful smartphone. It packs a glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), glass back (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame body, it comes is a single or dual SIM model, packs a Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen (16M colors) 6.4” display with 1440 x 2960 pixels resolution. It also has an HQ dual 12MP rear camera, dual front camera, 6GB or even 8GB of RAM, and a huge 128GB or 512GB internal storage. All these should be more than enough to please even highly demanding users.
If water resistance is your main concern, then Note 9 is a better option than Note 10 or Note 10 Plus as it offers you the same waterproof capabilities for a noticeably lower price.
6. Sony Xperia 1 & 5
In case there are some Sony fans among you, we decided to present you with the two super smartphones offered by this reputable company. Sony Xperia 5 being slightly more affordable and a bit less capable.
Both Sony Xperia 1 and Sony Xperia 5 have the highest IP rating. They both earned the IP65/IP68 score. (Double score just means that they’ve been tested for both 5 and 8 ranks.) They are both able to withstand up to 1.5 meters of water up to 30 minutes, which is as good as the best Samsung waterproof phone, and just slightly behind the top iPhone.
The Sony Xperia 1 & 5 both pack a glass front (Gorilla Glass 6), glass back (Gorilla Glass 6), aluminum frame body, OLED capacitive touchscreen (16M colors), Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855 (7 nm) chipset, Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 485 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 485 & 4×1.78 GHz Kryo 485) processor, and impressive 6GB of RAM. They also both have the same triple 12MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera, both capable of creating amazing photos. Both pack fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, barometer, compass, and color spectrum.
The main difference between the two models is their size. The Xperia 1 has a 6.5” display, while the Xperia 5 has a 6.1” one. Due to a larger size, the former also packs a larger battery with 3330 mAh vs. 314mAh found in Xperia 5.
As far as your waterproof needs go, the Xperia 1 or 5 got you covered.
7. Huawei P30 Pro
Due to all China-USA conflicts, you may not be as familiar with Huawei as you should. They are arguably producing the best smartphones currently available on the market. In many aspects, their phones have beaten Apple and Samsung.
The Huawei P30 Pro is an amazing smartphone and its waterproof capabilities represent that as well. It has the IP68 rating and matches the iPhone 11’s result, which means it can withstand up to 2 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
The P30 Pro packs an impressive OLED capacitive touchscreen (16M colors)6.47” display with 1080 x 2340 pixels resolution. It is powered by the Octa-core (2×2.6 GHz Cortex-A76 & 2×1.92 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55) processor and the HiSilicon Kirin 980 (7 nm) chipset. It has either 6GB or 8GB of RAM, which ensures that even the most advanced multitasking runs super smoothly. The Huawei P30 Pro packs one of the most amazing cameras ever seen in a smartphone.
It has a triple-lens (40MP, 8MP, 20MP) camera, capable of capturing the best photos in a full range of circumstances even in super-low light conditions. It also has the most powerful 32MP selfie camera. Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, color spectrum, are just some additional features. All of the above is charged by a powerful 4200mAh battery that comes with fast 40W charging, which can charge up to 70% in only 30 minutes.
If you are looking for a waterproof smartphone with an amazing camera, you should add Huawei P30 Pro to your list.
8. LG G8X ThinQ
The LG G8X ThinQ is for all LG fans. This amazing smartphone is the latest LG’s creation and it is very impressive.
As far as the waterproof capabilities go, the LG G8X ThinQ matches those of Samsung’s top performers. It earned the IP68 rating as it is capable of withstanding up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
The LG G8X ThinQ is also a top-notch smartphone that will carry you through any given task. It packs a 6.4” OLED capacitive touchscreen(16M colors) with 1080 x 2340 pixels resolution. It is powered by the powerful Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 485 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 485 & 4×1.78 GHz Kryo 485) processor and the Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855 (7 nm) chipset. The set features an advanced 12MP and 13MP dual camera, and a top-grade 32MP selfie camera. The LG G8X ThinQ is charged by the Li-Po 4000 mAh battery that has a quick charge and fast charging capabilities.
Because it is slightly less expensive than some other waterproof cell phones presented herein, it may be a great choice.
Importance of Waterproof Phone Case & Waterproof Headphones
Whether you decide to purchase any of the above-presented waterproof cell phones or decide to go the other direction, we need to warn you about the importance of the waterproof case and waterproof headphones.
As we pointed out in one of the previous sections, the waterproof phones are built for you to intentionally use them in water. The ones with IP68 or IP69 rating you actually may, however, if you take them swimming, for instance, you may spend more than 30 min in the water or go deeper than 1, 1.5, or 2 meters.
As such, we deeply advise you to use waterproof cases for such an occasion. With a proper waterproof case, you can actually take your phone swimming and even snorkeling (as long as you stay close to the surface). Make sure to choose the best waterproof phone case.
Moreover, if you plan to listen to music as you take a shower or while swimming also makes sure to get waterproof headphones. Wireless waterproof headphones/earbuds are what we recommend.
Frequently Ask Questions on Waterproof Cell Phones
How Can You Waterproof Your Cell Phones at Home?
If you want to test your phone’s waterproof abilities, make sure to read its user manual first and don’t push it to the limits.
If you have a phone that is not waterproof and would like to use it in water, make sure to purchase a waterproof case. You can try with other types of plastic/silicon bags but it is highly risky, so we advise you against it.
Which is The Best Waterproof Cell Phones ?
Based on the tests, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11Pro Max are the current winners. They can both withstand up to 4 meters of water for up to 30 min.
Is Water-Resistant and Waterproof The Same Thing?
No. The technical definition of water-resistant is that it’s able to resist the penetration of water to a certain degree, but not entirely. Waterproof technically means that it’s impermeable to water, no matter how much time it spends in water (but we have seen throughout the article that all manufacturers have a 30 min limit set in place in addition to the water depth).
What is Better Water-Resistant or Waterproof?
According to the above definition, you can conclude that waterproof is better.
We did our best to provide you with detailed information regarding waterproof cell phones. You should now be able to answer the “Is my phone waterproof?” and “What phones are waterproof?” questions with ease. Moreover, you should also be able to know what to pay attention to when buying a waterproof phone. Furthermore, we have also provided you with a list of the best waterproof phones available on the market for you to choose from. All of which are at the same time Verizon waterproof phones – means they are available at Verizon, which offers the best coverage.
We wish you care-free phone use near the water.