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Editors-Choice, Fitness GPS, GPS Watch, How To Guide

How Waterproof is Garmin’s “Waterproof” [Updated 2017]

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Posted: 21/01/2015 at 11:02 AM   /   by   /   comments (1)

Garmin GPS Waterproof Ratings Explained

When you buy a Garmin fitness GPS watch or Handheld GPS, you may note that they have different waterproof ratings. What do these mean exactly?

Nearly all of the Garmin Handheld GPS have a waterproof rating of IPX7. The number 7 relates specifically to the waterproof rating. This means the GPS must survive being immersed in 1m of water for 30 minutes. (The X rating means that the device has not been tested for solid particle protection, ie, coarse or fine dust entering the device).
Most Garmin watch-style devices quote their waterproof rating in metres or ATM (atmospheres). A rating of 5 ATM is equivalent to a rating of 50m. This does NOT mean that you can swim down 50m under water and the watch will be fine. This means that it is has been pressure tested in a static condition to this depth (think someone sitting 50m under water and not moving at all). Of course, a rating like this is not very practical...

So here are some additional guidelines, I've also shown Garmin's on details on their water classifications:

30 metres: Can withstand splashes and very brief immersion in water, or rainfall. Not suitable for swimming or bathing.
50 metres: Can be used for swimming in shallow water, but not suitable scuba diving or High-Speed watersports.
100 metres: Can be used for all types of swimming, poolside diving or snorkelling, but is not suitable for scuba diving.

Moral of the story, don't go scuba diving with your watch or Garmin 'waterproof' device. 

Garmin's Fenix 5 Fitness Watch has a 100m waterproof rating, so is a great choice for triathletes who regularly swim and train in pools or the ocean.

Water Rating Wearables

IPX71 Suitable:

  • Splashes
  • Rain or Snow
  • Showering
  • Incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Unsuitable:

  • Swimming
  • Diving into water
  • Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
  • High-speed watersports
Swim2 Suitable:

  • Splashes
  • Rain or Snow
  • Showering
  • Swimming
  • Diving into water
  • Snorkeling
Unsuitable:

  • Scuba Diving
  • High-speed watersports
Water Sports Suitable:

  • Splashes
  • Rain or Snow
  • Showering
  • Swimming
  • Diving into water
  • Snorkeling
  • High-speed watersports
Unsuitable:

  • Scuba Diving

Water Rating Marine, Motorcycle, Cycling & Handhelds

IPX6 Suitable:

  • Heavy spray, driving rain, boat washing
  • Outdoor use in rough sea conditions
Unsuitable:

  • Immersion
IPX7 Suitable:

  • Mounting on vehicles (e.g. boat, motorcycle, bike, ATV, golf cart)
  • Splashes
  • Rain or Snow
  • Incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Unsuitable:

  • Prolonged or continuous immersion1

Cameras

IPX7 Suitable:

  • Mounting on vehicles (e.g. boat, motorcycle, bike, ATV, golf cart)
  • Splashes
  • Rain or Snow
  • Incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
Unsuitable:

  • Prolonged or continuous immersion
Waterproof Suitable:

  • Splashes
  • Rain or Snow
  • Swimming
  • Diving into water
  • Snorkeling
  • Scuba diving
  • High-speed watersports
Unsuitable:

  • Activities at depths exceeding stated product rating

Water Rating Definitions

Water Rating Definition
IPX7 Withstands incidental exposure to water of up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes
IPX6 Protected against powerful jets of water. Water projected at all angles through a 12.5 mm nozzle at a flow rate of 100 liters/min at a pressure of 100 kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters
1 ATM Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 10 meters
3 ATM Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 30 meters
5 ATM Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 50 meters
10 ATM Withstands pressures equivalent to a depth of 100 meters