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Water-repellent vs. Water-resistant vs. Waterproof

There are many terms used nowadays to describe an item’s special properties that make this item not absorb water and liquids. Water-repellent, water-resistant and waterproof are terms often used in the tech industry as we are all terrified of getting our gadgets wet.

People often get confused when it comes to these expressions – some think they all mean the same, while the others know there is a difference, but don’t necessarily know what it is. This is why we decided to clear up the confusion.

What is the difference?

When someone says an item is water-resistant, it means that the item might be built in such a way that is more difficult for water to get in, or maybe that it’s coated with a very light substance that helps improve the item’s chances of surviving an encounter with water. It also may refer to fabrics that are so dense that they will hold water back for a while, but not forever. This is definitely something to keep in mind because, when people hear the term water-resistant, they often think it means the item is completely waterproof, which is not true.

Water-repellent Synt3 innovative fabric

On the other hand, being water-repellent means that there is a very high possibility that the item is probably coated with some form of thin-film nanotechnology – on the inside, outside or both – and has a much better chance of standing up to water than your average device. This is a step up from being water-resistant. Baggizmo bags and wallets are wonderful examples of water-repellent products thanks to the use of high-quality innovative fabrics.

A lot of companies will falsely claim their items are waterproof. This is an issue because there is currently no established industry standard for classifying a device waterproof. There is actually a system, which applies to most tech items – like smartphones, digital cameras, and so on – that will allow you to tell how waterproof something is, so long as you know its rating. It’s called the Ingress Protection Rating scale (or IP Code). However, there are a few key issues with this scale. First of all, this code doesn’t apply to fabrics, so we immediately have a huge section of the market that can’t be classified using this system. In addition to that, some companies provide services which aren’t compatible with the IP scale, or aren’t concerned with keeping water completely out of their devices; they just want to make it water-resistant or water-repellent. There is no scale that can measure this exactly. Using the term waterproof can also be considered a risky move for many companies. This is because the term waterproof usually communicates the idea that this is a permanent condition, and that whatever has been ‘waterproofed’ will never fail when in contact with water – no matter the situation. It’s pretty obvious how these claims can go south very quickly.

Technology has come a long way and it’s advancing more and more every day.

We all know that. However, we don’t encourage companies to deceive their clients by misusing various terms in order to get them to buy the companies’ products. It’s important for everyone to educate themselves on this topic, both the companies and the consumers. The sooner we all do that, the sooner there will be no more people feeling scammed or disappointed.

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