Water Proof vs. Water Resistant vs. Water Repellent – All you need to know!

Difference between Water Proof and Water Resistance
Difference between Water Proof and Water Resistance
Waterproofing is a methodology that goes a long way back in history.
At the start, when it used to rain, the old people used to cover their ceilings with mud to stop the ingress of water.

However nowadays, we can see this methodology being used in almost every things; may it be clothing, electronic instruments including mobile phones, speakers etc. In construction…. And the list goes on…

Because of the frequent use of the terms “Waterproof”,  “Water-resistant, Water-repellent or even hydrophobic”, most of us get confused. There’s a lot of difference between them. Most of the time, even the companies don’t know a clear difference and they tend to use these terms interchangeably, only to make things worse for us.

Hence, to make things easier for you to understand and digest, I am going to enlist all the basic differences between ‘waterproofing’ and ‘water-resistant’ and all the other relevant terms.

If you are in a hurry, check out the table below in which I have tried to summarize the difference between Water Proofing and Water Resistance.

Difference Between Water Proof and Water Resistance:

Water ProofWater Resistance
•Achieved through nano-technology (mostly). •A natural property of a material to inhibit the flow of water.
•Generally used to describe the water repellent behavior of electronic instruments. •Depends upon the type of material.
•Is measured using IP Code. •Depends upon the internal structure of the material
•Not a good way to describe fabrics’ water repellency •Can be used to describe any material.

Let’s go a little deeper…

What is Water Resistance and How it differs from Water Repellent?

Before starting let me state that water repellent/ hydrophobic and water-resistance are somewhat similar terms (with respect to their use in the market). Hence, I am going to enlist all three here.

Water Resistance:

water resistant watch

Water Resistance refers to the natural tendency of a “thing” to resist the ingress of water.

The “things” may include the type of fabrics, type of any construction material, etc.

However, it does not necessarily mean that the material won’t ever get wet. That is not the case.

Let me clear this by this simple example. Plastic can be said to be more water-resistant than wood. You see, its the natural ability of the material to resist the ingress of water.

A similar comparison can be made for nylon and cotton, with the former being more water-resistant than the latter.

Water Repellent:

You can assume Water Repellent to be a one-step up from Water Resistance. Water Repellent is achieved by having another layer of some hydrophobic (water-hating) material to be coated on top to make it repel water. This saves the material below from water.

To sum things up, Water Repellent is “achieved” through special coating or treatment, while water-resistance is the natural ability of the material to repel water.


There’s not much of a difference between water-repellent and hydrophobic and both the terms refer to the same idea. Though one thing to look out for is DWR (Durable Water Repellent) tag. Just like the IP Marking is used most often in rating electronic instruments, DWR is sometimes used to show the water-repellency/hydrophobic properties of the fabrics.

What does Water Proof mean?

Water Proof:

In most of the cases, Water Proofing refers to the “electronics” which inhibit the ingress of water.

This method is based on the nano-technology coating, which functions as a protective layer on top of the chips and protects them from potential damage due to water.

Water proof Speaker

SoundBoks II Water Proof Speaker

Water Proofing is measured in terms of an IP Code. IP stands for “Ingress Protection Marking” or “International Protection Marking”. This a standardized way to determine the waterproofing of any electrical instrument like smartphones, speakers, LEDs, etc.

IP code starts with the letters “IP” and is generally followed by 2 digits representing the level of water-proofing and dust-protection. It would be unnecessary to mention all the codes and their descriptions here, however, if you are really interested you can learn more about it here.

IP code for water proofing
How the IP Code looks like

It is to be noted that the Water Proofing does not guarantee that the material is completely impenetrable by water.

So here’s it guys. Hope you have understood the difference between waterproof and water-resistant.

Leave a comment if you have a question!


0 0 vote
Article Rating

About the author

Arnold Rider

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x