Raindrops land on an illuminated cell phone, showing the impressive capabilities of waterproof smartphones.

Waterproof Smartphones: The Best Models on the Market

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Over the past few years, huge advancements have been made in the field of waterproof technology, especially with portable devices like smartphones. We all remember when dropping a phone in the water was a death sentence. We would desperately search up solutions online, with little to no success. After placing the phone in a bowl of rice and waiting, we usually ended up with a glitched device, or having to buy a brand new one. However, times have (thankfully) changed. In 2021, waterproof smartphones are a reality. While we don’t recommend throwing your phone in a body of water, many modern devices can function perfectly while submerged for a limited amount of time. To ensure this impressive performance, companies give their devices a unique score. Upon the release of every new smartphone, they receive an IP rating. These ratings detail how strong the device protects against substances like dust and water. After providing a brief explanation of water resistant technology, we will outline some of the best waterproof devices currently available for purchase.

What is an IP Rating?

All smartphone IP ratings contain two consecutive numbers. “IP” stands for Ingress Protection. Meaning, the level of protection against foreign substances entering the phone and potentially damaging it. In IP ratings, the first digit refers to the protection level against solid materials (dust, dirt, etc). The lowest possible score for this section is 1, while the highest is 6. Fortunately, all the devices on this list have received a score of 6 for this scale, so you do not have to worry about serious dust damage. The second digit of an IP rating refers to the device’s protection against liquids and fluids. However, this rating ranges from 1-7 rather than 1-6. So, the highest official IP rating a smartphone can achieve is 67. Regardless, companies have given their own devices liquid protection ratings as high as 8 or 9. If they feel that their device surpasses the IP rating of 7, they are able to advertise as such. 

Fully Waterproof Phone

Now that you understand the way in which waterproof devices are scored, you may still have some questions. Namely, is it possible to have a fully waterproof phone? For smartphones, it is not currently possible. Most smartphones on the market are water resistant rather than fully waterproof. Of course, this means they can still function for a certain amount of time while submerged underwater, but are not completely waterproof. A liquid IP rating of 7 means that the device can be fully submerged in water for 30 minutes as deep as one metre. IP ratings of 8 and 9 are harder to quantify, since they are set by the phone’s own manufacturers. Regardless, a score of 8 is an improvement of 7, and implies that the device can survive at deeper levels, as well as more drastic temperature changes. Finally, a liquid IP rating of 9 is reserved for devices that can withstand direct high-pressure sprays of all temperatures. This score is usually reserved for devices that are built to be as sturdy as possible and survive any kind of weather condition. However, most modern smartphones are advertised as having a liquid IP rating of 8. 

Best Underwater Cell Phone

With the proper knowledge of waterproofing and IP ratings, you are more than ready to explore our list. After reading, you should feel ready to choose the best underwater cell phone for you. After finding your new device, make sure you also find the best phone plan for it by visiting our website. Without any further delay, here are our picks for the best waterproof phones currently for sale:


iPhone 13 Pro Max – IP68

Starting off our list for the best waterproof phones is the latest and greatest from Apple. As the most advanced iPhone 13 model, the Pro Max is undoubtedly the strongest waterproof phone from Apple. Supposedly, the Pro Max can survive being submerged in water as deep as 20 feet for up to a half hour. Additionally, it currently possesses one of the best cameras on the market. If you’ve ever wanted to pursue underwater photography, this is one of the greatest choices for you. Users can take several photos while submerged without any fear of permanent damage. The Pro Max is the greatest choice due to its slightly stronger performance and larger display. However, Apple has also promised an IP68 rating with all the current iPhone 13 models. Thus, if you want to save money (and don’t need all the perks of the Pro Max), an iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini or iPhone 13 Pro are also great choices for waterproof smartphones. 


iPhone 12 – IP68

The iPhone 12 is another great waterproof cell phone from Apple. As the more affordable option, it boasts the same IP rating as the latest generation of iPhones. Just like the 13, the iPhone 12 should be able to perform flawlessly after being submerged in up to 20 feet of water for 30 minutes. Although it is slightly less powerful than the iPhone 13, the two devices are still quite similar. The 12 has an inferior camera and battery life, but is still a great device for underwater photography and functionality. Overall, the difference in quality between the two devices should only be recognized by hardcore Apple fans. Thus, we recommend this model if you still want a strong waterproof iPhone that won’t cost you a fortune.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G – IP68

For all the Android users, we recommend the strongest Samsung device on the market, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. With a huge display and state-of-the-art camera, the S21 Ultra 5G is currently one of the best 5G smartphones money can buy. However, we must mention that its water resistance is not as strong as the iPhone 12 and 13. Despite advertising an IP68 rating, the Galaxy can only withstand being submerged in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes. Of course, this is less impressive than the 20 feet that the new iPhones can handle, so we’d recommend caution when pursuing underwater photography with the S21 Ultra 5G. Regardless, this is still one of the better water resistant Android phones currently on the market, and we definitely recommend it for any Samsung users.


Google Pixel 5 – IP68

If you prefer Android phones, you shouldn’t always resort to Samsung. After only a few years in the market, Google’s Pixel devices are some of the most beloved Android phones of the past few years. As their latest flagship device, the Pixel 5 has an IP68 rating in addition to 5G, and a powerful dual camera system. However, just like the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, the IP68 rating is not as impressive as Apple’s. Instead of 20 feet of water, it can withstand up to 5 feet. This is still a notable feat, but it may not be ideal for intense underwater photography or usage. Fortunately, the Pixel 6 is set to release very soon. As Google’s latest smartphone, it could offer some serious improvements from its predecessor, such as greater water resistance.


iPhone SE – IP67

To wrap up our list, we want to recommend an older, more affordable device. While the rest of our list contains newer smartphones, the iPhone SE is a great option if you want to experience basic water resistance at an affordable price. With a rating of IP67, you cannot experience the same level of waterproof technology as the other devices on the list. The iPhone SE can survive being submerged in one metre of water (3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes. If your current smartphone cannot handle water damage, consider picking up an iPhone SE. Although its protection is not up to industry standards, it is still a great device to test out basic underwater photography in shallow depths. Of course, your wallet will also thank you for purchasing an SE.

Waterproof Smartphones – Conclusion

These devices are some of the greatest options for waterproof smartphones currently available. Ultimately, your decision should come down to personal preference and needs. If you need the most powerful waterproof technology, consider the iPhone 13 or Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. Or, if you want to test it out while saving money, try the iPhone SE. Of course, make sure to use our website to find a perfect plan for your new device if we helped you find one. Planhub searches the internet and immediately compares all the cheapest and most valuable mobile plans depending on your personal needs and location in Canada.

Finally, make sure to be careful when using your phone underwater! If your device has prior damage, it may not withstand the depths which it advertises. Furthermore, water damage is not covered in most cell phone warranties, so make sure to check before experimenting. We do not recommend putting your phone in depths any deeper than their IP rating suggests. If you follow these few measures, you should be ready to enjoy the wonders of using your phone underwater! Have fun and feel free to share your experience with us in the comments section.

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