A couple of decades ago you wouldn’t have dreamed about taking your portable music player (I use the term “portable” loosely here) outside in the middle of a rainstorm. Today our technology has come a long way, to the point where we don’t have to be afraid of a little bit of weather anymore when we’re outside listening to our favorite songs. It’s still probably not a good idea to submerge your Bluetooth speaker in a pool of water for hours, but you don’t have to worry about a slight change in the weather.

If you’re looking for a Bluetooth speaker that’s designed to handle a little inclement weather it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the fine print. There’s a big difference between water resistant and waterproof, but most consumers don’t really make the distinction. Below we take a closer look at the differences and look at other design features of a Bluetooth speaker that make it more capable of handling everything the elements can throw at it.

IPX Rating

If you like your toys as much as I do you’ll want to take that speaker with you no matter what it’s doing outside. When you’re out for a family barbecue, a day at the pool, an outing at the beach, or an adventure in the woods, you’re going to come across a lot of moisture that can interfere with the operation of your Bluetooth device. The problem with some Bluetooth speakers is that they are simply not designed well enough to withstand an outdoors adventure.

In order to understand how well a speaker you’re considering will do in inclement weather or adverse conditions, it’s a good idea to understand what an IPX rating is. Essentially, this is a way of measuring how well a Bluetooth device does under different circumstances. The scale starts at zero and works its way up to eight, with zero being not resistant to water at all and eight being essentially waterproof – there are also a lot of different options in between.

Water Resistant

If a Bluetooth speaker is water resistant it doesn’t mean you can go swimming with it. Instead, what it means is that you can leave it playing outside when it starts to sprinkle a bit without having to worry about that little bit of moisture destroying your speaker. For the most part, if your device doesn’t have an IPX rating of at least three it’s best to avoid getting it wet at all. A Bluetooth speaker with an IPX rating of at least 3 will handle a little sun shower as long as it doesn’t turn into a torrential downpour.

Once you get into an IPX4 rating you can feel more comfortable taking your device around the pool or close to the water when you’re sitting on the beach. These types of devices can handle a bit of splash without missing a beat. You still won’t be able to go swimming with them, but they’ll continue working nicely in most situations.

Waterproof

Before a Bluetooth speaker can be considered truly waterproof it needs to have an IPX rating of at least 7 or 8. A speaker that is designated IPX7 can handle being dropped in water up to 3 feet deep as long as it is not left sitting there for an extended period of time. These types of speakers are ideal for taking on the flotation device with as you float around the pool. Even if your air mattress gets a little waterlogged you won’t have to worry about it too much.

If you can find a device with an IPX rating of 8 you can actually go for a little swim with it. This is the type of speaker that you can take with you on your floating inner tube and leave it trailing along in the water behind you without worrying about it getting a little waterlogged (although I’m not sure why you’d really want to do this). No matter what the rating is on your Bluetooth speaker, you’ll still want to make sure that all ports are sealed properly before attempting to take it with you in the water.

We’ve Come a Long Way

Twenty years ago none of us would have dreamed of taking a portable music device with us for a swim, but these days there’s no reason not to take your Bluetooth speaker with you in the pool, or the shower for that matter, as long as it has a higher IPX rating. Some may argue that technology these days is not as rugged as it used to be, but I don’t agree with this type of statement at all. In this day and age you really can continue to sing in the rain without having to worry about the music coming to an end.