Difference between Waterproof and Water-Resistant

There is not a lot of difference between waterproof and water-resistant products. Depending on what product you are considering, waterproof and water-resistant can mean different things. This makes these terms very confusing. They both relate to the time of exposure to water and depth of water within which your product is protected from damage that can be caused by water. This article will help you determine the difference between the two terms.


Waterproof vs Water resistant
A waterproof zipper on a dry suit

A Waterproof material or product is one which is completely impervious to water penetration. No water can get in or out of the product or material. A waterproof material or product is able to provide sustained protection from water for a significant period of time.

Water resistant
A Casio watch labeled water- resistant

A Water resistant product or material can prevent water penetration to a certain level. It is not completely impervious to water penetration, but can stand limited exposure to precipitation.

Comparison Chart

Waterproof Water resistant
Completely impervious to water penetration Not completely impervious to water penetration
Can stand deep water for a long time Can only be briefly dipped in water

Waterproof vs Water resistant

What is the difference between waterproof and water resistant? The difference is to do with whether or not it can stand some depth of water for a certain time.

Water-resistant materials can only provide water protection to a certain level. They are good in conditions where exposure to water is limited. Most water-resistant products such as jackets, shoes, and watches are meant to be worn in conditions such as snowy and rainy environments. They are labeled water-resistant since they can be used under limited precipitation. They cannot stand water to great depths. For products such as watches, water-resistant means that they can stand some short periods of exposure to water, such as an accidental dip into a sink – but must be immediately removed from the water.

Waterproof, on the other hand, describes materials or products that can stand complete submersion without taking in any amount of water. They are suitable for camping, swimming, snowboarding, diving, and many more activities since they can be waterproof to great water depths for a long time. The nature of a waterproof product or material is that it is made with absolutely no holes or pores that might let in water. These products are specifically made for use in environments that have plenty of water. However, on the market today, there are a lot of products that are labeled waterproof but aren’t really waterproof – especially electronic devices. This is especially so because different products have different ‘scales’ or ‘levels’ that determine what should be labeled as waterproof or water-resistant.


For more information, here is a video that compares two cameras (one is waterproof and another is water-resistant) to show you the difference and the limitations of exposing each type of camera: