What is a Rugged Phone? IP certified explained

Tough, durable, IP68 rated, Mil-Spec certified: as part of the Did You Know? blog series, we explore the rugged features of Cat® phones.

Here we’ll dive into the technology standard of IP ratings.

What is an IP rating?

IP rating, short for Ingress Protection (IP), is an international standard used to show the level of protection against intrusion by solids, like dust or sand, or by liquids like water. The rating shows how well a product is sealed against these elements.

What do the IP rating numbers mean? 

IP is usually followed by a two-digit number, such as IP68. The first number relates to the protection level against dust or similar – 6 is the highest number you can get, meaning total protection. The second digit relates to liquid protection. Here you might see 8 or 9 as the highest achievable rating.


As phone manufacturers try to improve on protection you will start to see more phones which carry IP68 or IP69 ratings, such as the Cat® S42 H+ and Cat® S62 Pro smartphones.

So, what does this all mean? What can you do with an IP68 phone, which you can’t do with an IP67 phone for example?

IP67 v. IP68 phones

Simply put, the difference in these phones relates purely to how well the device can cope with immersion in water, for how long and to what depth.

Both these ratings offer the highest level of protection against solid objects like dust, indicated by level 6 – the first digit. So, if you find yourself in a very dusty room resulting from your DIY jobs, or the kids decide to use it to build their sandcastle, your phone should continue to work without problems.

The second digit – level 8 – means the phone can be immersed in water beyond 1 meter, but to understand exactly how deep it can go, you’ll need to read the small print in the user manual. Level 7 means it can survive depths of water up to 1 meter versus beyond 1m for Level 8, so that’s the difference.

What difference does the IP69 rating make?

IP69 rating is one level higher than IP68. The difference between the two relates to the level of protection against liquids and right now, ‘9’ is the highest protection available.


Both IPX9 and IPX9K ratings mean the product has been tested, and is protected, against close-range high pressure and high temperature spray downs. This is particularly useful in industries like the fire service, where a phone might be at risk of severe wash-downs from high pressure washers or hoses.

To learn more about IP ratings and the different tests carried out to achieve them, read here.


Want to understand Mil-Spec ratings? Read our other blog about military standards.

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