How To Select A Waterproof GPS Running Watch. IPX6, IPX7, or IPX8?

How To Select A Waterproof GPS Running Watch. IPX6, IPX7, or IPX8?

How-To-Select-A-Waterproof-GPS-Running-Watch.-IPX6-IPX7-or-IPX8
  • Question:

I am looking to purchase a waterproof GPS running watch. I also occasionally do triathlons and need a GPS watch that has a waterproof rating that will support swimming, yet versatile enough to train during long runs. I see running watches that have various IPX ratings. What exactly do these mean and how do I know my watch complies with this rating?

  • Answer:

First, thank you for the question. As you mentioned, IPX is just a rating standard that distinguishes the level of waterproof capability a watch has. I describe the standards below, but I also want to put the IPX6, IPX7, and IPX8 into perspective in terms of what that means for a runner or triathlete.

Generally speaking, watches really falls into two main categories when it comes to how they hold up in the water:

  • Water-resistant running watches
  • Waterproof running watches

Water-Resistant  Running Watches

Generally speaking, a water-resistant watch is OK for running and cycle. This would include all running watches rated at IPX6 or IPX7.  These watches will protect against rain, and short periods of time immersed underwater.

IPX7 rated watches are specifically rated to protect against immersion up to to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes. IPX6 and IPX7 watches are not safe for swimming. Even if it says 30 minutes and depth of up to 1 meter, they are not specifically designed for swimming and thus damage could occur.


IPX Ratings

IPX6 Waterproof Standard

Protected against heavy splashing and rain. Must not fail or show water seepage when exposed, but not when immersed.

IPX-7 Waterproof Standard

Protected against short durations of water immersion. Max immersion for less than 30 minutes and at a depth of less than 1 meter. IPX-7, while water-resistant, is still not recommended for swimmers, as a precaution.

IPX-8 Waterproof Standard

Designed for continuous underwater use. The best rating for sport/GPS watches used for swimming.

My Top 3 Recommendations for Running Watches

Please note: As an Amazon Associate I may earn from qualifying purchases.”


Choose the Garmin 35  if you are looking for an entry level running watch with the basic features that most runners desire.

Choose the Garmin 235 if you are looking for a mid-range watch of slightly higher quality, faster GPS sync, and more features.

Choose the Garmin Fenix 5 if you are looking for a top of the line watch that can handle any type of fitness event, swimming, activity tracking, etc.

 

Last update on 2020-01-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2020-01-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2020-01-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want to see a comparison of several Garmin GPS running watches, check out my Garmin GPS Buyers Guide and Comparison Chart.

My Top 3 Recommendations for Multisport / Triathlon Watches

These waterproof Garmin GPS watches will hold up to longer periods of immersion and are recommended if you like to do triathlons, or swim as a cross-training activity.

The Garmin 735XT and Garmin 935 are the gold standard when it comes to triathlon/multi-sport watches.  The Fenix 5 is another great option which recently dropped in price since the Fenix 6 has been released. The Fenix series of multi-sport watches add activity tracking and comes with generally a LOT more features. What I like best about the Fenix series is that it looks like a watch you could wear day to day, even when not training.

Last update on 2020-01-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2020-01-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Last update on 2020-01-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want to see a comparison of several Garmin GPS running watches, check out my Garmin GPS Buyers Guide and Comparison Chart.

Want to put your running watch to great use?
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Steve is the founder and head running coach of RunBuzz.com. Steve is host of the RunBuzz podcast and founder of PaceBuilders, a complete online training program for runners. Steve is a RRCA / USA Track and Field Certified Running Coach and resides in Lewis Center, Ohio.