MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Waterproof Vs. Water-Resistant

If you’ve ever shopped for electronics, outerwear, watches, building materials, and more, you’ve probably noticed some products are labeled “waterproof” while others are “water resistant”. Sure, both offer water damage protection, but the they clearly don’t mean the same thing. What’s the difference between something that’s “waterproof” versus something that’s “water resistant”?

Items that are “waterproof” are impervious to water. They’re completely sealed or protected in some way against water damaging. “Water-resistant” products, on the other hand, only repel water, providing a certain level of protection up to a point. After either a period of exposure or a certain amount of pressure, though, water will either soak or seep through a water-resistant item.

The problem with these labels is that some manufacturers market certain products as being “waterproof”, but then stipulate that that protection is only good up to a certain point. So, by definition, that makes them water-resistant, not waterproof. Electronics manufacturers are notorious for making these claims, so be careful when buying your next Bluetooth speaker or high-dollar camera.

It also helps to keep different effects of each level in mind when you shop for outdoor apparel. Because, while you might be looking for something that’ll keep you dry, waterproof clothing & water-resistant clothing don’t work the same way. Each has its own desirable qualities, as well as its drawbacks.

For example, waterproof fabrics offer the highest level of protection from rain, snow, and other elements, but they can also get stuffy & make you hot & sweaty (which will ultimately leave you wet, albeit not from the weather). On the other hand, water-resistant fabrics won’t keep you as dry in the rain or snow, but they are more breathable, so you won’t overheat & get too sweaty underneath them.

So, now that you know the differences between waterproof & water-resistant, you’ll know exactly which one you need so you won’t end up “all wet”.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via social media (@AndyWebbRadioVoice), or shoot me an email at

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