Whether you want to take cool pictures at the beach or play some music at the pool, you need a waterproof smartphone that can withstand splashes. Even if you go nowhere near water, having a waterproof smartphone can help protect your device against accidental splashes and sudden drops in the bathtub. Unfortunately, most phones aren't waterproof. They may be water-resistant, which means they can hold up against little splashes or spills, but they're ruined if you drop them in the pool. But all is not lost. Several manufacturers have launched fully waterproof smartphones in recent years, so you have a lot of options to pick from.
Here, we've done the hard work for you and rounded up the best waterproof smartphones you can buy. These phones have survived spills, rain, and dunks without showing any signs of damage. However, it’s important to note water resistance tests only apply to freshwater, and it’s never a good idea to deliberately submerge your phone.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
The best waterproof iPhone
- Exquisitely premium design
- Beautiful 120Hz display
- Dynamic Island is a joy
- Always-on screen is gorgeous
- Incredible camera system
- Blistering performance
- Outstanding battery life
- Robust iOS 16 software
- One of the heaviest phones you can buy
Why should you buy this: It's one of the latest waterproof smartphones on the market, not to mention the best overall.
Who’s it for: Anyone who is OK with spending a bit more money for fancy features.
Why we picked it: It should come as absolutely no surprise to see an iPhone on this list — or even topping it. The iPhone 14 Pro Max, Apple's latest offering, is one of the best smartphones — both for its features and its incredible ability to resist water. The device (and any other iPhone 14 model) is rated IP68, which means you can submerge it in fresh water up to 20 feet or 6 meters for about half an hour. This offers more than enough protection against accidental drops in the water.
But its water resistance isn't the only impressive thing. You get a gorgeous 6.7-inch OLED display with 1290 x 2796 resolution, making it ideal for watching videos. You also get 6GB RAM with storage options from 128GB to 1TB. Apple's A16 Bionic guarantees solid performance, so this smartphone will double up as a workhorse if you're working on the go.
You don't have to worry about lugging around a charger, either. The iPhone 14 Pro Max's battery could last multiple days on a single charge, depending on how often you use it, and even high use saw it still last a full day. The cameras don't lag, either. You get a 48MP main camera, a 12MP wide-angle camera, and a 12MP telephoto camera with a 3x optical zoom. Combining its impressive specs with its waterproof build, it's safe to say you can take it to work or play by the pool.
It is expensive, starting at $1,099 for even the basic model. But even with that in mind, it's definitely one of the best smartphones of 2022 and has solid waterproofing to boot.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The best waterproof Android
- S Pen is convenient and highly accurate
- Versatile camera takes great photos
- The latest processor for power
- Long software support
- Beautiful high refresh rate screen
- Not very fast battery charging
- Large and heavy
Why should you buy this: Samsung's latest device offers excellent water protection in an impressive smartphone.
Who’s it for: Anyone looking for a solid waterproof Android alternative for the iPhone 14 range.
Why we picked it: If Apple isn't your thing, this is the best waterproof Android smartphone you can get your hands on right now. With an IP68 rating, it's fully submersible in fresh water up to 5 feet or 1.5 meters for about half an hour. The 6.8-inch AMOLED screen adds to the charm, making the Galaxy S22 Ultra perfect for lounging around and watching videos by the pool. The included and internally-stored S Pen is always a fan favorite, so you can sketch, annotate documents, or just browse more easily.
It also boasts an impressive camera with improved 3x, 10x, and 30x zoom levels so you can take the perfect shot on the beach. You get a 108MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide lens, and 10MP telephoto options, making the S22 Ultra one of the best camera phones.
The performance doesn't disappoint either. With 8GB of RAM and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, most tasks are a breeze. Whether you're playing heavy games or downloading multiple files at once, the S22 Ultra has your back. You also get a 5,000mAh battery with 45-watt fast charging, so you don't have to run for the charger anytime soon. Like the iPhone, this one's expensive, but we think the price is worth the extra features.
Google Pixel 6
The best value waterproof phone
- Great camera
- Screen is colorful and vibrant
- Latest Android 12 software
- Years of software updates
- Flaky connectivity
- Fast charger not included
Why should you buy this: It’s not the top-level Pixel, but the Pixel 6 is an incredible phone for under $600, with premium waterproofing.
Who’s it for: Someone who wants an excellent and waterproof Android phone with an exceptional camera on a budget
Why we picked it: The Google Pixel 6 Pro may have snagged the hearts of many tech commentators (and the top spot in our best camera phones round-up), but don’t count out the standard Pixel 6. Like the top two picks, this one also boasts an IP68 rating, and you can immerse it in water up to 1.5 meters or 5 feet for about half an hour.
Beyond good water resistance, something that immediately catches your eye is the cool display. A punch-hole for the selfie camera around the front is the only interruption on the 6.4-inch AMOLED display, with a 90Hz refresh rate to boot.
Google’s Tensor processor is powerful and speedy, and the 4,614mAh battery has shown it could easily last two days on a single charge with normal use. There’s an AI-powered Voice Typing mode, which is a real step up over previous versions of this tech and actually useable in day-to-day life. It also powers the mysterious Magic Eraser, which uses machine learning to remove unwanted lamposts, animals, and even people from your photos.
You’ll want to take plenty of photographs, too, as the Pixel 6 is equipped with a stunning camera. You get a 50MP main lens and a 12MP ultrawide lens, and Google’s AI enhances the photos. The biggest bonus is probably the price, which is much lower than other flagship phones, especially among waterproof picks.
Cat S62 Pro
The best rugged waterproof phone
- Super rugged
- IP68 and IP69 rating
- Great thermal camera
- Not the best battery life
- No powerful performance
Why should you buy this: It’s the most rugged phone you can buy, with solid drop protection and water resistance.
Who’s it for: Climbers, hikers, construction workers, and clumsy people who love the outdoors.
Why we picked it: If all you care about is a phone that will still work after it gets dropped, bashed about a bit, or dropped in quite a lot of water, then the Cat S62 Pro is definitely the phone for you. It’s extremely chunky, but the IP68 and IP69 ratings mean you can dunk it in water up to 1.5 meters or 5 feet. It's also capable of withstanding drops of up to 6 feet and has been tested on hard surfaces, so you don't have to worry about accidents breaking your phone. Along with this, it's also dustproof, absorbs shocks, and survives harsh temperatures, making it an excellent option for bad weather use and challenging environments.
By chance, if during all this abuse, the need for thermal imaging arises, the Cat S62 Pro will step up to this task as well. In a partnership with sensor company Flir, the phone has a thermal camera alongside its 12MP dual-pixel Sony camera. You can store all these photos easily with its 128GB storage space and expand the memory with a microSD if you have extremely heavy files and years of stored images.
It isn't the prettiest, and it doesn't have the most satisfactory camera and battery life, but its ruggedness makes it suitable for outdoor enthusiasts and those in the trade rather than casual users.
The best waterproof case for your phone
- Excellent water and dust protection
- Available for most phone models
- Cheaper than buying a new waterproof phone
- Adds bulk to your device
Why should you buy this: Cheaper than getting a new phone, it’s a fast and convenient way to add protection.
Who’s it for: Anyone who doesn’t want to switch out their phone but wants to protect it from the elements.
Why we picked it: Instead of hunting around for a cheap phone that provides water resistance, why not just buy the phone you want and put it in a waterproof case? The Lifeproof Fre promises to protect against water, dirt, snow, and sharp impacts. It covers the whole of your phone, including the screen and all the ports, so be prepared for an increase in overall size and weight. But it’s a small price to pay for such a high level of protection. LifeProof Fre cases are available for most of Samsung’s Galaxy range, along with all iPhone models from the iPhone 6 on, plus the Google Pixel phones.
If a custom waterproof case isn’t available for your phone, or you want a really cheap, reliable system, then get a universal “dry bag”-type case, which seals your phone inside a pouch and keeps all the elements out. There are plenty of choices out there in various colors, so you can find something to match your style choices.
IP What? What those IP ratings actually mean
When we talk about waterproof hardware, we often refer to an IP rating. This stands for Ingress Protection and is usually followed by a number, which refers to its ability to withstand water and dust. The first digit relates to solid particle protection, and the second digit to liquid.
All the phones on our list meet IP67 or IP68 standards. IP numbers that start with a six mean the device features complete protection from dust and will ward off particles to the extent where none can find its way in. It’s the highest rating currently available and is considered “dust tight.”
To meet the IPx8 standard, the device must continue to function normally after being left in water “continuously,” although the exact details are usually down to the manufacturer. Usually, IP68 ratings are quantified as being able to be immersed in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. Drop that rating down to an IP67 rating, and the depth changes to a meter, and protection is only for a short time.
Here’s a complete breakdown of what all the IP codes mean if you want to check out other ratings. It’s worth pointing out that while we call these phones waterproof, they remain so for a limited amount of time at best and are technically water-resistant. In other words, we don’t advise you to deliberately submerge any of them, especially not for very long, but it’s still nice not to have to worry if an accident happens.
How we test
We understand that your phone is an essential item in your life right now. It’s honestly more like a lifeline because it keeps us connected with others, helps with navigation, provides entertainment, and much more. We rely on our phones for all of those same reasons, and because of that, we work to review and test smartphones in ways that we would actually use them. We apply smartphones to real-world situations to ensure that they’ll hold up. We prioritize reliability, durability, long-lasting battery life, a dependable connection, and more. Then we sort through what’s fluff and what are genuinely useful features and compile our lists.
We use our phones every single day and reach for them often. We play games, message each other, stream videos, scroll through social media, capture photos, and constantly check our emails. We reach for our phones as often as possible to see how products perform in the situations you’re likely to use them in over and over again.
Our research points us to the phones we believe are best worth the investment and the products you should stay far away from. It’s pretty clear when we get excited about a new phone— we can’t stop talking about it. Because it’s one of the few devices that we as a collective people use every day, we grow pretty attached to our top choices. Although you definitely get your money’s worth with this investment, it can feel overwhelming picking out a new phone. We want to streamline the process by doing the research for you. We build comprehensive reviews, spotlighting the phones we prefer based on how we use them day to day — no fluff and no advertisements.
- Great for watching videos, this Samsung tablet is on sale for $200
- There’s a huge sale on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro happening today
- The best phones in 2023: our 14 favorite smartphones you can buy
- The best Android phones in 2023: the 13 best ones you can buy
- Samsung Memorial Day Sale: Appliances, TVs, phones, and more