www.makeuseof.com Is It Safe to Use Smart Technology Outdoors?

Can you use smart technology outdoors? The answer to this question will depend on a few things: what you're using, where you live, and how you manage the technology on a day-to-day basis.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we should begin with a warning: always abide by the manufacturer's suggestions, especially with expensive electronics.

With this caveat in mind, let's dive in.

Can You Use Smart Devices Outdoors?

There are many smart gadgets that live outside, like robot lawn mowers, smart grills, outdoor lighting, automatic irrigation solutions, and outdoor speakers, to name a few popular examples. If it was designed for long-term outdoor use, chances are, you'll probably be able to keep these accommodations outside, as long as you're following what the manufacturer recommends for whatever you're using.

Some smart home products, like the Samsung Terrace TV, are designed to enhance your lifestyle after-hours without necessarily being super heavy-duty. Other devices might qualify as outdoor-friendly through the sheer quality of craftsmanship alone. In these borderline fringe cases, the answer might not always be clear.

Sure, you can use the TV outside—what happens if you leave it outside all summer long, though? Or even through the winter? Different circumstances might go beyond what the device is capable of putting up with, and this threshold will vary with every outdoor smart device currently on the market.

Can you use smart home tech outside? In most cases, the answer will be a matter of weatherproof rating, of which there are a few.


IP Rating: Definition and Purpose

A smart device's IP rating, also known as its ingress protection rating, is one quick and simple way to determine how tough your smart home device will be against the duress of nature— specifically, moisture resistance and resistance against dust.

IP rating is the international standard for everything from dedicated outdoor smart home tech to normal stuff like smartphones and other ordinary gear.

www.makeuseof.com Is It Safe to Use Smart Technology Outdoors?

How do you read an IP rating on the box? Find the tell-tale "IP," and take note of the two numbers that follow—they're two separate digits with individual meanings, not one double-digit number.

The first digit in your IP rating indicates ingress resistance, which basically means how capable the device is from dust inclusions where it counts; usually, this will be the delicate inner parts of a motherboard or any type of contact:

The second number indicates how moisture-resistant the device or product is:

The Ring outdoor smart plug is rated at an IP64. The "6" indicates that the smart plug will be pretty much impervious to dust ingress and any other junk that it might encounter from its place within your patio's entertainment set-up while in use.

The "4," on the other hand, means that heavy rain might actually end up being a problem—using it outdoors is fine, but leaving it outdoors permanently might be a questionable move.

In theory, you can use any smart device outdoors, as long as you take measures that protect it from anything it won't be able to handle. In this case, we would recommend bringing this smart plug back inside with you when you're done using it for the evening.

This is only one small example, however. What else should you be concerned about? What about wearables like smartwatches and earbuds?

ATM Rating for Wearables

If you're considering whether or not to take your favorite all-terrain smartwatch out on your next big wilderness excursion, ATM rating for watches is definitely one standard you'll want to familiarize yourself with.

ATM rating is a type of resistance rating related to watch manufacturers primarily. ATM water resistance indicates how difficult it would be for moisture to seep into the body of the watch and wreak havoc inside.

Your smartwatch should come with its own ATM rating. You can decipher it using the following key:

Admittedly, this is less relevant to your smart patio and more relevant to your plans of exploration for the summer. If you live in your wearables, though, it's definitely something to consider, even if your destination is right in your own backyard.

How to Tell If A Smart Device Can Be Used Outside

We can't help but to reiterate this one vital message: if you love it, it always pays to err on the side of caution, even if the device's official IP rating has you totally clear for takeoff.

As with anything in life, logic reigns supreme here. If it looks like it won't make it through the thunderstorm forecast for this coming weekend, we will always be able to recommend bringing the device indoors, at least until the weather has settled down.

If you're cold, they're cold. Treat your smart home tech with care, and you'll be rewarded with years and years of use.

What Do Waterproof and Water-Resistant Mean? Read NextShareTweetShareEmail Related TopicsAbout The AuthorEmma Garofalo(374 Articles Published)

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