Contour Cut Camera housing on the Galaxy S21Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

Best waterproof phones Android Central 2021

Over the years, water-resistance in phones has gone from being a luxury reserved only for top-shelf phones to a standard feature that's expected of any remotely expensive gadget. We've rounded up the best waterproof phones in 2021, lead by the fantastic Samsung Galaxy S21. Take a look at our list for more options that will fit any budget and lifestyle needs.

Best overall waterproof phone: Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21 in-handSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

The Samsung Galaxy S21 burst onto the scene in early 2021 and quickly became our consensus choice for the best Android phone most people should buy. That doesn't mean that it had the best specs overall or was the best-priced phone. No, we love the S21 because of how well it balances price, features, and built quality, and part of that build quality is its IP68 water and dust resistance.

Unlike its higher-priced siblings in the S21 and Note 20 lineup, this phone has a plastic, or rather, "glasstic" rear panel, but that doesn't make it feel cheap or less premium to us. On the contrary, it actually makes the phone considerably more resistant to damage from accidental drops. The glasstic back also allowed for beautiful color options, including Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, Phantom White, and Phantom Violet.

On top of the water-resistance, you get a top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage. The cameras outperform many higher-priced flagships, and the 4,000 mAh battery is outstanding. And as icing on the cake, the S21 debuted several hundred dollars cheaper than the S20 was last year.

Pros:

  • Large, beautiful 120Hz display
  • Awesome cameras
  • Excellent battery life
  • Three years of platform updates
  • Wireless charging and IP68 rating

Cons:

  • Some may be turned off by the plastic back
  • No microSD support

Best overall waterproof phone

Samsung Galaxy S21 Render Phantom Violet Back Official

Samsung Galaxy S21- 5G Smartphone

The best phone value of 2021

The Galaxy S21 offers nearly everything as the more expensive S21 variants, with high-end specs and IP68 water resistance.

Best waterproof phone upgrade: OnePlus 9 Pro

Procam X Oneplus 9 Pro LifestyleSource: Andrew Myrick / Android Central

The OnePlus 9 Pro is as impressive and well-designed as any smartphone can be. If you know anything about the company's phones, you'll be happy to know the 9 Pro doesn't upend the traditional OnePlus formula. Instead, it takes it to its logical place in the world of 2021 smartphones with more features and a higher price. And like it's 8 and 8 Pro from 2020, this means additions like IP68 resistance.

The hardware goes head to head with any phone out there, and it's punctuated by the best display OnePlus has used. It's bright, colorful, and has a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. Inside there are exceptional specs, leading to fantastic performance thanks to the OxygenOS software that's always a joy to use.

The 9 Pro also has the best cameras yet on a OnePlus phone, with a new main sensor that ups its game to a true flagship-level, thanks to OnePlus's partnership with camera pioneer Hasselblad. The entire camera experience is a small step below the likes of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but then again, it's also less expensive. That's really where the OnePlus 9 Pro fits in. It's a true flagship phone experience through and through, for just a bit less money than the traditional players with big brand names.

Pros:

  • Large, beautiful 120Hz display
  • Incredible Hasselblad-tuned cameras
  • Super-fast charging
  • OxygenOS is a best-in-class Android software
  • Wireless charging and IP68 rating

Cons:

  • Battery life could be better
  • Some software and camera bugs are still present

Best waterproof phone upgrade

OnePlus 9 Pro in Forest Green

OnePlus 9 Pro - 5G Smartphone

The best phone OnePlus has ever made

The OnePlus 9 Pro is impressive and well-designed but doesn't upend the traditional OnePlus formula and delivers great value.

Best big waterproof phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraSource: Hayato Huseman / Android Central

The Galaxy S21 Ultra takes a step above the more mainstream (and highly recommended) Galaxy S21. It has all of the same specs and features, yes including its water resistance rating, but with an even larger display — up to 6.8 inches — and correspondingly larger 5,000mAh battery. Even when using its gorgeous Quad HD+ display at 120Hz, it has incredible battery life, so you'll never have to worry about longevity on this phone.

The Ultra also uses that extra space (and higher price) to give you better cameras, with a 108MP main shooter that takes even brighter photos and two telephoto cameras that can reach out and get great shots from 3X up to 10X (and even decent shots at 15X). The trade-offs for this extra capability, and battery life, are overall size and price. The S21 Ultra is bigger and heavier than the S21+ and S21.

Pros:

  • Massive high-quality screen
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Huge battery
  • Super-sharp main camera shots
  • Solid zoom camera up to 15X

Cons:

  • Necessarily big and heavy
  • No headphone jack
  • Very big and pretty pricey

Best big waterproof phone

Galaxy S21 Ultra in Phantom Titanium

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - 5G Smartphone

Samsung goes all-out

The S21 Ultra is what we hoped the S20 Ultra would be — big and beautiful with a great display and cameras and a huge battery.

Best waterproof phone camera: Google Pixel 5a

Google Pixel 5aSource: Ara Wagoner / Android Central

The Pixel 5a represents the very best of Google's software. The hardware is no slouch either; that IP67-rated exterior will protect your phone from dust and water ingress better than most "value flagships," and its Snapdragon 765G chipset and 6GB of RAM delivers plenty of performance.

You also get stereo speakers and a great 60Hz display, and of course, the Pixel 5a has one of the best cameras on any phone you can buy. Night Sight allows the Pixel 5a to capture stunning photos even in near-pitch black conditions, and in daylight, you can grab great photos in any situation thanks to its 12.2 MP main and 16MP ultrawide cameras.

Just about the only downsides to this mid-level masterpiece are its rather drab design and its lack of wireless charging. But thanks to the largest battery ever on a Pixel, you won't be searching for an outlet very often.

Pros:

  • IP67 water resistance
  • Simple, useful, and fast software
  • Top-end camera quality back and front
  • Biggest battery ever on a Pixel
  • Headphone jack

Cons:

  • Boring design
  • Only available in one size and one storage configuration

Best waterproof phone camera

Pixel 5a 5g Render Both Sides Adjusted

Google Pixel 5a - 5G Smartphone

A great all-around package

The Pixel 5a has excellent hardware and great cameras. Its IP67 rating also means it's very durable.

Most durable waterproof phone: Blackview BV5900

Blackview BV5900Source: Blackview

If you're looking for a tough, rugged Android phone that you can take anywhere and which can take anything you throw at it (or it at), then you want the Blackview BV5900. This phone is built like a tank, with MIL-STD-810G certification and IP68 dust and water resistance. There is no need to even think about putting a case on this phone; it IS a case with a phone built-in.

This phone is perfect for the outdoor adventurer, tradesperson, or even teenager, but not just because it's tough. It has a massive 5,580 mAh battery, and it comes with a capable 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, which is expandable up to 128GB. You also get NFC for Google Pay payments and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. This phone is also the most affordable on this list!

Pros:

  • Military-grade construction
  • IP68 water and dust resistance
  • Huge battery
  • NFC ready

Cons:

  • Rugged design is not for everybody
  • No wireless charging

Most durable waterproof phone

Blackview BV5900

Blackview BV5900

Built like an amphibious vehicle

Your phone and wallet will be protected with this durable and affordable device built like a tank.

Best waterproof phone with a stylus: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra ReviewSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is by most accounts the best premium Samsung device of 2020. It doesn't fold like the Z Fold 3 or Z Flip 3, but it has higher specs than those two devices at a lower price point.

The most recent big Note packs some impressive specs into its admittedly large frame, including a 6.9-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 12MP ultra-wide hole-punch selfie cam. In addition, it has a three-camera system on the back that rivals any on the market, supported by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ with 12GB of RAM and 128GB storage (though you can get a 512GB model). And, of course, the Note 20 Ulta is IP68 water and dust-resistant. It's pretty amazing that Samsung can achieve this rating with a stylus, but they somehow do!

If you want most of the features of the Note 20 Ultra (including water resistance) for less, there is also the regular Note 20 that features a durable "glasstic" back, similar to the Galaxy S1.

Pros:

  • Fantastic build quality
  • S Pen functionality
  • Gorgeous screen
  • Best Samsung camera experience
  • All-day battery life
  • IP68 rating

Cons:

  • In-display fingerprint sensor is slow, especially when wet
  • Curved display causes accidental touches
  • Expensive

Best waterproof phone with a stylus

Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Mystic White

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra - 5G Smartphone

All of Samsung's great features, with a stylus inside

For many, there's no replacement for a Note. Great hardware and specs, with a huge display, plus the unique S Pen features.

Best waterproof flip phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Water Rain OpenSource: Nick Sutrich / Android Central

The folding phone that most people have been waiting for is finally here! Best of all, it's beautiful, durable, has the latest specs, and oh yeah, it's water-resistant! The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 brings you the future with a taste of the past and does so in a compact package that should appeal to those who pine away for small phones.

Samsung has been developing its folding screen technology for several years now, but it feels like this is the generation where it has finally nailed it. The Galaxy Z Flip 3 sports more durable hinges and glass than previous versions, and it is the first Flip with built-in water resistance — IPX8, to be exact. This will protect your phone from an odd splash or some light rain, but don't think you can take it swimming with you. You will also need to guard against dust ingress, a tougher problem to solve with a folding phone.

Aside from being tougher, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 has a larger and more useful exterior display, the latest Snapdragon 888 processor, and surprisingly capable cameras. So if you're looking for convenience, portability, or a smaller form factor, this phone is for you.

Pros:

  • Compact size that's great for one-handed use
  • IPX8 water resistance
  • Excellent build quality
  • Good performance
  • Latest Samsung software

Cons:

  • Lackluster battery life
  • No telephoto camera

Best waterproof flip phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 Render Flex Crop

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 - 5G Smartphone

Finally, a folding phone with water resistance

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 has everything you want in a compact phone, including water resistance.

Bottom line

When waterproofing is a requirement in your next phone, you're in luck: most of the best Android phones available today have at least IP68 resistance. That means our top pick for a waterproof phone is the same as our general best pick, the Samsung Galaxy S21.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 has excellent hardware and specs, punctuated by a huge 120Hz display, and it performs exceptionally well with super clean software. In addition, it's cheaper than previous versions, which makes it even more of a good deal for most Android flagship customers.

What do these ratings mean?

Google Pixel 4Source: Android Central

While no phone is truly waterproof, there are varying water resistance levels to consider when comparing different phones. Every model in this list is rated IP68, which denotes full dust resistance and allows the phone to survive up to 30 minutes in as much as two meters of water. Other phones may be rated IP67, offering the same dust protection but only half the submersion depth at a single meter.

You may also occasionally see IPX7, which protects against one meter of water but doesn't guarantee protection against dust. Some phones, like the Moto G series, are water-resistant to some extent but not officially IP-certified. This means it'll probably survive if you get caught in the rain or accidentally spill a drink on the table. Still, you shouldn't test your luck since you're unlikely to get very far with customer service if the water damage indicator inside the phone gets wet.

On that note, while water resistance is a great feature to have, it isn't a guarantee from the manufacturer that your phone will survive any and all immersion. Especially if your phone gets badly cracked or the water sealant inside gets damaged (this typically happens when removing the back for repairs), liquid can still seep in and ruin your phone — so take regular precautions with your phone, even if it's IP68 certified. And that knowledge may also make you consider some of the best cheap Android phones that may not have official IP ratings but have a lot going for them otherwise.

Most phones are water resistant these days

Moto G7Source: Android Central

Whether you buy the Samsung Galaxy S1, the Google Pixel 5a, or so many others, you'll be getting an incredible device that's backed by the same IP68 certification. Even if none of these phones speak to you, though, here's some excellent news: ingress protection is all but mandated in a flagship phone these days, so the next time you're shopping around, you can pretty much choose whatever phone catches your eye.

If you're shopping on a tighter budget, don't worry — there are still some options worth considering with at least moderate water resistance. For example, the Moto G Power (2021) may not be IP68-certified; it has a "water repellent P2i nano-coating" that protects it from splashes. So while phones within this price range are less likely to have ingress protection, there are certainly options out there.

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