Many people use the terms 'waterproof' and 'water-resistant' interchangeably, but they don't quite mean the same thing. And, these terms may apply to a variety of products, including electronics and hardware.

When choosing labels for your company's products, it's important to understand the difference between waterproof labels and water-resistant labels. But, not everyone knows as much information as they should.

Not sure where to start? Don't worry, we’ve got you covered.

Let's take a look at everything you need to know.


So, What's The Difference Between The Two?

By definition, something that is waterproof means that it is completely protected against water. Waterproof clothing, for example, should never have water seep through the outer layer.

This is why clothing for cold/rainy weather is created and marketed as waterproof (jackets, boots, etc.).

Similarly, something that is water-resistant only means that it repels water, not that it's completely protected against it. Low-to-medium amounts of water are often manageable, but full submersion may not be.

Depending on the scenario, though, full waterproofing may not be necessary, making water resistance the superior option.


What About in The Context of Labels?

For companies that offer products that will regularly come into contact with water, they'll need to consider either waterproof or water-resistant labels. While it may not seem like an issue for a label to become removed with water exposure, it can give off the impression that the product is cheaply made or that the company didn't take the time to consider this nuance.

Additionally, other complications may arise if a label begins to peel off after exposure to water. The adhesive that's left behind can be difficult or impossible to remove without damaging the product, and its presence could detract from the product's aesthetic.

The label itself may also provide necessary information about how to store, clean, or operate the product, which makes it even more important to maintain its integrity.

Let's explore the major differences between these two types of labels.


Waterproof Labels

After they're applied to a dry surface, there should be little issue with waterproof labels when it comes to moisture. In some cases, this type of label is referred to as 'weatherproof' since it can often withstand the elements.

These work best on outdoor equipment, such as HVAC units, posts/poles, fences, etc. But, they also have utility on products that will frequently be placed in the dishwasher, pool, etc.

This type of label is often more expensive to manufacture and purchase, though, so it's not ideal for companies whose products won't experience consistent or heavy water exposure.


Water-Resistant Labels

Since these labels are resistant to water, they're also often resistant to oils, meaning cooking products, sweat, etc. won't affect the label's integrity. So, they're ideal for products that will only experience minor levels of moisture, such as ice cream or products sold in jars.

As previously mentioned, waterproof levels often cost more in total, making them an impractical option for products that don't need to be entirely protected against water. This is especially true if your production volume is notably high.

But, water-resistant labels also work well for products that aren't intended to come into contact with water. Virtually any product will benefit from a water-resistant label due to the fact that the adhesive won't decay over time and lead to an unsightly appearance.


What Types of Labels Are There?

Whether or not a label is waterproof or water-resistant is only on attribute since not all labels are created with the same purpose in mind. Even similar types of equipment can have different label requirements.

Let's take a look at a few of the most notable.


  • Media Labels

These labels can be peeled off of a sheet and placed on different types of media, such as DVDs, discs, cassettes, etc. They're mostly used for organizational purposes and are often the best method to categorize a large collection of media (especially things like old home videos).

At the very least, you'll be able to save time in the future by knowing the content that each medium contains.

  • Printer Labels

These come in a variety of shapes and styles and also have a wide range of uses. The major benefit these labels provide is that you're able to create them from your home printer, which is perfect for those who operate out of a home office.

If necessary, you can also create labels for your products out of removable label material.

  • Thermal Labels

For those who frequently ship products, the cost of ink can quickly add up. Thermal labels are a great alternative for those who wish to keep their shipping budget low.


So, Which Choice Is Best?

If your products need to be fully protected from water, waterproof labels are likely the way to go. For everything else, water-resistant labels are often all that you need.

Put simply, any product that won't be submerged in water should have a water-resistant label to protect from accidental exposure to moisture. Otherwise, you risk ruining the label's integrity and creating a bad impression on the buyer.


Deciding Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant Labels Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn't have to be.

With the above information about waterproof vs. water-resistant labels in mind, you'll be well on your way toward making the decision that's best for you.

Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.