What Is a Waterproof USB?

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  • Written By: R. Kayne
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2014
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With personal storage devices such as thumb drives becoming so ubiquitous, one might prefer to have a model designed specifically to endure the rigors of an active life, including the occasional and accidental bump, dip, splash or run through the washer. Enter, waterproof USB drives.

A Universal Serial Bus (USB) drive is a storage chip on a miniature system board, housed within a case similar in size to a BIC® lighter. USB drives are very popular and are used for many purposes including archiving files, swapping files between machines or devices, carrying personal bootable programs, and for testing operating systems in a portable format. One end of the flash drive is a male USB connector, made to interface with the female USB port of any computer. When not in use, a removable cap covers the USB connector of the thumb drive.

A waterproof USB drive sports a case that’s more rugged than a standard model, with a cap that creates a watertight seal when snapped closed. The case might be made of silicon or other impact-resistant materials. In addition to being waterproof, these models are also typically also shock-resistant. Some manufacturers list impact specifications, such as being resistant to shock up to 1,000g. Depending on the materials used to manufacture the case, a waterproof USB drive might also be electromagnetic resistant.


Aside from personal use, a waterproof USB drive that is also shock and electromagnetic resistant can be a great promotional tool. The smooth case of this model can be imprinted with a custom logo, and various colors are available. This product lends itself well to advertising because thumb drives are so very useful in everyday life, they are unlikely to end up discarded in junk drawers or tossed in recycle bins. Even if the recipient can’t use the drive, it will probably be passed along to someone who can.

As with standard thumb drives or data sticks as they are sometimes called, price is dependent on storage capacity. The lowest capacity continues to rise as prices drop, but currently one might find the starting point at 512 Megabytes (MB), going up to 16 Gigabytes (GB) and beyond.

Since flash memory is still more expensive than platter storage (used on internal hard drives), the highest available capacity at any given time will be inordinately more expensive than mid-level capacities. At the time of this writing, an 8GB flash drive can be had for under $10 US Dollars (USD), making it pointless to buy anything smaller. However, a waterproof USB drive might run an extra $20-$30 USD to account for the special casing and waterproof cap.

You can find a waterproof USB drive at your local electronics store or online. Then forget about that impromptu dip in the pool, dive in the waves, or slide through the snow... your trusty memory drive will have you covered.


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