The best durable phones are those phones that are water, shock and dust resistant, and the hard outer casings must be able to withstand falls, bumps and other forms of impact. This makes them ideal for use in any extreme conditions.
If you like the kind of nature outings like hiking, climbing or sailing, then these rugged phones could be the essential tools that will keep you connected no matter where you are – or what you are doing. To ensure that they meet the specified military standards for protection against vibration, shock, extreme temperatures, dust and water, all these phones have been rigorously tested.
The most rugged phones will also offer additional features to stand out from the rest of the competition: some have infrared cameras, others have built-in audiometric functions and even VOC (volatile organic compound) detectors. So read on to find out which are the best rugged phones on the market right now.
The Best Resistant Phones in 2021
CAT S61 – Professional
Land Rover Explore – Extrem
Motorola Moto Z2 Force – Daily Use
Blackview BV5900 – Value for money
Leagoo xRover C – Large Battery
Cubot QUEST – Powerful Processor
CAT S41 – Reduced Budget
CAT S61 – Professional
CAT S61 is the most durable phone in the world. No wonder. Who could do a better job of producing a rugged phone than a company known for making construction vehicles and other heavy equipment? CAT S61 is the latest in a range of hard phones from CAT and, as you might expect, it comes with the latest tools to make life easier.
The phone is ideal for anyone who needs a secure phone for the most difficult working conditions. It is made of a combination of thick aluminum and black plastic, giving the phone a wide range of strengths and making it extremely reliable. It is water resistant, being rated at IP68 and IP69K, so it can survive submerged in water for an hour. It is resistant to high pressure water jets and can withstand falls of up to 1.8 meters on concrete. The 5.2-inch screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and can be used with wet fingers and gloves – although there are navigation buttons under the screen just in case.
The performance of the phone is average and comes with 64 GB of storage space, but what really defines CAT S61 is a massive range of tools that you will not find elsewhere. The integrated Flir camera provides the phone with thermal detection, useful for finding hot water pipes, detecting internal swellings or people hidden in the bushes. There is also a laser measuring instrument, which allows quick measurements of distances and an air quality sensor, which allows users to know when the air quality in the surrounding space has dropped to dangerous levels. Moreover, the phone has a 4,500mAh battery that has the potential to last two days. All this makes the CAT S61 the most durable phone in the world.
All of these tools are unlikely to be useful to most people, but they should be invaluable to someone who needs them every day. However, the CAT S61 is priced according to the wide range of instruments it offers, but if you want an extremely tough phone with amazing features, the S61 is the perfect phone.
Land Rover Explore is one of the most durable phones for great explorers. It's super-tough, has a rated IP68 water resistance, a durable construction, Gorilla Glass 5 protection and a glass screen protector over the 5-inch display. The display has a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with average specifications and an Android 7.0 Nougat system (although an Android 8.0 Oreo update is on its way).
The real charm of Land Rover Explore lies in its details. Although it comes from the factory with a serious 4,000mAh battery, the phone can be configured with modular options, including the Adventure package, an additional battery pack that adds another 3,600mAh and a GPS Ceramic Patch antenna. The extra antenna enhances the GPS capabilities of your phone, making sure you always know where you are, even in the toughest areas. The extra GPS power requires even more power, but the extra battery is more than capable of solving this need. I noticed that Land Rover Explore still stays charged for a whole day despite a constant GPS connection and almost permanent screen usage.
The ViewRanger app also includes additional tools for hiking and biking, displaying a compass, barometric data, distance traveled, and other details, depending on your activity. The phone is for people who love to go wild and want their phone to be a big part of their adventures. It is heavy, reliable and super suitable for outdoor life. For a life spent exploring new adventures there is no better option than Land Rover Explore, a safe choice if you are looking for
Motorola Moto Z2 Force is not the first model that comes to mind when it comes to top durable phones. However, the Z2 Force is ideal for people who want much better performance and greater endurance due to shock protection. The Z2 Force still has the same level of elegance as its predecessor, with the stainless steel back panel, which is now finer (getting rid of those pronounced horizontal lines).
The chassis has soft rounded corners, and at the front is the 5.5-inch display and a slightly oval button, which has a fingerprint sensor underneath (Lenovo has decided to get rid of the square shape of previous generations). Attention, this button does not have the role of Home Button. The phone has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 2560 pixels, 16 million colors and a pixel density of 534 ppi.
The Moto Z2 Force display is not really that different from the Z Force, and the shock protection screen still cuts a little out of the image's intensity and brightness. Z2 Force is equipped with a Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 processor (quad-core 2.35 GHz Kryo and quad-core 1.9 GHz Kryo CPU), There is also the Adreno 540 GPU, with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage (there are also models with 6GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal storage) and the possibility to add up to 256 GB using the dedicated card slot.
At first glance the Motorola Moto Z2 Force doesn't look like a regular rugged phone, but it's surprisingly rough with a screen that won't break even if the phone falls face down (it can be easily scratched though).
If you are an active person who prefers to practice different types of outdoor sports and want to have a reliable and powerful phone, the Moto Z2 Force will not disappoint. This is the most durable phone for everyday use. Of course, if you are a construction or heavy industry worker, this phone is not right for you, but don't worry, there are better options from Ulefone or CAT.
It is made of hard materials, such as glass, metal and rubber (also used for off-road car tires), which ensures very good durability. In addition, it also benefits from IP68 protection, which confirms its status as a waterproof phone. The phone has an audio connector and a USB Type-C connector, both covered by small rubber flaps for added protection.
This model from Blackview has a Mediatek Helio A22 processor with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage. They are not extraordinary values, but they create a good ratio with the purchase price. The 5.7-inch screen has a resolution of 1520 x 720 pixels and is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which gives it extra strength. The phone has the same 5580 mAh battery, which can last up to two days.
Blackview BV5900 is equipped with two cameras: a main one, located in the back, with a resolution of 13 MP, and a selfie type, in the front, with a resolution of 5 MP. The photos taken are quite high quality for the price and the category in which this smartphone falls. On the video side, the phone can record frames at 1080p and 30 fps, the quality not being one of the best.
Leagoo xRover C is a quality rugged phone, with a 5.72-inch OGS screen, without frames, a dual photo module, a fingerprint sensor and a robust construction, being ideal for those who want a durable phone with a large battery.
The 5.72 inch screen is complemented by a resolution of 720 x 1440 pixels. The phone has brightness and quality contrast, which makes it perfect even for working in bright lighting conditions. The image will be clear, its quality not being altered even in strong sunlight.
Leagoo xRover C is equipped with a MediaTek MT6739V / WW processor, with 2 GB of RAM and MaliG71-MP2 graphics processor. With such features, the phone can be used even for more demanding applications. Given the 2 GB of RAM, which may be insufficient if you need a larger number of installed applications, you can use the 16 GB of ROM and the microSD card slot, which supports a maximum capacity of 256 GB.
Leagoo xRover C has a single main camera, 13 MP, which can create small inconveniences if you want to take pictures at night or in low light conditions. During the day the camera does a pretty good job. The 8 MP selfie camera manages to capture high quality photos. The battery has a capacity of 5000 mAh and has a lifespan until charging even longer than a day. However, under continuous use, the battery lasts between 6 and 10 hours.
This rugged phone model is based on a MediaTek MT6762 (Helio P22) processor with 12 nanometer technology. Although it is an eight-core processor, clocked at a frequency of 2 GHz, Cubot QUEST benefits from a Power83 VU GP83, which gives it an unexpected power. We also add the 4 GB RAM and the storage capacity of only 64 GB, which may be insufficient if you need more applications installed.
The screen of Cubot QUEST has a diagonal of 5.5 inches and is IPS type. The resolution of 1440 x 720 pixels, one of the most common in phones in this category, is quite decent and gives you a correct view of the screen, even in special lighting conditions (natural, strong, dim). What surprised us is the FM radio, a rare function in the case of these types of phones. In addition, Cubot QUEST benefits from NFC and 802.11n wireless connectivity, which are real advantages.
The back of the smartphone has two photo sensors, 12 + 2 MP, fingerprint scanner and LED flash. The secondary camera (selfie) is 8 MP, the photos taken are not of the highest quality. The battery has a capacity of 4000 mAh, which could last a day in average conditions of use.
CAT S41 – Reduced Budget
The CAT S41 retains a similar look to other rugged CAT phones, with a thick rubber case (keeping the same octagonal shape) covered in a black finish, narrow longitudinal channels on the back and wide sides, which will provide better grip.
Unlike many other rugged phones aimed at construction or industrial workers, the front and back of the phone are surprisingly clean, lacking those unnecessary screws or additional metal plates that often have a purely aesthetic value and won't add too much protection. The front of the CAT S41 maintains the same minimalist tone, being covered by a glossy surface, until it is interrupted by the physical buttons (it still has the three buttons at hand: Back, Home and Recent Applications.
As expected from a rugged smartphone, the CAT S41 is IP68 certified, which means it is protected from dust and can withstand underwater up to a depth of 6.5 meters for about 60 minutes. There are a few additional features that increase both the strength and the comfort factor: the outer casing has a very good grip, without giving even a second the feeling that it will slip out of your hand.
One of the elements that have been upgraded is the display, which is now 5 inches (TFT), has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (a density of about 441 ppi). It is protected by the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which should provide reliable protection against scratches (but nothing more). Inside, the CAT S41 is equipped with a MediaTek MT6757 Helio P20 SoC processor (2.3GHz octa-core cortex-A53 processor), a Mali-T880 MP2 GPU, 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The cameras have also been improved, so there is now a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, auto-focus phase detection and HDR mode, and an 8-megapixel front camera suitable for selfies (both cameras can shoot under the water).
One of the biggest upgrades on the latest generation of CAT phones is the 5000 mAh (non-removable Li-Ion) battery, which allows the S41 to deliver up to 4 days of average battery life. An interesting feature is the ability to charge other devices using the battery distribution dongle (a feature also found on the S61). Overall, we consider the S51 to be the toughest phone for a budget.
Questions and answers
A good durable phone is that phone completely insulated in a thick case to protect it from damage caused by, among other things, water, shocks, dust and falls. We claim that durable phones are tough, able to withstand many abuses, such as being submerged in water or being knocked to the ground.
All good durable phones that are worth the money will have a level of Ingress Protection (IP rating), such as IP56. This means level 5 for dust resistance, level 6 for raincoats, and resistance to falls from a height of 1.5 meters.
Heavy-duty phones are designed for a wide range of users, but are designed to withstand possible damage caused by water and dust, falling on hard surfaces, extreme temperatures and all sorts of dangers that would destroy an ordinary phone. These qualities make rugged phones the most suitable for people who work, live or play outdoors, as the phone is more likely to suffer a malfunction when exposed to these risks.
The best fall-resistant phones are those IP68 rated phones. Although the IP ( Ingress Protection) rating refers to dust and water resistance, a higher rating also indicates a higher resistance to shocks and falls. IP68 rated devices withstand falls from 5 meters, while those IP67 rated models withstand falls from only 1.5 meters. The most resistant to shocks and falls reg phones SIM CAT S52 , BLACKVIEW BV9800 PRO , Land Rover Explore . If it is interested in a model more "traditional", but all rated IP68 recommend a m: Samsung Galaxy S10 , Galaxy Note 10 , Google Pixel 4 , Huawei P30 Pro .
IP ratings are an international standard that classifies and assesses the degree of protection that mechanical and electrical enclosures offer against the penetration of dust and water. This rating aims to give users a clear indication of what to expect. Many rugged phones have an IP rating, such as IP67. The first digit, 6, shows how well the phone is protected against the penetration of solid particles, level 6 being the highest on this scale, showing that it is 100% impossible for dust to enter the phone. The second digit, in this case 7, shows how well the mobile is protected from the liquid entering the device. Rating 7 certifies that it has been tested by immersion in up to 1 meter of water for 30 minutes. IP67 devices will withstand falls of up to 3 meters.
A level above is IP68, which means that the device is level 6 in terms of protection against the penetration of solid particles, and level 8 in terms of protection against water, level 8 means that it is completely waterproof. In addition, IP68 means that it will withstand falls of up to 5 meters.
The best waterproof phones are fully waterproof phones, rated IP68. These devices do not have that look rough, ugly and bulky of the former, in fact on the contrary, are elegant devices that can easily make side displaying splash or country submerged in AP.
Overall, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are our top choices for the best waterproof phones, surpassing in every way anything else on the market. Both phones withstand immersion in water, up to 4 meters for 30 minutes. However, there are plenty of alternative options rated at IP68, from top manufacturers like Samsung, Google, Huawei and others, if you prefer Android. Among them we find Samsung Galaxy S10 , Galaxy Note 10 , Google Pixel 4 , Huawei P30 Pro .
The best rugged dual sim phones have in addition to increased resistance to dust, water or falls, and dual-sim functionality that allows the use of two SIM cards at the same time. If you are looking for the best dual sim rugged phone and you do not want to make any compromises, we recommend CAT S61 , which I wrote extensively in the article about the best smart phones .
Fortunately, more and more smartphone manufacturers are offering such models, which means that regardless of your budget you should be able to find a rugged dual sim phone. Among the cheaper models we find Cubot KING KONG , Ulefone Armor 6E , Ulefone Armor2 .
The best dustproof phones all have one thing in common, they are rated at level 6 in terms of dust resistance. This includes all phones rated IP65, IP66, IP67, the only difference between them being the level of impermeability. As for the best dustproof phone, the range of models is very large. At the bottom of the price range we find models such as Cubot QUEST Lite or Blackview BV5900 . If, however, the budget is not a constraint and you are looking for the best dust-resistant phone without compromising, then any of the best mobile phones of the moment will fit your glove as all modern flagships are rated at at least IP65.
The best cheap rugged phones are exactly what their name suggests, cheap phones capable of withstanding even the biggest abuses a phone can be subjected to in a more, or less, willful way. Below we have listed some of our favorite models.
The Best Cheap Durable Phones: