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A Rugged Cell Phone for Work or Play

Updated on August 21, 2014

Need a Rugged Cell Phone to Fit Your Life?

Any electronic device is susceptible to damage when dropped, exposed to excessive heat, cold, or moisture. Dust and dirt can also work to destroy such devices. If you're an individual who works or plays in an environment where such hazards are nearly always present, you know that having a cell phone that's resistant to such threats is important.

There are a number of rugged cell phone models that are designed to survive frequent contact with water, dust, smoke, shock, extreme temperatures, and more. You'll see a number of the better options on this page.

Buying Tips

When choosing a rugged cell phone there are a few things to think about.

The primary things to consider initially are the same things that should be examined before purchasing any cell phone. Coverage and the carrier (cell phone company) are important considerations of course. So too, are the various features you need the phone to have. Things like a web browser, built-in camera, GPS functions, and so forth are useful for nearly any user and certainly also for those who work or play outdoors.

Whether on a noisy worksite or simply outdoors, having good noise suppression can make voice communication easier as well. A walk talkie function can be good if multiple users will have a similar phone, and voice activated dialing can also be handy when your hands are busy. A large keypad, simple controls and overall navigation, can also be a plus, especially if gloves are involved.

Other basic functions like a timer, alarm clock, flashlight and so forth should also be considered depending upon the conditions of use. Some users may even benefit from a compass, altimeter, or similar functions.

While all of these phones may be tough, they may not all be equal. For instance, while one phone may tolerate being splashed, another might tolerate being submerged 6 feet in water for 30 minutes. Comparing specifications is a good idea. Many of these rugged cell phones are described as meeting military specifications. This refers to Military Specifications- MIL STD 810F, which you can learn more about


A final critical consideration for some users will be the talk time and stand-by time. If a user will be away from anyplace where they can charge the phone, having one that holds a charge well, can be important.

The Advantages and Disadvantages

A rugged cell phone is ideal on a worksite, out in the field, or anywhere in the great outdoors. They are often waterproof and won't flinch if dunked in stream, can tolerate being dropped, and in some cases, even being run overby a pickup truck. They also tend to be less temperature sensitive and won't be bothered by dust, dirt, and sand. This durability makes them very reliable in nearly any condition.

While many of these phones offered only basic functions for some years, their capabilities have expanded making them a better option for many users. Still, they aren't going to offer the high resolution multi-touch interface and all of the entertainment features that the most recent, higher end smartphones offer. The only other potential disadvantage is that these phone are often a bit bulkier than some of the other options. While this can be an advantage in a number of situations, if a user prefers the sleekest model, these phones won't be the right choice.

Nautiz X1

HandHeld Nautiz X1 Rugged Waterproof PDA Phone + GPS + Camera
HandHeld Nautiz X1 Rugged Waterproof PDA Phone + GPS + Camera

The Sanyo Pro 700 is offered by Sprint. The Pro 700 meets military specifications for withstanding shock and so forth. It is a 2 way communication device and offers a speakerphone function as well. It provides 294 minutes of talk time per charge. This rugged cell phone includes Bluetooth connectivity, GPS, a web browser, and a large display that is easy to read even in sunlight.


Casio GZOne Review

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    • samsung-galaxy lm profile image

      samsung-galaxy lm 4 years ago

      I would definitely prefer these phones over a touchscreen working in the field.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Nice selection but which are compatible with T-Mobile ? Anyone know ?

    • ezbuysdirect profile image

      ezbuysdirect 5 years ago

      It's amazing how much technology has advanced.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Surprised that the Casio Commando phone is not listed. As a landscaper, it's been almost indestructible to the abuse that I've put it through.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      videos are amazing nice job thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      dream1983 5 years ago

      Great lens, nicely done! Thumbs up!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      what about the Sony Go?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Where is SONIM!

      home of the world toughest phone hands down.

    • gamrslist profile image

      gamrslist 5 years ago

      cool lens i like phones i can drop ans not break

    • profile image

      kanakope 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • profile image

      kanakope 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • SquidooRocks55 profile image

      SquidooRocks55 5 years ago

      Some of these phones are really cool!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I wish someone would make a tough phone with a very good camera. I don't need a big screen or internet on my phone but a 8mp camera in a waterproof phone would be excellent!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice one. Today I am trying the Pin It button, and I hope it helps.

    • iQwestArticles profile image

      iQwestArticles 6 years ago

      Great list of rugged cell phones! Going back a good number of years, I used the rugged Nextel phones. They were definitely durable, too!

      The Samsung Rugby seemed to handle the "torture" test quite well!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Based on the reviews here and on http://rugged cellphone.,info, it looks like the Sonim XP3300 is the way to go. I also like the Verykool R80 but it is not available here in the US market yet.

    • bchadra lm profile image

      bchadra lm 6 years ago

      Wow, great lens! I'm glad that I stopped by here for more information before deciding on what phone would be best for work. Thanks for the great tips!

    • piedromolinero profile image

      piedromolinero 7 years ago

      I didn't know that there are such cell phones. I think they would be perfect when being at the beach.

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 7 years ago from Lancaster PA

      I wish the iPhone was a more rugged beast. That would be a good thing for Apple to develop!!

    • profile image

      Sycro 7 years ago

      Hey, i had some trouble with prank callers, until i found phone number scan, a great way to find out exactly who is calling you, check it out.


    • profile image

      Sycro 7 years ago

      Nice lense!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Rugged is a good idea. Cellphones aren't very sturdy pieces of equipment in my exeprience!

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 7 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I'm trying to decide on a new cell phone, and this review of these 'rugged' cell phones is great. Thanks for the info.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      In my career field cell phones do not last long. They either get crushed,dropped,broken or malfunction due to excessive RF Exsposure. It has happened several times. Now I am looking for another phone and this page has helped. Think I will give the Motorola Tundra a try.


    • greenerme profile image

      greenerme 8 years ago

      My husband needs one of these, too. He always is dropping his cellphone. It's only a matter of time before it breaks!

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens - you've been blessed by a squidoo angel :)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      You've really carved a nice niche out with your phones! BBB ~~ can you guess what that means?

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Yep -- my hubby needs one of these -- especially if it can survive being in a pocket and falling into a swimming pool!!!