This buying guide details some of the best rugged Android smartphones available in 2017. Phones that are perfect for a demanding job, an active lifestyle, or aren’t as fragile as most. It’s also a good idea to pickup a cheap rugged phone if you’re going on vacation.
These aren’t just waterproof phones either. Rugged smartphone models pass military-grade testing for protection against drops, shock, water, dust, extreme temperatures, and vibration.
Most rugged Android smartphones ditch their good looks in favor of a more durable design, but not all of them. With that in mind, our options range from the ultra high-end Galaxy S8 Active to more affordable phones that can literally survive a construction zone.
You can take these phones under water, some have shatterproof screens and all of them can handle just about any situation. One even has a thermal imaging camera to help you build a house or monitor expensive machinery. As an added bonus, most rugged Android phones get better battery life too.
Keep in mind that while most of these phones have a military-grade certification, they aren’t indestructible. Screens can still crack or break, and damage from water or drops are possible. The manufacturer ratings give you a good idea of what to expect, but being cautious and careful is still a good idea.
Best Rugged Android Smartphones
- Samsung Galaxy S8 Active
- CAT S60
- KYOCERA DuraForce PRO
- Ulefone Armor 2
- Moto Z2 Force
It is important to choose a rugged Android smartphone that fits your needs and preferences. Devices like the Galaxy S8 Active or Moto Z2 Force aren’t full-featured “rugged” devices, but are better than most phones on the market. If you just need a little extra protection, consider one of those.
However, if you need a phone that works under water, resists oil or solvents, or has a speakerphone you can hear over loud machinery, one of the other three are likely a better choice. Our slideshow below has more information for potential buyers.