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Best rugged smartphones 2024

The best rugged phones are perfect for outdoor adventures, camping and dangerous jobs, as they're protected against drops, scrapes and water damage.

Custom image for best rugged phones guide with a Nokia device over a blue background

The best rugged smartphones are shock and water-resistant, and perfect for camping, hiking, or working in challenging environments. Whether you’re into outdoor activities or your job makes a durable device a must, we’re here to help you find the best rugged phone for your needs and budget. Some phones focus on adventures with features like flashlights and long batteries, others focus solely on durability, and many offer advanced camera specs and gaming modes.

We’ve got years of experience with mobile phones, and our experience has been put to good use while testing the rugged phones below, from specialist rugged brand Doogee and household names such as Nokia and Samsung. We’ve also spent time with the best gaming iPhone, the best gaming phones in general, and the best portable gaming consoles so you can make a wise investment with your next piece of tech.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At Pocket Tactics, our experts spend days testing games, phones, tech, and services. We always share honest opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

Doogee S96 GT

Best rugged smartphone overall

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Doogee S96 GT specifications:
Display 6.22-inch 1520 X 720 pixels IPS LCD
Cameras 64MP Main, 20MP Night Vision, 8MP Front
RAM 8GB
Storage 256GB + MicroSDXC slot
Rugged rating IP68/IP69K
Battery 6350 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Great performance for price
  • Bulkier protection than others at the same price
  • Nice selfie camera
Reasons to avoid
  • Less frequent security updates
  • Less comfy in the hand than others

There are some fantastic options on this list, but the Doogee S69 GT is the best rugged phone of the bunch. With a capable MediaTek chipset, a durable build quality that is second to none, and 4K video recording, this device really gives you a lot of bang for your buck. It might not be 5G capable, but who needs it if you’re adventuring out in the wilderness?

It’s hard to find any downsides to this budget option, with durable Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the surprisingly vivid 6.22-inch screen, and convenient fingerprint recognition to boot. Still, due to Doogee’s status as one of the small-to-mid-sized brands, you’re not getting the same level of safety updates as you do with the Nokia XR20 below, but the Doogee device is a bit cheaper. Picking between the two depends on where your priorities lie.

If you need a phone that can withstand drops (up to 1.8m) and spills, but don’t want to sacrifice media features, the Doogee S96 GT is the best rugged phone for you.

Oukitel WP33 Pro

The best heavy duty rugged phone.

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Oukitel WP33 Pro specifications:
Display 6.6-inch IPS LCD (1080 x 2408 pixels)
Cameras 64 MP wide primary, 20 MP night vision, 2 MP macro, 32 MP selfie
RAM 8GB (up to 24GB extended)
Storage 256GB
Rugged rating IP68/IP69K & MIL-STD-810H certified
Reasons to buy
  • Incredible battery life
  • Useful tools for trade and adventure
  • Good display
Reasons to avoid
  • Very heavy
  • Mediocre cameras

The Oukitel WP33 Pro is an absolute beast of a rugged phone. It’s big, and it’s heavy, and it means business. Whether you’re in the trade or looking for something that’ll survive outdoor adventures, this thing has your back, no matter what you throw at it. Sure, it’s not that practical for the day-to-day, but that doesn’t really matter on this list.

The biggest highlight of the Oukitel WP33 Pro is its incredible battery life, lasting for days on end without any fear of flat. Seriously, this thing just goes and goes. While putting together our Oukitel WP33 Pro review, I only had to charge it once, and really, that was just to see how quickly it juiced back up. Not only that, but it features reverse charging, so you can power up your devices using this thing’s impressive 22,000mAh battery.

The caveat to the Oukitel WP33 Pro is that, as we mentioned earlier, it’s not really for casual phone users. It’s ridiculously heavy at over 500g, and its build isn’t suited to long gaming sessions, nor is its performance, for that matter. Still, if you’re an adventurer or a tradesperson, it could be the ideal rugged phone.

Nokia XR20

Best discrete rugged smartphone

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Nokia XR20 specifications:
Display 6.67-inch IPS LCD
Cameras 48 MP wide, 13 MP ultrawide, 8 MP front
RAM 4GB/6GB
Storage 64GB (exp. with MicroSDXC slot)
Rugged rating IP68 dust/water resistant
Reasons to buy
  • Long-term software support
  • 5G connectivity
Reasons to avoid
  • Slightly underpowered
  • Not many features

Matching reliability and value for money, the Nokia XR20 is one of the more discrete options on this list, looking less like it’s intended for military use than other examples. Looks can be deceiving though, and this is still a decently durable device, made slightly more attractive in that it’s the product of Nokia, a reliable and recognizable brand.

With a three-year warranty, free screen replacements for a year after purchase, and the promise of security updates for up to four years, this is the ideal phone for someone who values practicality over fancy features. It’s not quite as hardcore as some of the other options, lacking the top-of-the-class IP69K level of protection against dirt, dust, and moisture, but it’s certainly more rugged than your standard iPhone or Samsung Galaxy alternative.

Aspects like its fingerprint sensor, 5G connectivity, and three years of Android software updates are a bonus, and at such a good price it’s the best option for most. The downside is that it isn’t a bespoke device for hardcore outdoor use – if you have specific needs, look to Doogee. It’s also just been upgraded to the Nokia XR21.

Doogee S100 Pro

Best rugged phone for outdoor adventures

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Doogee S100 Pro specifications:
Display 6.58″ FHD+ 120hz IPS Waterdrop screen
Cameras AI Triple camera (108MP+20MP+16MP), 20MP Night vision camera, 32MP front camera
RAM 20GB
Storage 256GB
Rugged rating IP68 / IP69K / MIL-STD-810H
Reasons to buy
  • Impressive build and screen quality
  • Bright camping lights
  • Great for gaming and photography
Reasons to avoid
  • Incredibly big and bulky

If you’re an intrepid adventurer who gets a kick from braving the elements, the Doogee S100 is the perfect companion for your travels. Boasting IP68 / IP69K and MIL-STD-810H rating for certified protection, this thing can face all sorts of extreme weather conditions without an issue. It’s not a bad regular old smartphone either, packing a Helio G99 processor, a triple camera system, and even a gaming mode for your adventuring downtime.

The S100 Pro feels sturdy in your hands, and pretty heavy too, weighing in at 400g. It’s by no means a brick with a call function, though, with a long list of features including a 22000mAh battery, 130-lumen camping light, and a fantastic night vision camera. Add in the 960-hour standby battery, and this device is sure to help you go the distance during any outdoor pursuit.

The Doogee S100 Pro is the best rugged phone if you value having a decent camera and media features, as well as a hardy casing. It’s not the cheapest model on our list but for a limited, Pocket Tactics followers in the UK can get 10% off the S100 Pro on Amazon with code S100PROUK.

Read our Doogee S100 Pro review.

Ulefone Power Armor 20WT

The Ulefone Power Armor 20WT is the best hardcore rugged phone.

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Ulefone Power Armor 20WT specifications:
Display 5.65-inch 1080 x 2160 pixels IPS LCD
Cameras 50 MP wide, 16 MP front camera
RAM 12GB
Storage 256GB
Rugged rating IP68/IP69K dust/water resistant, drop-to-concrete resistance up to 1.5m
Battery 10850 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Excellent battery life
  • Latest MediaTek Helio processor
Reasons to avoid
  • Very bulky
  • Might be overkill for most

My personal favorite rugged phone is the Ulefone Power Armor 20WT. With a great design, additional features ideal for adventurers, good performance, and excellent battery life, it’s the best rugged phone for anyone who is hardcore.

If you want to feel like a proper adventurer, this device comes with a walkie-talkie attachment, allowing instant communication with a longer battery life than your run-of-the-mill walkie-talkie. Sure, it’s a bit of a gimmick, but it’s one that lets you feel as if you’re in a Hollywood movie when connecting with your fellow travelers.

Downsides? Well, there aren’t any obvious ones – it’s great value for money. However, its bulkier design, smaller screen, software bugs, and lack of updates all make it a harder recommendation for a more general audience. Make sure you can make use of its additional features, however, and then it could be a good one to get in on.

Cat S75

The Cat S75 is the best rugged phone with satellite connectivity.

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Cat S75 specifications:
Display 6.6-inch 1080 x 2408 pixels IPS LCD
Cameras 50MP rear, 8MP superwide, 2MP macro with underwater mode, 8MP front camera
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB
Rugged rating 1P68/IP69K, 1.8m on steel
Battery 5000 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Two-way satellite texting
  • Latest Mediatek Dimensity processor
Reasons to avoid
  • Not the best selfie camera
  • Limited storage

While you might know Cat as the brand associated with big yellow diggers, they’re also responsible for a range of rugged phones. The Cat S75 is the best of the lot, with satellite messaging, 5G connectivity, and a solid sand, dust, and dirt-proof design.

The big difference between this device and many of the others on this list is the weight. The Cat S75 is just 268g. That’s not just less than some of our other recommendations for the best rugged phones, but lighter even than some of the swankier smartphones on the market. This lightness makes it one of the more practical options here, combined with fantastic water resistance of up to 5m for 35 minutes.

It’s not all rosy, however. It’s for sure the most expensive phone on this list, which makes sense given its feature set. But still, if you’re planning to take a phone to dangerous wildernesses, you may not want to spend so much money.

Fossibot F102

The best rugged phone for battery life.

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Fossibot F102 specifications:
Display 6.58-inch 1080×2408 pixels IPS
Cameras 108MP primary, 5MP macro, 20MP night vision, 32MP front camera
RAM 12GB
Storage 256GB
Rugged rating IP68/IP69K/MIL-STD-810G, drop resistance up to 1.5m
Battery Li-Ion 16500 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Powerful flashlight
  • Long-lasting battery
Reasons to avoid
  • No 4k video
  • Decent but not great performance

The Fossibot F102 is not messing around. While it’s biggest selling point is the phenomenal battery life, going for over 30 hours providing you’re not watching videos all day, it’s as sturdy as any other phone in this list with a surprisingly high-quality camera. If all that wasn’t enough, it’s great value for money, too, going for less than $350.

The F102 is a particularly enticing pick for anyone who enjoys outdoor excursions, thanks to the stellar battery life we’ve already mentioned and a dazzlingly bright flashlight that saves you from taking a torch on your travels. Even when the battery eventually runs low, you don’t have to stop and charge for long, with 33w superfast charging juicing this powerhouse device back up to 50% in less than 90 minutes.

There are barely any noticeable caveats with this device. All we can think to point out is that it lacks 4k video recording, and it’s not as smooth a performer as some of the more expensive options on this list. Still, as far as the best rugged phones go, you’re getting plenty of bang for your buck here.

Samsung Galaxy Xcover6 Pro

The best rugged phone for Samsung fans.

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Samsung Galaxy Xcover6 Pro specifications:
Display 6.6-inch 1080 x 2408 PLS LCD
Camera 50 MP wide, 8 MP ultrawide, 13 MP selfie
RAM 6GB
Storage 128GB
Rugged rating IP68 dust/water resistant, drrop-to-concrete resistance up to 1.5m
Reasons to buy
  • Excellent build quality
  • Trusted brand and manufacturer
Reasons to avoid
  • Small battery
  • More for business than adventure

If you feel comfortable with one of the biggest phone brands globally, then the Samsung Galaxy Xcover6 Pro is the rugged phone for you. With the company’s years of expertise in making mobile phones, you can have peace of mind picking this one up.

Given its higher price, it also comes with some premium features. You get a high-refresh-rate 120Hz screen, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and consistent security and software updates promised. You can even remove the battery, making it a great environmental choice if you want to keep it going for years.

Performance-wise, it pretty much outclasses all other rugged phones. But then it should be at that price, right? Yep, that price is one downside, plus the fact that it’s not quite as rugged as some of the more hardcore models in this list.

How do I choose the best rugged smartphone?

Deciding on the best rugged phone for you is simple. First, ask yourself, what do I need a rugged phone for? Whether you’re looking for something to take on an outdoor adventure or need something sturdy for work, you’ll be looking for different requirements.

If you need a rugged smartphone for outdoor activity, go for something with a greater waterproofing rating and shockproofing against drops. Alternatively, look for specific features such as gaming modes or advanced cameras if these are important.