Best rugged laptops of 2022: the top drop-proof laptops for outdoors or WFH

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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
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Best rugged laptops of 2020
(Image credit: Future)
OCTOBER 2022 - EDITOR'S NOTE

With Dell laptops leading the charge, our top picks of the best-rugged laptops that tout power and durability for 2022. Check out our best laptops for kids list if you want a rugged portable for your kids. Meanwhile, for those looking for a featherweight option, some of the best Chromebooks are rugged as well.

Whether you’re just a bit clumsy, a writer on the road looking for the best laptops for writers, or work on a hectic worksite, one of the best-rugged laptops here will work for you. They have been put through all sorts of testing, so you can be sure they will stand up to any abuse.

Look no further than the best-rugged laptops of 2022 if you’re looking for durability and power in one device. While most laptops are not made to withstand extreme temperatures, dust, water, drops, and bangs, these laptops were designed for this purpose. There may be plenty of laptops out there that are lighter or thinner, and none will endure the way these will.

Why you can trust TechRadar Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Best rugged laptops of 2022

Dell Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme

Dell Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme (Image credit: Dell)
The Dell Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme is the rugged laptop we've been waiting for

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i5 (2.4 GHz) / i5 vPro (2.6 GHz) / i7 (3.0 GHz)
Graphics: Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 8 - 32GB
Screen Size: 13.3-inch
Storage: 56 GB - 2 TB SSD
Connectivity: Wifi 6E, 4G LTE, 5G, Bluetooth, GPS
Weight: 5.11lb / 2.3kg
Dimensions: 320 x 220 x 37mm

Reasons to buy

+
Durable casing
+
Phenomenal battery life
+
Very bright display
+
Repairable and upgradable

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
The touchpad is not the most responsive
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Quite heavy

Dell's Latitude 7330 Rugged Extreme laptop is a portable workhorse designed to withstand the harshest job sites. This laptop might not be the perfect fit for everyone, but for those it has been designed for, it is an option that should be considered. The trackpad was slightly disappointing as it was relatively small and did not feel responsive at times. The Dell Latitude 7330 Rugged-Extreme is rated at 1400 nits of brightness, far surpassing many other laptops. The screen can be interacted with while wearing gloves, making it possible to keep working in multiple scenarios. With the SmartCard reader, there are both contactless and contact options available. This laptop can handle a load of tasks with excellent battery life.

Dell Latitude 5430 Rugged Laptop

Dell Latitude 5430 Rugged Laptop (Image credit: Dell)
The very best rugged laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i7 1185G7 vPro
Graphics: Xe Graphics
RAM: 8 - 32GB
Screen Size: 14-inch
Storage: 256 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
Connectivity: WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, optional GPS, optional LTE or 5G
Weight: 4.35lb / 1.97kg
Dimensions: 340 x 220 x 33.6mm

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight for a rugged laptop
+
Loads of ports and connectivity options

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive for individuals
-
Only semi-rugged, not fully-rugged

The Latitude 5430 is a semi-rugged laptop with a sleek design that can be outfitted with an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. Unlike other rugged laptops, which are less subtle due to their use of aluminum, this device is all black with a carbon fiber lid. A rigid handle makes the Latitude 5430 easy to carry, and the device sports several certifications, including Mil-Spec 810H and IP53. While the base model is more powerful enough for most tasks, Dell allows you to fully configure this rugged laptop with more RAM, storage, additional ports, and even Nvidia T500 discrete graphics to handle more demanding workloads. A privacy shutter prevents third parties from spying through your webcam, while an optional security package adds a fingerprint reader, a Smartcard reader, and a contactless Smartcard reader. Although the Latitude 5430 has a 53.5 Whr battery, you can add an additional battery for extra power and hot-swap batteries for extended usage.

Read the full review: Dell Latitude 5430 Rugged Laptop (opens in new tab)

  • This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Panasonic Toughbook CF-33  

Panasonic Toughbook CF-33

Panasonic Toughbook CF-33

3. Panasonic Toughbook CF-33

Rugged 2-in-1 laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i5-7300U processor
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620
RAM: 8GB
Screen Size: 12-inch
Storage: 256GB SSD
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, LTE, Ethernet
Weight: 6.1lb / 2.76kg
Dimensions: 313.0 x 288.4 x 46.1mm

Reasons to buy

+
2-in-1 design
+
Fantastic screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy
-
Expensive

If you want one of the best 2-in-1 laptops but don’t want something that feels like it’s going to snap in half the first chance it gets – the Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 is for you. This 2-in-1 has flexibility that most rugged laptops just don’t. If you need something easy to carry while you do stock takes and jot down notes, then tablet mode will work wonders. Then, if you need to type up some documents, you can attach the keyboard and comfortably type away. It may be expensive, but it’s one of the only 2-in-1 laptops that can take a beating. 

HP ProBook x360 11 G1 EE Notebook PC

HP ProBook x360 11 G1 EE Notebook PC

4. HP ProBook x360 11 G1 EE Notebook PC

A sturdy laptop

Specifications

CPU: Intel Celeron N3350 processor
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500
RAM: 2 - 8GB
Screen Size: 11.6inch
Storage: 128GB SSD
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth,
Weight: 3lb / 1.35kg
Dimensions: 207 x 302.4 x 19.9mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good price
+
Thin and light

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as robust as other devices
-
Underpowered

You might think the HP ProBook x360 11 G1 EE is a normal laptop at first glance. However, once you dive deeper, you’ll see there’s more than meets the eye. While it isn’t designed for big drops and dangerous environments, it's still one of the best-rugged laptops for most everyday users – it’s built to withstand more knocks, drops, and liquids than the everyday laptop. This is due to an industrial rubberized body, spill-resistant keyboard, and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 display. It’s not going to be as robust as some of the other rugged laptops on this list, but it’s easily portable, and the screen can be flipped – making it a rugged 2-in-1 laptop.

Lenovo ThinkPad 11e

Lenovo ThinkPad 11e

5. Lenovo ThinkPad 11e

Rugged performance

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3-6100U processor
Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
RAM: 8GB
Screen Size: 11.6-inch
Storage: 128GB SSD
Connectivity: WiFi, Bluetooth,
Weight: 3.3lb / 1.5kg
Dimensions: 300 x 210 x 22.3mm

Reasons to buy

+
Good performance
+
Rugged design

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky compared to normal laptops

Similar to the HP ProBook x360 we mentioned earlier, the Lenovo ThinkPad 11e is more like a standard laptop that just so happens to be a bit rugged. Still, you can tell that Lenovo has put effort into constructing this device, as it includes more robust inputs and can survive drops of up to 90cm. It also features military specifications, making this a laptop that can survive the harshest conditions. What’s more, it’s affordable while still offering enough processing power for everyday tasks.

Collin Probst
B2B Hardware Editor, TechRadar Pro

Collin is the B2B Hardware Editor for TechRadar Pro. He has been in journalism for years with experience in both small and large markets including Gearadical, DailyBeast, FutureNet and more.


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