If you work outside, or in a busy environment where accidents can occur, then having the best rugged tablet for your needs is essential. Rugged tablets are often more expensive than their non-rugged brethren, but the money you save on not having to repair or replace damaged devices will more than make up for the initial outlay.
The best rugged tablet feature reinforced screens to stop them cracking, and durable bodies that won't break if you drop them. However, they should also maintain their slim and light designs. These rugged tablets also boast many of the features regular tablets offer, such as bright and vibrant touchscreens, huge collections of apps, and easy-to-carry designs, while also adding a layer of ruggedness that keeps them protected.
While you won't get a rugged tablet that's as slim and light as the iPad Air 2, it doesn't mean you should have to lug around a chunky and unwieldy tablet either.
So, to help you find the best rugged tablet, we've put together this list, which gather the top shock and drop-proof tablets on the market today.
A powerful yet rugged 7-inch tablet
Weight: 450g | Dimensions: 203mm x 18mm x 132mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1280 x 800 pixels | CPU: Intel Core m5-6Y57 vPro | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: approx 3,220mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP
If you're working outside, then the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 is easily one of the best rugged tablets on the market today. This is thanks not only to its tough design that is shock resistant to to drops of up ton 180cm, but also because the display has been designed to be used outdoors in bright sunlight - so you'll still be able to use the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-M1 no matter how bright your surroundings are. The screen supports 10-finger multi-touch, it runs on Windows 10 Pro, it's water and dust resistant and comes with a configuration port for a variety of expansions (serial, LAN, 2D Barcode Reader, NFC).
A great rugged tablet for working in the field
Weight: 139g | Dimensions: 314 x 207 x 24.5 mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 11.6-inch | Resolution: 1366 x 768 pixels | CPU: Intel Core i7-6600U 2.6GHz | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB/256B/512GB/1TB | microSD slot: No (but can be added via expansion slot) | Battery: 2,160mAh | Rear camera: 1080P (optional) | Front camera: 8MP (optional)
If you're looking for a rugged Windows tablet that can withstand an impressive amount of punishment, then the Getac F110 is an excellent choice. Its durable body can withstand moisture, extreme temperatures and drops, without it being bulky or heavy. It is certified to MIL-STD 810G, 1P65 and MIL-STD-461F standards. The most recent version of this tablet comes with 6th generation Intel Core processors, so there's plenty of power here, and a dual battery system means you can easily swap them out without having to pause.
Specially designed for work
Weight: 1.5kg | Dimensions: 215.15 x 287.1 x 36.4 mm | OS: Windows 10 | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1920 x 1200 pixels | CPU: Intel Atom Bay Trail-T Z3795 Quad Core 1.6 GHz SoC BGA | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 128GB | microSD slot: No | Battery: 4,615mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2.15MP
The HP ElitePad 1000 is a fantastic business laptop, and it can be configured to come in a rugged design that is IP65 and MIL-STD 810G tested. It can withstand a 6ft drop onto linoleum-covered concrete. It features an Intel Atom processor, which isn't the most powerful CPU, but it's still capable of handling most business applications. Biometric security keeps your important data safe, and HP also offers a range of accessories, such as docking stations and additional batteries.
A rugged 2-in-1
Weight: 276g | Dimensions: 313.0 x 288.4 x 46.1mm | OS: Windows 10 | Screen size: 12-inch | Resolution: 2160 x 1440 | CPU: Intel Core i5-7300U processor | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB | Battery: 1990mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 1080p
The Panasonic Toughbook CF-33 is a 2-in-1 rugged device, which means it has an attachable keyboard that allow it to work as either a laptop or as a tablet. When in tablet mode, the Toughbook CF-33 is an excellent durable machine , with MIL-STD-461F, MIL-STD-810G and IP65 certification, which means it can survive shocks, drops liquids and dust. The battery life is a bit on the short side compared to other rugged tablets on this list, but you can quickly swap out the battery when you need extra time. You can also buy extended batteries that double the run time from 10 hours to 20. This is an additional cost, however.
A solid choice all round
Weight: 162g | Dimensions: 312 x 203 x 24 mm | OS: Windows 10 Pro | Screen size: 11.6-inch | Resolution: 1366 x 768 | CPU: Intel Core M-5Y71 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB | Battery: 26 whr
Dell is another well-known brand that produces rugged tablets. The Dell Latitude 12 is one such device, and Dell has recently updated the model with more up-to-date components, though the processor still feels a little outdated. However, you do get an excellently-built tablet that has IP65, MIL-STD-810G and IP-810G certifications (rather than merely meeting the standards in laboratory tests). Dell's customary high build quality is evident here, and while it isn't the most glamorous looking tablet, it does the job of withstanding harsh conditions, and accidental drops. Price-wise, the Dell Latitude 12 is also pretty competitive, and as with other Dell products, you're able to configure the hardware to meet your specific needs and budget.
A rugged and portable tablet
Weight: 415g | Dimensions: 127.6 x 214.7 x 9.9 mm | OS: Android 184.108.40.206 | Screen size: 8-inch | Resolution: 800 x 1280 pixels | CPU: Octa-core 1.6 GHz Cortex-A53 | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 16GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 4,450mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 5MP
Unlike other rugged tablets on this list, the Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 isn't designed for industrial-grade protection. However, what it does provide is IP67 certification for dust and water ingress, and a battery that lasts between eight to 10 hours. Plus, it supports replaceable batteries, so you can keep on working even if you're away from a power supply, and it's drop-tested to 1.2 metres. A decent camera and NFC technology are included, and it's rounded off with Samsung's customary excellent build quality. The newer Galaxy Tab Active 2 improves on a lot of the features of the first Tab Active, with more RAM, better CPU and much more.
A rugged Android tablet
Weight: 109g | Dimensions: 281 x 180 x 22 mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 10.1-inch | Resolution: 1366 x 768 | CPU: Intel Bay Trail E3845 Quad Core 1.91GHz | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64GB | Battery: up to 8 hours | Rear camera: 5MP | Front camera: 2MP
This 10.1-inch Android tablet can withstand drops up to five feet, as well as being water and dust resistant. While it's bulkier and heavier than non-rugged tablets, it's still portable enough to be easily carried around worksites. Its screen isn't the highest resolution, but with a 500 Nit backlight, it is excellent for use in direct sunlight. It's not the most powerful tablet on this list, but it's a more affordable alternative for people who want to use an Android device outside and on the road.
An excellent rugged Android device
Weight: 780g | Dimensions: 218 x 142 x 27 mm | OS: Android 6.0 | Screen size: 7-inch | Resolution: 1280 x 720 | CPU: Intel Atom Atom x5-Z8350 | RAM: 2GB | Storage: 32GB/64GB | Battery: 8,400mAh | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 2MP
The Getac Z710 is a handy rugged tablet that does pretty much everything you'd want from an Android tablet, while coming in a rugged body. Design-wise the Getac Z710 is one of the better looking rugged tablets we've seen, and it comes with a number of business-orientated features that make it an excellent choice for enterprise use. The 7-inch screen is crisp and responsive to touch, but it does have a habit of showing off glare in direct lights. It has been tested for drops up to six foot, and is MIL-STD-810G certified, while Corning Gorilla glass protects the screen from shattering.
- Looking for a laptop that can withstand the elements? Check out our list of the best rugged laptops