Best rugged Windows laptops to buy

Edgar Nicov
by Edgar Nicov
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The laptop family emerged as a go-to system once people decided to trade off power for mobility. Nowadays, they are present in all spheres of computing, and more than ever, in some specialized departments.

Your first thought about portable computers, besides performance and battery life, must be durability. Standard laptops can’t sustain even moderate physical damage or water spill. However, there is a special niche of rugged laptops, the sturdy machines that can and will move on through numerous challenges. Those laptops are rare and often pricey. But, if you are working in extreme conditions and want your laptop by your side, rugged laptops are just the thing for you.

For that purpose, we compiled the list of top 5 laptops that can withstand more than you’ll expect.

Top indestructible laptops for most demanding conditions

Before we start with the list, it’s essential to mention two safety standards that evaluate sturdiness on electronic devices.

IP (International Protection rating) is the rating system that evaluates protective features of the device from both solid and liquid effects and it is composed of two numbers. The first number stands for solids (dirt, dust), while the second one stands for liquid (water) resistance. So, basically the higher the number, the better.

MIL-STD (Military Standard) is the second standard. Simply put, the devices that pass the evaluation are approved for military use. There are two main tests: 810G and 810F. MIL-STD is very important and means a lot when differentiating rugged devices.

Panasonic Toughbook 54

Panasonic is an industry giant, but neither they produce widely popular smartphones nor laptops. However, they are known for quality and create some of the best-specialized products in the world. In this case, great rugged devices. Besides the rugged smartphones/phablets (ToughPad), they have a few series of Toughbook laptops. We are talking about mostly semi-rugged devices.

Their best model is probably the Toughbook 54, from the Toughbook 5 series. Comparing to most of the other rugged laptops, Toughbook 54 is much lighter and thinner. It weighs only around 2 kg which is remarkable since most of the standard laptops are heavier. Even though it is not as rugged as fully-rugged devices, it can withstand falls from up to 3 feet on a hard base. In addition, it has confirmed the MIL-STD-810G license and the IP51 rating. That means that it is protected from dust and dripping water. The storage drive is caged and resistant to shock.

These are the specs of the Panasonic Toughbook 54:

  • Windows 10 Pro.
  • Intel® Core™ i5-6300U vPro™ Processor2. 2.4GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.0GHz. 3MB cache.
  • Intel HD Graphics.
  • 8GB or 16GB SDRAM (DDR3L-1600MHz).
  • 500GB HDD.
  • 14.0″ FHD 1920 x 1080 Display.
  • 11.1V, typical 4200mAh, min. 4080mAh Battery (9 hours usage).

In addition, it offers much more optional features since you can fully customize your Toughbook with a lot of optional upgrades. That way you can have a more personalized rugged laptop for your payment capacity. This little laptop’s price is quite high even without SSD disk and frontal camera or some other upgrades. However, it certainly gets the job done for those in need of a small, but resistant work laptop for a challenging environment.

Getac X500

There are rugged and semi-rugged laptops. And then there is Getac and the ultra-rugged devices they produce. Getac is a UK-based company specialized in producing rugged devices. Their premium laptop model is the ultra-rugged X500.

X500 is a top-class machine that set the standards high in this specific category. It was introduced back in 2011, so some people can assume it is outdated. Others can assume that rugged devices trade too much of performance over durability. Well, that is not the case with the x500. Firstly, this device is almost indestructible. Alloy Magnesium casing can survive everything. It’s Certified for MIL-STD-810G and IP65, meaning it’s completely dust-proof and resistant to powerful water jets. In addition, the X500 is resistant to shock and even electromagnetic interference (to some extinct).

These are the Getac X500 amazing specs:

  • Windows 10 Professional.
  • Intel® Core™ i7-4610M vPro™ Processor 3.0GHz, Max 3.7GHz, with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology
    – 4MB Intel® Smart Cache
    – Mobile Intel® QM87 Express chipset
  • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX950M GDDR5 4GB discrete graphics controller
  • 15.6″ TFT LCD FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • 8GB DDR3 expandable to 16GB
  • SATA OPAL 2.0 SSD 128GB
  • Li-Ion smart battery (10.8V, 8700mAh)

As you can see for yourself, this laptop can be used even for gaming in as extreme conditions as you can imagine. Did someone say Fifa 17 in the North Pole?

Moreover, it is highly customizable for different customers’ needs. However, those specs and ultra-rugged nature come for a quite large sum and are packed in a heavy body (5.2 kg). Nonetheless, we think this is an ultimate rugged laptop and a valuable acquisition for those who need such a device.

Amrel ROCKY RF10

As we already said, the rugged laptops market is a small niche mainly oriented for industrial and military purposes. And the notable OEM’s can be counted on fingers of one hand. But, Amrel successfully distinct their rugged devices with an innovative and user-friendly design.

Rocky RF10 is for certain one of Amarel’s devices that deserves a lot of praise. Firstly, it is the first ultra-rugged laptop with a 17-inch sunlight-readable screen. When it comes to ruggedization, Rocky RF10 is the result of, and we quote, “technological expertise and can survive harshest conditions”. It’s certified for MIL-STD 810G and IP65, just like the Getac X500. Additionally, it’s individually certified with MIL-STD 461, which means resistance to electromagnetic fields. Sadly, that is a part of the optional military package.

These are the specs of ROCKY RF10:

  • Windows 7
  • Intel® Sandy Bridge i7-2610UE Processor, up to 2.40 GHz, 4M Cache
  • Standard 500GB SATA II HDD
  • Intel® HD Graphics 3000
  • 4GB DDR3 1333MHz
  • 17.1″ WXGA (1440 x 900) Anti-reflective TFT LCD
  • 11.1 V/8700 mAh Lithium-Ion battery

Due to a large battery and heavy casing, Rocky RF10 weighs almost 6 kg. But, the larger widescreen is a good reason to overlook minor downsides (price included). One of the best features of this rugged laptop, besides screen and capabilities, is its modular customization. Namely, customers can choose from a large variety of upgrades and make a final version of the laptop to their liking. The manufacturer issues a warranty for all parts for up to 3 years.

Algiz XRW

The Algiz XRW is the smallest and the most compact rugged laptop on this list. But don’t let that trick you into thinking it is less durable than the others. Even though it’s kind of limited hardware-wise, the XRW can survive through hell.

And that distinct this laptop from other semi-rugged devices. The Algiz XRW is fully MIL-STD-810G certified and it’s IP65-rated. That means it’s resistant to vibration, humidity, water jets, extremely high and low temperatures and fully dust-proof. Light but sturdy casing will prevent fall damage from up to 4-feet drops. Military Standard certificate also grants you partial resistance from electromagnetic interferes. Due to its lightweight(1.6 kg), you can use it in tight quarters in a much adequate manner than some other rugged laptops. Additionally, the small screen can vastly improve battery life.

These are the specs for the Algiz XRW:

  • Windows 7
  • 2.0 GHz Intel Atom processor
  • 4GB DDR2
  • 128GB SSD
  • Intel GPU
  • 10.1” touchscreen 1366×768 resolution LED high brightness, MaxView™ Technology
  • Battery, 5200 mAh (57.72 Wh)
  • Web Camera 2 MP

As you see, the Algiz XRW doesn’t pack spectacular hardware. Its compact nature isn’t allowing for more powerful hardware. Because of that, it is not up to the competition in the performance department. So, in case you are using your rugged laptop for resource-hogging processes, this laptop is most of the time not up to the task. However, if you prefer light size over performance, the Algiz XRW may just be the thing for you.

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged

Comparing to the previous manufacturers from the list, Dell is well-known in the standard consumers’ world. They offer reliable and affordable laptops for all lines of work. And the Latitude 14 rugged laptop is one of their favorite products.

The Latitude 14 is just as durable as other premium devices. It has the IP52 rating and MIL-STD-810G. Which means this device is dust-proof, resistant to water dripping, vibration, shock, humidity, altitude and extreme temperatures. Moreover, the casing will protect the Latitude 14 from drops up to 1 m. Once you close the lid, the laptop is nearly indestructible and will protect your valuable data. With all the ports and capabilities you’ll have a hard time to distinct this device from modern business laptops.

These are the specs for Latitude 14 Rugged:

  • Windows 8.1 Pro (64-bit)
  • i7 dual-core processor
  • 512GB mobility SSD
  • 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M (DDR3 2GB) discrete graphics with Optimus
  • 14.0” HD (1366 x 768) 16:9 outdoor-readable display with resistive touchscreen
  • 9-cell (97 Whr) lithium-ion batterie

This is probably close to the ultimate configuration offered by Dell. You can select from an abundance of optional upgrades or downgrades. That way you can reduce the price a lot, and customize the Latitude 14 for your needs.


This was our list of the top 5 rugged laptops you can purchase right now. There are a lot of standard laptops with better hardware and largely advanced features for less cash. But, we have to ask ourselves can they withstand to be run over by a truck, splashed with water and rolled in the sand? Well, for the common good we shouldn’t even try. For special niche of industrial workers, explorers, adventurists and military task forces, these laptops are gems.

This specific deal is part of our bigger selection of the best laptop deals you can find. You might also want to check out our dedicated Black Friday hub for tech deals.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2017 and has been revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

If you have any additions to the list of related questions, be free to tell us in the comments below.