civil engineer using phone at construction zone

Civil engineers often work in physically demanding conditions that can prove to be a challenge for regular smartphones. That’s why civil engineers need rugged phones that can take a beating and endure the harshest environments. These specially designed phones often offer other features civil workers can benefit from, like large capacity batteries, dustproofing, break-resistant hardware, and extreme temperature resistance. Take a look at our list of the 10 best rugged smartphones for civil engineers.

CAT S62 Pro

Cat S62 Pro black rugged smartphone

The CAT S62 Pro can handle the toughest working conditions, thanks to the IP68, IP69, and MIL-SPEC 810H certifications. This rugged phone can survive drops from 6 feet on all kinds of surfaces. It also features extra-loud speakers that are made for noisy environments like construction sites. This CAT phone comes with a FLIR thermal imaging camera that can prove very useful to civil engineers. The Corning Gorilla Glass 6 display is shatterproof, and it can be operated with gloves and wet hands.


  • FLIR thermal imaging camera
  • Glove-friendly display
  • Fully-rugged design
  • Extra-loud speakers
  • Drop-proof from 6 feet


  • No face ID

Review: 5/5

The CAT S62 Pro is an ultra-rugged device that can withstand any work environment, making it the perfect smartphone for civil engineers. It’s waterproof, dustproof, and shock-resistant, and it can withstand Category 4 vibrations.

CAT S42 H+

Cat S42 H+ black rugged smartphone tilt front view

The CAT S42 H+ is built to stand up to extreme conditions. It comes with ultra-loud speakers and a microphone, both of which can come in handy at noisy construction sites. It can withstand rapid temperature changes and a drop from 6 feet. It’s 100% waterproof and even comes with seals for internal ports. Its 5-inch display is glove-friendly and sunlight-readable. With its long-lasting 4200mAh battery, you’ll be able to rely on its speedy performance the whole day.


  • Glove-friendly screen
  • Drop-proof and waterproof
  • Long-lasting 4200mAh battery
  • PTT communication
  • Extra-loud speakers


  • No fingerprint sensor

Review: 5/5

The CAT S42 H+ is an excellent choice for civil engineers. This rugged device is built to last with industry-leading materials and military-grade hardware.

Ulefone Armor 7

ulefone armor 7 black smartphone

The Ulefone Armor 7 can be immersed in water 5 feet deep for 30 minutes and 3.2 feet of concrete for 24 hours. It has a composite material back cover and a drop-resistant design. The large 5500mAH battery allows for all-day performance, and it supports fast wireless charging. It has a 6.3-inch waterdrop screen, which features face ID and fingerprint sensor technology.


  • IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD 810G ratings
  • Composite material back cover
  • 6.3-inch waterdrop screen
  • Wireless and fast charging capabilities


  • Heavy weight

Review: 4.6/5

The Ulefone Armor 7 has decent features, and it can definitely survive extreme work conditions. While it’s suitable for civil engineers, it lacks some features other rugged phones have.

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G

Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G front and side

The Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G is built tough on all its sides, with a scratch-resistant display and IP65 and IP68 ratings. Its display can also be used with gloves or wet hands and features facial recognition technology and a fingerprint sensor. The PTT programmable buttons allow for easier access and instant communication. What’s more, this rugged smartphone comes with dual loudspeakers and noise cancellation technology.


  • Push-to-talk communication
  • Glove-friendly touchscreen
  • Face ID and fingerprint sensor
  • Scratch-resistant display
  • Dual loudspeakers and noise cancellation


  • Pricy
  • Heavier than other models

Review: 4.5/5

While the Kyocera DuraForce Ultra 5G is durable, it might lack some more advanced protection features that civil engineers need in a rugged phone.


Cat S61 ultra rugged smartphone

The CAT S61 is built for the most extreme working conditions. Its special features include a FLIR thermal imaging camera, a laser-assisted metering tool, and an air quality sensor. It also has a scratch-resistant screen that is wet-finger and glove-friendly. Because it’s packed with all these special features, this device is heavy and bulky. The 4500mAh battery allows for 35 hours of talk time and 37 hours of standby time.


  • Long battery life
  • FLIR camera
  • Laser-assisted metering tool
  • Wet-finger and glove-on working technology
  • Air quality sensor


  • Heavy and bulky
  • Sluggish performance

Review: 4.7/5

While the CAT S61 has excellent features, it’s not for everyone. Due to the 4GB of storage and slow performance, it’s not an everyday rugged smartphone you can use in other situations as well.

Sonim RS60

Sonim RS60 Mobile Computer Scanner Energy Electronics Rugged Tablet

The Sonim RS60 is a handheld mobile computer with a built-in smart scanner, which civil engineers can use to communicate, keep track of equipment, and increase daily productivity. This rugged phone can be immersed in 6.5 feet of water for 30 minutes and dropped onto concrete from 6.5 feet. It’s fully rugged, and its ports are completely sealed to repel dust and industrial micro-particles. In addition, the Sonim RS60 is fully operational in extreme temperatures.


  • Integrated smart scanner
  • Waterproof and dust-roof
  • Drop-resistant from 6.5 feet
  • Fully operational in extreme temperatures
  • Extra-loud audio


  • Heavy
  • Poor camera quality

Review: 4.6/5

The Sonim RS60 can meet all of your performance needs, and it’s built to last, ideal for the construction industry.

Doogee S97 Pro

Doogee S97 Pro smartphone with orange highlights Smartphones for Civil Engineers

The Doogee S97 Pro packs high levels of water and dust resistance, and it has been drop-tested from a height of 5 feet. It comes with an integrated 40-meter (131 feet) laser rangefinder that can measure length, volume, and areas, and even has a Pythagoras function. It has a large 8500mA high-capacity battery that supports fast and wireless charging. Its 6.39-inch display is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5 that’s resistant to scratches and breakage.


  • Integrated 40-meter laser rangefinder
  • Large 6.39-inch Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Fast charging and wireless charging support
  • Dustproof, waterproof, and shockproof


  • Bulky
  • Heavyweight

Review: 4.8/5

The Doogee S97 Pro packs all the features you will need for the sometimes-challenging field conditions. It’s built for various environments, and it can also withstand rapid temperature changes from -55 to 70 degrees Celsius or -67 to 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro front back and side view

The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is a rugged device that boasts military-grade protection and built-in resistance to dust, water, sand, and dirt. It can be used for a variety of industries, including the construction industry. In addition to maintaining the sleek, modern design of other Samsung Galaxy smartphones, this device can last the whole day thanks to a durable battery. Its edge-to-edge display can be used with gloves, making your daily workdays much easier.


  • Military-grade protection
  • All-day power
  • Glove-friendly display
  • Resistant to dust, water, sand, and dirt


  • Lagging performance

Review: 4.5/5

Even though the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is a durable smartphone, its lagging performance places it on the lower half of our list.

CAT S22 Flip

CAT S22 Flip Information open and closed

The CAT S22 Flip has a flip-and-fold design and compact size that many civil engineers prefer. It’s protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 5 screen, offers PTT communication options, and has glove-friendly tactile buttons. Other features include extra-strength speakers, a fully waterproof body, and a built-in resistance to dust, sand, and dirt. This rugged phone can be dropped onto concrete from 6 feet and immersed in 5-feet-deep water for 30 minutes.


  • Push-to-talk programmable buttons
  • Fully waterproof
  • Extra-loud audio
  • Glove-friendly tactile buttons
  • Compact size


  • Low storage

Review: 4.6/5

Although small, the CAT S22 Flip is as strong and durable as other rugged phones on this list. However, due to its slow storage, it might not be suitable for those who plan to use it outside work.

Motorola Defy

Motorola Defy smartphone with wrist grip holster

The Motorola Defy can endure rough treatment. It can be dropped from 5.9 feet and be immersed in water for 35 minutes and come out working great. In addition, this rugged phone is resistant to sand and dirt. It packs a 5000mAh battery that can last for two days after a single charge. It can be used in extreme temperatures, from -25 to 55 degrees Celsius (-13 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit). Its scratch-resistant display is made from Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which is the strongest Gorilla Glass there is.


  • Drop-proof up to 5.9 feet
  • Fully waterproof
  • Two-day battery life
  • Scratch-resistant display
  • Temperature-safe


  • Low storage
  • No port covers

Review: 4.7/5

Overall, the Motorola Defy is optimized for maximum durability, and it’s made from industry-leading materials. It would make a great smartphone for a civil engineer.

What Is a Rugged Smartphones for Civil Engineers?

man using rugged smartphone dirty

Rugged phones are special types of hardened phones that are made to withstand various extreme and challenging industries. For example, rugged phones are designed for people employed in construction, field service, manufacturing, transportation, law enforcement, healthcare, fire service, warehouse management, and similar professions. They’re even useful for extreme sports.

To be classified as rugged, the device must meet certain industry standards. These are the Ingress Protection (IP) and military-grade MIL-STD rankings. The best rugged phones have IP68, IP69, and MIL-STD 810H and 810G certifications. In other words, a phone needs to be resistant to water, dirt, sand, dust, and salt mist to be rugged. It should also be able to resist impact, shock, vibrations, and sharp temperature changes.

Why Do Civil Engineers Need a Rugged Phone?

man using smartphone and laptop computer

Civil engineers work in some of the most challenging environments, such as construction sites, buildings, roads, bridges, and similar. Your phone can easily slip out of your pocket and get damaged, which is why regular, slim smartphones wouldn’t survive in such conditions. For civil engineers who want their phones to be with them all the time, rugged phones are the only option.

Rugged phones usually have many features civil engineers need. Your rugged phone should have a scratch-resistant display and also come with a fingerprint sensor and facial recognition technology. Rugged phones usually feature high-capacity batteries that allow you to use them the whole day without charging. Other desirable features a rugged phone should have include extra-loud speakers, programmable PTT buttons, a glove-friendly display, a FLIR camera, and more.

5 Best Mobile Apps for Civil Engineers

construction workers using laptop and Smartphones for Civil Engineers

These are the five best mobile apps every civil engineer should have on their phone:

  1. My Civil CalC

My Civil CalC is a handy calculator app that can be used by civil engineers, builders, architects, and anyone planning to build or renovate a property. It’s available in the App Store and Google Play.

  1. Civil Rate Analysis App

The Civil Rate Analysis App is used to estimate the costs of materials for different types of construction/renovation jobs. It’s divided into different categories, including site clearance, excavation, brickworks, roofing, concrete works, plastering, and more. It can only be installed on Android phones.

  1. Civil Engineering Dictionary

If you would like to brush up on your civil engineering knowledge and learn new skills, this dictionary app can help. It contains 10,000 definitions and detailed explanations. You can even share your information with other members of your team. This app is only available on Android devices.

  1. Construction Master Pro

This is a calculator app that can make your civil engineering job a lot easier. It comes with function keys, conversion options, and dimensional formats your phone’s calculator doesn’t have. You can download this app for iPhones and Androids.

  1. PlanGrid Construction Management & Punch List

This app allows civil engineers and people employed in similar fields to share real-time construction plans, daily reports, punch lists, photos, markups, etc. You can use it to open blueprints and create and track issues with punch lists. You can find this app in the Play Store and App Store.

Top 5 Mobile Accessories for Civil Engineers

civil engineer using Smartphones for Civil Engineers at workplace

As a civil engineer, you should own these five most important phone accessories:

  1. Phone Case

To make sure your phone stays safe in emergencies, a phone case provides you with extra protection and peace of mind. Note that rugged phones don’t require a phone case or any other type of external protection.

  1. Holster

A phone holster will allow you to work freely while keeping your phone at your side.

  1. Armband

If you don’t want to attach your phone to your belt, an armband is another option. There are various types of armbands on the market, and they’re great if your hands need to be free the whole day.

  1. Power Bank

If you don’t have time to plug your phone into a wall outlet, or you simply don’t have access to one because you’re working outside, a power bank can be quite useful.

  1. Bluetooth Earbuds

Another way to use your phone and keep your hands free at the same time is with Bluetooth earbuds.

How to Get a Bulk Discount on Smartphones for Civil Engineers

Energy Electronics offers exclusive pricing for bulk orders on rugged phones. If you are interested in ordering our rugged phones in bulk, feel free to contact us.

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