chef in industrial kitchen using phone

A restaurant cook’s job is highly demanding, and a work phone is an integral element of workflow efficiency. Unfortunately, the kitchen environment is harmful to ordinary smartphones. That’s where rugged mobile devices come in handy.

We’ve gathered the best rugged smartphones for professional restaurant cooks in one guide to help you pick a device to meet your needs. Additionally, we’ll share the top apps and accessories to streamline your working processes.

Top 10 Smartphones for Restaurant Cooks

1. CAT S62 Pro

Cat S62 Pro black rugged smartphone

CAT S62 Pro combines advanced technology with ultra-ruggedness to handle the harshest conditions and streamline your workflow. It’s equipped with a large 5.7-inch display protected with Gorilla Glass 6, a 12-megapixel camera, and a 4000mAh battery. You’ll hear the powerful loudspeaker even in the loudest kitchen environments. Thanks to the IP69 water protection, this phone can be safely submerged in water without consequences. The display is responsive to wet fingers and gloves.

Pros:

  • Large display
  • Waterproof
  • Powerful battery
  • Display responsive to wet fingers and gloves

Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • No antimicrobial protection

Ranking: 4.6/5

2. CAT S42 H+

Cat S42 H+ black rugged smartphone tilt front view

The “H” in CAT S42 H+ stands for healthcare. This phone was created to meet the needs of healthcare workers, featuring antimicrobial protection to prevent bacteria growth. However, it’s equally useful for restaurant cooks and helps maintain a sanitary kitchen environment. The smartphone is also resistant to water, dust, drops, and other abuse. More useful features of the CAT S42 H+ include a 13-megapixel camera with wide-angle mode, 4200mAh battery, and two SIM card slots.

Pros:

  • Antimicrobial protection
  • Affordability
  • Powerful battery
  • Two SIM card slots

Cons:

  • No Quick Charge support

Ranking: 4.8/5

3. Kyocera DuraForce

Kyocera Duraforce smartphone forward facing

Kyocera DuraForce has everything a restaurant cook needs for efficient workflow, including loud stereo speakers, a powerful battery providing up to 17 hours of talk time, and a fast processor. The phone is ultra-rugged, MIL-STD-810G-compliant, and IP68-certified, so it can handle splashes, grease, and extreme temperatures. The 4.5-inch display is large enough to clearly see the text but keeps the phone compact.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Powerful battery
  • Ultra-rugged build
  • Compact size

Cons:

  • No Quick Charge support
  • Average camera

Ranking: 4.5/5

4. Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2

kyocera duraforce pro 2

Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 is an improved version of the Kyocera DuraForce, featuring a better camera, fingerprint scanner, wireless charging support, and a larger 5-inch screen. The phone can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes without any damage. Thanks to the dedicated push-to-talk button, you can communicate with your crew without a Bluetooth headset or typing. Thanks to the powerful processor and high RAM capacity, it smoothly runs multiple apps at once.

Pros:

  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Wireless charging
  • Large screen
  • Push-to-talk support
  • Excellent camera

Cons:

  • A bit bulky
  • No Quick Charge support

Ranking: 4.7/5

5. CAT S22 Flip

CAT S22 Flip Information open and closed

If you’re looking for a simple yet reliable work phone, the CAT S22 Flip is the ideal choice. It has an ultra-rugged, MIL-STD-810G compliant construction, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, LTE, and a small but crisp and bright screen. The large buttons are backlit and comfortable even for people used to touchscreens. Most importantly, this phone won’t let you down mid-shift because it has a 2000mAh replaceable battery.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Replaceable battery
  • Compact
  • Large buttons

Cons:

  • Small screen
  • No Quick Charge or wireless charging support

Ranking: 4.4/5

6. Kyocera DuraXE

kyocera DuraXe grey front back and side view

Kyocera DuraXE is another affordable and simple phone for professional cooks who value durability and reliability. It’s equipped with a 1,500mAh removable battery providing a solid 10 hours of talk time and a dedicated memory card slot. The phone is tiny but robust, carrying IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certifications. The screen and buttons are small, but that’s a valid price for a compact size.

Pros:

  • Compact body
  • Affordability
  • Removable battery
  • Ultra-rugged build

Cons:

  • Small screen and buttons
  • Very simple

Ranking: 4.4/5

7. CAT S30

Cat S30 rugged smartphone front and back

CAT S30 is an ultra-rugged smartphone created for professionals in need of long battery life, durability, and various connectivity options. The phone has a large 4.5-inch screen protected with Gorilla Glass 3 and is IP68-certified. The primary five-megapixel camera isn’t particularly impressive but does the job decently. Thanks to a 3000mAh battery, the smartphone provides up to 18 hours of talk time, sufficient for an entire shift.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Large screen
  • Great battery life
  • Ultra-rugged construction

Cons:

  • Average processor
  • No Quick Charge support

Ranking: 4.6/5

8. CAT S60

Cat S60 rugged smartphone

CAT S60 is one of the brand’s best smartphones, featuring a powerful processor, high RAM capacity, 13-megapixel camera with thermal sensor, and Quick Charge 2 support. The device can be submerged in water for up to one hour. Thanks to two SIM card slots, you can easily switch between the crew and customer lines. The reinforced touch display has an optimal 4.7-inch size, ensuring clear visibility and relatively compact size.

Pros:

  • Excellent camera with thermal imaging
  • Two SIM card slots
  • Powerful processor
  • Quick Charge support

Cons:

  • No wireless charging support

Ranking: 4.8/5

9. Sonim RS60

Sonim RS60 Mobile Computer Scanner Energy Electronics Rugged Tablet

The Sonim RS60 is an innovation in the smartphone industry, combining best-of-class functionality with extreme durability. It’s equipped with an 8000mAh removable battery to last multiple shifts and supports Quick Charge via USB-C. The programmable buttons allow you to tailor the phone’s operation to your needs, while the push-to-talk feature facilitates efficient communication. The display is responsible even to wet fingers and gloves.

Pros:

  • Display responsive to wet fingers and gloves
  • Impressive battery life and Quick Charge support
  • Programmable buttons
  • Push-to-talk support

Cons:

  • A bit bulky

Ranking: 4.9/5

10. Samsung Rugby Pro

Samsung Rugby Pro front and back

Not many people know that Samsung also creates ultra-rugged devices intended for professional and military use. The Samsung Rugby Pro is a cost-effective and extremely durable smartphone complaint with the MIL-STD-810G standards. The 4-inch Super AMOLED display is clearly visible even under direct sunlight or bright kitchen lights. The phone is equipped with NFC, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi for quick data transfer and a 1850mAh removable battery. It’s simple and compact but has everything a professional cook needs for a comfortable workflow.

Pros:

  • Super AMOLED display
  • Removable battery
  • NFC
  • Compact construction
  • Affordability

Cons:

  • No Quick Charge support
  • Average camera

Ranking: 4.6/5

What Is a Rugged Device?

man working in kitchen using smartphone

Rugged devices are built to last, tolerating vibrations, shocks, drops, submersion in water, exposure to chemicals, and dust. Professionals in construction, healthcare, warehousing, logistics, and other industries favor rugged mobile computers and smartphones for their durability and special features. For example, many rugged devices also have barcode scanners, antimicrobial protection, or thermal cameras.

Not all rugged devices are equally robust. Semi-rugged phones are essentially reinforced versions of commercial devices. They are still susceptible to damage but may have a Gorilla Glass display cover or augmented edge protection. The Samsung Rugby Pro is an example of a semi-rugged device. Such phones are ideal for anyone with an active lifestyle, regardless of their profession.

In contrast, fully-rugged devices are created for those working in harsh environments. Apart from reinforced construction, they are water and dust-resistant. A device must have an International Protection rating of IP54 or higher to be considered fully-rugged.

Lastly, ultra-rugged smartphones and handheld computers are the most robust devices available on the market. They must have an IP67 or higher water and dust resistance rating and carry a MIL-STD certification. Such devices were initially created for military use but are applied in numerous industries, including hospitality. Ultra-rugged devices can handle drops to concrete from a six-foot height, extreme temperatures, submersion in chemicals, and other abuse.

Why Do Restaurant Cooks Need a Rugged Phone?

chef writing while using phone

Hospitality isn’t the first industry that comes to mind when you think of rugged devices. However, restaurant cooks can significantly benefit from extra durability. The kitchen environment isn’t particularly kind to smartphones. They are constantly exposed to heat, water, grease, oil, and may fall to a tile floor from a counter. Rugged devices are resistant to any kind of abuse, so cooks can avoid costly repairs and postpone the device replacement. Furthermore, some rugged smartphones have antimicrobial protection, meaning that bacteria can’t grow on the device’s surface. Such phones help to maintain a sanitary kitchen environment.

5 Best Mobile Apps for Restaurant Cooks

These five mobile apps help to streamline a restaurant cook’s working process.

1. Our Groceries

Our Groceries is a culinary app developed specifically for professional cooks collaborating with a large team. Users can create and manage grocery shopping and kitchen stock lists and update lists of other users in real-time. Simply install the app on all the crew’s smartphones, and everyone will be updated whenever a food delivery is late, or an ingredient is running low.

2. Super Cook

SuperCook helps users find recipes based on ingredients available in their kitchen. It’s the perfect app for anyone concerned about food waste or budget. The app is also helpful when you need to create a menu accounting for food allergies and dietary restrictions.

woman baker taking photos with smartphone

3. Sling

Sling is created for professional chefs, allowing users to schedule the kitchen crew tasks for a more efficient workflow. The app syncs shift changes, substitutions, and holidays in real-time between the crew’s devices. It’s an excellent tool for small to medium-sized teams.

4. AnyList

AnyList is another mobile app dedicated to grocery shopping, free for iOS and Android. The app has an autocomplete feature suggesting ingredients based on your recent entries and automatically organizes the list into categories. However, users can still edit the sections. The lists can be shared via email.

5. Bring!

Bring! was developed specifically for professional cooks and synchronizes ingredient lists in real-time. Users can easily create custom lists, share them with others, and edit lists of other users. The user-friendly interface is a major advantage of this app.

Top 5 Restaurant Cook Add-On Accessories

man cook using smartphone in kitchen

Consider getting these five phone accessories to make your work process more convenient and protect your device from the harsh kitchen environment.

1. Bluetooth Headset

Restaurant environments tend to be busy, and clear communication between crew members is essential. A Bluetooth headset frees your hands and ensures you’re always connected with your colleagues. It eliminates the need to touch your phone and wash your hands after usage or scream through the entire kitchen.

2. Phone Pouch

Keeping your phone in a pocket or on the counter isn’t always convenient and puts the device at risk. A phone pouch is a simple solution to the problem, protecting the device and ensuring it’s always within easy reach.

3. Phone Holder

If you’re using the phone while cooking to check recipes or have one phone for multiple crew members, consider getting a phone holder. When you keep the device on the counter, someone may accidentally drop it or spill liquids over it. Furthermore, it can easily get lost. A phone holder ensures everyone in the kitchen knows where the work phone is, prevents damage, and keeps the device in a comfortable position for reading.

4. Stylus

Touchscreens and a kitchen environment don’t get along well. Some displays don’t respond to wet fingers and gloves. Furthermore, touching the screen may be simply unsanitary. A stylus resolves the issue, eliminating the need to touch the screen.

5. Charging Dock

Restaurant shifts can be long, and every device’s battery life is limited. Coming to work only to find out that your colleague forgot to charge the device after their shift can be upsetting. Get a charging dock and keep the phone on it whenever it’s not in use to ensure the battery is always full. Plus, it doubles as a phone holder.

How to Get a Bulk Discount on Rugged Phones

chef in kitchen on phone

Whether you work in a small restaurant or have a large crew of several cooks, a work phone upgrade is a significant investment. Energy Electronics always provides the most competitive prices on bulk orders. Don’t hesitate to get in touch today for a quote on the necessary device count.

Talk to a Technology Expert

We proudly offer a wide selection of CAT, Kyocera, Sonim, and other rugged devices to meet different needs and budgets. If you aren’t yet sure which device to choose, reach out to our technology experts for a free consultation. If you’re ready to make an order, fill out the form below to receive a quote within one business hour.