soldier using phone

Cell phones have become an essential gadget. While useful and offering a wide range of interesting options, most smartphones aren’t resistant to water, dust, impacts, and other factors. This makes them fragile and unsuitable for some purposes.

Military personnel often work in harsh conditions, so they require highly resistant cell phones. Take a look at our selection of top cell phones for military personnel in 2022.

Top Cell Phones for Military Personnel in 2022

1. Cat S42 H+

The modern Cat S42 H+ offers impressive features that will suit all military personnel. Due to its high-quality, the phone is resistant to water, dust, and impact, which are essential for those in the military. The phone has IP68 and 69 certifications, which prove its resistance and ruggedness.

Aside from impressive IP ratings, the phone is also resistant to vibrations, thermal shocks, and impact. If you’re often exposed to extreme conditions, this phone will be a powerful ally.

The innovative silver-ion technology makes this phone unique. It inhibits bacteria growth and reduces the possibility of cross-contamination, making the phone reassuringly hygienic.

Pros:

  • Excellent IP ratings
  • Rugged yet stylish
  • Innovative antimicrobial properties

Cons:

  • No 5G

2. Cat S62 Pro

The combination of functionality and a modern design makes the Cat S62 Pro stand out from the rest of the phones in this class. The excellent build and IP ratings make the phone suitable even for those exposed to the harshest conditions.

The most impressive feature of this phone is its thermal camera. The thermal sensor is detailed and features a wide temperature range: from -4 to 752 degrees Fahrenheit. Infrared radiation detection allows you to monitor and have a “clearer” vision of your surroundings. This feature can be incredibly useful to all military personnel.

Pros:

  • Impressive thermal camera
  • Resistant
  • Modern design

Cons:

  • No face detection

3. Cat S22 Flip

One of the advantages of flip phones is that they are typically more compact than regular phones, and the Cat S22 Flip certainly proves the case. Although this phone is rugged, it can easily fit into your pocket. It has an IP68 rating, which means it’s resistant to water, dust, and drops. The MIL-SPEC 810H rating confirms this phone can withstand harsh environmental and climatic conditions.

The Cat S22 Flip comes with two cameras, which is unusual considering it’s a flip phone. The expandable storage makes the phone even more impressive and suitable for military industry.

Pros:

  • Rugged yet compact
  • Two cameras
  • Great protection ratings

Cons:

  • Poor battery life

4. Nokia XR20

Nokia XR20

Although many will be surprised a Nokia product made it onto the list, this phone deserves its spot. As the first rugged phone released by the manufacturer, it has a lot to offer. On the outside, the Nokia XR20 may seem like a regular smartphone, but that’s not the case. It’s both IP68 and MIL-STD-810-rated, which proves the phone’s resistance to particles, shocks, impacts, and vibrations.

This Nokia phone features two excellent-quality rear cameras and a front camera. Since most rugged phones have only one rear camera, this is a pleasant and useful change.

Thanks to the 4630mAh battery, you won’t have to charge this phone daily.

Pros:

  • Excellent battery life
  • Two rear cameras
  • Modern design

Cons:

  • Doesn’t support two SIM cards with a memory card

5. Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

For those who want a standard-looking smartphone with improved protection ratings, the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is an excellent option.

The phone combines a high-quality, large display with an attractive and durable design. It holds the IP68 and MIL-STD-810G certifications that prove its resistance and make it suitable for people working in extreme conditions. Plus, the rubber on the phone’s exterior offers extra protection and prevents damage.

Another advantage of this phone is the removable 4030mAh battery. People who use their phones a lot can simply buy a replacement.

The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro also features high-quality cameras that produce excellent photos.

Pros:

  • Removable battery
  • Standard appearance, rugged properties
  • Two rear cameras

Cons:

  • No 5G

6. Sonim XP8

Sonim XP8

Nothing says resistant and durable like the Sonim XP8. It has numerous rugged ratings: IP68, IP69, MIL-STD-810G, and non-incendive Class I, II, and III, Div. 2. These ratings guarantee the phone is resistant to various particles, impacts, shocks, vibrations, and even flammable gasses and mists. If you’re working in an aircraft hangar or anywhere near petroleum or natural gas, the Sonim XP8 is an excellent choice.

The phone’s design resembles a walkie-talkie, and it comes with several useful external buttons. The SOS alert and the PTT keys can help you trigger emergency calls or send urgent messages with just one click. With a powerful 4900mAh battery, the phone doesn’t require daily charging.

Pros:

  • Powerful battery
  • PTT and SOS alert keys
  • Rugged ratings

Cons:

  • Bulky design

7. Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2

Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2

This rugged phone features an octa-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 64 GB of ROM, which ensure fast and smooth performance. The five-inch display has a Dragontrail Pro touchscreen with excellent protection and resistance.

The rugged, high-quality build is supported by IP68, MIL-STD-810G, and non-incendive Class I, Division 2, Group A-D, T4 ratings. This means you can use this phone even in the most hazardous environments with high concentrations of flammable gas.

The device also features a programmable push-to-talk button that enables you to make emergency calls with one click.

Pros:

  • Extremely resistant
  • Fast performance 
  • Comes with a two-year warranty

Cons:

  • Short battery life

8. Ulefone Armor 3

Ulefone Armor 3

The powerful aluminum alloy and thermoplastic polyurethane-reinforced polycarbonate combination make this phone’s housing durable and resistant. Like other phones on the list, the Ulefone Armor 3 has mil-spec ratings and is suitable for everyone working in harsh conditions.

Impressive battery life makes this phone perfect for people who don’t have regular access to a charger. The model features a 10,300mAh battery, which offers up to a whopping 1,300 hours of standby time. While the battery is top of the class, it has a downside: the phone weighs almost 13 ounces (365 grams).

Pros:

  • Exceptional battery
  • Strong build
  • Mil-spec ratings

Cons:

  • Heavy

9. Doogee S90 Pro

Doogee S90 Pro

This phone has impressive features that make it perfect for military personal or anyone exposed to harsh conditions. Since this is a modular phone, its design enables you to replace and upgrade different components to increase comfort and reduce costs.

Besides the interesting build, the phone features a quality octa-core processor, two rear cameras, and waterproof speakers. It also has the IP68 and MIL-STD-810G ratings.

The Doogee S90 Pro has facial recognition and fingerprint unlocking.

Pros:

  • Modular design
  • Good battery life
  • Smooth performance

Cons:

  • Bulky

10. Blackview BV9800

Blackview BV9800

The Blackview BV9800 is another cell phone that features an excellent thermal camera. The 16 MP FLIR Lepton thermal sensor will allow you to discover a whole new world by detecting temperature. Besides the thermal camera, this phone features a 48 MP rear camera that offers excellent night vision that comes in handy for military personnel.

The phone has a 6,580mAh battery that supports wireless charging and offers up to 35 days of standby. Like many other phones on this list, the Blackview BV9800 has a push-to-talk button that enables you to make emergency calls or send messages.

Pros:

  • Battery supports wireless charging
  • Thermal camera
  • Quality build

Cons:

  • Heavy

11. Panasonic Toughbook T1

 Toughbook T1

Looks can be deceiving, and the Panasonic Toughbook T1 proves it. Although it features a slimmer design, this phone has all the characteristics of a rugged device. With IP68 and MIL-STD-810G ratings, this phone is resistant to solid particles, liquids, shocks, impacts, and vibrations.

The five-inch screen has excellent daylight performance, and you can use it even if your fingers are wet or you’re wearing gloves.

The customizable button on the side can be used for making emergency calls and sending messages, which is a useful feature in military phones.

Pros:

  • Compact appearance
  • Rugged characteristics
  • Excellent screen

Cons:

  • Shorter battery life

12. Unihertz Atom XL

Unihertz Atom XL

Although it’s smaller than most rugged phones, the Unihertz Atom XL has impressive characteristics. It features great ratings to prove its resistance and durability. The phone has a 4,300mAh battery which can last a long time, primarily because of a smaller screen.

This phone supports Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), which means you can use the device as a walkie-talkie if you have no cellular connection. This is a valuable feature, especially if you work in a remote location.

Pros:

  • Supports DMR
  • Compact yet powerful
  • Good battery

Cons:

  • Limited updates

13. AGM X3

AGM X3

This is another rugged smartphone with a sleek and elegant design. The AGM X3 is thin, lightweight, and has powerful features. Like other rugged phones from the list, this phone is resistant to different solid particles and moisture.

The impressive 6-inch device features two rear cameras and a front camera of excellent quality – something rarely seen in rugged phones. The screen features Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and is readable even in direct sunlight.

The notification light is also a nice change as most phones in this class usually don’t have it. Due to the sleek design, modern features, and resistance, this phone is excellent for every occasion. Unfortunately, this phone doesn’t offer the option to customize the side button, which can be a significant drawback.

Pros:

  • Impressive cameras
  • Standard smartphone size
  • Resistant

Cons:

  • No customizable side button

14. Oukitel WP5 Pro

Oukitel WP5 Pro

The sturdy build of the Oukitel WP5 Pro shows that this phone can withstand any environment. It features a built-in shock-absorbing case that keeps it safe from impacts and vibrations. The rubber adds grip, making this device stable in your hands.

Besides the power and volume buttons along the frame, you’ll find a customizable key that you can use for making urgent calls, launching the flashlight, etc.

This device features IP68 and IP69 ratings. For this reason, you can use it even if you’re often exposed to dust, high temperatures, and moisture.

If you’re worried about running out of battery, the Oukitel WP5 Pro features a powerful 8000mAh battery that can last several days.

Pros:

  • Excellent battery
  • Customizable side key
  • Built-in case

Cons:

  • Camera photos look soft

15. Cat S41

Cat S41

Many people enjoy a phone’s bulky, rugged design, and the Cat S41 is an ideal example. Although it was released in 2017, this phone is still popular, especially for people working in tough conditions.

The phone is wrapped in thick material that provides a tight grip and protects the device from damage. On the side, you’ll see the PTT button that you can use as a walkie-talkie. If you don’t need this option, you can customize the button according to your preferences.

You can use this phone even if you have gloves on or wet hands. Besides being water-resistant, the Cat S41 is resistant to solid particles, drops, impacts, and thermal shocks. Its operating temperature is impressive: from -13 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pros:

  • Sturdy case
  • PTT button
  • Can be used with gloves and wet hands

Cons:

  • Poor camera quality

Top Cell Phone Plans for US Military

Most network providers offer specially designed plans for the US military. Which one you choose will depend on the phone you have and your preferences and expectations.

Verizon offers several unlimited plans for military personnel. You can get unlimited texts and calls, focus on music and video streaming data, get a discount on a connected device, etc. Most users say Verizon offers excellent coverage and top speeds.

T-Mobile has several plans for active-duty military and veterans. You can get a 50% discount for family lines and free 5G access. T-Mobile also includes a free Netflix subscription for its members.

AT&T  offers excellent unlimited plans at affordable prices for all military personnel. You can choose extra features such as 4K, free HBO Max subscription, mobile hotspot data, etc.

Phone Requirements for the US Military

Military personnel are often exposed to harsh weather conditions. Working in dangerous environments requires tough and durable equipment that ensures safety and protection. Like the gear, the phones military personnel use needs to be durable and rugged.

One of the essential phone requirements for the US military is ingress protection (IP) ratings. These ratings represent an international standard that proves a phone’s resistance to different particles and moisture. Each IP rating is comprised of two digits. The first digit indicates the level of protection against solid particles and is represented on a scale from zero to six. The second digit expresses the level of protection from liquids, and it can range from zero to nine.

Phones with the highest IP ratings (IP68 and IP69) are suitable for military personnel and anyone who requires a rugged phone with a strong build.

Military forces often work in environments with high concentrations of gases. Phones that feature non-incendive Class I, II, and III, Div. 2 ratings can be used in such conditions without problems.

soldier using cellphone

Another requirement military personnel should be interested in is the MIL-STD rating. This is a US military standard that determines whether a device can be used for military purposes. The devices that meet these ratings undergo altitude and temperature tests, get submerged in water, are exposed to shocks, etc. Every phone we’ve reviewed meets these military standards.

The ratings mentioned above prove a phone can function in different environments. However, these aren’t the only requirements military personnel are interested in. Additional features such as design, thermal camera, PTT button, and long battery life can make a significant difference. Which features you want on your phone will depend on your line of work and preferences.

Talk to a Phone Specialist

With so many choices on the market, military personnel often have difficulty choosing the right cell phone. Besides paying attention to the phone’s build and protection ratings, it’s crucial to consider the design. Some phones on this list are bulkier, while others have a sleek, modern appearance that doesn’t resemble most rugged devices.

An excellent thermal camera, good night vision, walkie-talkie option, customizable buttons, great battery life, and exceptional standby time are just some of the additional features you may need on your phone.

If that wasn’t enough, all of these characteristics can be mixed and matched to fit a certain price range.

For these reasons, it’s best to talk to a phone specialist. The Energy Electronics team has years of experience and the necessary knowledge to help you make the best cell phone choice. We’ll review different options based on your requirements, offer advice, and discuss the best alternatives.