firefighters dressed for fire using rugged tablet

We can all agree that firefighters have one of the toughest and most demanding work environments. That’s why they need smartphones that can keep up with them and take the heat. In emergency situations where you’re forced to act quickly, there’s no better device than a phone. There are various rugged smartphones on the market, so finding one that meets all your needs can be challenging.

Here’s our selection of the top 10 smartphones for firefighters to choose from.

1. CAT S62 Pro

S62 Pro

The CAT S62 Pro is a rugged device that can be used in all work environments, and it’s also ideal for firefighters. It’s made using Cornell Gorilla Glass 6, so it’s shatter-proof and impact-resistant. This tough device features FLIR thermal imaging technology, which can be useful in rescue missions and emergencies. This CAT phone has IP68, IP69, and MIL-SPEC 810H certifications, so it’s resistant to water, dust, drops, and vibrations. The Push-To-Talk button is another handy feature that can be helpful in critical situations.

Pros:

  • FLIR thermal imaging technology
  • Cornell Gorilla Glass 6
  • IP68, IP69, and MIL-SPEC 810H certifications
  • Resistant to extreme heat
  • Push-To-Talk support

Cons:

  • More expensive than others
  • No wireless charging

Ranking: 5/5

The CAT S62 Pro is designed to withstand extreme temperatures, so it’s the perfect device for firefighters. It’s also glove-friendly, weather-resistant, and fully waterproof. No matter how dangerous or risky a situation might be, this rugged device will be able to handle it.

2. CAT S42 H+

Cat S42 H+

The CAT S42 H+ is another excellent rugged device for firefighters. It’s made using extreme shatter-resistant technology. It has an ergonomic design and an easy grip, so you can carry it around without difficulty. This robust phone has military-grade protection, and is resistant to vibrations, humidity, dirt, dust, and salt mist. What’s more, it’s waterproof and shockproof.

This rugged device will stay charged the whole day, thanks to its powerful 4200mAh battery. It’s optimized for outdoor environments with a glove-friendly, sunlight-readable screen. The one-touch PTT customizable buttons allow for instant communication.

Pros:

  • Tough break-resistant hardware
  • Easy grip
  • Glove-friendly and sunlight-readable screen
  • One-Touch Push-To-Talk communication
  • Military-grade protection

Cons:

  • Heavy

Ranking: 5/5

The CAT S42 H+ can withstand any challenging environment, which is exactly what a firefighter needs. While many smartphones are too fragile and easily broken due to their thin construction, this CAT rugged smartphone can take the heat.

3. Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro

Galaxy XCover Pro

The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro is a pocket-size smartphone that’s tough enough to withstand the most challenging working environments. It comes with IP68 and MIL-STD 810 standards, so it’s waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof. Not only that, but this device has a sleek design and customizable PTT buttons. Most importantly, it’s functional in high temperatures, which is imperative for firefighters.

Pros:

  • Pocket-size smartphone
  • Meets MIL-STD 810 and IP68 standards
  • Functional in high temperatures
  • Customizable PTT buttons

Cons:

  • Slow performance
  • Only available with Verizon and AT&T

Ranking: 4.7/5

The Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro meets all the necessary industry standards for durability. It would make a great rugged smartphone for a firefighter.

4. Ulefone Armor 9

Ulephone Armor 9

The Ulefone Armor 9 is protected from all sides, and it meets industry IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD 810G standards. It comes with an integrated FLIR camera and a 3-in-1 endoscope, which can be extremely useful in surveillance, and search and rescue missions. The FLIR camera can even operate through smoke and in total darkness.

Pros:

  • Integrated FLIR camera
  • IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD-810G ratings
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Endoscope included

Cons:

  • No VOC sensor

Ranking: 4.9/5

Thanks to its FLIR thermal imaging and special features, the Ulefone Armor 9 is a great, rugged device for firefighters. It can even withstand high temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit for six to eight hours.

5. CAT S61

Cat S61

The CAT S61 is one of the most rugged phones you can find. What’s more, it has all the features a firefighter would need in the field. The integrated FLIR thermal imaging camera can save you a lot of time when you can’t see through smoke, and it can even locate a heat source of 400 degrees Celsius (752 degrees Fahrenheit). The laser-assisted distance measure and indoor air quality monitor can also be extremely helpful in dangerous scenarios.

Pros:

  • Ultra-tough
  • Built-in FLIR thermal imaging camera
  • Laser-assisted distance measure
  • Indoor air quality monitor

Cons:

  • Pricy

Ranking: 5/5

Just like all other CAT phones, the CAT S61 is ultra-tough and can withstand the most extreme temperatures.

6. Doogee S97 Pro

Doogee S97 Pro

The Doogee S97 Pro has an indestructible construction so it’s built to last. What makes it stand out is its built-in professional laser rangefinder with a 40-meter distance range, which supports four measurement modes. This rugged smartphone is fully operational in extreme temperatures, from -67 degrees to 158 degrees Fahrenheit. What’s more, it comes with a huge 8,500mAh battery that can last throughout the whole day.

Pros:

  • Huge battery
  • Professional laser rangefinder
  • Indestructible construction
  • Fully operational in extreme temperatures

Cons:

  • Bulky and heavy

Ranking: 4.7/5

The Doogee S97 Pro is a great device for firefighters, as it has been tested in all kinds of harsh conditions. What’s more, it’s waterproof, drop-proof, and shockproof.

7. CAT S22 Flip

Cat S22

For those who want a compact flip phone with smart features, the CAT S22 Flip is the ideal solution. This rugged flip phone is lightweight, compact, and extremely durable. This CAT phone is designed to handle rough treatment, thanks to its Corning Gorilla Glass 5 shatter-resistant display and IP68 and MIL-SPEC 810H ratings.

It has a long-lasting 2000mAh battery, allowing for free mobility for the whole day. The programmable PTT button can be more than handy in emergency situations. What’s more, it comes with extra-loud speakers for noisy environments.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Extremely durable
  • Long battery life
  • Extra-loud speakers
  • Shatter-resistant display

Cons:

  • Only available with T-Mobile
  • Only 2GB of RAM

Ranking: 4.8/5

The CAT S22 Flip is built for the outdoors. It’s waterproof and shockproof. It can also resist extreme temperature changes from -13 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit in 30 minutes.

8. Sonim RS60

Sonim RS60 Mobile Computer Scanner Energy Electronics Rugged Tablet

The Sonim RS60 is a rugged mobile computer with an integrated smart scanner. Its high-capacity multi-shift battery allows for a whole day of operation without charging. This sturdy device is engineered to meet tough performance industry standards, and it’s drop-proof and impact-resistant. It can even work in low lighting conditions. The extra-loud audio speakers can be of great use in noisy environments.

Pros:

  • Integrated smart scanner
  • High-capacity multi-shift battery
  • Lightweight
  • Extra-loud audio speakers
  • Drop-proof and impact-resistant

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Only 4GB of RAM

Ranking: 4.8/5

This handheld mobile computer will allow firefighters to keep track of important information and equipment, and stay connected with their colleagues. What’s more, it’s fully operational in extreme temperatures, even up to 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

9. Oukitel WP8 Pro

Oukitel WP8 Pro

Firefighters might also find the Oukitel WP8 Pro a good fit. It comes with SOS and Warning features, which you can use to flash a bright light or play a loud siren to attract someone’s attention. This rugged device has IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD 810G ratings, and it’s 360-degrees waterproof. Even though its finger ID is hard to reach, located on the right side of the phone, the Face ID feature works well even in low lighting.

Pros:

  • IP68, IP69K, and MIL-STD-810G ratings
  • 360-degrees water-resistant
  • SOS and Warning features
  • Face ID

Cons:

  • The fingerprint scanner is hard to reach
  • Reasonably heavy

Ranking: 4.5/5

Even though this device packs a tough build and rugged features, it might be too heavy for some. This might prevent you from carrying it in your pocket when you go on a rescue mission or a challenging call.

10. Nokia XR20

Nokia XR20

The Nokia XR20 has an ultra-rugged body, built using Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which is the strongest Gorilla Glass ever made. Its display is resistant to scratches, and it features sensitive sensors, so you can use it with gloves and wet hands. This smartphone comes with MIL-STD 810H and IP68 ratings, so it has a built-in resistance to water, dust, drops, impact, and rapid temperature shifts.

Pros:

  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • Scratch-resistant display
  • MIL-STD 810H and IP68 ratings
  • Glove and wet hand-friendly

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Average performance

Ranking: 3.9/5

The Nokia XR20 is a tough phone that can endure harsh conditions, but it may not be the best fit for firefighters.

What Is a Rugged Phone?

Rugged phones are not like standard smartphones most people have. They’re built to withstand the toughest of environments, and they’re usually used by people who work in construction, law enforcement, field service, manufacturing, the medical field, fire and EMT service, and the like.

Mobile phones need to meet specific industry standards to be considered rugged. These are IP ratings, which stands for Ingress Protection. The best rugged phones have IP68 and IP69 ratings, which makes them 100% waterproof. To be more specific, it indicates that the phone can be submerged in water for a specific period of time (usually 30 minutes to 1 hour).

Another important factor is MIL-STD ratings, which indicate military grade. If a phone has MIL-SPEC 810H ratings, it can resist impact, drops, shocks, and vibrations. Other features rugged smartphones usually have include FLIR thermal imaging technology, various sensors, Push-To-Talk programmable buttons, and Corning Gorilla Glass displays.

Why Do Firefighters Need Rugged Phones?

fire helicopter

For firefighters, mobile devices are only as useful as they are durable and strong. Firefighters often spend time in dangerous environments where regular smartphones simply wouldn’t survive.

Rugged phones are designed to function normally in extreme temperatures. The ones that come with FLIR cameras can be of great use in smoke-filled rooms where visibility is limited. Rugged phones with laser-assisted features help measure the distance between two objects from afar. These features can also be handy when firefighters need to evaluate risks or check industrial sights.

Firefighters also rely on fast communication, which can be achieved with programmable PTT buttons. Lastly, they need to have phones that are 100% resistant to the elements. In other words, they need to be waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof.

Five Best Mobile Apps for Firefighters

firefighter rugged phone

These are the best five apps that every firefighter should have:

Wiser

Wiser is an app designed to help emergency responders in hazardous environments and extreme conditions. The app provides relevant and accurate information that could help save someone’s life. For example, Wiser will be able to tell you what to do and give you information about available emergency resources and hazardous substances. This app is free, and you can find it on the App Store and Google Play.

Drugs.com

This app is not only useful to firefighters, but to first responders and anyone working in similar fields. Drugs.com is a pharmaceutical app that gives you information about drugs, possible side effects, and FDA alerts. It can also be used to identify pills, look up medication, and keep track of medication records. It can even tell you whether you should use two drugs at the same time. It’s completely free, and it can be installed on iOS and Android devices.

Fire Flow/Pump Pressure Calculator

This app gives you the exact time it will take for a fire to be extinguished, and every firefighter should have it on their phone. It also measures pump discharge pressures for various hand-lines and master streams. You’ll get this information in standard and metric terms. However, it can currently only be downloaded on iOS devices.

Firefighter Pocketbook

Firefighter Pocketbook is a training app designed to help new firefighters perfect their skills. It offers various quizzes, flashcards, and scene checkoffs that will help you become a better firefighter. It can even be handy for seasoned firefighters. It’s the ideal app when it’s a slow day, and you want to work on your skillset. This app can be purchased for $4.99 on the App Store and Google Play.

Pulsepoint AED

This app is designed to help you save someone during cardiac arrest. It’s easy to use, and it will give you a list of nearby automated external defibrillators (AEDs). This is a useful app for firefighters, nurses, emergency responders, and off-duty professionals. It’s free, and you can find it on Google Play and the App Store.

How to Get a Bulk Discount on Rugged Phones?

To get a bulk discount on rugged phones, all you need to do is contact Energy Electronics LLC. We specialize in supplying rugged devices for harsh working environments and extreme conditions.

Talk to a Technology Expert

If you are interested in the CAT S62 Pro or the CAT S42 H+, or any of the listed devices, please contact us. If you have any questions about rugged phones, feel free to complete the contact form at the bottom of the page. One of our technology experts will reach out to you as soon as possible to give you a quote.