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.
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Definitive List of Firefighting Smartphones
Each of the below smartphones offers a range of features that make them ideal for firefighters.
1. CAT S62 Pro
This shatter-proof and impact-resistant smartphone can handle the rough and tumble of firefighting work. But its key feature is its IP68 and IP69 certifications, which prove that it’s waterproof. A handy push-to-talk feature also makes it great for getting in touch with your crew during emergencies.
Granted, it’s a touch on the expensive side. Plus, the lack of wireless charging isn’t ideal for portability. But when you combine its waterproof construction with resistance to extreme heat, you get the perfect phone for firefighters.
2. Zebra TC56
Combining the features of a smartphone with a two-way radio and mobile scanning, the Zebra TC56 is a multi-purpose device. It resists shocks, drops, and water, meaning you don’t have to worry about spraying the phone when working.
The Android operating system is familiar and the 13-megapixel camera is ideal for gathering evidence and photographing scenes. Roaming support also means you’ll stay connected when in the field.
3. Honeywell CT30 XP Handheld Computer
Ruggedness is key with the CT30 XP Handheld Computer, as it functions as both a phone and computer for difficult environments. Capable of withstanding temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the phone is drop-resistant onto concrete up to a distance of four feet.
The 8-megapixel camera is suitable for taking detailed photos of foregrounds, though it’s not the best camera on the market. However, its Wi-Fi 6 compatibility ensures clarity in voice and video communications.
4. Getac MH132
Getac’s entry into the smartphone sector is one of the best available. Using the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system, it offers a host of voice and data communication capabilities.
Keeping with Getac’s reputation for quality design, the phone offers protection against dust, vibrations, and water. However, it’s not fully waterproof, meaning it may malfunction if exposed to anything more than water showers. The phone can withstand temperatures up to 109.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Joya Plus A6
Though it’s built its reputation as a self-shopping device, the Joya Plus A6’s phone capabilities make it a good companion on fire grounds.
However, this may not be the best phone for fieldwork. The 2D imager means it works best as a barcode scanner. That makes it perfect for cataloging and transmitting data related to inventory and evidence.
6. Zebra TC73
With top-of-the-line mobile connectivity thanks to its 4G and 5G compatibility, the TC73 keeps you connected when you’re on a fire ground.
It’s also tough. Featuring a built-in case, the phone can handle drops onto concrete from up to eight feet. It carries Common Criteria Certification and functions as a mobile computer as well as a smartphone.
7. Honeywell CT45
Built on Honeywell’s proprietary Mobility Edge platform, the CT45 is an all-purpose mobile computer with smartphone functionality. It has guaranteed support for the Android operating system up to Android 13. Plus, it uses Wi-Fi 6 to ensure connectivity, as well as 4G LTE.
The 13-megapixel rear camera allows you to take photos in the foreground. Plus, it can operate safely in temperatures up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. Getac PS236
Coming with a shock-resistant enclosure, the Getac PS236 is ideal for fieldwork. It has a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen, though its 480×640 resolution leaves a little to be desired.
The phone uses the Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 operating system, ensuring security and compatibility with on-base computers. And at just 530 grams, it’s a lightweight option that focuses on portability as much as strength.
9. Datalogic Memor K
As a mobile computer, the Memor K isn’t a typical smartphone. But if you equip it with a speaker and microphone, it offers Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and push-to-talk capabilities.
Having said that, this is a computer that’s best used for inventory purposes. It offers 2D barcode scanning and has a rechargeable 3,800 mAh battery. Its physical keyboard is also ideal for jotting down notes.
10. Zebra TC58
Featuring 5G compatibility, the TC58 is a modern smartphone for today’s data age. It offers two-way radio communication, with the familiar Android operating system making it easy to operate.
The 16-megapixel camera ensures high-quality photos of foregrounds. And despite its rugged design, the TC58 is thin enough to carry anywhere.
11. Honeywell EDA52
The Honeywell EDA52 stands out because it offers e-Sim support, allowing your firefighters to switch between multiple mobile carriers easily. It’s built on Android 11, though you can upgrade it to Android 13. Plus, it’s validated under Google’s Android Enterprise Recommendation (AER).
The rugged housing offers IP67 sealing, meaning the phone is water and dust-resistant. Plus, the 5.5-inch Gorilla Glass touchscreen is ideal for using apps and documenting foregrounds.
12. Getac PS336
Though it’s on the simpler end of the smartphone scale, offering just 512 Mb of RAM, the PS336 makes up for its technological shortcomings with strength. It has a shockproof case and weighs just 530 grams.
A compass sensor helps you to track locations. Plus, it offers voice-activated controls and voice typing in addition to its calling capabilities. The 12-hour battery life also makes it a great choice for long shifts.
13. Datalogic Memor 10
With its 4,100 mAh hot-swappable battery, the Memor 10 is designed for extensive use over long shifts. It runs on Android and is an AER device. Plus, it has built-in LTE capabilities to keep you connected when Wi-Fi isn’t an option.
The IP65-rated case is serviceable for guarding against dust and water, though it isn’t the best on the market. Still, the implementation of Datalogic’s Green Spot tech makes this a good phone for use in noisy environments.
14. Zebra MC9300
Though it’s not a traditional smartphone, the MC9300’s push-to-talk capabilities make it useful as an internal communication device. It can also run the Walkie-Talkie app offered by Microsoft Teams and has VoIP support.
As a winner of a Good Design award, you can rest assured that the build quality is up to a high standard. It also has a 13-megapixel camera for high-resolution photographs, in addition to offering touchscreen and keypad input.
15. Honeywell CN75
Offering support for the Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 and Android 6.0 operating systems, the CN75 is among the most versatile smartphones for firefighters. It’s also tough, being capable of withstanding 8-foot drops onto concrete.
And IP67 seal guards against dust and water. Plus, the phone is compatible with several accessories, including printers and application software.
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 stand 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?
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
These are the best five apps that every firefighter should have:
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.
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 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.
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.