We love fast, powerful laptops — who doesn’t? — but sometimes the most important laptop feature is durability. If you’re working outside, in a production area, or in an environment where everything tends to get dirty, you’ll want a laptop that can take it. Fortunately, a number of manufacturers make high-quality, ruggedized laptops just for these situations. Here are several of the best if you need a particularly hardy machine!
Dell’s Latitude line is specifically made to endure harsh conditions, including 36-inch drops, blowing dust (from a workshop or outdoors), vibration, humidity, thermal extremes, dripping water, and more. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on solid specifications with the 14-inch Rugged Business model: The base version comes with a 7th-generation, dual-core Intel i3-7130U processor (upgradable to an 8th-gen CPU), 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB PCI NVMe solid-state drive.
For connections, laptops like this need extra space.provides 3 USB-A 3.0 ports, a USB-C port, HDMI, and Gigabit Ethernet, plus card slots for both SD and SIM cards, as well as an option for a smart card reader. That’s quite the complete package, but keep in mind that the bulky nature and included handle of this model will take up more room than the average 14-inch laptop — ruggedized
While the Latitude Rugged Business laptop is an excellent choice for certain dangerous environments, sometimes professionals need more, especially if they are frequently working outdoors and in conditions that another laptop can’t handle. The Rugged Extreme version offers free Hazardous Locations Certification, a sealed RGB keyboard (with an option for a rubberized keyboard for further protection), a contactless smart card reader for security, and options for outdoor-friendly features like a built-in GPS card or a bay for an extra battery — all in addition to the ruggedized features that the Business version comes with. Even the sturdy display is made to be readable in outdoor conditions where glare may be a factor.
If you’re looking for a “semi-rugged” laptop that offers even more features and can function as a desktop replacement when necessary, this particularly well-equipped Panasonic Toughbook may be the right fit. In addition to the 14-inch touchscreen with anti-glare treatment, the durable model comes with a built-in stylus and has protection against 3-foot drops, water spray, extreme temperatures, blown dust, and more — plus a compact design that includes a useful handle for carrying.
This Toughbook also comes with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8665U processor, 8GB of
These features makequite similar to the Dell Latitude Rugged Extreme model above, but it sacrifices some rugged features for better performance.
Maybe you’re more interested in an office-class laptop that has excellent performance but is durable enough to deal with everyday events. In that case, a bulky ruggedized model probably isn’t for you, but you may be interested in this excellent Lenovo ThinkPad X1 model. The base 14-inch model offers a 10th-gen, four-core Intel Core i5-10210U processor, 8GB of
Ports include two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, two USB-A 3.2, and HDMI 1.4 — also supports Wi-Fi 6, so you are sure to benefit from the latest wireless standards. The keyboard is spill-resistant for office accidents, and security features include a Kensington lock slot, camera cover, fingerprint reader, and dTPM 2.0 chip.
If you’re interested in a ruggedized laptop but prefer a model with a lower base price, this 14-inch Getac laptop fills the niche nicely. At a much more affordable price, it offers an 8th-gen, four-core Intel Core i5-8250U processor, 4GB of
The ports, which include USB-A 3.0, USB-A 2.0, and HDMI, have covers to protect them in dusty situations, too. If you’re okay with settling for lesser specs to reduce the price while still getting all the rugged protection features you want,is a great place to start!
Durabooks are designed with certification to protect against shock, vibration, 3-foot drops, high altitudes, extreme temperatures, and humidity. They also benefit from a sturdy aluminum alloy frame, port covers to protect against dust, and a quick-release battery to support swift battery replacements out in the field. The 15.6-inch display both provides a larger screen than our 14-inch picks, and it can be read in sunlight.
Internal specs start with an 8th-gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 8GB of
The catch is that it’s difficult to buy a Durabook in the wild. Durabook prefers that you visit their site and get a direct quote for a customized model before you purchase, which does add some extra time to the purchase process.
There are two things to consider — wear-and-tear and utility. When it comes to wear-and-tear, the more durable a laptop is, the longer it will be able to weather accidents, temperature changes, and other issues that could cause damage. Ruggedized
But users also have to consider utility: How long are a laptop’s specs going to be useful before an upgrade becomes necessary due to obsolete tech or lost support? Expect laptop utility to last up to five years before a replacement starts looking like a very good idea.
That depends on your profession. Ruggedized
If you are looking for a laptop made to survive the rigors of college classes, you may be interested in our guide to the best college laptops.
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