Laptops

10 Best Rugged Laptops: Dell, HP, Lenovo All Reviewed

A lot of laptop users don't realize the importance of choosing a rugged, durable device - that is, until something unfortunate happens.

Whether you're looking for a laptop for work-related travel or you just know that you're generally rough on things, investing in a device that was designed with rugged durability in mind could save you from needing to make a trip to your nearest Best Buy after an accident.

Deciding on a rugged laptop is just as difficult as the buying process for traditional, less rugged devices. This guide to the best rugged laptops is here to assist anyone who’s on the hunt for a device that can withstand even the worst drops, rainstorms, spills, and other brushes with unfortunate incidents.

Image

Product Name

CPU

RAM, Internal Storage

Display

Screen Size

Check Price

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme 7404 14-Inch...

Intel Core i5

8GB, 256GB

1366 x 768

14”

Dell Latitude Rugged 7414 Business Laptop...

Intel Core i5

8GB, 256GB

1366 x 768

14”

Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7,...

Intel Core i7

8GB, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

1920 x 1080

17”

Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 MK4, i5-4310M...

Intel Core i5

16GB, 1TB

1366 x 768

14”

ASUS Chromebook C202 Laptop- 11.6' Ruggedized...

Intel Celeron N3060

4GB, 16GB (or 32GB)

1366 x 768

11.6”

PANASONIC PERSONAL COMP CF-33AFHKZVM...

Intel Core i5

8GB, 256GB

1920 x 1080

12”

Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme 11.6' FHD...

Intel Core i5

16GB, 256GB

1920 x 1080

11.6”

GPD Micro PC-Mini Industry Laptop,[128GB M.2...

Intel Celeron N4100

8GB, 128GB

1280 x 720

6”

Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 Rugged Notebook PC...

Intel Core i5

4GB, 500GB HDD

1024 x 768

13.1”

Lenovo ThinkPad 11E (5th Gen) 11.6' HD...

Intel Celeron Quad-Core

4GB, 128GB

1366 x 768

11.6”


When Having a Ruggedized Laptop Can Make a Difference

Tons of potential situations can lead to the demise of a tech device, and it's not just clumsy users who can benefit from devices that are built for extreme durability. Maybe you've already had an experience in the past where having a ruggedized laptop would have made a difference.

Laptops that are designed with ruggedized features are better able to withstand things like the buildup of dust particles, water spills, and unexpected drops. In fact, they are designed specifically to survive these things and more.

This is why certain types of people can benefit from choosing a more rugged device, including rough-and-rowdy teenagers, on-the-go professionals, and clumsy individuals.


Important Considerations For Buying a Rugged Laptop

Build Quality

The first thing that sets a rugged laptop apart from the less-rugged devices on the market is build quality. Since these laptops are designed to withstand incidents better, many of them are built with military-grade components.

They're built to last, so try not to expect your rugged device to feature a slim and sleek design. The outer case (or chassis) is where most of the attention is placed for durability.

The best rugged laptops on the market are built with rigid, robust, bulky cases made from magnesium or magnesium-aluminum alloys that can handle extreme drops, hot and cold temperatures, and even exposure to liquids. Slim, lightweight laptops don’t offer the same protection since the focus isn’t on rugged build quality.

Shock Resistance

One of the main features that makes a laptop “rugged” is shock resistance. The majority of rugged laptops are built with shock-mounted components, which means they’re more capable of absorbing and handling shocks from drops, falls, and knocks than other devices.

IP Rating

Digital Trends says that a device’s IP rating “is determined by how well it holds up against dirt, dust, and water. Ratings range from 1 to 6 for dust and dirt and 1 to 9 for water, with the first and second digit in the rating indicating how well it withstands exposure to solid particles and liquids, respectively.”

Rugged laptops that are serious about their IP ratings create devices with sealed ports, so you won't find any exposed USBs or HDMI outputs. Look for the highest IP numbers possible, and don't trust a device that just claims to be rugged without offering actual ratings.

Screen Features

Designing a rugged laptop isn’t just about protecting the device’s inner mechanisms, but also the display screen. The best rugged laptop comes with an extra bright display that is protected by reinforced glass and resistive touchscreen technology. The resistive touchscreen is especially important if you’re looking for a rugged laptop tablet combo.

Weight & Portability

Try not to get your hopes up for finding a lightweight device that’s also extremely rugged. The words lightweight and rugged are pretty much oxymorons, so you won’t find anything as light as the Surface Pro or MacBook Air.

But that doesn’t mean you have to give up entirely on portability. A lot of rugged laptops come with a pop-out handle for easy carrying, allowing a user to carry it around like a briefcase.

Military Grade Drop Test Standard

According to MSI, one of the top manufacturers of sturdy gaming laptops, “the top10 MIL-STD-810G military trials which are tested under the abrupt environmental conditions, including extreme altitudes and temperature challenges, as well as, physical vibration, dropping and shock tests, designed for busy mobile lifestyles.”

The best rugged laptops are based on these conditions and take the Military Grade Drop Test extremely seriously.

Price & Warranty

Rugged devices are all over the board when it comes to cost, but just keep in mind that the most durable laptops are priced based on the quality of their components. If you want something to last even the most extreme conditions, you’ll have to be willing to pay more.

That being said, it’s not always appropriate to go with the most expensive choice, like if you’re looking for a rugged laptop for kids.

The manufacturers who have the most faith in their products offer a generous warranty period to protect against any incidents that might happen. Of course, this warranty will be void for users who are purposely attempting to test the laptop’s ruggedness, but other than that, almost all accidents will be covered for the following 10 devices.


10 Best Rugged Laptops Reviewed

1. Dell Latitude 14

Dell Latitude 14 Rugged Extreme 7404 14-Inch...
  • 14-Inch Display (1366x768) Outdoor-Readable...
  • Intel Core 4th Gen. i5-4310U Processor, 8GB...
  • Dell Data Protection, Encrypt data on...
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac

Our Top Pick

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5

RAM, Internal Storage

8GB, 256GB

Display Resolution

1366 x 768

Screen Size

14”

Warranty

90 days

Our top pick for best rugged laptop is the Dell Latitude 14, a device that’s built for extreme conditions and impressive durability. The 14-inch screen is easy to read and designed for outdoor use with glare reduction technology and a resistive touchscreen.

The Dell rugged laptop offers optimal system performance with an Intel Core i5 processor that’s fast, smooth, and reliable.

This model comes with 8GB RAM, so you can run tons of applications and software at once without slowing down. There's 256GB SSD storage, so there's very little chance you'll run out of space with the Latitude 14. It's built with Dell data protection so that users can encrypt data on virtually any device, and it operates on Windows 10 Pro.

It’s definitely not the lightest laptop out there, but it comes with a handy carrying handle for added portability. It’s built with a backbone and can take some serious punishment thanks to its rigid magnesium alloy outer body construction. It’s built with shock-absorbent ultra-polymer materials for resistance against drops and knocks.

All entry points and ports are sealed with compression gaskets, so you don't have to worry about sand, dust, or liquid raining on your parade. It is ranked with an IP rating of 6.5, which is considered outstanding, plus it’s built to last extreme temperatures with its fourth-generation QuadCool thermal management.

All in all, this is a fantastic choice for anyone in the market for a ruggedized laptop. Some users don’t love that this specific model is renewed, but the benefit of that is that the price is much more affordable, but you still get to take advantage of all the same rugged features.

Good
  • Sealed entry points
  • Shock-absorbent components
  • Windows 10 Pro OS
  • IP 65 protection
  • QuadCore thermal management
Bad
  • Display resolution could be better
  • Renewed device

2. Dell Latitude Rugged 7414

Dell Latitude Rugged 7414 Business Laptop...
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested...
  • Intel Quad Core i5-6300U @ 2.50GHz, 6th...
  • 8 GB DDR4 Ram / 256 GB Solid State Drive...
  • 14.0 Inch HD (1366 x 768) TOUCH SCREEN, Intel...

Best Rugged Business Laptop

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5

RAM, Internal Storage

8GB, 256GB

Display Resolution

1366 x 768

Screen Size

14”

Warranty

90 days

Anyone looking for a durable solution for running a business should consider the Dell Latitude 7414 edition. This is a business laptop notebook that’s all about durability. Similar to the last Dell Latitude, this one runs on the Windows 10 Pro OS, it has 8GB RAM, and it has 256GB SSD storage space.

It’s also a 14-inch touchscreen that comes with a stylus pen included, but this one is better for business thanks to its 6th gen processor (as opposed to the 4th generation CPU with the previous Latitude).

Another thing that on-the-go business fanatics love is the endless number of connectivity options. It’s built with every connection port you could need, including a Smart Card Reader, SD Card Reader, 1 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, 3 x USB 3.0, and 1 x USB 2.0. The touchscreen is a handy feature, especially since it is built with resistive technology for optimal ruggedness.

You can carry it around like a briefcase with the pop-out handle. Even the processor is considered “rugged” - it’s designed for high performance with 250GHz. The screen resolution could be better, but the 1366 x 768 pixels is fairly standard for a rugged laptop of this size.

Needless to say, that resolution isn’t ideal for artsy individuals who plan on using this device for graphics applications.

This laptop offers everything you could possibly need to get through harsh conditions, but with that comes a big and bulky design. Considering its heavy weight, a lot of users are surprised to find that the battery life is pretty good.

Also Recommended: Best Work Laptops

Good
  • Pop-out handle
  • Rugged CPU
  • Lots of connection options
  • Stylus pen and touchscreen
  • Impressive battery life
Bad
  • Heavy and bulky
  • Single-point touchscreen/touchpad

3. Acer Predator

Acer Predator 17 Gaming Laptop, Core i7,...
  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor...
  • 17.3" Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen IPS...
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 with 8 GB of...
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD RAID 0, 1TB HDD

Best Rugged Gaming Laptop

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i7

RAM, Internal Storage

8GB, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

Display Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

17”

Warranty

1 year

Moving on to another brand aside from Dell, Acer manufactures some of the best rugged laptops, particularly for gamers. The Acer Predator 17 inch rugged laptop is a gamer’s dream device, and not just because of its durability.

It has fast processing with its 7th generation Intel Core i7 CPU, and the screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels is a better alternative to the low res of the Dell laptops.

The screen is the perfect size for gaming at home, and the high-quality integrated Nvidia graphics card doesn’t hurt either. It runs on the Windows 10 Home operating system and has tons of storage with 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD.

It’s pretty obvious that this laptop is designed specifically with gamers in mind with its high-performance Nvidia GeForce GTX graphics and advanced cooling system that supports even the most intense gaming sessions.

One of the reasons that this device ranks so high in terms of ruggedness is its defense against dust.

“Keep your new rig nice and clean with Predator Dust Defender,” says the Predator brand. “Alternating airflow directions help stop dust from building up and maintain a cool temperature.” 

On top of that, it uses the signature Predator FrostCore technology to keep things cool.

The Acer doesn’t rank quite as high in terms of ruggedness as the Dell Latitude devices, but the Dell laptops aren’t nearly as suitable for meeting gamer’s needs.

The audio on this device is powerful, it’s completely VR ready, and the Nvidia graphics are impressive. For someone who’s looking for a combination of durability and high-end gaming, this is it.

Also Recommended: Best 2-in-1 Gaming Laptops

Good
  • Nvidia graphics card
  • Optional overclocking
  • Dust Defendor technology
  • Large screen (great for gaming)
  • VR ready
Bad
  • Expensive
  • Battery life could be better

4. Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 MK4

Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 MK4, i5-4310M...
  • Integrated Intel HD Graphics 4400, 14"...
  • MIL-STD-810G certified (3' drop, shock,...
  • Optical Drive - DVD±R/RW (DVD/CD Burner),...
  • Windows 10 Professional pre-installed, Comes...

Best Rugged Laptop Under 1000

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5

RAM, Internal Storage

16GB, 1TB

Display Resolution

1366 x 768

Screen Size

14”

Warranty

90 days

Out of all the options for rugged laptops under 1000 dollars, one of the best is the Panasonic Toughbook CF-53 MK4. It comes in several configuration options, but the most popular is the one with 16GB RAM, 1TB storage, and Intel Core i5 processor.

This Panasonic rugged laptop runs on the Windows 10 Pro OS, and although it’s a renewed device, you can count on it to last you through the years.

The 14-inch screen has a relatively mediocre resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, so it’s not the ideal choice for graphics-heavy applications like gaming or video editing.

It is, however, an excellent choice for active, on the go laptop users who need a durable device to get them through the day. The Toughbook is MIL-STD-810G certified, which means it can handle 3-foot drops, shocks, vibrations, dust, altitude, extreme temperatures, and humidity.

The Panasonic company had a very specific vision for designing the Toughbook, here’s what they have to say: “Your work is extraordinary, and your devices need to match you step for step. That’s why we build rugged laptops and 2-in-1's that are trusted by hardworking people in the toughest environments anywhere.”

In addition to being militarily certified, this device is built with a shock-mounted hard drive with quick-release components.

The sturdy magnesium-alloy case is built with a carrying handle for added mobility, which is a must considering this device weighs nearly 6 pounds. It comes with a series of connectivity ports, but unfortunately, there’s no USB Type-C. The other minor flaw is that the touchpad and keyboard design feels a bit cramped, but most users get past this.

Good
  • Military certified
  • Antiglare display
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Shock-mounted components
Bad
  • No USB Type-C
  • Cramped keyboard design

5. ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02

On Sale Today
ASUS Chromebook C202 Laptop- 11.6" Ruggedized...
  • Ready for drops and spills with rugged...
  • Lightweight 2.65 pound body and rugged...
  • 11.6 inches HD 1366x768 anti-glare display,...
  • Powered by the Intel Celeron N3060 Processor...

Best Budget Rugged Laptop

Processor (CPU)

Intel Celeron N3060

RAM, Internal Storage

4GB, 16GB (or 32GB)

Display Resolution

1366 x 768

Screen Size

11.6”

Warranty

1 year

Chromebooks aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but they do have some advantages over traditional laptops. First of all, Chromebooks like the ASUS C202SA-YS02 are much a much more affordable alternative.

The C202SA is the best budget rugged laptop, and there’s absolutely no need to break the bank with this device. The ASUS was built with ruggedized parts and pieces, and it's even spill-resistant.

Not only is this Chromebook ready for drops and spills, but it’s designed to be lightweight and portable. This cheap rugged laptop weighs less than 3 pounds, which is saying a lot when you compare that to the 5+ pounds that each of the previous devices weighs.

It’s designed with a 180-degree hinge and reinforced with rubber guards, easy-grip handles, and a spill-resistant keyboard.

It has been tested to withstand drops of up to 3.9 feet, and ASUS says that this is “the ideal education computer for every young student. With its ruggedness, the ASUS Chromebook C202 is developed to meet the daily rigors and intense usage both inside and outside of the classroom.”

It’s a great choice for college students who are looking for a lightweight yet durable laptop for class.

 In addition to being drop-ready and spill-resistant, the C202SA has a long battery life, plus it comes with 1 year of 100GB free Google Cloud storage. The drawback to any Chromebook is the lack of internal storage, and this one only has 16GB eMMC storage (there’s also the option for 32GB storage).

But this isn’t a dealbreaker now that most laptop users store data in the Cloud, and what’s even better is that this device comes with built-in virus protection.

Good
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Ruggedized and spill-resistant
  • Great for students
  • Sleek design
  • Affordable
Bad
  • Small screen
  • Lack of internal storage

6. PANASONIC CF-33AFHKZVM

PANASONIC PERSONAL COMP CF-33AFHKZVM...
  • The rugged and reliable computing solutions...
  • The wide variety of form factors available...
  • ind the right Toughbook device that meets...

Best Rugged Laptop Tablet Combo

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5

RAM, Internal Storage

8GB, 256GB

Display Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

12”

Warranty

3 years

The Panasonic tablet PC is unlike any device we've covered on this list of best rugged laptops. It serves as both a laptop and tablet, and the not-so-good news is that this innovative design doesn’t come cheap.

But if you’ve got the money to spend and you need a versatile device to get you through the rigors of the real-life business world or classroom setting, the Toughbook 33 convertible laptop is a great choice.

The coolest feature of this device is that the 12” screen is completely detachable, allowing it to transform from a full-size laptop to a more compact tablet in a matter of seconds. The 3:2 display is made for easier handling and better handling of business applications and tasks, so no matter what’s on your agenda for the day, the Panasonic will help you to accomplish it.

Panasonic says that “from a brighter 12" detachable screen with infrared camera for Windows Hello support to hot-swappable twin batteries and optional FirstNet Ready EM7511 Band 14 mobile broadband—TOUGHBOOK 33 is built for maximum mobility.” 

The best part of all isn’t even the versatility, it’s the fact that this device can withstand drops, dust, spills, and grime while performing in the harshest environments.

The Toughbook 33 comes with 8GB RAM, it runs on Windows 10 Pro, and it has a pretty good screen resolution of 1920 x 1080. It has 256GB internal storage space and the overall design resembles a briefcase, making it easy to carry.

One of the main complaints about the Toughbook 33 is that the touchpad and keyboard feel bulky - it’s definitely not the slimmest and sleekest of all the laptop-tablets on the market. But bulkiness tends to be the trend for ruggedized devices, and it's doubtful that you'll be able to find a lightweight 2-in-1 laptop with the same rugged features of the Toughbook 33.

Good
  • Long warranty
  • Fast processing
  • Versatile 2-in-1 design
  • Long battery life
Bad
  • Expensive
  • Heavy

7. Dell Latitude 7212

Dell Latitude 7212 Rugged Extreme 11.6" FHD...
  • 11.6 FHD (1920x1080) 16:9 Direct-View...
  • Fully-rugged tablet can tackle the most...
  • MicroSD memory card reader, Integrated front...

Best Rugged Touchscreen Laptop

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5

RAM, Internal Storage

16GB, 256GB

Display Resolution

1920 x 1080

Screen Size

11.6”

Warranty

2 years

Another model in the Latitude line of rugged devices from Dell is the 7212, which is just as rugged as the other Dells, but it comes with a lot of differences in functionality features. It serves as a touchscreen tablet, and it's nearly as versatile as the Panasonic 2-in-1 device.

It was designed to tackle the most demanding tasks and comes with a 2-year warranty to give users even more peace of mind.

The best phrase to describe the 7212 is “extreme tablet” since it was designed specifically for extreme conditions. The 11.6-inch screen is a Direct View display that’s easy to read even in direct sunlight.

It’s built with a polarized Gorilla Glass screen, which is pretty much as sturdy as you can get. It’s got 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage and has speedy processing with its Intel Core i5 CPU.

One of the best features of this rugged tablet is its lightweight design. The Latitude laptops weigh upwards of 5 or 6 pounds, but this one is much more portable, weighing just 2 pounds.

It has an IP-65 rating, so it’s capable of staying protected against dust and pressurized water. It’s pricey compared to other tablets on the market, but it comes down to the fact that you’re paying for durable ruggedness.

This is a well-designed device that can withstand whatever you throw at it, but just remember that it’s not actually a laptop. This is solely a tablet, and it doesn’t function as a 2-in-1 device like the Panasonic. There is the option to purchase a keyboard attachment and other customizable accessories for added versatility, but this will cost you extra.

Good
  • Lightweight tablet design
  • High IP rating
  • Gorilla Glass screen
  • Energy Star qualified
  • Secondary battery support
Bad
  • Pricy for a tablet
  • No keyboard

8. LANRUOGPD0113

Best Rugged Mini Laptop

Processor (CPU)

Intel Celeron N4100

RAM, Internal Storage

8GB, 128GB

Display Resolution

1280 x 720

Screen Size

6”

Warranty

1 year

Mini laptops are great if portability is your main concern. If this is the case for you, you’ll want to go with the GPD Micro Mini PC from Lanruo. The screen is just 6 inches, but even with the compact size, this laptop is as rugged as they come. It’s a great rugged laptop for kids or adults who are in need of an on-the-go solution that easily fits in a backpack or briefcase.

Because of its small size, this device has ultra-low power consumption and long battery life. It has a thermal design of 10W, and it’s compatible with any profession that requires a durable device.

It’s great for network communication, electrical power jobs, exploration, mining, archaeology, education training, manufacturing, service chain positions, call center employees, government military, and more.

Compared to the full-sized laptops reviewed here, this one has less storage space with just 128GB, but it’s still an adequate amount of SSD. It has 8GB RAM and a variety of ports, but some users don’t love that the majority of the connectivity options are located on the backside of the laptop rather than the side.

The design is a bit unconventional, but you have to remember that the manufacturer had to get creative to accommodate the compact size.

The idea behind the Lanruo is that it’s small enough to fit in your pocket, and it actually is. This isn’t necessarily a selling point for the average laptop user, but for industry experts who need something small and compact while on the job, this is it.

It has many interfaces and features, but it still only weighs 440 grams. It’s a great tool for professionals working in industrial control and automation, partly because of its small size, but mostly because of its ruggedness.

Good
  • Great for travel
  • Variety of ports
  • Low power consumption
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Rugged but compact
Bad
  • Awkward port placement

9. Panasonic Toughbook CF-31

Panasonic Toughbook CF-31 Rugged Notebook PC...
  • Intel Core i5 2.5GHz
  • Dust and water proof design conforming with...
  • Windows 7 Pro 32-bit or 64-bit

Top of the Range

Processor (CPU)

Intel Core i5

RAM, Internal Storage

4GB, 500GB HDD

Display Resolution

1024 x 768

Screen Size

13.1”

Warranty

3 years

You already know that rugged laptops such as Panasonic Toughbook can withstand dust, drops, and spills, but what many people don’t realize is that there are many Toughbook models to choose from.

The CF-31 isn’t quite as popular as the Toughbook laptop-tablet combo covered before, but it’s still a solid choice (literally). This rugged notebook was built with a dustproof and waterproof design that fully complies with MIL-810 standards.

Panasonic says that this device “is the undisputed leader in the fully rugged category. Its Intel Core i5 processor packs a punch and amazing battery life—up to 28.5 hours (MobileMark 2014) with optional media bay 2nd battery.” 

This top of the range laptop is the product of 6 generations of commitment to the rugged performance from Panasonic, and it shows.

This device runs on the Windows 7 Pro OS, which isn’t ideal since the newest Panasonic Toughbook operates on Windows 10. For some users, this is a dealbreaker, but for others who aren’t using this device for more intensive applications and projects, it can be overlooked. The other downside is the heavy weight, especially considering the relatively small screen size.

All in all, most users agree that this laptop is 100% worth the high price tag. The battery life is insanely long, the CPU is fast and smooth, and the 500GB storage is plenty to keep people happy.

Oh, and did we mention that the 13.1” display is a touchscreen? All these great features paired with the IP-65 rating and the military certifications make this a worthy top of the range option.

Good
  • Long Panasonic warranty
  • IP-65 rating
  • MIL-810 standards
  • Glare-free touchscreen
  • Impressive battery
Bad
  • Outdated Window 7 OS
  • Relatively low resolution

10. Lenovo ThinkPad 11E

Lenovo ThinkPad 11E (5th Gen) 11.6" HD...
  • 5th Generation ThinkPad’s are Tested to...
  • 128 GB SSD M.2 PCIe, 4 GB RAM LPDDR3 SDRAM...
  • 11.6-Inch IPS Anti-glare HD (1366x768) LED...
  • Webcam, Intel Wireless-AC 9260, Wi-Fi 2x2...

Best Lenovo Rugged Laptop

Processor (CPU)

Intel Celeron Quad-Core

RAM, Internal Storage

4GB, 128GB

Display Resolution

1366 x 768

Screen Size

11.6”

Warranty

1 year

The ThinkPad from Lenovo is another budget-friendly option that’s great for clumsy, active, and on-the-go users who need to focus on durability with their laptop choices.

It’s a great deal more portable than the Dell Latitude devices, so this is one of the go-to favorites for college students or traveling professionals. The specs aren't overly impressed with 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, but they certainly get the job done. 

This ThinkPad model is built with a 5th gen Intel Core processor and runs on the Windows 10 Pro OS. It has been tested time and time again to meet military-grade standards for durability, and one of the most-loved features is that it's easier to carry than the standard textbook.

It's got a small 11.6-inch screen, and it weighs less than 4 pounds, so it’s difficult to beat this rugged device in terms of durability.

The Lenovo has a pretty good graphics card and decent resolution, but the real draw of the display is the anti-glare screen. It’s easy to work in the park or outside on the job with the ThinkPad, especially since the battery life lasts all day.

Whether you’re a student, small business owner, or just need something durable for travel, the 11E offers amazing value for money.

One thing to note is that Lenovo markets this as an education-oriented laptop. Some professionals find that it doesn’t meet their expectations in terms of performance, but almost all students (ranging from elementary to graduate level) agree that the ThinkPad is a great companion for classes, note-taking, and homework assignments.

A huge reason for this is the rugged design, but it’s also thanks to the affordable cost and features like the high-quality keyboard.

Good
  • Ruggedized construction
  • Great for students
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Quality IPS touchscreen
  • Quality keyboard
Bad
  • Unimpressive specs
  • Limited storage

Rugged Laptop Accessories - Tips For Keeping Your Laptop Protected

Even with high IP ratings and strict military-grade standards, things can happen. But the good news is there are even more ways to prevent physical damage from ruining your device.

The first is to invest in a high-quality rugged laptop case, rugged laptop bag, or rugged laptop backpack. Since these devices are generally fairly heavy, your best bet is to search for the most rugged laptop backpack for easy carrying.

Another way to keep your laptop protected is to add screen guards to the display screen. 

Windows Central says that using screen protectors “keep your device's display safe from scratches, smudges, and other forms of damage that can occur when your laptop is in a bag with other objects or when you're attempting to wipe something off of the screen. Without them, there's a good chance that you could ruin the display of the laptop.”


Essential Laptop Care & Maintenance

So many laptop users assume that they can throw caution to the wind when it comes to caring for their ruggedly-designed device, but this isn’t the case. Even the most durable laptops require regular care and maintenance, like cleaning the screen and keyboard, cleaning out dust buildup, and keeping up to date with device security.

Because of all the extra components and materials, a lot of tech experts agree that cleaning a rugged laptop should be done even more often than a traditional laptop.

The cleaning can be done in the same way, though; start by making sure it’s unplugged, wipe down the keyboard (use Q-tips for getting in the cracks), and use a water/vinegar solution to wipe down the screen (be sure to use a microfiber cloth).


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is the difference between a rugged and a semi-rugged laptop? Is it more expensive/durable?

An Australian company called Roaming Technologies says that “semi-rugged laptops are in another category that sits in between regular and rugged laptops. Semi-rugged devices are typically improved versions of off-the-shelf laptops. The components are usually the same, but they are better protected.” 

It depends on the device, but semi-rugged laptops are generally slightly less expensive than rugged ones.

What laptop does the military use?

The military has a lot to think about when choosing field-worthy laptops. Each sector of the Armed Forces determines its devices based on 5 aspects, including cost, intended environment, long-term availability, architecture, and feature set. They also take into account MIL standards and specifications to make sure the devices can withstand extreme conditions.

Is sunlight bad for laptops? What temperature can a laptop withstand?

Twin State Technical Services says that “laptops are especially vulnerable to overheating because their compact design does not allow for as much airflow compared to the typical desktop computer.” 

Rugged laptops aren’t as susceptible to overheating but do your best to keep it out of extreme temperatures.

Which is the most durable laptop brand?

All of the brands mentioned on this list of best rugged laptops are considered the frontrunners when it comes to creating durable devices. Whether you go with a Dell rugged laptop or you’re more interested in a Panasonic, you can’t go wrong with any device on this list.

Which is better, a rugged Windows laptop or a rugged Mac laptop?

Pretty much all laptops that are in the “rugged” category come with the Windows OS. Even though their products are extremely durable, Apple doesn’t specialize in creating military-grade devices. However, if you are on the hunt for a rugged Mac laptop, the best option is the MacBook Pro.

Will I still get warranty coverage if I buy refurbished rugged laptops?

It depends on where you’re purchasing from, but many places do offer some sort of coverage. 

Amazon, for example, has a Renewed/Refurbished Guarantee that says, "if you are unsatisfied with your purchase (including the product not working as expected), return the product within 90 days of receipt of your original purchase and we will offer you a full refund or replacement.”

Where is the best place to buy these tough rugged laptops?

Amazon is as good as it gets for anyone shopping for a rugged laptop. One of the main reasons that so many shoppers are turning to Amazon is that they can read reviews from other customers to find out what people are honestly saying about each device.


Conclusion

Out of all the tough, rugged laptops covered here, the best is the Dell Latitude 14. It comes with all the features you could need for extreme durability, plus since it's a renewed version, the price is right.

Not only is it durable, but it also comes with smooth i5 processing, 8GB RAM, and 256GB internal storage. There’s not much more you could ask for when it comes to the Latitude 14.