Top 3 Best Rugged Flip Phones


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Searching for the best rugged flip phone?

Dumbphones are making a comeback. No, seriously. In an age where smartphones are omnipresent, there’s a renewed appreciation for phones that stick to the basics: calling, texting, and sheer durability. 

Enter the rugged flip phone – a device that is simple yet strong, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, workers in challenging environments, and even tech-weary seniors. 

While they might lack the glitz and glam of their high-end counterparts, rugged flip phones have an undeniable charm and utility. 

Today, we’ll dive deep into the three best rugged flip phones on the market.

Each has its strengths, and yes, a few drawbacks. So, are you ready to flip the switch and discover the simplicity of ruggedness? 

Let’s get started!

Why Should You Trust Us?

At WhollyOutdoor, our dedication goes beyond just providing reviews; it’s about cultivating trust. Founded in 2018, our journey has been carved by a commitment to honesty, objectivity, and educating our readers. 

Our founder and editor, Paul Dudley, isn’t just a name on a webpage. He’s an outdoor enthusiast with a deep-seated passion for ham radios, fishing, and countless outdoor adventures. 

Every piece of content, including this review, reflects Paul’s hands-on experience and the collective integrity of our team. We don’t just write; we live the outdoor life, ensuring our recommendations come from genuine experience and expertise. 

So, when we speak about rugged flip phones or any other product, know it’s coming from a place of authenticity and passion.

How We Choose the Best Rugged Flip Phones

Selecting the best rugged flip phones is a methodical process here at WhollyOutdoor. We’re not just looking for phones that can withstand a drop or two; we’re after devices that marry durability, functionality, and user-friendliness. 

We plunge into detailed research and real-world application to ensure the phones we recommend are up to the challenges of the great outdoors, demanding work environments, and everyday use. 

Below are the key criteria we focus on in our selection process.

1. Durability & Ruggedness

Our top priority. We assess the build quality, material strength, and specific features that enable the phone to withstand harsh conditions. Whether it’s a MIL-STD-810G certification or an IP68 waterproof rating, we ensure each phone is genuinely rugged and lives up to its claims.

2. Battery Life

In the world of rugged phones, battery longevity is king. We look for phones that can last through extended periods of use, especially in situations where charging options might be limited.

3. Ease of Use

The usability of the phone, especially in outdoor or demanding settings, is crucial. Large, tactile buttons, clear displays, and intuitive interfaces make the cut.

4. Features

While rugged phones are about simplicity, useful features like a decent camera, good audio quality, and connectivity options can enhance the user experience. We evaluate what each model offers beyond its rugged traits.

5. Value for Money

Affordability without compromising quality is the goal. We weigh the price against the features and durability to ensure you’re getting solid value.

6. Customer Feedback and Reviews

We don’t just rely on our opinions. Gathering insights from users who have put these phones to the test in real-world scenarios is an integral part of our selection process.

7. Our Hands-on Testing

Paul and the team are not just reviewers but users. We take these phones outdoors, expose them to elements, drop them, submerge them, and put them through rigorous use to check their mettle.

Durability & RuggednessMIL-STD, IP ratings, build material
Battery LifeLongevity, performance in various conditions
Ease of UseInterface, button size, display clarity
FeaturesCamera quality, audio, additional functionalities
Value for MoneyPrice compared to features and durability
Customer FeedbackReviews, ratings, user experiences
Hands-on TestingOur team’s real-world testing and experiences with the phones

Our mission is to ensure that our recommendations are grounded in extensive research, user experiences, and our own encounters with the devices. Trust that when we endorse a rugged flip phone, it’s after meticulous consideration and evaluation. 

Your outdoor adventures and demanding tasks deserve a companion that won’t let you down, and we’re here to ensure you find just that.

3 Best Rugged Flip Phones Reviews

1. AGM M8 – Our Top choice

AGM M8 has some serious credentials for its rugged build and performance and the company is something of a leader in the niche. And while keeping in line with its rugged role, the phone also provides a good user experience and interface.

This is a straightforward dumbphone. If you’ve used phones like the original Moto Razr, the AGM M8 and its interface will feel right at home. Yet, there are obvious improvements with modern technology, like the bright and clean display and the compatibility with 4G networks.

The main camera and the selfie camera are decent as well, though nothing close to being impressive. To be fair, that’s exactly what we would expect from a dumbphone. 

The keypad is simple with large numbers to be easily visible, even by senior citizens. It has a nice tactile feel and provides good feedback. 

As a dumbphone, it handles functions like calling and texting with relative ease. However, it doesn’t support apps or similar programming. And since it limits itself to these simple activities, the phone makes it a point to do them well!

Accessing phone numbers from the address book or dialing them from the keypad is easy and the voice quality is surprisingly good. The phone also supports a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth connectivity. It also works nicely with compatible hearing aid systems, so those with hearing difficulties can use this phone easily. 

The T9 keyboard is also good for texting quickly and easily. Well, it’s a breeze if you’ve used them previously, though there can be some adjusting period for new users. It’s not much of a learning curve, just that it can take some time to get used to.

As a rugged phone, it comes with MIL-STD-810G certification, which means it can work in some tough environment conditions like temperature and humidity. It can also withstand being dropped from a few feet on a tough surface.

AGM M8 is rated IP68/69K, which means it is dustproof and waterproof, capable of surviving being submerged in water, and handling jets of water directed at it. 

Overall, AGM M8 is a tough flip phone that gives up modern smartphone features to be a simple dumbphone. It is easy to use and has a long battery life, although it can be a bit hefty thanks to its rugged build.

To sum up, what I like is the…

● Good build quality

● Rated for MIL-SPEC 810G and IP-68/IP-69k waterproofing

● Genuine Dumbphone – with no apps

● Compatible with several hearing aid solutions

● Good tactile feedback.

On the downside…

● No font-size adjustment 

● Locked to T-mobile. 

Our Ratings

Features: 7.5/10

Build Quality: 9/10

Battery: 9/10

Ruggedness: 9/10

Value for Money: 9/10

Overall Rating: 9/10

2. Kyocera DuraXV Extreme – Best Premium Rugged Flip Phone

Kyocera DuraXV Extreme is one of the more impressive rugged flip phones available in the market right now. It comes with a heavy price tag, but more importantly, it comes with a heft and style that cements its position as a rugged phone even before you look at the specs. 

Kyocera Dura range is known for its durable mobile phone offerings and the DuraXV Extreme lives up to that expectations. 

The phone comes with a military standard MIL-SPEC 810G rating, which means that the phone can work in tough environmental conditions (cold or hot temperatures, high moisture and humidity). 

An 810H certification would have been preferable at this price point, but 810G isn’t too shabby either. Another feather in its rugged hat is the IP68 rating, which signifies that this phone is dustproof and waterproof, even when submerged. 

DuraXV Extreme has a USB-C port on its side. In most cases, this would be the proverbial Achilles heel for waterproofing. However, the rubber flap is pretty sturdy and sits snug over the USB port, keeping the phone waterproof. 

Similarly, while the back panel of the phone can be taken out to access the removable battery, it’s otherwise secured with a screw to ensure waterproofing. I like the forethought in including this screw. 

While a removable and easily accessible battery is preferable, any back panel will deform after a few uses. This can potentially negate the dust proofing and waterproofing of the phone. The screw keeps the panel in place and in shape to better manage the waterproofing.

The rubberized grips on the phone make it convenient to hold it and ensure it doesn’t slip from your hands. It’s these seemingly little and mundane details that make Kyocera DuraXV Extreme an excellent rugged flip phone that’s worth what you pay.

The exterior of the phone also features a small monochrome display that shows time and some notifications.

Once you open the phone, you’ll see the small but bright and beautiful main display. The buttons sit below the display and have a nice tactile feel, making them very satisfying to use.

Interestingly, though Kyocera DuraXV Extreme has mostly dumb features, the OS it runs is smart. The phone runs on a touchless version of Android 9.0 (Pie). It’s stable and performs remarkably well.

Yet, it doesn’t fully lean into the Android ecosystem. You cannot install apps from the playstore. However, you can use the web browser to access most websites and their features. 

Kyocera hasn’t used the Google Assistant either. It does make use of a voice assistant, which seems to be native to Kyocera’s ecosystem.

Other features include decent selfie and main cameras, room for microSD card, and a lock on the T-mobile network.

Overall, while expensive, Kyocera DuraXV Extreme delivers impressively well in the rugged flip phone niche. 

To sum up, what I like is the…

● Good build quality

● Rated for MIL-SPEC 810G and IP-68 waterproofing

● Uses touchless Android OS for stability

● Works primarily as a dumb phone

● Good tactile feedback.

On the downside…

● Expensive

● Locked to T-mobile. 

Our Ratings

Features: 8/10

Build Quality: 9.5/10

Battery: 8/10

Ruggedness: 9/10

Value for Money: 7.5/10

Overall Rating: 8.5/10

3. CAT S22 Flip Phone – Best Budget Rugged Flip Phone

When the CAT S22 phone first made its appearance on the market, it was billed as a premium offering with a hefty price tag that went north of $200.

However, now the price has come down enough for this to be an excellent budget flip phone, and that’s partially what makes this such a great deal.

For a rugged flip phone, the “dumb” features can be more important than its “smart” credentials. And CAT S22 handles that fine line expertly. 

The user can pretty much use this as a dumb phone without bothering with the smart functions. The display is clear and the buttons are tactile with wonderful feedback. There’s that satisfying push when you press the buttons.

Most basic functions of this phone, like texting and making calls can be handled through the keypad. And that should be sufficient for those who need a rugged phone while working outdoors, hiking, or similar requirements. 

It’s also a decent pick for senior citizens who might find themselves struggling with technology.

But, as I said earlier, this phone can transition to the world of smartphones as well! The small 2.8-inch 480x640px display is a touchscreen.

The phone runs Android 11 and has access to the PlayStore, leaving room for you to install the apps you prefer. Of course, there are limitations given the small size of the screen, but it does add usability to the phone.

There’s also a secondary 1.44” external display, which can be pretty standard for flip phones. It shows the time and notifications.

Also, the phone features two cameras, a selfie camera at the front and a main camera at the back. The cameras are acceptable for this simple device and have decent performance for video calls. Although, there’s nothing impressive about these.

As for its rugged credentials, CAT S22 comes with a MIL-SPEC 810H military standard certification. The device can work in extreme temperatures and can survive a fall of up to six feet on a steel surface.

The phone is rated IP68 waterproof, which would imply that it can withstand being submerged in water. Practically, that claim falls on the questionable side. 

Basically, that depends on the USB-C connector placed on the side of the phone and secured by a rubber flap. That flap is not a dependable protection, as many users of this phone have found.

Power comes from a 2000 mAh battery, which is managed rather skillfully. The phone can last 2-3 days on a full battery. 

Overall, the CAT S22 flip phone is a rugged device with a good user interface and attractive pricing. 

To sum up, what I like is the…

● Attractive pricing

● Good battery life

● Works as a dumb phone and smartphone

● Removable 2000 mAh battery

● Certified for MIL-SPEC 810H military standard

● Rated IP68 waterproof (submersible)

● Good tactile feedback on keyboard

● Programmable button on the side

● Small but good display quality.

On the downside…

● Can struggle with waterproofing

● Heavy

● Locked to T-mobile. 

Our Ratings

Features: 8/10

Build Quality: 8.5/10

Battery: 8.5/10

Ruggedness: 8/10

Value for Money: 9/10

Overall Rating: 8/10

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can rugged flip phones handle extreme temperatures?
    Yes, many rugged flip phones are designed to operate in extreme temperatures, both cold and hot. They often have a MIL-STD-810G certification, which ensures they can function in challenging environments.
  2. Are rugged flip phones resistant to saltwater?
    While many rugged flip phones have waterproof ratings like IP68, it’s essential to note that this often refers to freshwater. Exposure to saltwater can corrode and damage the phone. Always rinse the phone with fresh water after any saltwater exposure.
  3. Can rugged flip phones connect to Wi-Fi?
    It varies by model. Some rugged flip phones offer basic smartphone features, including Wi-Fi connectivity, while others focus solely on call and text functionalities.
  4. Do rugged flip phones support modern messaging apps?
    Most rugged flip phones are designed for basic texting and calling. However, a few models run on simplified versions of smartphone operating systems and might support basic apps, though this is less common.
  5. How do rugged flip phones fare with dust and sand?
    Rugged phones with an IP68 rating are typically dustproof, meaning they can resist harmful ingress of dust and sand.
  6. Are replacement parts easily available for rugged flip phones?
    It depends on the brand and model. Major brands usually offer replacement parts, but it’s a good practice to check the availability before purchasing.
  7. Do rugged flip phones offer Bluetooth connectivity?
    Yes, most modern rugged flip phones come with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing users to connect hands-free devices and other Bluetooth-enabled accessories.
  8. How often do rugged flip phones need software updates?
    Rugged flip phones typically require fewer software updates than smartphones since they run on simpler operating systems. However, occasional updates for performance or security might be available.
  9. Are rugged flip phones generally heavier than regular flip phones?
    Due to their reinforced build and additional protection layers, rugged flip phones might be slightly heavier than their non-rugged counterparts.
  10. Can I use a rugged flip phone internationally?
    Most rugged flip phones are locked to specific carriers, so international use would depend on the carrier’s roaming agreements. If you frequently travel, consider checking for models that offer dual SIM capabilities or are unlocked for international networks.

  • October 23, 2023
Paul Dudley

Paul is the owner and founder of . His passion for ham radios and fishing lead him to create this site. He loves playing with his radios and doing many other outdoor activities