The Best Military Grade Flip Phones

The toughest flip phone style cell phones on the market [2021 edition]

At a glance…

In our opinion, the Best Military-Grade Flip Phone is Sonim XP3. Besides that is military tested for shock, pressure, temperature, humidity, and rust resistance, this phone is also IP68 certified for full protection from dust and water. Then, the excellent loud and clear speaker, easy-to-use keypad, long-life battery, GPS capabilities, and 4G LTE – all these covered by a 3-year warranty.

Our Top Pick
Sonim XP3 4G LTE 8GB Rugged Flip Phone AT&T GSM...
Best Value
Rugged Flip Phone 4G GSM Unlocked Water Proof...
Best Battery Life
Kyocera DuraXE 4G LTE Rugged Mobile Flip-phone...
Flip-Phone
Sonim XP3
Plum Ram8 4G
Kyocera DuraXV Extreme
Rugged Ratings
87%
60%
80%
Our Top Pick
Sonim XP3 4G LTE 8GB Rugged Flip Phone AT&T GSM...
Flip-Phone
Sonim XP3
Rugged Ratings
87%
Best Value
Rugged Flip Phone 4G GSM Unlocked Water Proof...
Flip-Phone
Plum Ram8 4G
Rugged Ratings
60%
Best Battery Life
Kyocera DuraXE 4G LTE Rugged Mobile Flip-phone...
Flip-Phone
Kyocera DuraXV Extreme
Rugged Ratings
80%

Last update on 2021-06-12 at 05:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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What is a flip phone?

Allow us to take you back to the 1990s, where phones were still primarily communication devices with simple, robust functionality and design.

If you looked around at a phone store in the late 90s [1], the chances are that the majority of the models would have ‘clamshell’ form-factors, or what you probably know as ‘flip phone’ designs.

This is where the display part of the phone was a separate component to the core phone with the majority of the computing parts reside, connected by a hinge that allowed the display to ‘flip’ up for use, and down when idle.

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Why use a flip phone?

There were a few key benefits to the clamshell, flip phone design style of cell phone, especially as it relates to our number one design priority – durability.

Primarily, the closed design protected the most vulnerable, damage-prone part of the phone, the screen.

When considering the huge displays that feature on the majority of modern phone models, the clamshell design feels like an enormous advantage. Imagine never having to buy a screen protector? With flip phones, you don’t have to.

The flip design makes the phones uniquely well-positioned for all types of active military service people, extreme activity enthusiasts, explorers, and adventurers.

Not to mention that, when flipping the phone down into a closed position, you effectively reduce its size by 50%, which will be a great asset in combat zones where provisions need to be compact and easily stored.

More so, the protected keyboard reduces the incidences of unintentional use. This might not seem that significant, but for work phones used strictly for professional purposes with only important and sensitive contacts, it’s ideal.

Do they still make flip phones?

You’ll be happy to know that, yes, they do indeed still make this style of phone.

And given their suitability to military situations, many modern-day flip phones are designed with extreme ruggedness and durability in mind, often built to military specifications.

Which will be the focus of today’s article. We have scoured the market and discovered the best military-grade flip phones available today in 2021 for your convenience.

We will compare and review the top 4 military flip phones from our research, paying special attention to the following features:

#BIFL
  • Rugged: Flip phones that are designed to withstand environmental hazards and compliant with military standards
  • Repairable: Flip phones with extended or lifetime warranties and advanced support services for part replacements
  • Upgradable: Flip phones with upgradable individual parts such as removable batteries or cameras
  • Multipurpose: Flip phones with features that suit a wide range of needs and use-cases

Let’s get right to it.

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#BIFL Rating 87%
Sonim XP3 | Image credit: Amazon com
Sonim XP3 | Image credit: Amazon com

Sonim’s mission is to create devices that support the heavy-duty activities of all types of key workers and critical personnel.

All their phones focus heavy on what they call ‘ultra-ruggedness’, meaning they can be bumped, dropped, submerged, washed, and disinfected without compromising functionality even a little bit.

The XP3 is a testament to that promise. This rugged flip phone has a tough, tactile design and has more rugged performance standard specifications than any on the list, so much so that we have to use bullet points:

  • Class I, Div 2, Groups A, B, C, D
  • Class II, Div 2, Groups F, G
  • Class III
  • MIL-STD-810G [2]
  • IP-68 [3]

The last two are particularly important, with the MIL-STD-810G spec meaning its suitable for military use for its shock, pressure, temperature, humidity, and rust resistance [4], as well as IP68 which offers full protection from dust and water [5].

Other features we loved include the 100dB+ speaker which allows for clear communication even underneath chopper blades or next to blaring sirens, and the glove-friendly tactile buttons.

It also has double GPS and GLONASS satellite system capability, offering twice the accuracy and reliability of the phone’s navigational abilities.

Sonim happily back up their rugged claims with a generous three-year comprehensive warranty [6].

  • MIL-STD-810G and IP68 specification
  • 100dB+ loud speaker for clear communication in any environment
  • 4G-LTE cellular bands

PRICE: Around $300

PERFECT FOR: Those who are looking for an all-rounder rugged phone for unpredictable environments.

Sonim XP3 4G LTE 8GB Rugged Flip Phone AT&T GSM...
  • The Sonim XP3 is an ultra-rugged1 flip phone built to communicate and thrive in extreme conditions. Its...
  • The Sonim XP3 is an ultra-rugged1 flip phone built to communicate and thrive in extreme conditions. Its...
  • 100 dB+ speaker and noise cancelation ensure your communication is loud and clear, even over helicopters,...
  • 4G-LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 25, 26, 28, 30, 38, 41, and 66
  • Built to industry-leading Rugged Performance Standards, including MIL-810G, and Non-Incendive Class I, II...

Last update on 2021-06-12 at 05:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Kyocera DuraXV Extreme

#BIFL Rating 80%
Kyocera Dura XV Extreme | Image credit: Amazon com
Kyocera Dura XV Extreme | Image credit: Amazon com

Competing head-to-head, the DuraXV Extreme matches many of the rugged specifications of the Sonim XP3, with a few possible advantages depending on your budgetary preferences.

Firstly, the DuraXV Extreme is built to MIL-STD-810G spec with the same IP68 standard of dust and water-resistance as the XP3, making it a perfect military phone. You can take it to a combat zone in any weather condition and it will thrive.

It’s also independently tested as drop-proof up to 5 feet (or 1.5m) onto concrete. So don’t worry about phone cases or ‘being careful’, the rubberized housing protects the phone’s exterior very capably.

We love the large, tactile keypad with enhanced readability in the number font, the raised buttons will ensure you won’t be making many typing mistakes when operating the phone.

Another note on buttons, this model features a programmable SOS key on its side. You can instruct the phone to send a custom alert during emergency situations simply by pressing the button, which could be a life-saver down the road. So the large keypad along with the SOS key also makes this phone very suitable for senior citizens.

What truly sets the Kyocera DuraXV apart from the rest though is its battery life, which is a hefty 1770mAh and removable. This will allow you to perform a quick-swap in situations where you can’t afford any significant downtime.

It’s important to note though that many of the features of the DuraXV Extreme like the custom SOS button and data hotspot capability, are subscription-based and come at an additional, regular cost, which is not so consumer-friendly in our opinion. 

  • MIL-STD-810G and IP68 specification
  • Removable battery
  • Programmable SOS button (subscription only) [7]

PRICE: Around $250

PERFECT FOR: Military personnel where consistent operation is an important consideration.

Sale
Kyocera DuraXE 4G LTE Rugged Mobile Flip-phone...
  • 100% functional item backed by Cellular Professor's 60-day warranty
  • Network: AT&T branded + GSM Unlocked + T-Mobile (just insert your SIM Card) - Not compatible with Verizon...
  • SIM Size: Nano
  • Storage: 8GB
  • Color: Black

Last update on 2021-04-29 at 11:12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Plum Ram8 4G

#BIFL Rating 60%
Plum RAM8 4G | Image credit: Amazon com
Plum RAM8 4G | Image credit: Amazon com

You might have been a little put off by some of the prices of the previous models for a phone that isn’t packed to the brim with hundreds of smart features and specifications like other contemporary smartphones.

Well, the Plum Ram8 might be the answer to your fears, possessing all the rugged features and specifications you would expect from a durability-centric phone, with a price that matches its slim form-factor.

Whilst the phone is advertised as ‘military graded’, they do not mention an exact specification, so we’ll have to take their word on that one.

They do however mention its IP68 dust and water-resistance, and for proof of its toughness, you can look no further than that this video [8] of it being thrown off the walls and into puddles of a construction site, without so much as a scratch to show for it.

As with the Kyocera DuraXV Extreme, the Plum Ram8 comes with a programmable SOS button for emergency services or whoever else you might desire, this time at no additional cost.

Uniquely, the Plum Ram8 comes with a built-in FM radio receiver that can play through the loudspeaker, which is a feature you might not consider essential, but certainly is neat.

The most attractive part of the phone? Probably its price. Whilst it falls short of the high benchmarks of other rugged flip phones, you can’t disagree that it offers a hell of a lot for under $100, and would be perfect as a temporary phone for an adventure.

  • IP68 waterproof specification
  • SOS button
  • FM radio receiver

PRICE: Around $70

PERFECT FOR: The perfect backup phone for skiing trips, explorations, hikes, and other rugged adventures.

Rugged Flip Phone 4G GSM Unlocked Water Proof...
  • Flip Phone 4G GSM Unlocked Rugged Water Proof Shock Proof IP68 Certified. Military Grade
  • 5MP Camera with Flash, 2. 4" Display, Big and Easy to use Keypad, Dual SIM (means you can have 2 phone...
  • Bluetooth, FM Radio, Loudspeaker, (radio, music or calls could be played on speaker) 1200 mash battery...
  • Whats's IN THE box? Phone, Charger, Cable, Desk top Charger, headphones, Quick Guide, battery, 1 YEAR US...
  • Compatible T-Mobile, metro, simple Mobile, Straight Talk(tmobile sim), Lyca, Mint, Walmart Mobile,...

Last update on 2021-06-12 at 05:50 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Samsung Rugby III

#BIFL Rating 65%
Samsung Rugby III | Image credit: Amazon com
Samsung Rugby III | Image credit: Amazon com

Not known for their durability, Samsung mostly focuses their phone production on competing with the latest smartphone trends and technology. The Rugby is a notable exception.

The Rugby III bumps up the specs from the prior entries of Samsung’s military graded flip phones, offering a larger display and enhanced camera. Those features are at the bottom of the list for durability purposes, but it’s still nice to see.

Its toughness is what we really care about, and the Rugby III performs excellently in that demanding category. Featuring MIL-STD-810G specification for all-round toughness in high-shock, vibration, temperature, and humidity situations, this rugged phone can even be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.

The 4G-enabled phone is equipped with quadband GSM and WCDMA modes, meaning it can be used for communication internationally. We also love the Push-to-talk (PTT) communication mode, a walkie-talkie style of communication that works with up to 250 users.

  • MIL-STD-810G specification
  • PTT technology
  • Quandband GSM and WCDMA modes for international use

PRICE: Around $190

PERFECT FOR: Construction or corporate use where the PTT technology will come in handy.

Samsung Rugby III AT&T Cell Phone / No Contract...
  • Cell phone ready to activate on your AT&T Account
  • This is not a smartphone and will not require a data plan
  • This phone will not extend or renew your AT&T contract
  • You number and plan stays the same
  • Comes with a home wall charger

Last update on 2021-04-29 at 13:54 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Conclusion

That’s a lot of toughness. 

To make your selection a whole lot easier, we’ve thrown all the key specifications in a table so you can compare each model side-by-side:

The Best Military Grade Flip Phones | Comparison Table

wdt_IDFlip-phoneRugged RatingsScreen SizeRugged SpecsNetworkBatteryWarranty
1Sonim XP3872.6"MIL-STD-810G and IP684G LTE (on AT&T and Sprint)1500mAh Li-Ion3-Year
2Kyocera DuraXV Extreme802.6"MIL-STD-810G and IP684G LTE1770mAh Li-ion2-Year
3Plum Ram8 4G602.4"IP682G / 4G1200mAh Li-ion1-Year
4Samsung Rugby III652.4"MIL-STD-810G3G, 4G, 4G LTE1100mAh Li-ion1-Year
Flip-phoneRugged RatingsScreen SizeNetworkBatteryWarranty
Max = 87

It’s a disappointing but still true fact that the niche of ‘extremely rugged flip phones built for military environments’ are something of a dying breed.

With the system of replacing your phone every two or perhaps even one year becoming so deep-rooted, not to mention highly profitable, phone companies have less and less incentive to focus their attention on making phones that truly last.

There has been some contemporary buzz around the folding mechanism with ‘smart flip phone’ models like the Galaxy Z Fold [9], but people are rightly concerned about the longevity of a screen that will be subject to thousands of folds over a year or two. This isn’t the case with mechanical clamshell flip phones.

You can still turn your attention to traditionally designed phones with rugged features like the incredible CAT S62 Pro. But to scratch that nostalgic flip phone itch, fortunately, you still have a line-up of great value brands and models to go to.

If budget is of no concern, look no further than the Sonim XP3. With both the military MIL-STD-810G and IP68 spec, you don’t have to worry about, well, any kind of stress you’ll be putting your phone through.

It’ll be able to keep up with tactical excursions of all kinds, intense ski trips, mountainous hikes, aquatic adventures, and much more while maintaining perfect operation. The 3-year warranty supports all the claims Sonim make about the phone, too.

But, if you’ve got a single trip, festival, mission, or expedition in mind and need to keep communications alive without risking your smartphone, save some money with the Plum Ram 8 4G. For around 70 bucks, you’ll get a phone that you can bounce off of walls and drop into puddles without breaking a sweat, also with list-topping 4G connectivity.


Most Durable Android Phone | RUGGED RATINGS

What to check nextThe Most Durable Android Phone. Especially now in a time of such economic calamity, people are rightly wondering whether it’s really worth it to spend $800+ to upgrade their smartphone each year for marginally updated hardware, and a few exclusive but minimally impactful software features.

What do you think? Do you have a different opinion on the Best Military Grade Flip Phones? Be sure to share this article with anyone and everyone in the market for #BIFL durable phones. We regularly post guides similar to this one all about products that aim to last a lifetime, so stay posted if you agree with the Buy It For Life golden rule as much as we do.

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