The Toughest Military Grade Laptops

Reviewing and Ranking the Most Rugged Laptops of 2021

At a glance…

In our opinion, the Getac B360 is one of the most rugged laptops, having the most military-grade and industry-certified protection, all packed into a high-specked machine. However, Getac comes at a hefty price, and therefore, the best value for money option would be the Durabook.

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These days, you’re probably not going on as many trips as you used to… but that doesn’t mean your laptop shouldn’t be prepared for the worst.

Thanks to their hinge design and increasingly slim profiles, laptops can be critically vulnerable to fall damage, water, and heat exposure, and plenty of other potentially expensive hazards that make the initially cheaper price tag not all that worth it.

Military Laptop | Rugged Ratings

In our opinion, it’s much wiser to shell out a few extra bucks for a more rugged notebook that you’ll be able to throw in backpacks, spill drinks over, and drop off your desk without concern for losing your precious data or buying expensive repairs.

And when the world opens back up again and you get the call to up and leave… you’ll be ready.

But are there many laptop brands and models out there that successfully combine high-end laptop specs and great usability with military-grade ruggedness?

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We looked far and wide to find the most rugged devices for work, productivity, or simple web-browsing with military standards for guaranteed durability and protection.

Read on for a full review and specification breakdown on the top rugged military laptops available in 2021.

What is a ‘military grade’ laptop?

When we say ‘military grade’ laptop, we mean it.

Each rugged computer on our list was chosen for their verified military standards, which means they have undergone rigorous testing against a variety of environmental stressors and lived to tell the tale.

Having a military grade next to your name is great, but that’s not the whole picture.

To make sure the laptops on our list will meet our high standards of durability and longevity, we paid special attention to models with the following features:

  

#BIFL
Rugged:
  • Military grade laptops (MIL-STD-810G & above)
  • Ingress protection (IP) ratings
  • Dirt and dust-resistance
  • Shock-resistant
  • Extreme temperature resistance

Repairable:

  • Long or extended warranty
  • Can buy replacement parts or service easily

Upgradable:

  • Option to upgrade modules
  • Option to swap or replace battery, SSD, or memory

Multipurpose:

  • Can be used in difficult conditions
  • Has additional security features

With that understood, let’s move on to our top 5 list of the toughest military grade laptops available today.

These rugged laptops are perfect for use by real military or law enforcement officers, people with punishing and dangerous jobs in the public or utility sectors, and absolutely anyone who values extreme durability in their tech as much as we do.

We’ll be brushing over the internal specs of each laptop and their varying functionalities, but paying close attention to the design features that give them the ability to survive intense use and abuse.  

Let’s begin.

Dell Latitude 7424

Rugged Ratings 70%
Dell Latitude 7424 | Image Credit: Amazon com
Dell Latitude 7424 | Image Credit: Amazon com

Those who know anything about rugged laptops probably knew that at least one of the Dell Latitude series of ruggedized laptops would appear on the list, and for good reason.

Designed specifically for ‘the world’s toughest jobs and most hazardous environments, the Latitude 7424 is the beefiest and most expensive in the Dell rugged laptop lineage.

Check out the following key internal specs for the Dell Latitude 7424 base model:

  • Intel® Core™ i3-7130U Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 128GB PCIe NVMe Class 35 Solid State Drive (swappable)
  • 51Whr Battery (swappable)

You can build a more powerful unit by selecting up to the 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8650U processor, 32GB RAM, and an additional two hard drive slots to offer up to 4TB of storage. But this will come at a significant cost, and might not be necessary for those looking for muscle over brains.

Speaking of which, what makes this laptop so rugged?

Firstly, the unit has been verified to survive drops of up to 6 feet, thanks to its briefcase-style MIL-STD-810G rated enclosure. This casing also is IP65 rated, meaning it is sealed to provide complete protection from dust and can comfortably withstand being blasted with water jets from any direction.

As for its performance in volatile conditions, ‘QuadCool’ thermal management will ensure that you can continue to work in temperatures that range between -20° F to an astonishing 145° F. If you’re wearing gloves, don’t worry about taking them on and off – the touchscreen uses resistive technology that’s responsive to glove touch.

When it comes down to it, this laptop’s performance definitely won’t blow you away. But that’s not what it’s aiming for – there are other great options for durable gaming and productivity laptop needs.

You’ll be able to handle some CPU-intensive productivity tasks and most industrial programs, but the main selling points (and justification for the steep price tag) is its durability, configurability, and versatility.

PRICE: Starts at $3,499

WHAT WE LOVED: Aside from the impressive military specifications, we love the fact that the battery slots are hot-swappable for zero downtime.

PERFECT FOR: Anyone with jobs that bring them (and their computer) to hazardous industrial or combative extreme conditions. 

PROSCONS
+ MIL-STD-810G & IP65 rated– Very expensive
+ Swappable battery & storage– Requires upgrading to take advantage of all the functionality
+ Decent overall performance– Bulky profile
Bestseller No. 1
Dell Latitude 7424 Intel Core i7-8650U X4 4.2GHz...
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing...
  • 14-inch (1920 x 1080) Full HD Touchscreen Display
  • Intel Core i7-8650U Processor (Quad-Core, 4.2GHz, 8MB Cache)
  • 32GB DDR4 System Memory
  • 1TB Solid State Drive (SSD)
Bestseller No. 2
Dell Latitude 7424 Intel Core i3-7130U X2 2.7GHz...
  • This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing...
  • 14-inch (1920 x 1080) Full HD Touchscreen Display
  • Intel Core i3-7130U Processor (Dual-Core, 2.7GHz, 3MB Cache)
  • 8GB DDR4 System Memory
  • 128GB PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive (SSD)

Last update on 2021-06-14 at 23:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dell Latitude 5420

Rugged Ratings 65%
Dell Latitude 5420 | Image Credit: Amazon com
Dell Latitude 5420 | Image Credit: Amazon com

You might have been impressed with the functionality and durability of the 7424, but scared off by the admittedly steep price tag.

If that’s you, allow us to introduce you to its little brother, the Latitude 5420.

This model grants you many of the same configurability and performance features that we loved in the 7424, but with a little chipped off the durability side of the equation, and a lot off the price-point.

The internal specs of the base-model Dell 5420 look a little something like this:

  • Intel® Core™ i3-7130U Processor
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 128GB PCIe NVMe Class 35 Solid State Drive (swappable)
  • 51Whr Battery (swappable)

As before, you can build a more powerful unit with optional upgrades for enhanced memory, storage, and processing power.

Structurally, the 5420 is a much slimmer and therefore more portable unit, made from automotive-grade magnesium alloy for impact protection measured up to 3 feet. It’s also MIL-STD-810G rated, but only rated to IP53, which translates to moderate dust protection and water spray protection at certain angles.

A noticeable upgrade from the Latitude 7424 is the FHD display on the 5420, which thrives in harsh sunlight thanks its anti-glare coating which comes as standard, with the option to upgrade to a touchscreen version.

With the great features of the two Dell Latitude models, you also get the bad. This unit still won’t meet its full potential without significant upgrades, and the performance is nothing to celebrate. But at a more attractive price point, we’re sure the 5420 will tick a lot of your boxes.

PRICE: Starts at $1,399

WHAT WE LOVED: Surprisingly portable and lightweight for a unit with as many durability features as it has.

PERFECT FOR: Those who work in various industrial or manufacturing environments wanting to combine strength with portability.

PROSCONS
+ Compact profile– Requires upgrading to take advantage of all the functionality
+ Hot-swappable dual batteries
+ MIL-STD-810G & IP53 rated
SaleBestseller No. 1
Dell Latitude 5420 I7 11-1185 G7
  • Processor Manufacturer: Intel
  • Processor Type: Core i7
  • Processor Generation: 11th Gen
  • Processor Model: i7-1185G7
  • Processor Core: Quad-core (4 Core)
Bestseller No. 2
Dell Latitude 5420 I5 11-1135 G7 8GB
  • UPC: 884116384816
  • Weight: 3.600 Lbs
  • Dell Latitude 5420 I5 11-1135 G7
  • 8Gb

Last update on 2021-06-14 at 23:52 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Getac B360

Rugged Ratings 80%
Getac B360 | Image Credit: Getac com
Getac B360 | Image Credit: Getac com

If you’re coming here with a simple love for durable tech and not because your industry or job demands it, then you might not have heard of Getac before.

Getac is a Taiwanese technology hardware company with one focus: making extremely rugged products for serious professional use. Getac computers, laptops, and tablets are designed and produced specifically for public safety, utilities, manufacturing, and defense use.

Uniquely in the niche of rugged laptops, the B360 is no slouch when it comes to internal specs, which you can check out here:

  • Intel® Core™ i5-10210U Processor 1.6GHz
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 2100mAh Battery (swappable)

For a laptop that you could quite literally throw against a wall, the B360 packs some serious computing power under the hood. With an option to upgrade to 6-cores, you can achieve impressive CPU performance that’s lightning-quick and capable of intensive multi-tasking.

As for toughness, the Getac B360 shines. Featuring three of the leading rugged certifications; the MIL-STD-810G, the even more rigorous MIL-STD-461G, and IP66 for a fully spill-resistant keyboard. That gives you rain, dust, shock, vibration, and even optional salt fog protection. Not to mention meeting the ANSI/ISA 12.12.01 standards for class I Division 2, which relates to particularly harsh environments.

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The glove-proof display is one of the B360’s most impressive features, reaching to 1400nits brightness, which is industry-leading in the multi-touchscreen market. This means you’ll be able to read the screen perfectly even in direct sunlight.

As a laptop aimed at the public safety, utilities, and manufacturing crowd, you can also expect fantastic versatility thanks to a mixed range of I/O ports. This means you can easily connect a range of instruments like barcode readers and other data tracking and synchronization tools.

Those features, and the security and privacy features like the like Absolute DDS protection, are available but as an optional extra which will push the price up a bit. But this is nothing that enterprise-level teams aren’t prepared for, and the laptop will prove very valuable to those who really need it.

PRICE: Contact Getac for a quote (around $4,000+)

WHAT WE LOVED: The most military and government-body certified laptop on the list, and probably therefore the most durable

PERFECT FOR: A laptop that is engineered precisely for professionals in hazardous industrial environments

PROSCONS
+ Certified for use in almost every hazardous environment imaginable– Many of the features are add-on only
+ Bright display
+ Versatile connectivity

Panasonic Toughbook 55 Full-HD

Rugged Ratings 75%
Panasonic Toughbook 55 | Image Credit: business Panasonic com
Panasonic Toughbook 55 | Image Credit: business Panasonic com

When they’re not making flatscreens, it turns out Panasonic have a strong consumer base in corporate business circles with their rugged laptop the Toughbook.

The base model Toughbook 55 has the following internal specs:

  • Intel® Core™ i5 8365 vPro™ Processor
  • 8GB Memory
  • 256GB SSD
  • 6500mAh Battery (with hot-swap option)

Why do they call it the ‘Toughbook’? Well, like with the Latitude 5420, its chassis is composed of a magnesium alloy, this time with a unique honeycomb-like structure for improved strength and splash resistance. It’s MIL-STD-810H certified and has IP53 rating for moderate dust and water protection, with an operating temperature between -4° F and 140° F.

The Toughbook features a whole host of expansion slot options, which include Universal Bay connectivity, a second SSD and battery, Smart Card Reader, DVD Multi Drive, Blu Ray Drive, Fingerprint Reader, and Contactless Smart Card Reader.

Some of these features offer greater levels of security, like the fingerprint reader that enables you to use Windows Hello, a secure biometric login system. But more than any one ‘feature’, having these options ultimately means that the user can configure the perfect machine for their specific professional needs.

PRICE: Contact Panasonic to get a quote (around $2,000+)

WHAT WE LOVED: Ultimate versatility and customizability thanks to a functionality-rich selection of expansion slots

PERFECT FOR: Construction and emergency service personnel who need a laptop that can be counted on not to fail in critical moments 

PROSCONS
+ Versatility of expansion slots– Not the highest military or IP gradings
+ MIL-STD-810H and IP53 certified– Configurability might come at a cost
+ Strong-feeling build quality

Durabook S15AB

Rugged Rating 65%
Durabook S15AB | Image Credit: Amazon com
Durabook S15AB | Image Credit: Amazon com

The Durabook S15AB is unique amongst its kind, happily describing itself as only ‘semi rugged laptop’, and focusing on the possibilities that a less industrial design could bring in a still fairly robust package.

Check out the S15AB base-model specs below:

  • Intel® Core™ i7-8565U Processor
  • 16GB Memory
  • 256GB SSD (swappable)
  • 7600mAh Battery (swappable)

It’s by no means slow, but also not the performance powerhouse that you might expect at a similar price point for non-rugged laptops.

Weighing only 2.6kg and 29mm in height though, it’s very lightweight for its generous screen size, and one of the most compact and portable units of all the laptops featured so far. Designed for mobility, the unit has an ergonomic base handle and the screen is impressively thin when extended.

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All that doesn’t come at a huge cost to the durability of the machine. The S15AB is IP5X and MIL-STG-810G rated, able to survive drops of up to 3 feet with its aluminum-magnesium alloy chassis. All the ports feature covers, which gives them their dust protection rating, however it’s important to note that this unit has no water resistance.

The FHD screen with anti-glare is a nice touch, but does not support touchscreen use.

Along with expandable battery slots, thanks to the three SSD slots, its data management capabilities are huge. With three drives, you can transform the S15AB into a functioning server with RAID 0 and RAID 1. 

PRICE: Contact Durabook for a quote (around $1500)

WHAT WE LOVED: Largest screen size on the list but surprisingly not the heaviest or least portable

PERFECT FOR: General-purpose rugged laptop user on a budget

PROSCONS
+ Thin and light for its larger screen size– Only semi-rugged
+ Reasonably priced– No touchscreen
+ Functioning server with additional drives

Comparison table

To round off any important stats or specs about our picks on the computing or durability/longevity side of things, we’ve put together a comparison table for a side-by-side look.

Toughest Military Grade Laptops | Comparison

wdt_IDBrand/ModelRugged RatingsSize/ WeightRugged SpecsSwappable SlotsWarrantyOS
1Dell Latitude 54206514 inches | 4.9lbsMIL-STD-810G | IP53- Removable PCIe storage bay - Dual battery slots3-year limited hardware warrantyWindows 10 Pro
2Durabook S15AB6515.6 inches | 5.7lbsMIL-STG-810G | IP5X- Second storage slot - Third storage slot3-year limited warrantyWindows 10 Pro
3Getac B3608013.3 inches | 5.1lbsMIL-STD-810G | MIL-STD-461G | IP66 | ANSI/ISA 12.12.01- Dual battery slots3-year ‘bumper-to-bumper’ warrantyWindows 10 Pro
4Dell Latitude 74247014 inches | 7.6lbsMIL-STD-810G | IP65- Second storage slot - Third storage slot - Dual battery slots3-year basic warrantyWindows 10 Pro
5Panasonic Toughbook 55 Full-HD7514 inches | 4.9lbsMIL-STD-810H | IP53- Second SSD drive slot - Second battery slot - GPU slot - Fingerprint reader slot - Blu-ray drive slot3-year warrantyWindows 10 Pro
Brand/ModelRugged RatingsSize/ WeightRugged SpecsSwappable Slots

Rugged laptop recommendation

With so many variables, it’s tough to narrow down a recommendation to just one from all the laptops on our list. Take another look at all the laptops featured with the specific set of tasks you have for them in mind, and work from there.

We can say though, weighing price into the equation, that the Durabook represents a great starting point to the ruggedized laptop world for the general user thanks to its large screen, best-in-class battery, and reasonable price point – with the significant caveat that this is the only laptop on the list that doesn’t feature water resistance.

If wet environments aren’t part of your work environment, then for the money there’s probably no better machine for you if you’re in the market for a tough laptop that can perform industrial tasks to a high standard.

But, if you’re here with a specific, heavy-duty mission in mind and no budgetary concern, look no further than the Getac B360. It’s easily the most expensive on the list, but you won’t find a laptop with more military-grade, industry-certified protection from all kinds of serious hazards, and that comes with some legitimate computing power to boot.


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