If you’re an avid outdoor adventurer or need a smartwatch that can keep up. So you may need to upgrade your current tracker to a more rugged smartwatch. However, finding the right model for your needs can be difficult, with so many options saturating the market right now. To help you with your decision making, we’ve reviewed 10 popular rugged smartwatches. But first, a quick buying guide to help you.
Table of Contents
Before purchasing a rugged smartwatch, the first thing to consider is its durability. If the device is not robust, it will not survive long in the harsh conditions you may encounter. Look for a watch with a shockproof and water-resistant case (at least 10 ATM). If you want to use the watch for a long time, the screen should be scratch-proof or have Gorilla Glass protection.
Because you’ll be wearing these watches outside, you’ll want one with a decent navigation system. Having a GPS or any other satellite navigation system on your watch, such as GLONASS or Galileo, will help you remain on track and stay on track. A rugged smartwatch must also include ABC sensors (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass), which stand for Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass.
This is responsible for providing the data related to the elevation, which is helpful when you are hiking or rock climbing with this watch.
The barometer detects variations in atmospheric pressure and forecasts weather changes, as well as warning you of impending storms.
A compass identifies the direction in which you are travelling so you do not get lost.
A rugged smartwatch might also have some more sophisticated tactical capabilities such as night vision, which enables you to see the display in the dark, in addition to navigation sensors. In addition, some watches employ atomic timekeeping, which uses radiofrequency to adjust the time accurately.
Some advanced rugged smartwatches also feature a stealth mode that turns down the GPS and wireless connection to prevent you from revealing your position when it’s not safe. Some tactical military timepieces include a Jumpmaster function that assists you while in the air so that you may land safely. However, not every rugged smartwatch has all of the capabilities, so choose one that has all of the characteristics you need for your job.
Long Battery Life
Last but not least, your tactical smartwatch’s battery life must be enough so that it does not run out of juice when you need it most. For added battery life, look for a tactical rugged smartwatch that offers solar charging.
OK, now onto the 10 best-rugged watches on the market.
1. Garmin Instinct 2 Solar Tactical
Garmin is a sports watch pro. And the Instinct 2 Solar is even more brilliant than we first thought it would be! For one, it keeps itself charged with that wonderful solar function. It also offers a range of power/battery modes so you can maximize your watch’s life for as long as you could need.
The screen is large and clear, and made of a super tough Power Glass; this is all encased in a protective fiber-reinforced polymer bezel. The 10 ATM rating, as we see on most new Garmin smartwatches, allows you to take it in the water without worry, too.
The Instinct 2 Tactical comes with special tactical features in order to live up to its name and include: Stealth Mode, Night Vision, Dual Grid Coordinates, and a Kill Switch. Aside from those special features, the Instinct 2 also offers a host of activity tracking capabilities, and health monitoring functions.
Read our full review of the Garmin Instinct 2 (in all editions!) here.
2. Suunto 9 Peak
Suunto unveiled its newest premium sports watch this year, the 9 Peak. It’s the company’s thinnest and lightest gadget to date.
Small and light fitness trackers have become more popular in recent years. For example, Garmin’s most popular sports watches now come in ‘S’ variants for runners (including the new Garmin Venu 2). Furthermore, the Polar Ignite 2 packs a lot of training power into a little container.
Suunto Baro vs. Peak
The Peak replaces the Suunto 9 Baro, which is 37 per cent thinner and 36 per cent lighter. It also maintains the decreasing trend. Our best guess is that the Peak will be 10.5mm thick and weigh roughly 52g, but this is only an informed guess; the exact specifications have yet to be revealed.
The Peak has a SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen saturation monitoring (which is particularly helpful while exercising at altitude), an ambient light sensor that adjusts the screen brightness automatically to balance visibility and energy use, and quicker charging (the watch can be fully charged in just one hour).
The Suunto app enhances the functionality of watch faces by presenting sport-specific heatmaps (similar to Strava) and allows users to upload routes to the device for offline navigation.
3. Suunto Core All Black
This is a substantial timepiece. Big battery, robust aesthetics, and a lengthy list of multi-sport capabilities that will give virtually any other watch a run for its money on the run, bike, swim, or stand up paddleboard. It’s pricey, and the software and design should be better, but the Suunto 9’s incredible longevity outweighs all of those flaws.
There aren’t many companies that cater to your tracking requirements like Suunto if you’re into endurance. Suunto watches are tough, durable, and multi-sport capable, making them ideal for taking on the great outdoors. The upscale Suunto 9, the newest member of the family, takes this to new heights.
It has one key feature that will help runners of all abilities sit up and pay attention – a battery life that will endure even the longest trials. It will hold its own even on the most severe excursions.
We know battery life will be at the top of every runner’s desire list when it comes to running watches.
With Suunto, however, this is not the case. The Finnish firm claims to have solved the issue, providing a watch with 120 hours of sports monitoring and sensor-assisted GPS tracking that is as precise as many complete GPS watches.
But this isn’t just a one-trick pony; in addition to the impressive battery life, there is a slew of other features ranging from sleep and activity tracking to performance tracking in 80 different sport modes. This includes running, trail running, pool and open water swimming, cycling (and, separately, triathlons), mountain biking, triathlon, and obstacle racing. It goes on.
There’s optical heart rate, barometer and GPS, altitude, intervals, training load and recovery time advice. All of this technology has been through rigorous tests for drop, freeze/thaw, humidity, and immersion.
On paper, it seems to be a very powerful tool, but it comes at a high price.
Download and view full-colour maps offline, and take advantage of built-in sensors such as breadcrumb detail, compass, altimeter, and barometer.
You can download a variety of apps from the Google Playstore (Android phones only), including popular outdoor and exercise apps like Viewranger and Strava. You can also use the built-in microphone to access and respond to text messages, enabling you to leave your phone at home while you’re out and about.
4. Casio G-Shock G-Squad Powertrainer
The first G-Shock smartwatch. The Powertrainer, intended for use in a variety of sports, including jogging, indoor workouts, road riding, and swimming, as well as more extreme pastimes such as surfing and snowboarding, has an optical sensor. This can measure heart rate, has a compass, an altitude/air pressure sensor, an accelerometer, a gyrometer, and GPS capabilities.
The watch collects data on distance, speed, and pace, and its dual-layer monochrome and colour display has an interface with a three-tier layout that you can adjust to meet your needs.
Combines toughness with workout functions. The complex tough form protects the glass and buttons from direct shock. It has a waterproof charging connector and a built-in optical sensor that measures heart rate at the wrist, as well as a 20-bar water resistance. For convenient button pressing, resin portions cover the metal bezel. The design incorporates resin and aluminium, as well as bigger measuring buttons. The other buttons have a non-slip design for ease of use.
Heart Rate Monitor – an optical sensor on the case back of the watch that detects blood flow beneath the skin and measures heart rate.
Receives current location data from GPS satellites, measures distance travelled, speed, pace, and other data. The watch collects data from the GLONASS and Michibiki (QZSS) satellite systems in addition to GPS. Connect to a smartphone to display the movement track on a map via an app.
Smart features – Vibrates simple alerts for training time and heart rate zone, as well as smartphone email receipt and other notifications. Displays Bluetooth-connected smartphone call, email, and social media message receipt notifications so you may see them even while exercising.
Power the Time Mode (which includes step count measurement and notification functions) with solar charging, or USB. after around 2.5 hours of charging, training functions can be used constantly for up to 14 hours.
5. Amazfit T-Rex Pro
The Amazfit T-Rex is for outdoor enthusiasts. Released a few years ago, the rugged smartwatch packs a lot into a design that can withstand a lot of abuse. The Amazfit T-Rex Pro, its replacement, now has a few upgrades that make the wristwatch superior and more robust.
If you’re looking for a tough smartwatch that can correctly monitor and map your workout while also measuring your heart rate and sleep, this is a terrific bargain option. However, its frenzy of data is frequently nonsensical, and it does not communicate with third-party apps.
Data readouts are crystal clear. Battery life of a week and waterproof to 100m. However, there is no GPS navigation, third-party app integration and not everyone likes the rugged design.
6. Garmin Fenix 6 Series
Of all the rugged smartwatches we tested, the Fenix 6 really blew our minds! It offers an exceptional design that is solid and dependable even in the most difficult terrains. It has a wide range of outdoor tracking options that will tell you how hard you are hitting your goals each day. Not only is there a wealth of tracking options, but we feel that it will be unbeatable on tracking accuracy. This is great if you need accurate stats to measure your progress.
With the launch of the new Fenix 7, we can now find all the Rugged Fenix 6 features and much more in the new release of the Fenix 7
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It is an upgrade on the Fenix 5, but it feels like a brand new device! Unfortunately, it is a costly one that will set you back a fair amount. Though, if that’s your budget, you’ll not be disappointed.
If you need to know more about Garmin to decide, check out our comparison.
7. Garmin Tactix Delta Solar
The Tactix Delta Solar is the fourth edition of the Tactix line. It was primarily based on the Fenix series. The Tactix Delta Solar was developed to military standards and incorporates solar technology to extend battery life as well as Power Mode to offer you 24 days of outside sunlight exposure and 21 days inside.
The stealth mode, which is shared with the Instinct Tactical, is available on the Tactix Delta Solar. Wireless connections will be disabled, location sharing will be disabled, and user data will be deleted from the memory.
The design is intended to be tough. It sports a 1.4-inch Always-On display, a scratch-resistant sapphire glass, a black steel bezel, a reinforced tactical nylon band with quick-fit technology, and PVD-coated steel back. All of this is finished in a dark black colour.
With an APC – applied ballistic calculator – there is a unique model. However, this will come at a cost, and it will only be required by true military people.
You’ll enjoy this if you’re seeking a multisport watch with GPS and some great features to flaunt. It’s more of a lifestyle item with tactical elements and useful features. It’s of exceptional quality and will last a lifetime.
8. Ticwatch Pro 3
The TicWatch Pro 3 is a pleasant surprise. Not only does it come with a Snapdragon 4100 chipset, but it also offers an amazing high-resolution display for you to enjoy. With good fitness tracking and notification options, you will track your efforts and stay in touch with your loved ones with ease.
This is a great all-rounder. Plus it has a decent battery life that will last up to three days before needing to be charged. The only real issue is that sleep tracking is not 100% accurate. So if this is a deal-breaker for you, then it may be worth looking elsewhere.
Rugged Smartwatches – The Verdict
It’s clear that all these rugged smartwatches have something special to offer. But we’d be lying if we didn’t point out that the Garmin Fenix 6 is particularly special. With great battery life, range of functions and comfortable, yet stylish design, you can be certain that your daily life will only ever be enhanced by what this rugged smartwatch has to offer.
No matter what model you choose, take the time to find the device that can meet your needs in full. You’ll soon wonder how you ever coped without it! Whichever you opt for, we wish you the happiest adventures with your new rugged smartwatch.
Last Updated on November 23, 2022
Emma brings over a decade of freelance copy and content writing experience and is our Editor, Social Media Manager, and regular contributor. Specializing in long-form content such as blogs, articles, lead magnets, and white papers, Emma also provides businesses with email marketing, website copy, and landing pages.