Best Rugged Smartwatches For Outdoor Lovers In 2020

Best Rugged Smartwatches For Outdoor Lovers Published: | Updated:

If you have landed on this guide about the best Rugged Smartwatches, you probably want an outdoor smartwatch or you had the bad luck of getting a Chinese smartwatch that didn’t last enough! 😀 Whatever is your situation, the good news for you is that indeed there are rugged smartwatches and they are incredibly versatile and perfect for outdoor lovers. They’re great for hiking, swimming, wearing to work, playing with the kids and everything in-between.

If you are looking for something more generic, you could take a look at our list of the best Smartwatches in the market nowadays. But if you are looking for a truly rugged smartwatch, keep reading this. We have put together the best rugged smartwatches made especially for outdoor activities and extreme sports. Le’ts get into it. 

What makes a smartwatch rugged?

It’s got to have a durable outer body, some level of shock protection and waterproofing of some kind, be it an IP certification such as IPX8 or IP68 or an ATM rating such as 10ATM. It’s also got to have in-built GPS – a feature which is extremely useful if you do any outdoor exploring.

Unfortunately, there are literally hundreds of smartwatches out there that claim to be rugged but really aren’t. They’re just regular smartwatches dressed up in a fancy shell. It’s these you want to avoid. Thankfully, we’ve done the hard work for you and listed the best rugged smartwatches on the market for outdoor lovers. These vary in specifications but satisfy our shock protection, water-resistance, and durability criteria. So, let’s not waste any more time, let’s get started!

We also recommend reading: Best Smartwatches for men

List Of The Best Rugged Smartwatches in 2020

CASIO Pro Trek Touchscreen Outdoor Smart Watch Resin Strap, Black, 27 (Model: WSD-F30-RGBAU)
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Black
POLAR M600 Smart Sports Watch/Fitness Watch, Black
SUUNTO 5, Lightweight and Compact GPS Sports Watch with 24/7, Activity Tracking and Wrist-Based Heart Rate - Black/Steel
Price not available
$666.99
Price not available
$230.30
CASIO Pro Trek Touchscreen Outdoor Smart Watch Resin Strap, Black, 27 (Model: WSD-F30-RGBAU)
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Black
POLAR M600 Smart Sports Watch/Fitness Watch, Black
SUUNTO 5, Lightweight and Compact GPS Sports Watch with 24/7, Activity Tracking and Wrist-Based Heart Rate - Black/Steel
CASIO Pro Trek Touchscreen Outdoor Smart Watch Resin Strap, Black, 27 (Model: WSD-F30-RGBAU)
Price not available
CASIO Pro Trek Touchscreen Outdoor Smart Watch Resin Strap, Black, 27 (Model: WSD-F30-RGBAU)
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Black
$666.99
Garmin 010-02158-01 Fenix 6 Pro, Premium Multisport GPS Watch, features Mapping, Music, Grade-Adjusted Pace Guidance and Pulse Ox Sensors, Black
POLAR M600 Smart Sports Watch/Fitness Watch, Black
Price not available
POLAR M600 Smart Sports Watch/Fitness Watch, Black
SUUNTO 5, Lightweight and Compact GPS Sports Watch with 24/7, Activity Tracking and Wrist-Based Heart Rate - Black/Steel
$230.30
SUUNTO 5, Lightweight and Compact GPS Sports Watch with 24/7, Activity Tracking and Wrist-Based Heart Rate - Black/Steel

Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30-RGBAU

Casio Pro Trek  WSD-F30-RGBAU smartwatch
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30-RGBAU
With military-grade 810G shock resistance and It’s water-resistant up to 50 meters

In a nutshell: The most rugged smartwatch on the market. Boasts military-grade shock protection and a top display.

The WSD-F30-RGBAU is for all you serious explorers out there. It’s a PRO TREK smartwatch with military-grade 810G shock resistance. It’s a waterproof smartwatch up to 50 meters and is preloaded with a huge range of features.

Build with an emphasis for the outdoors enthusiast, the Pro Trek features a handy TOOL button that you can push to instantly get access to a compass, altimeter, barometer and much more.

The WSD-F30-RGBAU is for all you serious explorers out there. It’s a PRO TREK smartwatch with military-grade 810G shock resistance. It’s water-resistant up to 50 meters and is preloaded with a huge range of features.

Build with an emphasis for the outdoors enthusiast; the Pro Trek features a handy TOOL button that you can push to instantly get access to a compass, altimeter, barometer, and much more. There’s even an optical sensor that gives accurate tracking on your heart rate from your smartwatch.

The Tool button is a nifty feature that lets you access information from the aforementioned sensors with just a single tap; this underrated simplistic UI will surely be helpful if you need to quickly glance at your watch while engaging in outdoor activities. 

The Pro Trek’s features don’t end there, either. Thanks to Wear OS, you can easily pair the watch to your Android phone and access the typical features you’d expect from a smartwatch: taking calls, sending texts, getting notifications, and even listening to music. 

The case is a mixture of engineering-grade plastic and aluminum which provides the perfect balance of durability and shock resistance. The Pro Trek WSD-F30-RGBAU also has low-power GPS and runs Wear OS (previously Android Wear), which is arguably the best software on a smartwatch. The display is the best-selling point – it’s 320×300 in resolution and 1.32” in size. It’s bright and vibrant, and it’s also dual-layer. This means it can switch between color and monochrome modes to preserve battery when needed. If Battery is your concern, maybe you would be interested in knowing the best long life battery smartwatches out there

On the design front, the Pro Trek certainly exudes ruggedness in its design, so this won’t be your first pick to wear on a fancy dinner date. With that said, it has been slimmed down from its predecessor, making it a lot more approachable as a daily driver.

Despite that, the Pro Trek is still notably bulkier than other non-rugged smartwatches, and the above-average weight of 2.93 ounces doesn’t help either. Do keep this in mind if you’re considering the Pro Trek to be your rugged smartwatch of choice.

These dimensions are not just for show, though. Casio has really doubled-down on the ruggedness of this watch, and upon closer inspection, you can see how the bulkiness of this watch contributes to its incredible durability. Take the thick bezels, for instance. The bezels are purposely elevated so that it protects the screen whenever you knock it on a flat surface, using the much stronger bezels to absorb the impact instead of the scratch-resistant screen.

The Pro Trek is also waterproof and can be submerged to an incredible 164 feet, so you have no need to worry about accidentally submerging this watch underwater.

One of the notable downsides to the Pro Trek is that with active usage, battery life takes a toll and barely lasts a single day. While the battery saving mode comes in handy, it removes access to a lot of the features you might actually want to use from the watch. Also, there is no option to insert a SIM card to the Pro Trek, making it not viable to use as a standalone smartwatch.

With that said, we think the Pro Trek strikes an optimal balance between durability, functionality, and design, and you can’t go wrong with the Pro Trek as an option for a rugged smartwatch.

Reasons to buy:
– Outstanding durability
– Vibrant, high definition display
– Great design choices to balance durability and versatility
– Intuitive to use with Wear OS
– Fully featured sensors and tracking capabilities
– Option to disable Wear OS for extended battery life

Reasons not to buy:
– Subpar battery life with Wear OS enabled
– Pricey
– Limited compatibility with iPhones

Verdict:
If you want the most rugged smartwatch on the market bar none, you can’t go wrong with the Pro Trek. It boasts the unconventional combination of military-grade shock protection and a top tier display in a beautiful package. If you can live with the less-than-ideal battery life and the omission of the option to insert a SIM card, we think the Pro Trek is more than worthy of its price. Of course, there are good smartwatches with SIM card that can standalone without carrying your phone with you.

The WSD-F30-RGBAU is for all you serious explorers out there. It’s a PRO TREK smartwatch with military-grade 810G shock resistance. It’s water-resistant up to 50 meters and is preloaded with a huge range of features.

Build with an emphasis for the outdoors enthusiast, the Pro Trek features a handy TOOL button that you can push to instantly get access to a compass, altimeter, barometer, and much more.

The case is a mixture of engineering-grade plastic and aluminum. This provides the perfect balance of durability and shock resistance. The  WSD-F30-RGBAU has low-power GPS and runs Wear OS (previously Android Wear). The display is the best-selling point – it’s 320×300 in resolution and 1.32” in size. It’s bright and vibrant, and it’s also dual-layer. This means it can switch between color and monochrome modes to preserve battery.

Garmin Fenix 6s

garmin-fenix-6-smartwatch
Sale
Garmin Fenix 6s
Exceptional durability thanks to its forged steel case back and sapphire crystal coating. It’s also shock resistant with a fiber-reinforced polymer case

In a nutshell: The best-rugged smartwatch for navigation. It comes with Garmin maps and has GPS and GLONASS.

The Garmin Fenix 5X is a top-tier rugged smartwatch. It’s got GPS with Garmin European mapping built-in, a 10ATM water resistance rating, and is available in 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm case sizes to suit any wrist. It’s exceptionally durable with a forged steel case back and sapphire crystal. It’s also shock resistant with a fiber-reinforced polymer case.

Coming in at an eye-watering $699.99, the Garmin Fenix 6 is a top-tier rugged smartwatch, but only for a niche segment. We’ll talk more about why that is the case later in this section.

First things first, tt’s got the typical specs we look for in a rugged smartwatch: GPS with Garmin European mapping built-in, a 10ATM water resistance rating, and exceptional durability thanks to its forged steel case back and sapphire crystal coating. It’s also shock resistant with a fiber-reinforced polymer case.

The Fenix 6 Pro also boasts one of the widest selection of variants: it’s available in 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm case sizes to suit any wrist. It’s also available in a wide selection of colors, finishes, and wristband options.

Its battery life is another strong point. You’ll get 10-hours of use with GPS turned on, or up to 14 days in smartwatch mode, and 28 days in expedition GPS activity mode. 

For the screen, the Fenix 6 is equipped with a 1.3” 260×260 display with transflective technology isn’t as vibrant as the Casio’s, but it’s just as easy to read outdoors. 

The Fenix 6 also runs Garmin’s proprietary OS, so it doesn’t have the app ecosystem of third-party apps, unlike the Casio. While the built-in applications are excellent and include everything you need for an active lifestyle, we think it is a setback as it limits the watch’s ability to take advantage of third-party apps.

With everything that we’ve covered so far, the Fenix 6 is certainly a competent rugged smartwatch but does not necessarily stand out from the competition. However, the Fenix 6 has a trick up its sleeve that will make this option a top pick for a select group of people.

This unique feature is called Wearable Maps, a feature unique to only the Fenix 6 and might be an incredible utility if you can take advantage of it. For skiers and golfers specifically, the Fenix 6 is preloaded with maps for more than 41,000 golf courses and 2,000 worldwide ski resorts. For ski resorts, the preloaded maps can give you enhanced situational awareness while skiing or snowboarding, optimized to be viewed at a glance during your run.

As for the maps of golf courses, the Fenix 6 enables you to access colored CourseView maps for more than 41,000 golf courses, with support button targeting and the PlaysLike Distance feature.

If you can see yourself making use of these features, we think the Fenix 6 would be an easy recommendation for a rugged smartwatch. Not many watches are built to withstand the stresses that come with skiing, snowboarding, or golfing, let alone support the Wearable Maps feature that could be very useful in that circumstance.

The downside that comes with that is the proprietary OS that’s needed to enable those features. This means that you are locked to Garmin’s ecosystem of apps, which is no match for Google’s Wear OS. With that said, the companion app for the Fenix, the Garmin Connect app, gives an intuitive breakdown of your activities.

Reasons to buy:
– Great durability
– Outstanding battery life
– Huge selection of variants
– Unique Wearable Maps feature
– Decent screen

Reasons not to buy:
– Very expensive
– Limited compatibility with iPhones

Verdict:
Other than the Wearable Maps feature, the Fenix doesn’t really do anything specifically better than the competition to justify its expensive price. With that said, we can see how Wearable Maps can be incredibly useful if you can put it to use, as there’s really nothing like it on the market. 

Polar M600

polar-m600-smartwatch
Polar M600
The Polar M600 has IPX8 water resistance, so it is suitable for continuous immersion in water. The 240x240 1.3” display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, and there’s a good level of shock resistance

In a nutshell: A rugged smartwatch with GPS and GLONASS. IPX8 water resistance and Wear OS make it a top choice.

Looking for a rugged smartwatch that isn’t round? Check out the Polar M600. This is a fantastic rugged smartwatch. It runs Wear OS, comes pre-loaded with some of the best fitness-focused applications on the market, and gives you access to Polar Smart Coaching – which is one of the best smart trainers.

Looking for a rugged smartwatch that isn’t round? Check out the Polar M600. This is a fantastic rugged smartwatch that comes in at just $189.99. It runs Wear OS, comes pre-loaded with some of the best fitness-focused applications on the market, and gives you access to Polar Smart Coaching – which is one of the best smart trainers.

Despite the affordable price, the M600 is still Polar’s flagship smartwatch, so it comes with everything, including GPS, GLONASS, heart-rate tracking, and 4GB of onboard storage for maps. The integrated GPS and GLONASS are also highly accurate. In terms of ruggedness, the Polar M600 has IPX8 water resistance, so it is suitable for continuous immersion in water. The 240×240 1.3” display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, and there’s a good level of shock resistance, too, though we found the screen to not be as bright or vibrant compared to the other options on this guide.

The most distinctive feature of the Polar M600 has got to be its design. Sporting a simple rectangular screen with a silicone strap, you’d be forgiven if you mistook the M600 for fitness tracker instead of a smartwatch. This is, unfortunately, one of the biggest downsides of the M600, as it has looks only a mother could love. While none of the other rugged smartwatches look particularly elegant, the M600 falls short considerably to the competition.

If you can live with the bland design, the Polar M600 presents a compelling package for a rugged smartwatch, especially for its superb price. Its bands are also inexpensive and easily replaceable, and they are surprisingly comfortable on the wrist for a silicone band. The band also provides extra protection to the screen since it is elevated from the bezels so that it absorbs the shock from drops instead of the screen.

If you plan to take your rugged smartwatch on outdoor adventures, chances are that you might scuff up your smartwatch’s band over time. Hence, the availability of cheap replacement bands is a huge win in our book.

On top of its location tracking features, the M600 is also capable of other fitness tracking functionality, like giving you a dashboard for your workouts, tracking fitness goals, swimming metrics (which includes distance, pace, and even strokes of different swimming styles) and more. There’s also a couple of nifty features like a stopwatch and a timer, all of which complements the M600’s feature set.

The last thing to note about the M600 is that its features are severely limited when paired with an iOS device. You’ll lose access to WiFi, gestures, music playback, and voice dictation, which will be a deal-breaker for most people.  If you use an iPhone, we think these tradeoffs are simply not worth it, and you’d be better off with other options in this list.

However, if you use an Android device and don’t mind the dull looks of the M600, it’s a superb choice for an inexpensive yet highly competent rugged smartwatch.

Reasons to buy:
– Robust GPS tracking
– Replaceable wristbands
– Significantly cheaper than other rugged smartwatches
– Complete fitness tracking features
– Great durability

Reasons not to buy:
– Unattractive design
– Poor compatibility with iPhones

Verdict:
The Polar M600 is a rugged smartwatch with GPS and GLONASS, IPX8 water resistance, and Wear OS, all for just $189.99, making it a top choice for a budget rugged smartwatch.

Looking for a rugged smartwatch that isn’t round? Check out the Polar M600. This is a fantastic rugged smartwatch. It runs Wear OS, comes pre-loaded with some of the best fitness-focused applications on the market, and gives you access to Polar Smart Coaching – which is one of the best smart trainers.

This is Polar’s flagship smartwatch so it comes with everything, including GPS, GLONASS, heart-rate tracking, and 4GB of onboard storage for maps. The integrated GPS and GLONASS are highly accurate. In terms of ruggedness, the Polar M600 has IPX8 water resistance, so it is suitable for continuous immersion in water. The 240×240 1.3” display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and there’s a good level of shock resistance too.

Suunto 5 Peak

suunto-5-smartwatch-scaled
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Suunto 5 Peak
The Suunto 5 has a steel bezel with a polyamide case, a combination that offers outstanding shock protection

The Suunto 5 Peak is a decent rugged smartwatch that is a jack-of-all-trades. It offers high-accuracy GPS, heart-rate tracking with an underside monitor, altitude tracking, and also combines GPS and barometric data for even greater altitude accuracy.

For its construction, the Suunto 5 has a steel bezel with a polyamide case, a combination that offers outstanding shock protection that you can wear it even for mountain biking with a peace of mind. The buttons on the smartwatch are also sealed perfectly, making them tactile even when covered in sweat, mud, or dirt.

Speaking of the buttons, the Suunto 5’s buttons gives you immediate access to a myriad of shortcuts, such as notifications, daily stats, and more. While the buttons might appear unintuitive at first since they are not labeled, the buttons can be quite handy once you’ve gotten used to it. The buttons are crucial on this device, as it’s actually not a touchscreen, meaning that you need to use the buttons to navigate through Sunnto’s proprietary operating system. 

This durability does come with a tradeoff, though. With a weight of 66g spanning across 45mm, the Suunto 5 definitely falls under the heavyweight category, even when compared against other rugged smartwatches. The wrist band also has a snug fit, thanks to the lugs that connect to the case directly. While this is ideal in keeping the Suunto 5 secured on your wrist, it does mean a compromise in comfort. This makes the Suunto 5 a watch that you wear only during your workouts and outdoor activities, and not when you’re in the office or out for dinner. With that said, the Suunto 5 actually has a rather elegant design despite its ruggedness, sporting a variety of classy variants between silver and copper bezels that gives of a sophisticated look.

Another shortcoming of the Suunto 5 would be its screen. Despite its girth, the screen only spans 1.2 inches, thanks to its thick protective bezels. It’s also dim for outdoors viewing due to a subpar backlight. We think this is the biggest tradeoff with the Suunto 5 other than its dimensions.

Elsewhere, the Suunto 5 packs a lot of features under the hood, with built-in GLONASS, GPS and QZSS satellite support that provides precise location tracking and directions. This is ideal for tracking runs or biking routes where you can compare your pace the next time you do that run.

For connectivity, the Suunto 5 connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth using the Suunto app. While you’d be able to view notifications on your watch, you can’t actually respond to alerts. Given that Suunto has positioned this watch only to be used during your workouts, we think this is an acceptable omission, but your mileage may vary.

Since the Suunto 5 uses Bluetooth LE ( a lower-powered version of Bluetooth), it fairs very well in the battery life department. Expect 2 full days of use with GPS turned out and up to a week’s use if you’re just using the heart rate monitoring and notifications. This is thanks to Suunto 5’s intelligent battery modes, namely Performance, Endurance, and Ultra.

Previously running on the Movescout platform, Suunto has decided to migrate all of its devices to the new Suunto app, which is what the Suunto 5 comes with.  The app has an intuitive interface that gives you a clear overview of your health data like steps taken, calories burned, and so on.

Priced at $329, we can say that the price is reasonable given the capabilities of the Suunto 5. While it’s not the cheapest watch on our list, it’s still a lot more affordable than the other options.

Reasons to buy:
– Sturdy build quality
– Decent design
– Class-leading battery life
– Reasonably priced
– Great companion app

Reasons not to buy:
– Dim screen
– Bulky and heavy
– Lack of touchscreen

Verdict:
The Suunto 5 Peak definitely packs above its price point, considering the features it brings to the table. However, the subpar screen and unconventional button layout might give certain people second thoughts when considering this option. If you can live with these shortcomings, we can wholeheartedly recommend this as your pick for a rugged smartwatch. 

So, which is your favorite rugged smartwatch?

So, there we have it – the best rugged smartwatches you can buy for outdoor use. We could have included a few more, but honestly, these are the best of the best.

If we had to pick one from the list for ourselves, we’d pick the Polar M600. It’s light, it’s durable, and it comes with all the features you want in a rugged smartwatch. Best of all, it’s also reasonably priced. The Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 and Garmin Fenix 6s ties in second place and are both fantastic smartwatches for outdoor use.

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