Being a construction worker, you might be working in one of the most challenging environments. It involves a daily grind of tough physical labor in accident-prone, high-altitude, or remote areas. The job takes a toll on your body, and on your gear.
A smartwatch, therefore, is an unseemly gadget in such a taxing environment given the delicate nature of the electronic device.
The regular Apple and Samsung smartwatches are unable to withstand the wear and tear of time and use involved in the construction industry. It is hard to meet the durability and robustness challenge involved.
Here, we are in need of a rugged smartwatch that can bear the brunt of the construction job and last long. Fortunately, there are a few models in the market that can take on the challenge. A bulk of them are from Garmin, but in the last few years, we have also witnessed some rugged watches from mainstream brands like Samsung and Apple.
We have compiled here a list of the Top 10 smartwatches for construction workers that also work in similar tough professions. All of them can perform well without failing in demanding conditions. While most of them have features that can be extremely useful in the construction industry like weather updates, humidity and temperature level, onboard GPS, storm alert, and more.
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Top 10 Smartwatches For Construction Workers:
This comprehensive round-up might take 10-15 minutes to read and even more to digest. We will highly encourage you to do your own research as well before narrowing down your choices.
No blog post including this one can completely cover all the aspects of each watch and can match it to your specific needs and preferences.
However, for starter’s sake, we have picked our 3 favorite smartwatches below. No matter if you start your research from here or not, the ultimate goal is to find a watch that ticks most of the boxes for you.
Features & Specs:
- Retina OLED Display (410 x 502 pixels Resolution)
- 49mm Titanium case, Sapphire Glass Display
- Water resistant up to 100m
- Multiple Sports and fitness tracking modes
- Optical heart rate sensor, Advanced Sleep tracking
- On-board Multi-Band GPS (Highly Accurate)
- Stores music podcasts and audiobooks
- Support Cellular connectivity & NFC payments via Apple Pay
- Up to 36 hours of battery life + Fast Charging
This watch makes it to this roundup of the best smartwatches for construction workers due to its rugged construction, robust safety features, and top-of-the-line features.
Boasting a titanium casing with a sapphire glass display, Apple Watch Ultra is the only true outdoor watch by the company, and it demands top dollars (around $800) for its premium quality. Like its predecessors, it works only with IOS which remains to be its biggest drawback.
The feature worth appreciating is the sharp retina display of the watch with always-on mode. The squircle design is attractive enough to get you noticed, and this has been true of all Apple products.
As far as smart features are concerned, Apple is leading the industry in this department. So the Ultra has every bell and whistle you can expect in a modern smartwatch. It can make standalone calls, and the voice quality is excellent for a noisy, remote construction site. You can pair your Airpods directly to the watch to listen to stored music or stream playbacks online. The library of third-party apps is the largest and most versatile.
This watch has an onboard GPS. So you can better navigate your way on remote sites. Add this to multi-band navigation support, mapping capabilities, third-party apps like ‘Google Maps’, and the ability to add waypoints and ‘BackTrack’ routes, and you have a robust navigation tool on your wrist.
Moreover, it is equipped with a range of sensors that can do continuous optical heart rate monitoring, advanced sleep analysis, and track a hell lot of other health metrics. The sports profiles are more than enough for average users with advanced tracking for popular sports like running, biking, and swimming. It has got 100m water resistance to make it a perfect swimming companion, and a solid tracker for marine sports.
Though its safety features are designed for outdoor sports they can also work for first responders and construction workers. Take for example the Siren Alert that can emit a loud noise (around 86dB) to draw attention in an emergency situation, or the crash detection (if you are involved in a high-speed fall, the watch will automatically call emergency services).
The 36 hours battery life promise is the best you can get in an iWatch. It also supports fast charging and can juice up within an hour. It is surely the watch to take with you on hiking trips and outdoor adventures if that is something you do frequently.
Apple watches Ultra is the company’s first watch that they can truly claim to be rugged and therefore suitable for outdoor activities. However, it cost a pretty penny, and we think that it is worth the investment for iPhone users.
Features & Specs:
- Compatible with both IOS and Android
- Two Sizes (Instinct 2 & 2S) that fit multiple wrists
- 5 different options (Standard, Tactical, Dezel, Camo, Surf)
- Military standard Build Quality + 10 ATM Water resistance.
- Transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) Display with 176×176 Resolution
- Multisports features: Running, swimming, and cycling (Triathlon Watch)
- On-board GPS with a ABC sensors
- Battery Performance in Weeks + Solar Charging support on Certain Models
- Lightweight design, breathable, interchangeable strap
- New Elevate Gen 4 Optical Heart Rate Sensor
- Advanced sleep tracking and insights
- Support Garmin Pay & External Sensors
- Heat & Altitude Acclimation
- LiveTrack + Incident Detection
If your budget doesn’t allow you to go for the Fenix 7, Garmin has another solid outdoor smartwatch to offer in the Instinct 2 Series. It builds on the success of the original Instinct watch but adds a ton of powerful training tools, a new heart rate sensor, ‘Garmin Pay’ support, and more.
The Series has 5 watch models named Standard, Camo, Tactical, Surf, and Dezel with some offering two size options, and some Solar Charging support. The build quality remains the same (plastic casing with a display protected by chemically strengthened glass), and so does the reputation. All its models are as hard as nails and can take easily a licking in the most extreme conditions.
There is a major missing though. It lacks the lush AMOLED display of the Venu Series, so 5-button navigation work for this watch. The transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) display is still quite good and easy to read. However, it would have been great to see a touchscreen color display at this price point.
In the health monitoring department, it excels with the latest Elevate Gen 4 Optical Heart Rate Sensor. It tracks your heart rate very accurately and also provides useful data such as VO2 Max, HRV Status, Body Battery, Recovery Time, and more. Additionally, the watch also features advanced sleep tracking and insights that are quite helpful. The sports profiles are also quite extensive including the niche-sports options like Gravel biking and trail running.
The navigation features are handled by the onboard GPS with ABC sensors. The GPS is quite accurate and works flawlessly. Some models allow you to upload custom courses via Garmin Connect, but overall mapping capabilities are pretty basic compared to Fenix 7.
The safety features on this watch are pretty much limited and are dependent solely on the connected smartphone. It shares the same incident detection, and LiveTrack features as the Fenix and Forerunner Lineup.
Battery life for all versions is top-notch, especially the models with Garmin’s photovoltaic Power Glass for solar charging. So if the nature of your projects demands that you stay out in the field for long periods, this watch will not let you down. A full charge will last for weeks not days.
Construction laborers would find a super tough smartwatch in Garmin Instinct 2 second only to Fenix 7. Versatile, functional, and dependable, this GPS watch has something to offer to all kinds of users. It is a solid fitness tracker, a truly rugged watch, and a robust training tool all in a single smartwatch.
Features & Specs:
- Compatible with both Android and IOS
- Chunky Design suitable for large wrists
- 1.39-inch touchscreen AMOLED Display
- 10 ATM Water Resistance & Military Grade Certification
- 4 Colors and Swappable bands
- Can track Heart Rate, Stress, SpO2
- 150+ Sports mode + Dual Band GPS
- Week Long Battery Performance
For construction workers on a budget, Amazfit T-Rex 2 is the ultimate choice. The watch may have an unappealing design, but its military-grade construction does well on a work site surrounded by concrete and metal. It has 10 ATM water resistance and an IP68 rating for dust ingression making it extremely tight for any type of job.
The display is a 1.39-inch touchscreen AMOLED that is extremely clear and sharp. 1000-nit brightness means that you won’t have any trouble seeing the screen, even in direct sunlight. However, the user interface has failed to do justice to the display. There are many glitches on the software side, and it looks like Amazfit has made little effort to improve the overall look and feel of the interface.
Unlike Samsung and Apple, there is no standalone feature on the Amazfit. There is no support for third-party apps, no voice assistant, and no contactless payments. It just mimics the notifications of your phone and when paired with an Android can send preset replies.
Well, the watch may be lacking in smart features but it does excel in the sports and fitness department. It has over 150 different sports modes, including all the usual suspects such as running, cycling, swimming, and even rock climbing. It can track almost all health metrics as by any premium Apple & Samsung watch and does it pretty well.
Amazfit promises a huge number for the battery life of its T-Rex 2, and it doesn’t disappoint. The smartwatch easily lasts for over a week on a single charge with all the sensors and features turned on. And if you’re willing to make some sacrifices, such as turning off the always-on display or disabling GPS, you can stretch it to two-three weeks.
Amazfit T-Rex 2 may not be as feature-packed as some of the high-end smartwatches but it more than makes up for it with its durability and long battery life. However, it is the price tag of the watch that is the most impressive aspect, making it one of the best affordable rugged smartwatches available ready to integrate into your tough lifestyle.
Features & Specs:
- Compatible with both Android and IOS
- Available in multiple sizes (7S, 7 & 7X)
- A Chunky, rugged, and metallic build
- Touchscreen MIP Display with Always-on Mode
- Shock, water, and temperature resistance (10 ATM Rated)
- Loads of sensors and workout profile
- Accurate GPS tracking + multi-band GNSS
- Incredible mapping capabilities
- Can store and Stream Music + Garmin Pay
- LiveTrack + Incident Detection
- Top-notch Battery Performance + Solar Charging capabilities
Garmin Fenix 7 Series packs 8 different variants categorized under 3 different sizes. The pricing for the base model Fenix 7S starts at around $700 and goes all the way up to $1000 for the Fenix 7X Solar Sapphire Edition.
We will recommend the Fenix 7 Solar Sapphire Edition for its added battery performance, titanium casing, and sapphire glass protection. However, you are free to pick any model based on your wrist size, needs, and budget.
The watch epitomizes Garmin’s philosophy of ‘form follows function’. The design is chunky and rugged yet it looks good on the wrist. It features a transflective MIP display, but only this time touchscreen has been added to the mix. If that turns out to be a deal breaker for you, try Epix 2 which has almost identical features and build but offers a lush AMOLED display uncommon in Garmin watches.
Fenix 7 offers practical smarts like music streaming on popular platforms like Spotify and Amazon Music and contactless payment via Garmin Pay. Basics like notifications, alarms, and weather updates are also available.
The mapping feature is where the Fenix 7 truly shines. It can store detailed topo maps, ski maps, and different navigation profiles. While apps like Google Maps, Waze don’t work on the watch, you can use them to plan your routes on the app and then sync them with the watch. GPS tracking is top-notch and in fact an industry standard.
As expected from a Garmin watch, Fenix 7 comes loaded with sensors. However, its real strength remains to be algorithm-powered features built into the watch and not the raw data from the sensors (real-time Stamina, Recovery Time, and Training Readiness). Sports profiles are plenty and cover advanced metrics, but only athletes can genuinely appreciate them.
Even without Solar Charging, the Fenix 7 Series can beat most watches in the market. With Solar Charging, you are effectively looking at an ‘infinite’ battery life as the watch can top up its power reserves from ambient light.
Fenix 7 is a bit of an overkill for most of you out there, and yet we can’t help recommending it. Superbly built, highly capable and a true multisport watch, Fenix 7 can wear many hats, and it does so without breaking a sweat. If you don’t mind the price tag, there’s very little not to like here.
Features & Specs:
- Compatible only with Android.
- Lightweight Titanium Casing
- 5 ATM Water Resistance + Military Standard Approved
- Sapphire Glass Protected Super AMOLED Display
- LTE support (can make standalone calls & Texts)
- Google Wear OS Perks
- Multiple Sports profiles + on-Board GPS
- 2-3 Days of solid battery life
Samsung used to make great outdoor smartwatches (the Frontier Series), but they lost their way for a few years. The Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is a return to form, and it’s one of the best Android smartwatches you can buy right now.
The titanium casing with a sapphire glass-protected display is light yet durable. However, it is the aesthetic appeal of the watch that will first catch your eye. The 5 ATM water resistance means you can take it swimming, and the military standard approval means it can withstand pretty much anything else you might throw at it.
The watch is available in one size with optional cellular support. Priced in a mid-range, the Watch 5 Pro offers great value for money. The 1.4-inch Super AMOLED Display is simply superb with a brilliant user interface and a seamless touchscreen experience.
The LTE support is a nice touch, as it allows you to make standalone calls and texts even when your phone isn’t with you. And of course, you get all the benefits of Google’s Wear OS platform, including access to a powerful user interface, thousands of third-party apps as well as Google’s Wearable App Suite (Google Assistant, Google Pay, Google Maps), and a flawless integration with Android phones.
Though Samsung has made an attempt to enter the outdoor/sports market by adding new workout profiles and fine-tuning mapping capabilities, it fails to meet the standard set by Garmin and the new Apple Watch Ultra. However, it is an excellent health monitoring device with an FDA-approved ECG app (Like Apple & Fitbit), heart rate, sleep, stress tracking, and more.
Lastly, the battery performance is impressive. With moderate to heavy usage, you can eke out 2-3 days of use, and fast charging support means you can top up quickly when needed.
While Garmin, Amazfit, and Fitbit do work with Android Phones, you can’t get the same level of integration as you can with the new Galaxy Watch 5 Pro (It runs Google’s latest WearOS). The watch is a good combination of function and style with standalone capabilities, durable build quality, and decent battery performance.
- Comes with an altimeter barometer and a digital compass.
- Water-resistant up to 100 feet
- Storm Alarm System
- Replaceable Straps
- On-board thermometer
- Rugged yet lightweight design
This Suunto Core watch is one of the most rugged, unfailing, and successful smartwatches by the company. But first, get to the spoilers. There is no touchscreen display and no built-in GPS. Old-school Construction workers might find this smartwatch best suited for their needs. It has an easier-to-use interface with a nicely labeled and easy-to-understand menu.
The watch may have limited features, but those it is offering are highly dependable. As it has all three essential sensors (altimeter, barometer, compass), it can be called an ABC smartwatch. All of them are highly accurate even when compared to the previous and contemporary models from the company.
For instance, It measures elevation in three-foot or one-meter intervals as compared to the Suunto Pathfinder 20 feet or 5 meters and the Suunto Vector’s 10 feet or 3 meters. Unlike other two models, the company has linked the barometer and altimeter functions linked together.
Another striking feature of the watch is the storm alarm system. The change in barometric pressure is instantly intercepted by the watch and you will get notified of an incoming disaster. Construction workers working in hilly sites or mountainous locations will find the best match in this smartwatch.
Lastly, as the watch meets military standards, there is little room for doubt that it has a rugged construction. The build quality is superb with the freedom to change the band. And also, you won’t have to pay a hefty amount for it.
This smartwatch is great for old-school construction workers, especially those who are posted in hilly areas or mountainous terrain. Apart from being a reliable rugged watch, it is one of the finest ABC smartwatches available now.
- Rugged Design (Mil-standard 810 g durability)
- On-board GPS Support
- Digital compass, altimeter, barometer,
- Activity tracker, Casio moment setter, microphone
- Dual layer LCD structure, original watch face
- Water resistant to 50m
- Up to 25 hours of battery life with GPS
This model by Casio is rugged to its core. It can withstand all weather conditions and nearly all environments. It has military standard shock and damage resistance and is built to last the wear and tear of time and usage.
Out of many useful features, it has built-in GPS as the most prominent and the most useful one. Thanks to color-mapping you can easily navigate to various locations. Also, it measures atmospheric pressure, altitudes, and directions.
The watch is water and dust-resistant, but the upper limit for water is not great. With just 50m, you can swim with this watch but not deep dive or snorkel. The watch shows important notifications and allows you to interact with the important notifications and incoming calls.
The real bummer is the short battery life of the watch which lasts only 25 hours on GPS mode. In standard mode, it can last for 2 days at most. But even that is disappointing for many users as construction workers don’t necessarily have access to electricity on remote sites.
Casio Protrek Smartwatch has features most useful to construction workers or for all outdoor enthusiasts. The watch has a sport design and is suitable for all hand sizes. It has an easy-to-understand interface and allows quick navigation thanks to the ribbed buttons. For those who are looking for something with long battery life, this may not be the right watch.
- Built-in Alexa
- Always on Display
- Battery life of more than 5 days
- Water resistance: Up to 50m
- Extremely light-weight design
- Can store more than 300 songs
- Weather updates, Timers, and Alarms
- Heart Rate, blood pressure sleep tracking
- Call, text, calendar, and smartphone app notifications
- Works with IOS, Android, and Bluetooth headphones
- 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor, altimeter, ambient light sensor, vibration motor, NFC, microphone, and relative SpO2 sensor
Fitbit Versa 2 can be the best fitness tracker for construction workers owing to the fact that it is the single most affordable yet accurate tracker on the market.
Of course, there are many better watches on this list but no one beats the Versa 2 when it comes to lightweight design and battery life. But there is a caveat. The watch relies on your smartphone for GPS tracking. So, if you can afford a better Fitbit Versa 3.
The features that can prove to be most handy for construction workers and engineering professionals are its Amoled Always-on Display, capability to store songs, and call, text, calendar, and smartphone app notifications. The watch has a sturdy metal design and is highly resistant to water and dust.
For fitness-conscious professionals, it has a heart rate tracker and a relative SpO2 tracker. You can count total steps, heart rate, sleep stats, and food and water intake. Plus, Fitbit offers an excellent app to present the tracked data in an intuitive and comprehensive way.
Fitbit Versa series is a top-of-the-line series by Fitbit. Versa 2 is an affordable smartwatch-cum-fitness tracker suitable for outdoor activities due to its long battery life, essential ABC features, and lightweight design. The major lacking is the absence of GPS.
- GPS Smartwatch with Contactless Payments
- More than 15 GPS and indoor sports apps, including yoga, running, swimming, and more
- Up to 7 days in smartwatch mode; 13 hours in GPS mode
- Heart rate, sleep, and stress tracking
- stainless steel casing, screen counteract glare
- Smart notifications allows you to respond to calls and messages
- Swappable band, comfortable design.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 may not be considered a rugged watch but it just passed the barrier to be considered as the best smartwatch for construction workers. Why? It supports standalone GPS, has all three essential ABC sensors, and has an excellent battery life of 7 days.
We would not recommend you to buy this watch if you intend to take it to the harshest of environments. It might take good care of your fitness but doesn’t have the required ruggedness to withstand the wear and tear involved in working in challenging fields.
Of the most prominent features, other than the battery life and GPS sensor, it affords you the luxury of contactless payment. You won’t have to be worried about paying grocery bills, and commutation fares as it would be literally one swipe away.
Moreover, the watch outshines others in fitness tracking. Not only does it track heart rate and sleep, but there is also a sensor in the watch to assess stress levels. Stress tracking is an unlikely yet very useful feature for construction workers as they are subjected to the most brutal of working conditions that take a heavy toll on their physical health.
Garmin Vivo Active 3 is a better watch than the Apple Watch Series 3 we discussed above, and if you don’t own iPhone, we would highly recommend you buy this smartwatch. Cut to the chase, it is the best fitness tracker-cum-smartwatch, more advanced than the Fitbit Versa 2 with a lot of exciting features.
Best Durable Smartwatches For Construction Workers: Buying Guide
There is no such thing as the perfect smartwatch. The best for construction workers is the one that suits the most with their needs and preferences. And yet, there are features which nearly all construction workers would love having in their smartwatches.
As construction projects are often on remote sites, it is highly preferable to have on-board GPS in the smartwatch. Many smartwatch rely on the phones for GPS, and it is perfectly fine for regular users. Construction workers, on the other hand, cannot do away with the built-in GPS as they heavily rely on it.
Some smartwatches have the option to download the whole map and can provide navigation when required. If possible, get your hands on such a gadget, even if it costs you a little extra.
Water and Dust Proof:
Ideally, no smartwatch is completely waterproof, and yet many of them are resistant to water to a practically high degree. There are many standards to gauge the resistance of the smartwatch: IP and ATM rating.
Find the details of the both rating systems here: What is the difference between IP and ATM rating?
As a rule of thumb, opt for IP68 or ATM 5 smartwatches. Both of these can be submerged in water upto 5-10m. So you can swim with it.
Many tactical watches are military standard(MIL-STD-810) tested for shock resistance, but this feature is hardly found in smartwatches. Gorilla glass display and shock resistant polycarbonate case are the features to look for in a durable smartwatch, if you are going to take it to the tough terrains.
In a durable smartwatch, the straps should be easily changeable. To keep you on the safe side, we would recommend high-quality rubber or leather straps that are easily changeable. Metal Straps are itchy and are more prone to damage as they are less flexible.
As construction projects involve working in a high altitude environment, it is highly desirable to have an altimeter in the smartwatch. For surveyors it can be very beneficial to know the exact height from sea level at different points.
A tactile smartwatch will always have a built in digital compass to know the exact direction. While you can use your smartphone for that, the compass in smartwatches come very handy. It will help you stay safe and find your way with ease in any given direction. You must make sure that the digital compass is highly accurate.
The barometer reports the changes in atmospheric pressure. Some people cannot withstand low atmospheric pressure, and of all people, construction workers are highly likely to work in such an environment. So a barometer in the smartwatch can be a great help for workers having health concerns.
Whatever watch you are buying, make sure it is fully compatible with your smartphones as most watches are usually an extension of phones. Apple smartwatches, for obvious reasons, is compatible with Iphones. Whereas, smartwatches by Samsung and Garmin are compatible with both IOS and Android Platform. However, you cannot get the best out of them on IOS devices.
The best smartwatch can only be the one that fulfills all your needs, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. While looking for a smartwatch, no matter what is your profession, you must first specify your needs. The most common requirements are as follow:
Track Health And Fitness Activities:
We all have people in our acquaintance who are obsessed about their fitness. If you are one of them, never miss these features in a smartwatch: heart rate monitor, step counter, sleep tracker, and more.
You won’t have to look hard for it. Nearly all smartwatches these days have notification alert features. The next level is how it allows users to interact with it. A few allows you to reply to the messages and even directly accept calls provided that they are within the wireless range of your smartphone
Store Music and Download Apps:
Smart Watches with internal storage are the best for music lovers as it allows them to store songs and download exciting apps. However, both these features are not necessarily found in a single smartwatch. Internal storage is common while the capability to download apps is rare.
Contactless payment can make your life as a professional a lot easier. You won’t have to worry about paying utility bills, groceries, and bus tickets as the NFC (Near Field Communication) would make it a seamless task. There are a few things that can compete with watches with contactless payment when it comes to value addition.
Interface and display feature:
For the most part, rugged smartwatches for construction workers have a clunky design, but the feature we cannot ignore is the display of the watch. It should ideally be touchscreen, OLED and chemically fortified to give a seamless performance in all circumstances.
We intend to get you the best smartwatches for construction workers, and we highly hope that you have found one the most suitable for your needs. If not, we recommend growing through the buying guide and making a checklist of all the necessary features.
Quick recap: people in the construction industry are the most vulnerable to hazards and so does their gear. It is wise to invest in a rugged smartwatch than to buy a shiny, poppy smartwatch as the latter won’t do you any good in tough terrain.
The most essential features to look for in a smartwatch for construction workers include long battery life, GPS tracker, ABC sensor (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), Water resistance, and solid build quality. Bells and whistles can be contactless payment, music storage, and changeable straps.
Fitness tracking is not the priority here, but if the smartwatch is offering it, make sure it lives up to the promise.
For buyers on an extremely tight budget, we would recommend Garmin Instinct 2, which is an excellent watch at an affordable price point. For others who can afford it, Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire is the smartwatch that you should get your hands on.
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