Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by Editorial Team
Construction workers work in one of the most challenging environments. They carry out projects in accident-prone, high altitude, or remote areas. The daily grind as a part of the job takes a heavy toll on their life and everything that is in it. A smartwatch, therefore, is an unseemly gadget in such a taxing environment given the delicate nature of the electronic device.
Before the advent of rugged smartwatches, owning a smartwatch while being in a tough profession like construction was a distant idea. Early smartwatches were unable to withstand the wear and tear of time and use, especially the one involved in the construction industry. Nearly all of them failed the required test of durability and robustness.
But it all changed, when companies put their focus and resources on building tactile or military smartwatches. A race to design all-weather smartwatches ensued between brand leaders. Garmin, Suunto and Timex came up with several extraordinary smartwatches that can perform without failing in demanding conditions.
Some of these smartwatches have features that can be extremely useful in the construction industry like weather updates, humidity and temperature level, onboard GPS, barometer and altimeter. This alongwith the rugged nature of the smartwatches compelled us to dedicate an article to the best smartwatch for construction workers.
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.
Review: Top Smartwatches For Construction Workers
- 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.
- Thermometer, Altimeter, and Barometer
- Comfortable light-weight design
- Storm Alarm
- Changeable straps
- Replaceable Cell
- Digital Compass
This smartwatch is great for old-school construction workers, especially those who are posted in hilly areas or mountainous terrain. Apart from a reliable rugged watch, it is one of the finest ABC smartwatches available till now.
- Military standard Build Quality
- Multisports features: Running, swimming, and cycling
- 10 Atm rated (Best for diving)
- On-board GPS
- Altimeter, Barometer, and Digital Compass
- 40 hours of battery life
- Lightweight design, breathable, interchangeable strap
- Compatible with both IOS and Android
- User-friendly Interface, Quick Navigation
- Easy-to-read display (ingenious color contrast)
- Allows you to respond to important notifications and calls
Garmin is one of the brand leaders, and the Fenix series by the company has been the most popular outdoor watch by the company. But it’s expensive. Fenix is made for people with deep pockets. Enter Garmin Instinct. It is a versatile watch with many features to woo smartwatch enthusiasts.
The above-mentioned features will give you a better idea of the watch. Equipping all these features at such an affordable price point is striking. Especially the fact that it can be submerged in water up to 100 m. To the surprise of many, you can read email and respond to messages while deep down in the water.
The second most striking feature, and the reason for recommending it to construction workers, is the tough construction of the smartwatch. Its military standard build quality is laudable. You can take the watch in an active battle zone and it won’t fail you.
Lastly, despite its rugged construction, the watch isn’t chunky and looks good on the wrist. It is light-weight and very comfortable.
- Robust construction
- Waterproof up to 10ATM (100m)
- Versatile features
- Compatible with both Android and iOS devices
- 16 hours of battery life in GPS mode
- Jack of all trades, master of none
Construction laborers would find the toughest smartwatch in Garmin Instinct. Versatile to
its core, this smartwatch has something to offer to all kinds of users. It is a fitness tracker, rugged watch, ABC tracker all in a single smartwatch.
- 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
- On-board GPS
- ABC watch (Altimeter, barometer, compass)
- Solid Construction
- Color Mapping
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 easy-to-understand interface and allows quick navigation thanks to the ribbed buttons. Those who are looking for something for a long battery-life, this may not be the right watch.
Fitbit Versa 2: Best Fitbit For Construction Workers
- Built-in Alexa
- Always on Display
- Battery life 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 in the market.
Of course, there are many better watches in this list but no one beats the Versa 2 when it comes to light-weight design and battery life. But there is a caveat. The watch relies on your smartphone for GPS tracking. So, if you can afford better Fitbit Versa 3.
The features that can prove to be most handy for construction workers and engineering professionals is 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 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
- Lightweight design
- Solid Battery performance
- Always on Amoled Display
- Changeable Straps
- Highly Affordable
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 and allows you to respond to the calls and messages
- Swappable band, comfortable design.
Garmin Vivoactive 3 may not be considered as the 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 a 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 fare 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, there is a sensor in the watch to assess stress stress level. Stress tracking is an unlikely yet very useful feature for construction workers as they are subjected to the most brutals of working conditions that take a heavy toll on their physical health.
- Attractive Durable Wearable
- Tracks a range of activities
- Reliable GPS and heart-rate tracker
- IOS users cannot respond to messages
- Short battery life when used in GPS mode
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 to fitbit Versa 2 with a lot of exciting features.
- On-board GPS
- Retina Display
- Stores music podcast and audiobooks
- Thick Aluminum Casing
- Multiple Sports and fitness tracking modes
- Up-to 18 hours battery life
- Optical heart rate sensor
- Water resistant up-to 50m in water
The reason that we included this watch on our list of the best smartwatches for construction workers is not its rugged nature or top-of-the-line features. It’s the affordable price and compatibility with IOS. If you can afford more, we would recommend you Apple watch Series 6 especially in stainless steel casing.
Fortunately, this watch has an on-board GPS. So you can better navigate your way on remote sites. The real bummer is the short battery life, so you won’t take it with you on hiking trips and outdoor adventures.
Another major disappointment is the lack of features, especially the fitness and activity trackers. The features are extremely limited.
The feature worth appreciating is the retina-display of the watch. The watch design is attractive enough to get you noticed, while this has been true of all Apple products.
We would recommend this watch only for those workers who are not into heavy-duty tasks, and their job doesn’t necessarily involve regular presence on the site. Honestly speaking, this watch might not be able to survive even a week in the field.
- Thick casing
- On-board GPS
- Stylish Design
- Short battery life
- Limited Features
Apple watch series doesn’t have a single watch which they can claim to be rugged and therefore suitable for outdoor activities. So why spend on expensive models? Watch series 3 is an excellent watch with onboard GPS and thick casing, but above all, it is highly affordable and well within the budget of many construction workers.
- Loads of sensors and tracking mode
- Shock, water, and temperature resistant (10 ATM Rated)
- Offers full-color TOPO U.S. mapping
- Compatible with both Android and IOS
- GPS, Heart rate monitor, Altimeter,
- Barometer, Compass
- The chunky, rugged, and metallic build
- Bluetooth and Wifi Enabled
Fenix 5X is a big watch that makes a big promise. It is a multisports-companion which modes ranging from running to swimming. When compared head to head, it is much better, much faster, and equally more expensive than Garmin Instinct we reviewed above.
On-board GPS, check; Altimeter, barometer, and an advanced compass checked; solid construction, checked; a long battery life, storm alarm and phone notifications, checked, checked and checked; it has nearly everything you can expect from a premium smartwatch. Fenix 5X may disappoint you but lack of features would never be the reason.
Also, this watch is one hell of a fitness tracker. It can track heart rate, blood pressure and several other metrics. The complementary App is great but you won’t be able to enjoy all the features in IOS. The watch works both with IOS and Android.
The only major drawback is the price point which is well beyond the reach of average consumers. Though a well-rounded watch, it may not still be the best watch for runners. To cut a long story short, it is a match made in haven for outdoor fans and adventurers.
- Onboard maps and GPS
- Multi-sport Mode
- Attractive and rugged design
- 16 GB storage capacity
- Shock and water-resistant
This near $500 watch is worth it only if you are a fitness or outdoor enthusiast. The watch is designed primarily for outdoor activities and adventures, and who knows better the grind involved in outdoor activities than construction workers. If it doesn’t break the bank, buy this one. You will never regret it.
We intend to get you the best smartwatches for construction workers, and we highly hope that you have found one the most suitable to 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, pompy smartwatch as the latter won’t do you any good in tough terrain.
The most essential features to look in a smartwatch for construction workers include a long battery life, GPS tracker, ABC sensor (Altimeter, Barometer, Compass), Water resistance, and a 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 3, which is an excellent watch at an affordable price point. Others who can afford, Garmin Fenix 5X Sapphire is the smartwatch that you should get your hands on.
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