Our electronics are exposed to a variety of dangers in everyday life. The hazards to our gadgets are everywhere, from enticing toilet basins and sticky-fingered youngsters to dust, grime, and unpredictable weather. And then there’s the hazard we all carry with us: our own clumsiness.
No matter what the occasion or destination, we always have our cellphones by our sides or in our hands, so they’re frequently in the firing line. Scratches and scrapes, crashing on the ground, wetness, and the soul-eroding plop that comes with being dropped into a toilet are all challenges they face.
A modern iPhone model replacement can easily cost over $1000, and even a basic screen repair can cost hundreds of dollars. Aside from the cost, our phones include some of our most unforgettable moments, which you don’t want to lose.
Buying an iPhone in another nation might be a significant hassle depending on where you are in the world when you need to replace it. All of this sounds like something you’d rather avoid, right? That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the strongest iPhone covers available, so you can keep your phone safe from all of life’s catastrophes.
What to Look For in a Protective iPhone Case
Choosing the finest iPhone case comes down to personal style and usage. What are your plans for your phone? Will you be utilizing it in physically demanding situations or just around the house? Are you going to use it near water? How clumsy do you think you are?
Consider the balance between how robust an iPhone cover needs to be to endure your activities and the extra size and weight it will add to your phone when selecting one. Phones are getting bigger and bulkier all the time (the iPhone 12 Pro Max, for example, measures 6.3 by 3.1 inches), and any durable case will simply add to that, but some cases are significantly larger than others.
The impact of particularly heavy-duty cases on things like touchscreen and button sensitivity, speaker and microphone clarity, and port accessibility is also something to consider. Some cases make it difficult to push the iPhone’s side buttons, while others muffle your audio with a thick layer of plastic.
Anyone who uses a supplemental screen protector will most likely impact the touchscreen’s accuracy. Some of this is unavoidable, but again, certain circumstances handle it better than others. The terms “drop proof” and “shockproof” are frequently used in promotional materials and reviews for protective cases, but because they don’t have a defined meaning, it’s worth delving further.
Instead of marketing fluff, look for accepted testing standards and explicit statements concerning drop heights and durability, but keep in mind that there is no such thing as an indestructible phone case (or phone, for that matter!)
It’s vital to remember that phone case warranties only cover damage or failure of the case, not the device within. You’ll still be responsible for the repair bill if the case is drop-proof to 20 feet and you drop your phone from 15 feet only to discover it didn’t survive the fall. Catalyst’s waterproof case (seen below) comes with a one-year manufacturing warranty, but it’s only for the cover, not your phone.
“In no event will Labworks or its affiliates be responsible for any other product, including your electronic devices,” the warranty states. Other businesses have rules that are comparable to ours. Similarly, your Apple warranty may cover phone damages, but not if the harm is caused by water.
Despite Apple’s heavy promotion of recent iPhone models’ water resistance, liquid damage is not covered under warranty. If you push the limitations too far, you’ll end up with a soggy, shattered phone and an exorbitant repair bill. To cut a long tale short, you’re ultimately liable for what’s inside your case, no matter how difficult it is.
1. Best For Big Drops: Gear4 Platoon
Check out Gear4’s Platoon case if you’re worried about your phone surviving a major fall. It’s one of the toughest iPhone covers we’ve seen, promising to protect your phone from falls of up to 20 feet (6 meters). That’s about the size of a typical second-story window. D3O, the same material used by the military and professional sports for helmets, gloves, and other protective gear, is used to make the case.
This level of protection is only available in black, but Gear4 has a variety of different versions in a variety of colours and textures if you want to go even farther. While these bright cases don’t provide the same level of protection as the Platoon case, their maximum height of 13 feet (4 metres) is still impressive.
Platoon cases feature a large “lip” around the screen to keep it from touching the ground, but like many other robust cases on the market today, you’ll want to buy a screen protector separately to defend against minor scratches. Overall, the Gear4 Platoon is a fantastic option to brands like Otterbox (below) if you’re looking for high levels of drop protection in a phone case at a fraction of the price.
- Drop-resistant up to 20 feet
- Textured for grip
- Sealed access to buttons and ports
- Compatible with wireless charging
- Comes with optional holster/phone stand
- Extremely affordable for the protection it offers
- Doesn’t come with a screen protector
- Only available in black
- May be too bulky for some people
Gear4 Platoon cases are available on Amazon for most recent models. The Platoon is the best protective case for the iPhone 11, iPhone XR/XS, and iPhone XS Max, however it isn’t yet available for the iPhone 12. The regular, Pro, Pro Max, and Mini versions of the Battersea model all offer identical (16 feet/5m) levels of drop protection.
2. Best for Water Protection: Catalyst
Waterproof cases are no longer as popular as they once were. iPhone models are becoming better at keeping water out all of the time, yet the exact amount of water that is too much is always a point of contention. True waterproofing (indefinite submersion) is nearly impossible to achieve in a consumer product, therefore we’re really talking about water resistance here.
The iPhone XR, for example, has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, whereas the iPhone XS, 11, and 12 have an IP68 rating. The iPhone XS can be submerged in 6.6 feet (2 metres) of water for up to 30 minutes, according to Apple, while the iPhone 12 range can handle three times as much (20 foot/6m).
Owners of iPhones have questioned how accurate that guarantee is, and Apple acknowledges that water resistance might deteriorate over time. “Splash, water, and dust resistance are not permanent properties, and resistance may decline as a result of natural wear,” reads the fine print from Apple.
Catalyst cases are fully sealed and submersible, rated to IP68 standard, and waterproof to 33 feet, making them ideal for severe phone protection (10 meters). In addition to keeping liquid out, the cases can withstand fall of up to 6.6 feet (2 metres), and your camera lens is totally covered, unlike other robust cases.
There’s no need to buy a separate screen protector because the display is completely covered inside the casing. On the negative side, this can result in a loss of touch sensitivity. All modern iPhone models have cases available.
Make sure you buy directly from Catalyst or other authorised sellers, as the one-year manufacturing warranty may not apply if you don’t buy from an approved retailer. “No case is indestructible,” they add, adding, “and WE DO NOT WARRANT that this Catalyst product case will protect your smartphone in all circumstances.”
- Waterproof to 33 feet (10 meters)
- Drop-resistant up to 6.6 feet (2 meters)
- Protected camera lens
- Some color variations available
- No need to buy an additional screen protector
- One-year manufacturing warranty
- Covered screen can lack touch sensitivity
3. Best for Slim Design: OtterBox Defender or Pursuit
The OtterBox Defender and Pursuit are two of the most durable iPhone cases available while still maintaining a compact profile. The Pursuit case, in particular, is designed to be as light as possible. OtterBox hasn’t created a Pursuit case for the latest iPhone models, despite previous versions being remarkable and well-liked by users.
The OtterBox Defender case is a little bigger, but it’s still quite small. It also has a holster attachment that you can connect to the rear of your phone anytime you need it. The holster is a swivelling belt clip that also serves as a kickstand. Holsters, while not the most fashionable solution, are useful for individuals who need rapid access to their phones while on the road.
Consider circumstances when you need to keep your phone safe yet need to be able to access it quickly, such as photographing nature sightings on a remote trip. Both cases are made by a business that gives a limited lifetime warranty and has a lengthy history of creating strong iPhone cases. They’re wireless charging compliant, however they don’t come with a screen protector, so you’ll have to buy one individually.
- Slim design
- Port covers prevent dirt and dust
- Includes belt clip/kickstand
- Compatible with wireless charging
- OtterBox limited lifetime warranty
- Pursuit is not available for more recent models
- Does not come with glass screen protector
- More expensive than other options
4. Best for Value: Spigen Tough Armor
Spigen’s Tough Armor series is hard to beat if you need a tough iPhone cover that won’t break the budget. The Tough Armor is the best of the lot for protection, and the firm is known for manufacturing solid, inexpensive phone cases (we’ve used several over the years). Spigen introduced the first Tough Armor cases a decade ago and has continued to improve the design since then.
It’s normally available in black and a modest variety of additional colours for all recent iPhone models. A flexible TPU interior integrated with “Extreme Impact Foam” and a strong polycarbonate outer layer provide two layers of drop protection. Both layers, albeit in slightly different ways, are designed to relieve the shock of a fall.
It’s fairly heavy, as is typical with tough cases, though it’s not the heaviest we’ve seen.
The Tough Armor, according to Spigen, passes the MIL-STD 810G-516.6 drop test, which entails the case being dropped 26 times in various orientations onto two-inch plywood from a height of four feet. Because there is no independent testing authority for this commonly used test, there is controversy concerning its accuracy and merits.
Even so, it gives you some peace of mind that your iPhone will survive a fall without needing to be repaired right away. The Tough Armor has a built-in kickstand that allows you to hold your phone up in landscape mode for viewing movies, making calls, or whatever else you want to do with it.
There is no additional waterproofing because the ports aren’t protected. In such case, you’ll have to rely on whatever your iPhone model has to provide. However, for the money, you get a reputable brand, adequate protection, and a bonus kickstand. There isn’t much more we can ask for.
iPhones are pricey, and there are a plethora of ways to ruin them. Invest in the perfect case for you so you can feel safe wherever life takes you, whether it’s on a wild adventure or just to the restroom.