Image 1 of 21
Don't take chances
The average cost of a smartphone in the US is more than $500–that’s a lot to pay for something so small, fragile, and easily droppable. It doesn’t help that manufacturers seem to be falling over themselves to make devices more fragile and easy to destroy.
I’ll be the first one to admit I hate phone cases: They take away from the aesthetic quality manufacturers work hard on and turn a sleek device into an unsightly lump.
Until Samsung, Apple, and the rest of their ilk get it together and stop making phones out of eggshells we’ll all just have to cope. Here are a few popular choices for protecting that expensive investment.
Spigen Neo Hybrid case
The Spigen Neo Hybrid is called such because it contains both rubber and a separate hard plastic bumper. I have one on my Galaxy S7 and am quite pleased with it.
The Neo Hybrid is available for a variety of phones. It’s $24.99 on Spigen’s website.
Spigen Liquid Crystal
Protection and aesthetics don’t have to be a tradeoff with the Liquid Crystal case. It’s a thick, grippy rubber that’s also clear, so your phone will shine through while getting the added benefit of impact absorption.
The Spigen Liquid Crystal case is available for most smartphones and costs $14.99.
Spigen Tough Armor
The Tough Armor case is a middle ground between Spigen’s other two popular cases, the Neo Hybrid and Liquid Crystal. It’s made of soft rubber and has a hard piece too, but instead of being a bumper it sits on the center back of the phone.
Spigen Tough Armor is $34.99 on Spigen’s site.
Spigen Ultra Hybrid
If the Ultra Hybrid looks just like the Liquid Crystal that’s understandable: Both are clear plastic cases. The Ultra Hybrid, however, isn’t entirely soft–the backing is made of hard plastic to give the case a bit more rigidity.
It costs $24.99 on Spigen’s site.
Lifeproof FRE series
Lifeproof’s FRE series cases aren’t cheap, but they do offer supposed total protection: Lifeproof markets them as being waterproof to 2 meters, drop proof to 2 meters, and dust/dirt proof.
Pick one up from Lifeproof’s site for $89.99 or go to Amazon and pay around 50% less (prices vary depending on the phone’s model).
Lifeproof NUUD series
The oh-so-subtly named NUUD series by Lifeproof offer the same basic protection as the FRE cases but lack a screen cover. NUUDs make up for it by reportedly forming a water and dust-proof seal at the edge of the screen.
You can only get NUUD cases for iPhones and iPads. The iPhone 7 case costs $99.99, but (yet again) they’re much cheaper on Amazon.
Lifeproof FRE Power
It’s only available for the iPhone 6 plus series, but the FRE Power is a great case if you still own last generation’s device.
The FRE Power is totally enclosed, like the FRE series, but with the added benefit of a 2,600 mAh battery that is supposed to double battery life. If spending $104.99 on a phone case isn’t a deal breaker for you the FRE Power is worth checking out.
Otterbox Defender series
Otterbox has long been one of the most well known names in smartphone protection with cases like the Defender series. These cases aren’t waterproof, but they do protect against dust and drops.
Prices vary based on phone model.
Otterbox Commuter series
The Commuter is a bit thinner than the Defender, but it still offers a lot of protection. It’s part rubber, part hard plastic, and it also features a screen protector to help prevent scratches.
Prices vary based on phone model.
Otterbox Strada series
Strada cases are for those a bit more concerned with style: They’re leather, come in several colors, and have a folio design that covers the screen when not in use. They also come with a glass screen protector so you can double up on safety.
The Otterbox Strada series protects against drops as well, and it’s pretty reasonably priced to boot–just $49.95 for newer generation devices.
Otterbox Symmetry series
The single piece pop-on-pop-off Symmetry cases are designed to offer protection with easy installation and a variety of custom looks. If you want to choose from cases that “express your personality” the Otterbox Symmetry series is worth a look.
Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro
Supcase’s entire line of smartphone protection, called Unicorn Beetle, is designed to offer solid protection at less cost than other manufacturers. The UB Pro is a beast of a case–it has port covers, a screen protector, and even a belt clip holster if you’re still into that sort of thing.
Supcase Unicorn Beetle Style
The UB Style is a thin, clear case with a rubber bumper. It won’t give you as much protection as the UB Pro or other beefy cases but it does let you keep the slim look of your device without sacrificing protection.
It’s also super cheap–just $15.99.
Supcase Unicorn Beetle Clear
The UB Clear is pretty much the same as the Style, only clear.
Speck Presidio Grip
The Presidio Grip is a hard plastic case with specialized rubber grips on the outside to make it easier to hold. But it’s not regular rubber: It’s special “IMPACTIUM” rubber that is designed to disperse impact better than typical phone case materials.
Whether IMPACTIUM works or not is for you to find out, but if you don’t mind spending a few extra bucks for what Speck says is additional protection check out the Presidio Grip.
Speck Presidio Clear
The Presidio Clear series is a slim, transparent case with drop protection up to eight feet. It’s made of the same IMPACTIUM the harder Grip cases are, but without the opaque, rigid plastic that those cases have.
The basic Presidio cases have the same design as the Presidio Grip: Hard plastic exterior with soft IMPACTIUM internals. The only difference is the lack of external grips.
Parallax cases by Caseology feature a super-grippy back piece and a hard plastic bezel for added strength. They’re also quite slim, giving you protection without lots of extra bulk.
Caseology Vault II
The Vault II series cases are completely soft–there’s no hard plastic bezel to add extra protection or keep the phone more securely in place. That doesn’t mean they won’t offer great protection–It’s all about how hard you think you’ll be on your phone.
The Caseology Coastline series is the most minimal offering from Caseology. They’re clear, and while they have a back panel the real protection is in the bezel bumper. If you want one of these you’d better have a Galaxy S8, S8+, iPhone 7 or 7+–those are the only devices in this series.