Apple’s iPhone is a beautiful device, but beauty can often be fragile. If you work outside in all weathers, you like to go adventuring, or maybe you just drop your iPhone a lot, you should definitely think about protection. When the going gets tough, the smart buy a rugged iPhone case that can take the knocks. We’ve done the hard work for you and gathered together a list of the toughest options. These are the best protective iPhone cases around.
Speck Presidio Grip Case
This is one of our favorite iPhone cases, period, but it’s also pretty rugged. It can withstand drops up to 13 feet and is capable of handling falls and bumps thanks to the special Impactium interior that’s designed to compress and disperse shocks. A matte finish enables the case to resist scratches, while the raised rubber ridges on top of the hard shell provide additional grip, (hence the name). A raised bezel will keep the screen in perfect condition when face down, cutouts are precise, and the button covers work well. There’s also an antimicrobial treatment on this case to prevent bacteria. This isn’t the most protective case Speck currently offers, that would probably be the Presidio Sport, which offers 15-foot drop protection, but we think the enhanced grip this case provides makes it a better pick, after all the best drop protection is not to drop your iPhone in the first place.
Urban Armor Gear Monarch Case
You can tell this case is tough just by looking at it. UAG’s wares look like something a space marine would carry, but they’re actually crafted from lightweight plastics, not metal. There are rubber enhancements on the corners to absorb impact shock, and also rubber feet to prevent your iPhone from slipping off surfaces. The oversized button covers are easy to find and make the buttons easy to press — even if you have wet or dirty hands. This case also exceeds military drop-test standards — it can withstand drops of 8 feet 26 times with no damage and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
Incipio Aerolite Case
With a huge range of different options, Incipio puts a lot into making cases, and this is one of its most protective offerings. This case combines a clear or frosted, scratch-resistant, hard outer shell fused to a flexible, ribbed interior of Incipio’s special FortiCore material which is designed to absorb and disperse shock impact to keep your iPhone safe. This case can handle falls of up to 11 feet. Built-in openings offer easy access to your phone’s ports and camera, the button covers work well, and the case leaves the front of your phone uncovered and fully accessible. You might want to pair this rugged case with a screen protector, however, if you want complete protection.
Pelican Shield Case
A well-known name when it comes to protective cases for all sorts of equipment, Pelican also offers a really tough case for the iPhone. The Shield case combines five protective layers and even includes genuine Kevlar-brand fibers. The result is a case that far exceeds military standards. Tested from heights of up to 12 feet, this case will survive multiple drops. The frame latches together in several places to hold your iPhone 11 Pro securely in place, and there are port and switch covers to keep dirt out. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee. It is very bulky, but if you need serious drop protection, this case will deliver.
Tech21 Evo Check Case
Rugged iPhone cases can be expensive, but sometimes they’re worth it. We’ve seen firsthand how Tech21 tests rugged cases and its full range offers solid drop protection for your iPhone. Just like the other Tech21 iPhone X cases in the range, the Evo Check has been drop tested from 10 feet, which is higher than the typical height of a smartphone fall. The protection extends around the entirety of the case, with three layers of protection in the bumper to take the sting out of any impact. This case is also relatively light, thin, comfortable to hold, and there’s even built-in antimicrobial protection to keep things nice and hygienic. It has built-in button covers, and generous cutouts for the camera, port, and switch.
Otterbox Defender Series Pro Case
Many people consider Otterbox to be the gold standard when it comes to rugged protection for your iPhone, and the Defender Series Pro is the toughest case it offers. It boasts a layered design with a durable synthetic rubber slipcover surrounded by a polycarbonate shell with clean lines that enhance grip. Older versions of this case featured a built-in screen protector, but the iPhone 11 Pro version is “screenless” though you can combine it with a separate screen protector. You’ll also find covers to keep lint and dirt out of your ports and a holster with a belt clip that can double as a stand. The button covers are well defined and make the buttons easy to press. Otterbox puts these cases through 24 different tests, for a total of 238 hours of testing, so you can be confident about the drop protection. This case also offers OtterArmor Microbial Defense to guard against germs.
Case-Mate Tough Groove Case
This eye-catching clear case has an iridescent finish that changes depending on the light and the color of the device inside. The hard, grooved back and flexible sides offer great grip, but if your iPhone should slip from your grasp there’s no need to worry because this case offers drop protection up to 10 feet. There’s an anti-scratch coating on the back to keep it looking good and wireless charging works just fine with the case on. Case-Mate also offers a lifetime warranty.
Mous Contour Case
A lot of case manufacturers struggle to make rugged cases that look attractive, but not Mous. The new Contour line with its textured leather back is truly stylish, the cut is distinctive and original, and Mous has achieved this without comprising in any way on the protection it affords. A combination of polycarbonate and TPU provides seriously strong drop protection, a soft microfiber lining cushions your iPhone inside, and a beveled lip extends to safeguard the screen. There are minimal button covers, and you’ll find accurate, angled openings for the port, speakers, camera, and switch. The leather back is treated to make it durable and stain-resistant and it comes in various colors, though we love the speckled black and white finish best of all.
Lifeproof Frē Case
The iPhone 11 Pro is Apple’s most water-resistant phone yet, but that doesn’t mean you want to expose it to the elements. If you need complete coverage, then this Lifeproof case is worth a look. It scores an IP68 rating, which means it can be submerged in water up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) deep for up to one hour without leaking. This case is also tough, meeting military drop-test standard 810G-516.6, so your phone should also be unscathed after falls from as high as 6.6 feet. Obviously, you get complete coverage with this case, and it features a built-in screen cover, so no part of your iPhone is exposed to the elements. It’s ideal for skiing, and other adventures in harsh or wet conditions.
Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro Case
Rugged cases can be expensive, but Supcase’s Unicorn Beetle is surprisingly affordable. Not only does it employ a classic combination of hard polycarbonate and shock-absorbent TPU, but it also sports a built-in screen protector and port covers. Every angle of your iPhone 11 Pro will be covered with this case, and it comes with a holster and rotating belt clip. The button covers are fine and the cutouts are accurate, but the screen protector is a bit of a weak point as it doesn’t look or feel great.
Griffin Survivor Extreme Case
Here’s a tough, two-piece case that can accompany you on outdoor adventures and keep your iPhone safe. It has been drop tested at up to 15 feet onto concrete, and it keeps your phone safely cushioned inside. The FortiCore material employed here is adept at dispersing impact shock. You’ll also find button and port covers, so there’s no chance for dust, rain, mud, or snow to get in and cause any damage. Despite the chunky, rugged protection offered here, you’ll find that wireless charging still works with the case on. If drop damage is your main concern, they don’t come much tougher than this.
Spigen Tough Armor Case
This is a classic dual-layer case with a flexible TPU shell and a hard polycarbonate cover that goes over the top of it. There’s also some strategically placed impact foam inside to take the sting out of any collision or fall. Drop protection is solid from at least 4 feet, and there are air pockets inside to help dissipate impact shock. You’ll also find button covers, accurate openings, and a handy pop-out kickstand on the back. There is a very slight raised lip around the screen, but you may want to pair this with a screen protector for real peace of mind.
RhinoShield SolidSuit Case
This molded shell case is a very tight fit indeed, but it offers excellent protection. The frame extends back and front and protects your iPhone from drops of up to 11 feet. For most falls and bumps, this case will be enough, but there’s always a chance you’re unlucky with the way it lands, so consider pairing it with a screen protector. The bumper is smooth and curved, but easy to grip, and you can choose from a variety of different finishes for the back, including carbon fiber, leather, wood, brushed steel, or a wide range of different artworks. You can also mix and match different button colors. The fit is perfect, but it can be a struggle to remove this case.
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