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The best protective iPhone cases for 2022

iPhones are pretty durable, but dropping yours from a high point or onto its screen could lead to a costly repair or replacement — and with the latest iPhones coming in at around $1,000, it’s safe to say replacing your device could hurt your bank balance.

Rather than risk damage to your phone, why not take some preemptive action and select a case that will keep your iPhone safe? While some cases are purely aesthetically pleasing, others are designed to be durable, protecting your phone from dents, scratches, and cracks. We’ve selected some of the best cases around if you’re looking for superior protection for your iPhone — and they’re available in a large range of designs and types.

Best rugged cases

It’s what you’re here for. While all of the cases in this round-up are strong, these are the strongest, most rugged cases around and the best choice if you expect your phone to take a tumble.

Otterbox Commuter Series Antimicrobial Case

OtterBox Commuter Series Antimicrobial Case in blue for the iPhone 13.

Many people consider Otterbox to be the gold standard when it comes to rugged protection for your iPhone, and the Commuter Series is one of the best it offers. This case is made from 35% recycled plastic and boasts a layered design with a durable synthetic rubber slipcover surrounded by a polycarbonate shell with clean lines that enhance grip. This enables it to provide three times as much drop protection as the MIL-STD-810G 516.6 military standard, so you’d be hard-pressed to find a more durable case. There’s also a silver-based antimicrobial coating that will reduce bacteria growth, helping to keep your phone and your hands clean (although it won’t reduce bacteria growth on the iPhone’s screen). It’s compatible with the Apple MagSafe charger, too. The Commuter Series comes in blue, black, pink “(Maven Way”), and teal (“Riveting Way”).

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Scooch Wingman Case

Scooch Wingman Case in Carbon Fiber for the iPhone 13, showing the front, rear, and kickstand functions.

What’s a better rugged case than the one you’re less likely to drop? Scooch’s Wingman isn’t just a protective case that meets military protection standards, it also comes with Scooch’s unique kickstand. When folded, it sits flush with the case’s back, but when it’s unfurled, it can be used as a kickstand, a finger grip, and even as a car vent mount. This level of utility isn’t common in rugged cases, and it’s great to see a company try something so different. It’s an attractive enough case, too, and we’ve picked the Carbon Fiber variant, but you can also choose from six other designs.

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Urban Armor Gear Monarch Case

Urban Armor Gear Monarch Case for iPhone 13 in Crimson, showing the front and rear of the case.

Rugged protection doesn’t always have to look tough, but no one dares to tell Urban Armor Gear that. UAG’s cases look like something a space marine would use, and there’s no doubt from looking at the Monarch case that it’s tough. It’s made with five layers of protection, including rubber feet that stop your iPhone from slipping from surfaces, plus airbags in each corner to dull the shocks from impacts and drops. While the outer frame may look like metal, it’s actually lightweight plastic. But that little deception doesn’t reduce the protection, and UAG claims the Monarch case can withstand drops of eight feet up to 26 times with no damage — and it comes with a 10-year limited warranty if it doesn’t perform to standard. It comes in black, red, or a carbon fiber design.

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Speck Presidio2 Grip Case

Speck Presidio2 Grip Case in black for the iPhone 13, showing the front and rear of the case.

One of our favorite iPhone cases by any measure, the Speck Presidio2 Grip is also pretty rugged. Speck claims it’s 20% thinner than the original Presidio Grip and can withstand drops up to 13 feet. It’s also capable of handling falls and bumps thanks to Armor Cloud technology that works like an airbag to absorb shock and protect your phone. A soft-touch finish enables the case to resist scratches, while the raised rubber ridges on top of the case 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 a Microban antimicrobial treatment on this case to prevent any bacteria from building up. This isn’t strictly the most protective case Speck 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 to not drop your iPhone in the first place.

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Survivor All-Terrain Earth Case

Survivor All-Terrain Earth Case for iPhone 13 in black and dark green, showing the front and back of the case.

This super-tough case from Survivor is designed to survive anything life throws at you. If drop damage is your main concern, this case meets military standards while offering up to 20 feet of drop protection. Its four layers of protection are constructed from both hard and soft bio-resins, ensuring the case is Survivor’s most protective — and most sustainable — yet. It boasts textured grips on the sides and back to make it less likely you’ll drop your phone, and if you do drop it, parametric shock-absorbing technology ensures it stays safe. This case is scratch- and discoloration-resistant, has a raised bezel to protect your screen and camera, and has added microbial defense, too. All this in a slim, lightweight hard shell that comes in black, black and green, or black and blue. It even ships in recycled packaging.

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Supcase Unicorn Beetle Pro Series Case

Supcase Unicorn Beetle Series Pro Case in Cerulean for the iPhone 13, showing the front and back of the case.

Fancy a case that looks like it’s straight out of Black Mirror, and offers drop protection of up to 20 feet? This case from Supcase ticks both boxes, and with its dual-layer construction, rubberized grip, and shockproof TPU bumper, it offers serious protection for your iPhone. The built-in screen protector ensures 360-degree protection, so no more smashed screens should you drop your phone. It’s compatible with Apple MagSafe and most other wireless chargers and features a handy built-in kickstand — there’s even a rotatable holster clip, so you don’t need to sling your phone in your bag or pocket. We’d opt for the eye-catching Cerulean version (pictured), but this case also comes in black or red.

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Best waterproof cases

The newest iPhones all come with water resistance to some degree, but if you’re going to be taking a $1,000 device for a dip, doubling up is worthwhile. Here are some of the best waterproof iPhone cases out there.

LifeProof FRĒ Case

LifeProof FRĒ Case for iPhone 13 in black, showing the front and rear of the case.

Waterproof to a depth of two meters (about 6.6 feet) for up to an hour, this LifeProof case is also snow-proof, dirt-proof, and drop-proof. Made using 60% recycled plastic, it boasts a maximum drop height of two meters, meaning you can probably drop it out of a small tree and it will keep your iPhone in one piece. As a waterproof case, it’s completely sealed from front to back to keep out water, yet it has a maximum thickness of only 14.92mm (just over half an inch), so it won’t be too bulky. It also works with Apple’s MagSafe charger and with Qi wireless charging, so you can keep it on pretty much all the time. Pick it up in black, blue, or purple.

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Spidercase Waterproof Case

Spidercase Waterproof Case for iPhone 13, showing the front and rear of the case.

This is a waterproof case that comes with a built-in screen protector and also a scratch-resistant back panel, providing your phone will all-over coverage. It’s a cheaper alternative to the Ghostek Nautical case but not quite as impenetrable by water at greater depths. That said, it will resist exposure to shallow water, so it’s great for casual swimmers (as opposed to divers). It also includes accurate cutouts for the iPhone’s buttons, sensors, and cameras, and it’s compatible with wireless chargers. As a bonus, it incorporates shock-absorbing edges and corners, giving you plenty of insurance against shocks and drops. It’s only available for the iPhone 13.

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Ghostek Nautical Waterproof MagSafe Case

Ghostek Nautical Waterproof Case for iPhone 13 showing the MagSafe array.

Do you want to make sure your iPhone never comes into direct contact with water? Then the Ghostek Nautical case is the item for you. It consists of a full-body, watertight sealed shell, making it submersible in up to 20 feet of water (about six meters), and it’s IP68 rated. It’s therefore perfect for divers as well as for taking underwater photos. As a bonus, it also has a high-performance rugged design, with shock-absorbing edges and corners, ensuring that your iPhone won’t be breaking or cracking anytime soon. It has been drop-tested to military standards, withstanding drops of up to 12 feet. It’s also compatible with wireless charging and MagSafe accessories, so it’s a great all-around case in its own right.

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Best transparent cases

The iPhone is a phenomenally gorgeous device, and you shouldn’t have to hide it away in the name of protection. These tough cases are also clear (to some extent), so you can still show off your smartphone.

Tech21 Evo Lite Case

Tech21 Evo Lite clear case for the iPhone 13 Pro, showing the front and back of the case.

For those who want to combine a transparent design with superior drop protection, the Evo Lite case from Tech21 ticks both boxes. Super-strong yet ultra-light, it offers up to 10 feet of drop protection and boasts innovative self-cleaning technology built into the case to help it stay clean over time. A raised bezel around the camera keeps it safe should you drop your phone or place it down, and it won’t add bulk to your phone either, making it a great choice if you like to slip your phone into a pocket. It’s only available for the iPhone 13.

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Catalyst Influence Series Case

Catalyst Influence Series Case for iPhone 13 with its clear construction showing off the rear of the phone.

This case offers drop protection from falls of up to 10 feet (three meters) thanks to air-cushioned engineering — and it has a transparent design that shows off your iPhone, plus a fingerprint-resistant finish. The micro-textured back ensures excellent grip, helping to prevent any drops from happening in the first place. Raised bezels keep your screen safe, and there’s a handy mute button that lets you instantly mute your phone.

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Gear4 Santa Cruz Snap Case

Gear4 Santa Cruz Snap Case for iPhone 13 with MagSafe compatibility.

The Santa Cruz Snap case from Gear4 offers some of the most advanced impact protection around thanks to D30, a flexible material used for impact protection by the military that’s injection-molded into the case. The D30 used here is a sustainable version called D30 Bio, made with 52% renewable resources, and the case also uses recycled plastics to keep things green. Choose from a clear case with black magnets or blue magnets, compatible with MagSafe chargers. The scratch-resistant surface keeps your case looking as good as new, and it’s designed to protect against drops of up to 13 feet (four meters). There’s even built-in antimicrobial protection to inhibit the growth of bacteria.

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Best leather and leather wallet cases

Nothing has quite the same impact as leather. If you want your iPhone to look good as well as be protected, then these are the cases you want.

Torro Leather Wallet Case

Torro Leather Wallet Case for iPhone 13 and 13 Pro, in black leather with red accents.

Made in the U.K. with genuine cowhide leather, this slimline wallet case is stylish and strong. It combines a durable silicone frame with a soft microfiber lining (to protect the iPhone’s screen), while the addition of a leather upper layer makes it highly durable, capable of withstanding even the most serious of falls. The genuine, luxury leather also feels great to the touch, and the case is appreciably lightweight and slim, so even with a front and back cover, it doesn’t feel bulky. As it’s a leather wallet case, it has slots for cards and cash, and it comes with a magnetic clasp that will keep it securely closed.

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Caislean Leather Flip Case

Caislean Leather Flip Case for iPhone 13 in tan and brown leather.

Here’s a very sleek leather flip case that doubles as protection for your iPhone and as a holder for cards and bills. It’s made of handcrafted PU leather, making it soft and light but also durable. Three slots for cards and one for bills are included, while the outer layer of the case includes RFID shielding material, just in case anyone tries to scan your back pocket. The case includes raised lips for extra screen and camera protection, and its shockproof inner layer also provides added scratch protection. It can be folded to serve as a kickstand, while it closes cleanly using a magnetic closure. It’s also pretty affordable and comes in eight two-tone colors, although one downside is that it isn’t compatible with wireless chargers.

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Nomad Modern Leather Case

Nomad Modern Leather Case in Rustic Brown leather for the iPhone 13.

Leather is a hardy material, but often you’ll sacrifice drop protection with a leather case. Not so with this case from Nomad. The base layer of the case is made from hard polycarbonate and combined with a raised TPE (thermoplastic elastomer) bumper around the outside and an internal shock-absorbent air bumper. The addition of high-quality Horween leather from one of America’s oldest tanneries in Chicago imbues the case with leather’s natural durability and luxurious style. The vegetable-tanned leather will develop a gorgeous patina over time, making each case completely unique. This case is drop-tested up to 10 feet, and it has two lanyard attachment points for drop-proofing, plus built-in magnets for MagSafe charging. It’s expensive, but it’s certainly worth the money.

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Best slim and lightweight cases

Not every case is a big, hefty chunk of plastic that adds inches onto your svelte iPhone. These cases are lightweight and slim, while also affording decent protection.

Ghostek Atomic Slim MagSafe Case

Ghostek Atomic Slim MagSafe Case in clear and red.

You might not have heard of Ghostek, but it could soon become a household name if it keeps producing cases this good. We’re huge fans of the Atomic Slim case — as the name suggests, it’s slim, but it packs a punch when it comes to protection. It’s constructed from a shock-absorbent TPU inner core and a strong, scratch-resistant polycarbonate back panel and features a lightweight yet tough aluminum frame. There’s some serious drop protection going on here, with this case protecting your phone against drops of up to 12 feet (3.6 meters), as well as a raised bezel that keeps your display and camera lenses safe from dirt and grit and R7X shock absorbing corners. It’s compatible with MagSafe charging too, with built-in magnets. Yes, it’s a little bulkier than a standard silicone case, but it’s one of the slimmest rugged cases around right now and is well worth the price.

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Incipio Grip Case

Incipio Grip Case in black for the iPhone 13 Pro, showing off the textured grips.

Incipio’s cases are very protective — something that’s reflected in the Incipio case-making process — and the Grip is one of its finest. The Grip case features multidirectional grips to reduce the risk of you dropping your iPhone. If it does happen to slip through your fingers, you’ve covered with up to 14 feet of drop protection thanks to Impact Strut technology. Extended raised bezels around the screen offer even more protection — and this case has antimicrobial technology to prevent up to 99.9% of germs and surface bacteria. It works perfectly with wireless charging and Apple Pay, but we’d recommend a screen protector if you want full protection.

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Tech21 Evo Check Case

Tech21 Evo Check Case in Smokey Black for the iPhone 13.

Some of the best 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. The Evo Check has been drop tested from 16 feet, which is a lot 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. This case comes in Smokey Black, Sage Green, Lavender, Classic Blue, Light Coral, or Rubine Red, all with interchangeable buttons so you can customize it to your tastes.

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Mous Limitless 4.0 Case

Mous Limitless 4.0 Case for iPhone 13 in Aramid Fiber.

Mous somehow manages to combine rugged protection with good looks in the Limitless 4.0 case. The slimmest Limitless case ever, it features AiroShock impact-absorbing technology to protect against drops and bumps, while its tough polycarbonate and TPU construction keep your phone safe. This robust case has an N45 magnet array on the back to ensure compatibility with MagSafe charging and accessories, and Mous sells its own range of magnetic accessories, like a magnetic wallet, should you wish. The Limitless 4.0 comes in black leather, Aramid Fiber, or speckled fabric, or in a choice of two kinds of wood, bamboo or walnut, for a sleek look.

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Best cheap cases

Not every case has to put a hole in your wallet, and protection on a budget is possible.

Aedilys Shockproof Clear Case

Aedilys Shockproof Clear Case for the iPhone 13, showing the front and back of the case.

This clear case is a bargain for under $20. Made from high-grade TPU and polycarbonate, it has an anti-yellow coating to ensure it stays crystal clear, and it also has flexible shockproof TPU bumpers. Airbag technology disperses shock should you drop your phone — and speaking of drops, it meets military-grade standards for drop protection. With a raised bezel around the screen and camera and a non-slip grip, this super-slim clear case is an excellent budget buy.

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Mkeke Clear Case

Mkeke Clear Case for iPhone 13, showing the front and back of the case.

Here’s a no-nonsense case from Mkeke that offers a slimline profile, flattering transparency, and a sturdy combination of TPU and PC. The mix of a hard PC rear and a flexible yet rugged TPU frame means that it should guard your iPhone 13 or 13 Pro against everyday accidents and impacts. Its curved shape is also easy to grip, while it includes precise cutouts for all of the phone’s buttons and ports. The transparency is another bonus, providing an inexpensive way of showing off the phone’s good looks.

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Spigen Tough Armor Case

Spigen Tough Armor Case on the iPhone 13, showing off the front and rear rugged protection.

Spigen knows tough, and the Tough Armor is one of the toughest in its arsenal. It’s a classic dual-layer shell case, with a flexible TPU inner case paired with a hard polycarbonate outer shell, complete with a horizontal kickstand. The hard outer shell will work wonders at stopping scratches and other such damage, while the inner TPU core will protect your buttons from harm, while also absorbing the impact from drops and shocks. This shock protection has been further enhanced with a layer of impact foam inside the case, along with some strategically placed airbags that help to dissipate energy from impacts. It’s tough, but it’s not the thinnest, and you should be prepared to add a layer of thickness to your phone.

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Best cute cases

“Protective” doesn’t have to mean “ugly”, and these cases are, quite simply, adorable. They’re also extremely brawny, so don’t say it to their faces.

Gviewin Clear Floral Case

Gviewin Clear Floral Case on the iPhone 13 with a white and green floral design..

Here’s a chic decorated case that happens to be slim, lightweight, and pretty protective. It is made of impact-resistant and flexible TPU, giving it decent protection against pretty much every accident that’s likely to come your way. It also offers a wide selection of different floral designs, which come in a range of tasteful and color schemes that are pretty without being too strong. Owners with wireless chargers will also be pleased to note that these remain compatible with your phone even when the case is on, while the case’s cutouts fit the iPhone very snugly.

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Ted Baker Folio Glitsie Flip Mirror Case

Ted Baker Folio Glitsie Flip Mirror Case for iPhone 13 and 13 Pro in pink glitter.

Ted Baker also offers some delightful floral cases for the iPhone 13, but we’ve gone for this number since it stands out a little more from the crowd. It’s a mirror flip case that covers the front and rear of the iPhone 13 or 13 Pro, offering better all-over coverage than most other cases. Its glittery pink design is also very distinctive and will probably go very well with any Ted Baker handbags you happen to have laying around. However, the cherry on the cake is the built-in mirror, helping you to check whether your lipstick is neat and tidy or if you have pieces of lunch stuck in your teeth.

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Case-Mate Soap Bubble Case

Case-Mate Soap Bubble Case with an iridescent finish on the iPhone 13.

Cases don’t have to be utilitarian, and this eye-catching case proves it. The iridescent finish changes depending on the light and the color of the device inside. The hard-shell back is made from plant-based materials and offers great grip, but if your iPhone should slip from your grasp, there’s no need to worry because this case offers drop protection of up to 10 feet. There’s an anti-scratch coating on the back to keep it looking good, along with MicroPel antimicrobial protection. Case-Mate also offers a lifetime warranty. Accurate cutouts and good button covers complete this tempting package.

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Editors' Recommendations