Protect your smartphone with these virtually indestructible cases

Banu Ibrahim
January 25, 2018

Story highlights

  • Speck, Lifeproof and OtterBox all top our list for indestructible iPhone cases.

I'll be the first to admit it: I've destroyed a number of iPhones in my lifetime. This is due to buying flimsy cases that weren't sturdy enough when the smartphone came crashing down, or foolishly believing my phone didn't need a case at all, leaving it vulnerable to water damage.

I know, I know, not my brightest decisions. But it has taught me that investing in an indestructible smartphone case is an absolute must. It's one of the only ways to keep your device completely out of harm's way.

Even though Apple bills its latest devices as water-resistant, liquid damage isn't included in its one-year limited warranty. Then there are screen cracks, scratches, and normal wear and tear that could potentially have you dishing out a chunk of change to get certain parts or even the entire phone replaced.

Thankfully there's a crop of smartphone cases aimed at preventing those types of phone damage. Many of these are dubbed "indestructible" and have been put through the wringer when tested.

The smartphone cases we've rounded up below have all gone through military-grade (or comparable) trials, which means the accessories have been tested against drops, dust, rain, sand, shock and other types of environmental conditions.

So if you're on the hunt for an iPhone case that can keep up with your everyday klutziness, look no further.

Note: The prices reflect the listed retailer's price on the date this article was published

Speck Presidio Grip iPhone 7 Case ($39.95; speck.com)

Back in 2016, Speck released its Presidio line, a collection of super-slim smartphone cases designed to protect your device from intense drops. The Presidio cases were drop-tested from heights of 10 and 8 feet, a step that the company says went beyond its traditional military standard testing on other accessories. Shock-suppression technology helps to ensure that should your phone take a fall, the ridges on the case will absorb and disperse the shock. Speck also put the cases through scratch testing, to ensure that there's a high level of resistance to normal wear and tear. Added grips on this case make holding a smartphone more stable than other cases out there.

The Presidio line, however, is only available in newer phone options, like the iPhone 7 and the Samsung Galaxy S8+. A similar design that's also gone through military-grade testing is Speck's Candyshell cases.

The real highlight of both designs (aside from the intense protection) is that they're a slimmer approach to "indestructible" cases, resulting in a less clunky design compared with their counterparts. Hey, the iPhone Plus is big enough as it is, we really don't need a case to make it that much bigger.

The Presidio is also available for Galaxy S8+ ($44.95; speck.com), Galaxy S8 ($39.95; speck.com). The Candyshell is also available for iPhone 6/6s ($34.95; speck.com) and 5/5s ($34.95; speck.com).

OtterBox Defender Series Case iPhone 8 Plus and 7 Plus ($59.95; otterbox.com)

While OtterBox cases aren't certified by military-grade testing, the company does put its phone cases through similar testing methods to make sure the devices are up to snuff. That includes a minimum of 238 hours of testing in 24 key areas like UV, abrasion, drop, sweat and extreme temperature testing. The Defender Series is thought to be the company's most protective line of cases, featuring three layers of protection including a built-in screen to prevent scratches, a foam-lined inner shell that's built for drops, and an outer slipcover that can keep a smartphone free of dirt and dust. The case also comes with a limited lifetime warranty, you know, just in case.

Much like the Speck cases, Otterbox's Defenders are slimmer in size and come in a variety of color options. So not only will your phone be safe, but it will also be stylish.

A similar design is also available for iPhone 8 and 7 ($49.95; otterbox.com), iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus ($59.95; otterbox.com) iPhone 6/6s ($49.95; otterbox.com), iPhone 5/5s/SE ($49.95; otterbox.com) and Galaxy S7 edge ($59.95; otterbox.com).

Urban Armor Gear UAG iPhone 7 Case ($29.95, originally $34.95; amazon.com)

If you're in the market for a case that's not only durable but ultralightweight, consider Urban Armor Gear's Pathfinder iPhone case. It weighs in at about 1 ounce, which is half the weight of the Speck Presidio cases and a third of the weight of the Otterbox Defender. But just because it's light doesn't mean it skimps on protective design. A raised rubber screen and skid pads offer 360-degree protection to your smartphone. Much like the previous two cases, Urban Armor Gear's case has gone through rigorous drop testing and has passed military standards.

Its heavy-duty construction has made the phone accessory a favorite among Amazon customers. It's received 4.3 stars out of 5 on the site, with many reviewers noting that it's a great choice in terms of function and overall appearance. It's also eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping if you're in need of a good iPhone case, stat.

A similar design is also available for iPhone 7 Plus ($29.95; amazon.com), Galaxy S8+ ($29.95, originally $39.95; amazon.com), Galaxy S8 ($29.95, originally $34.95; amazon.com), Galaxy S7 ($19.99; amazon.com) and Galaxy S6 ($14.95, originally $34.95; amazon.com).

Lifeproof Fre for iPhone X ($89.99; lifeproof.com)

Drop testing is all well and good, but if you're more prone to spilling water on your smartphone than dropping it, you'll want a case that's been water-tested. That's where Lifeproof comes in. According to the company, all of its cases have been water-tested twice before they're shipped. Any accessory that didn't pass ends up getting scrapped. The tests include water immersion up to 6.6 feet for an hour. So should your phone accidentally take a dip in the pool or fall into the sink, you'll be covered.

In addition, Lifeproof's cases, including its Fre model, are drop-proof, dirt-proof and snow-proof. This design, for instance, is fitted with a subtle screen cover that protects your smartphone from the elements. Its construction also gives you complete access to your home button or camera; no button is obstructed here.

It is important to note that some of the Lifeproof cases (like the Next) are made for water-resistant phones. So if your device isn't explicitly water-resistant, you'll want to make sure you're opting for the Fre or another waterproof case.

A similar design is also available for iPhone 8 Plus and 7 Plus ($89.99; lifeproof.com), iPhone 8 and 7 ($89.99; lifeproof.com), iPhone 6/6s ($79.99; lifeproof.com), iPhone 5/5s/SE ($79.99; lifeproof.com), Galaxy S8 ($89.99; lifeproof.com), Galaxy S8+ ($89.99; lifeproof.com), Galaxy S7 ($79.99; lifeproof.com) and Galaxy S6 ($55.99; lifeproof.com).