Regardless of your case priorities, I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a phone case.
Many of us keep our lives on our phone, and use it as our main way to take pictures and communicate with the outside world.
The cases on this list run the gamut, from slim to thick, super protective to the bare minimum — with options for every budget.
If you’ve been keeping your phone caseless, you owe it to yourself to protect it. It’s better to rock a case now, than to pay to get a screen replacement later.
For the budget user
Instagram / @caseology
What it is: The Caseology Waterfall Case
Who it’s for: It might not be the most protective case, but this is a good option for people on a budget.
This is a slimline case, so if you drop your phone, especially screen-side down, you’ll be in trouble. It’s outer layer will protect the back of your phone from scratches, though. There is a slight lip to protect your screen from getting scratched if you keep your phone screen-side down on a table.
There are more capable and better designed cases on this list, but if you’re about to buy a phone and want some protection at a good price, this is a good option.
For the clumsy person
What it is: The Speck Presidio Grip Case
Who it’s for: Speck’s new Grip case is perfect for people who are afraid of dropping their phones.
It’s not just you, the iPhone’s body has gotten slipperier since the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were released in 2014. I’ve dropped my phone a few times even with a case; in fact, it’s one of the main reasons I always use one.
Speck combats this with their grip case whose textured surface provides extra grippiness, whether you hold your phone portrait or landscape. It’s not too bulky, and is made out of a custom material that will keep your phone save even if you do drop it.
For the very clumsy person
Brandt Ranj / Business Insider
What it is: UAG Monarch
Who it’s for: Okay. Let’s say you’ve accepted that dropping your phone is a given. You live a dangerous life and need to take precautions.
UAG’s Monarch is the bulkiest case I’ve used, but even so, it didn’t feel overly big or heavy. It’s also made out of a custom material, with multiple layers of protection to keep your phone protected even if it takes a big stumble.
The standout feature for me was the camera cutout. I like slim cases, which means the iPhone’s protruding camera is dangerously close to any given surface. That wasn’t a problem with this case; there was a healthy millimeter or two between my camera and whatever it was resting on. A small lip protects the screen from potential scratching if your phone rests or falls screen-side-down.
For the person who watches a lot of videos on their phone
Instagram / @xdoriaproducts
What it is: X-Doria Defense Gear
Who it’s for: This case is, oddly enough, incredible for people who watch videos on their phone.
Outside of the fact that this case does sit in the sweet spot between thin, light, and protective, it’s a clever design choice that keeps it in my mind.
The new iPhones have a really cool trick for creating stereo audio. One speaker is built in the bottom of the phone, as it has been since 2007. A second, though, is placed inside the receiver of the phone. It’s great, but one speaker is facing toward you, but the other is facing out and away from you.
X-Doria built their case with a solid bottom, and created a small chamber that routes that audio toward you through some small holes. It’s a clever piece of design that produces a more accurate, balanced stereo effect.
For the person who cares about how a case looks
Pad & Quill
What it is: Pad & Quill Woodline Case
Who it’s for: People who want a super cool-looking case, and value thinness.
This is the case I’m going to be using (unless I’m testing one!) for the next two years. Pad & Quill did an incredible job with its Woodline case, creating something that looks stunning and feels great in the hand.
Using this case means you accept that if you drop your phone it won’t be as well protected as it could be. For 7 Plus owners, though, its thinness makes using the phone one-handed possible, which is what put it over the edge for me.