Smartphones are the most important piece of technology we own but they have become increasingly fragile. Don’t fight it – you need a phone case.
Sure, your brand new phone looks and feels great out of the box, all sleek metal and glass and premium colour finishes. But one simple slip and its meeting with the hard unforgiving ground won’t end well.
The mobile industry knows this all too well and there are practically unlimited options when it comes to picking a phone case. The choice is overwhelming, with cases of all shapes and sizes made from plastic, metal, rubber, and even wood.
Whether you want a case to improve the grip on your phone, keep if from surface scratches, or to help it survive being run over by a tank, there’s a case out there for you. All the best smartphones need a case.
Most of the cases in this article are included because they are a specific model from a specific brand made for more than just one particular phone. Most manufacturers make such cases for Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy models, but many also do for Google Pixel, OnePlus, and Oppo, although quality options for some phones are harder to find.
Some of our favourite phone cases are made by Mous. Unlike many options on the market, its products offer rugged drop and scratch protection while remaining sleek and stylish.
The best Mous cases are any from its Limitless range. They have black plastic sides with grip, lips around the screen and cameras, and a flat back panel adorned with the material of your choosing, from a carbon fibre design to walnut, bamboo, leather, or a pearlescent finish. The carbon fibre is the best one.
Limitless cases all have magnets built in to work with Mous’s line of accessories such as wireless chargers and car dash mounts. Be sure to check which version you’re buying, as the company sells Limitless 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, and 5.0 products that have different accessory compatibility, annoyingly.
Its latest iPhone cases are fully MagSafe compatible to work with Apple and third party MagSafe wallets and chargers but most importantly, with your phone in one of these cases you’re not going to worry about it breaking. Mous has cases for most popular models of iPhone and Galaxy.
Spigen Tough Armor
If you want an affordable, dependable, plain protective case for your phone then you can’t go far wrong with the Tough Armor case from Spigen.
The company makes it for many, many models of phone and ships globally, so if you have a relatively popular handset you’ll probably be able to find this case for it.
The design is utilitarian, usually with flat edges and flat button areas that offer great protection while keeping the case relatively slim still. Its two-piece construction uses air cushions in between them to soften landings with hard surfaces, and raised lips mean you can plonk your phone face down with no fear.
The cases for iPhones have a circle cut-out on the back so you can see the Apple logo, but otherwise the muted designs are plain and cover the rear. They also all have a small subtle kickstand you can flip out to watch landscape video.
If you shop for the Tough Armor on Amazon US or Amazon UK you will find the prices are a lot lower.
Atom Studios Split Wood Fibre
Atom Studios makes several eye-catching cases for Apple and Samsung phones, most of which have a split material look.
Our favourite is the Split Wood Fibre case that pairs a silver section in the top quarter of the case with a ribbed wood material making up the rest. This provides grip with a flecked colour design while the shiny silver top looks great against the camera cut out.
All the company’s recent iPhone cases are compatible with MagSafe, and it also sells its own MagSafe wallets made from cork. We also dig the clear MagSafe phone case that looks more stylish than Apple’s and offers better protection.
One of the best universally available heavy duty protective cases for most popular phone models is the Otterbox Symmetry. It’s a series of cases that come in different colours but all have the same basic design – functional, and built like a tank.
The case has been redesigned for the iPhone 14 and is the perfectly discreet way to clad your fragile device in military drop standard protection.
It comes in utilitarian black but there are several other colours available, and a few variations on the regular design too.
As well as Apple and Samsung, it’s available for phones made by OnePlus, Google, and Huawei.
Bellroy Leather Case
Another great pick for iPhone, Galaxy, and Pixel phone cases is Australian company Bellroy, which specialises in well-fitting leather cases.
We tested out the leather case for the Pixel 6a for several weeks and found it to be of the utmost quality – great fit and finish with thoughtful lip to the camera bar to keep it from scratches, access to all ports, and lovely premium clicky metal buttons.
As well as more basic leather cases, Bellroy also has card cases for iPhone with flip up tops that fit three cards, as well as its own Mod Phone Case that lets you fit its wallet accessory to the back of the phone, and they use the MagSafe standard on iPhone 12 and later.
For the iPhone 14 range, the company has introduced its new Bio Case, which is a fully compostable case made from bio-based polymer. As with Mous, these are all quite expensive cases, but we are convinced of their enduring quality.
Tech21 Evo Check
For simple, grippy phone protection you can’t go wrong with Tech21’s Evo Check case.
We’ve been using the case ever since the iPhone 7 days on various phone models including the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it’s a reliably good quality design that cloaks the colour of your phone slightly but is see-through and comes in lots of bold colours.
A lip lets you set your phone face down on a table while the rubbery sides add a little bit of bulk but promise 16ft (4.9m) drop protection. The subtle check pattern lets you peer through to your encased phone while cut outs obviously let you access all ports. If you don’t like plastic or leather cases, this is a top option.
If you care about what will happen to your case when you one day get rid of it, or get a new phone, then Pela is the phone case company you’ll want to buy from.
Pela cases are all 100% compostable and made from natural, renewable plant resources. The company claims they will “take 6 months to 2 years to biodegrade in a backyard compost environment”. That’s a nice peace of mind If you’re worried about all the plastic you keep buying.
The cases are made in Canada and Hong Kong but ship worldwide. They offer a nice feeling material that’s grippy thanks to the flax texture.
We have found that in extended use they break down a little, particularly on the corners. But the company will consider replacing your case if this happens too quickly, and it’s all part and parcel of buying something that won’t exist in landfill for thousands of years into the future.
Casetify Ultra Impact case
If you want a variety of different designs and the ability to customise your next phone case, look no further than Casetify.
There are close to unlimited number of options when it comes to designing your own phone case, and Casetify also has a plethora of different cases to build on, from the simplest thin black plastic cases to bright orange ones with corner protection covered in acid house-style melting smiley faces.
A favourite is the Ultra Impact case that you can adorn in that ‘Acid Smiles’ design, but you can also change the colour of the edges, how much protection to add to the corners, or add MagSafe magnets if the case is for an iPhone.
As well as Apple, you can also get most of Casetify’s cases for multiple Samsung and Google phones. The regular Impact Case is also a solid pick for any phone if you want good protection and a clear back.
Mujjo leather case
OK, so Mujjo only makes leather case for iPhones, but they are so good I had we had to include them.
The buttons could be a little more tactile, but otherwise these are made from the highest quality vegetable-tanned leather and are better made than Apple’s official leather cases.
The cases provide a surprising amount of protection with all sides covered, as well as a raised camera section and lip on the front so your camera and screen won’t get scratched when placed on a table.
On the inside is a nice microfiber lining too, so your phone won’t get scratched up from within.
You can opt for black or brown for most model of iPhone, and newer models offer a wallet case version that costs the same as the regular one.