5 Waterproof Phone Cases to Protect Your Device This Summer
A few years back, I convinced a couple of friends to go on a road trip to a Pennsylvania casino for some frivolous birthday fun. I figured I’d celebrate by taking a gamble and moving up from my normal penny slots, so I took a quick bathroom break to mentally prep. Cut to: a splash, and the visual of my phone swimming in the toilet bowl. Sure enough, I had left my phone in my back pocket.
Eventually, after hurrying back to New York City to use Staples’ TekDry machine, which could zap liquid out of tech devices, I was able to save all my yet-to-be-downloaded pictures and my phone went (somewhat) back to normal. But that one careless moment ruined the entire trip. So instead of further testing my luck, I invested in a waterproof phone case. Once I snapped it on, my water-logged worries were history.
What to look for in a water-resistant phone case
“Phone wipeouts are the worst,” Izzy Tihanyi, founder of a San Diego–based surf school, Surf Diva, says. “Especially while traveling, your phone is your concierge, travel agent, and tour guide all in one.”
During surf lessons, she doubles up with a hard plastic waterproof case inside a plastic pouch lanyard that she tucks in her rash guard. And she advises not to skimp on quality. “The hard case must be from a reputable brand or it won’t function properly with the touch screen,” Tihanyi explains, adding that “the cheap ones won’t hold up the waterproof seal.”
Gary Pitts, an innovation lab technologist with Asurion, points out that no two phones are created equal, so it’s essential to first find out how waterproof your phone is. For instance, iPhone models 12s and up have an IP68 rating, which means they can survive being submerged in 19 feet of water for up to 30 minutes, while older phones that are IP65 can only be splashed gently. And even with this capability, Apple recommends customers not swim with their phone, take it into a sauna, or use it while engaging in water sports to avoid water damage.
“If you’ve had a screen or battery replaced, be aware that after being disassembled, the waterproofing is no longer fully effective due to the protective coating seal being broken,” Pitts says. He adds that cracked screens can also be sensitive to water.
Whether you’re looking to waterproof your phone around the clock or only for specific water sports or activities, here are the best waterproof phone cases to ensure nothing’s ever left out to dry on your travels.
Best all-around waterproof phone case: Lifeproof FRĒ case
Most accident proof case: Catalyst waterproof case
Best floating case: AquaVault waterproof floating phone case
Best protective case for photographers: AxisGO waterproof case
Best case for extreme conditions: Otterbox DryBox 3250 Series waterproof drybox
This article has been updated with new information since its original publish date.
Best all-around waterproof phone case
Otterbox LifeProof Frē phone case
Most accident proof case
Catalyst Total Protection waterproof case
Best floating case
Aquavault floating smart phone case
Shop more waterproof phone pouches and phone accessories.
Best for underwater photography
AquaTech AxisGo waterproof case
$219.00, B&H Photo Video
Best case for extreme conditions
Otterbox 3250 Series waterproof drybox
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler