10 rugged cases to shield your pricey iPhone from dirt, dings, and drops

Simon Hill
Digital Trends

Apple’s iPhone is a beautiful device, but beauty is often fragile. If you work outside in all weathers, you like to go adventuring, or maybe you just drop your iPhone a lot, you should definitely consider investing in a tough case that can take the knocks. We’ve gathered together the toughest of the tough right here. These are the best rugged iPhone cases around. Some of them offer drop protection, some are weatherproof, and some are both. If you really want to keep your phone safe in any situation, these are the cases that can do it.

The links below will take you to the best rugged iPhone 7 cases, but you’ll find that these are all available for the iPhone 7 Plus, and you can find most of them for older models too.

Related: Best waterproof iPhone cases

Otterbox Defender Series Case ($42+)

Many people consider Otterbox to be the gold standard when it comes to rugged protection for your iPhone, and the Defender Series is the toughest case it offers. It boasts a layered design with a durable silicone slip cover, surrounded by a polycarbonate shell. There’s also a built-in screen protector, and covers keep lint and dirt out of your ports. The button covers are well defined and easy to press without looking around for them. Otterbox puts these cases through 24 different tests, for a total of 238 hours of testing, so you can be confident about the drop protection on offer.

Buy it now from:

Amazon OtterBox

Tech21 Evo Elite Case ($50)

Rugged iPhone cases can be expensive, but sometimes they’re worth it. This case from Tech21 offers solid drop protection for your iPhone. It has been drop tested from 6.6 feet, which is slightly higher than the typical height of a smartphone fall. The protection extends around the entirety of the case, it’s durable and coated with a scratch-resistant finish. This case also adds some extra comfort for long term use, and it’s ultra thin and lightweight. It has built-in button covers, and cut-outs for the camera, speaker, and Touch ID.

Buy it now from:

Tech21 Apple Verizon

Ballistic Tough Jacket MAXX Case ($25+)

This case from Ballistic is ridiculously tough. It offers multiple layers of protection, it can survive drops of 7 feet onto concrete without a problem, and it comes with a replaceable screen protector. The corners are raised and heavily reinforced to prevent cracked screens, it has openings for ports, and port covers to keep out dirt and dust. The holster, which can be rotated 180 degrees, supports the case’s “Tough” aesthetic, having been designed to fit standard law enforcement and military belts.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Lifeproof Frē Case ($90)

If you want something that’s really waterproof, then this Lifeproof case is worth a look. It scores an IP-68 rating, which means it can be submerged in water up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) deep, for up to one hour without damage. This case is also tough, meeting military drop test standard 810G-516.6, so your phone should also be unscathed after falls from as high as 6.6 feet. Obviously, you get complete coverage with this case, so no part of your iPhone is exposed to the elements. It’s ideal for skiing, and other adventures in harsh or wet conditions.

Buy it now from:

Verizon

Body Glove ShockSuit Case ($25+)

As the name suggests, this is a tough case for your iPhone that’s built to withstand the shock of any impact. It meets military drop test standard 810G, and the reinforced frame extends out all round the phone for complete protection. You’ll find that the ridged sides add grip, and the button and port covers are solid. It also has a built-in screen protector. If falls are your main concern, then this is a great case to go for, and it’s not too pricey.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

 

Speck Presidio Grip Case ($35+)

The most protective case Speck currently offers for the iPhone 7 is the Presidio Grip. It can withstand drops up to 10 feet, and is capable of handling impacts thanks to the ridges lining the interior that are designed to compress and disperse shocks. A matte finish enables the case to resist scratches, while the edges have raised rubber ridges to provide additional grip, hence the name. It has a dual-layer design with polycarbonate on the outside. A raised bezel will keep the screen in perfect condition when face down, cut-outs are precise, and the button covers work well.

Buy it now from:

Amazon Speck

Pelican Voyager Case ($42+)

A well-known name when it comes to protective cases for all sorts of equipment, Pelican also offers a really tough case for the iPhone. The Voyager combines flexible TPR and PU with a virtually unbreakable polycarbonate shell. The result is a case that meets military standards, and will survive multiple drops. This case comes with a handy holster — which has a swiveling belt clip — and it doubles up as a stand for watching movies on your iPhone in landscape view. It also has a screen protector and a lifetime guarantee.

Buy it now from:

Amazon AT&T Best Buy

Urban Armor Gear Monarch Case ($56+)

You can tell this case is tough just by looking at it. UAG’s wares look like something a space marine would carry, but they’re actually crafted from lightweight plastics, not metal. There are rubber enhancements on the corners to absorb impact shock, and also rubber feet to prevent your iPhone from slipping off surfaces. The oversized button covers are easy to find without looking, and easy to press — even if you have wet or dirty hands. This case meets military drop test standard 810G-516.6.

Buy it now from:

Amazon

Griffin Survivor Summit Case ($36+)

Here’s a case that can accompany you on outdoors adventures and keep your iPhone safe. It has been drop tested at up to 10 feet (3 meters) onto concrete, and it keeps your phone safely cushioned inside. It also seals around the iPhone, so there’s no chance for rain, mud, or snow to get in and cause any damage. There are protective covers for the buttons and the ports, but also membranes to protect the speaker and microphone without muffling the sound too much. It has a built-in screen protector, and it comes with a holster that features a clip for hooking to belts or bags, which can also act as a kickstand.

Buy it now from:

Amazon Griffin

Trident Kraken AMS Case ($21+)

This case is built to withstand drops, vibration, dust, sand, and rain. It also meets military test standards. There’s a layer of shock-absorbent TPE inside, a polycarbonate shell, and then more TPE on the outside for reinforcement where it counts. There are covers to protect the ports and buttons. You’ll also find an aluminum kickstand that folds out the back so you can prop your iPhone up. This case also has a lanyard loop, and it comes with a belt clip and holster.

Buy it now from:

Amazon