Your first instinct as a parent is to keep your kid phone-free for as long as possible, but eventually, you’ll probably break down and get them a smartphone. Odds are good, given Apple’s sizeable market share, that you go for an iPhone for your kid.
And if you get them a phone, it’s foolish not to get them a case. Kids have a way of dropping iPhones no matter how careful you tell them to be, a case can more than pay for itself after getting their device through a drop of two screen unshattered. And given that some new iPhones cost more than $1,000, a phone case pays for itself if it keeps your kid’s phone uncracked through just one careless drop.
Whether you’re looking to add durability, drop protection, or water repulsion, we’ve got go-to cases for every type of parent and kid.
This is the behemoth of phone protectors, a soft bubble pattern rubber interior lining combined with a hard polycarbonate shell for protection. That means it absorbs and deflects shock when your iPhone XR is thrown or dropped. A raised lip protects your screen from drops and surface scratches.
Pros: The case is slim and solid, and the price is right. And we love that it’s made from hard polycarbonate, soft rubber, and anodized aluminum metal, as opposed to simple plastic.
Cons: Customers complain that it’s not as shatter-proof as promised. And there’s no screen protector, which might make some folks nervous.
This case combines a soft, grippy exterior with two layers of stop and shock protection. It even has an anti-microbial finish that inhibits bacterial growth inside the case.
Pros: If you’re looking for lots of protection without much bulk, this case is a great option. Speck says it’s built to offer ten-foot drop protection, and features like a raised bezel do the extra work of preventing scratching and shattering even if your phone lands on the ground directly face down.
Cons: There’s no screen protector included, which might concern parents with especially clumsy kids. Speck does make compatible protectors, but they’ll run you a bit more cash, as they are sold separately.
It’s almost a direct correlation: The more protection a case offers, the bulkier it becomes. We love the Griffin Survivor Endurance because it eschews this traditional dynamic. Svelte and sturdy, it’s a great compromise between the two extremes.
Pros: Edged with the company’s proprietary bumpers, it claims that your phone can survive a drop from a distance one-and-a-half times that of cases with similar dimensions, or about ten feet. For those sliding it into the back pocket of skinny jeans, this can be a godsend.
Cons: This case, like others, lacks screen protection, requiring you to look elsewhere to stop scratches and smudges. Furthermore, while it offers an incredible protection in proportion to its weight, the lack of bulk means that rough-and-tumble phone users may find its protection lacking.
Like the Rolling Stones song, the Lifeproof Fre Series case will give you shelter: Shelter from the wind, rain, drops, kids, and more. Of course, you get what you pay for, and you’ll be paying for this case. But for those who want the ultimate protection, Lifeproof is as good as its name suggests.
Pros: Waterproof to six feet for up to an hour. Drop-proof from an overhead high. With easy access to your external charging cable. There are few areas this case doesn’t excel in. This is a product that, while carrying a heftier price tag than most other cases, seems to be worth it.
Cons: Like any other tech, the Lifeproof Fre is susceptible to human error. Do yourself a favor and follow the step by step instructions for the best results and always conduct a water test prior to submersion. Also, for those that rely on a grippy surface to keep it in place on the dashboard, keep looking because it can slip off.
Knock the belt-mounted phone all you want, but it's a dad classic and having your phone within arm’s reach (while not distending a back pocket) can come in pretty handy. That ability, combined with the resilient nature of the OtterBox Defender, is why it graces our list.
Pros: OtterBox knows that a threefold cord is not easily broken, so it combines a tri-layered system to protect your phone: an inner, rubbery layer; a hard, polycarbonate outer shell; and an integrated screen protector. On top of all of this, a four-point snap system affixes it to a belt or strap to keep it within easy reach.
Cons: All these layers have to line up perfectly to get the bugger together. That can prove challenging if your method is to just muscle it on. Also, if not careful, wearing a phone on your belt will make you look like Dwight from The Office.
While other cases on this list are made from composite polymers and the latest mold-injection whatevers, what we appreciated about the Monarch from Urban Armor Gear was its use of familiar materials. It goes to show that you can still have a military-grade case that wasn’t made in a lab.
Pros: Leather inserts on the back and metal hardware on the front remind us of a more refined product—but that product still protects. Its five-layer system is rated to twice the military drop requirement, or about 12 feet, thanks to a bumper system around the edges.
Cons: This case isn’t the most expensive one on this list, but it’s definitely on the upper end. This despite not coming with a screen protector, a component that’s an absolute necessity for the true klutzes among us. And while the host of positive reviews suggest it’s worth the price, we didn’t notice a marked difference in performance from others on this list.
For the minimalist, there’s nothing more satisfying than the Bellroy Phone Case 3-Card, which stands as the tiny house of men’s wallets. Three cards and your phone, all in one compact, shock-resistant package. What else could anyone want?
Pros: Unless your kid is Warren Buffett, he or she is just lugging around excess weight. Now’s the perfect time to slim down, tucking away an ID and two cards. The magnetic closure, when extended, doubles as a kickstand for media watching.
Cons: Of course, those who constantly lose their phone should stay away from this case like the plague. (Nothing adds insult to injury more than losing one’s whole identity in one fell swoop.) Furthermore, while this case is remarkably efficient, we wouldn’t call it the most drop-resistant one around.
This slim case has a hard shell exterior that is co-molded with a soft, impact-absorbing TPU layer and shockproof materials. There's a raised bezel around the perimeter that keeps the screen and camera protected. It also boasts military-grade shock protection and the company swears it can withstand an impact of up to 6.6 feet.
Pros: This case is for the minimalist kid, the one who doesn’t want to make a loud fashion statement. And it’s not slippery, meaning it won’t slide out of your hand when you’re walking and talking, or texting.
Cons: Slim is dependent on your own definition. Some say it feels much bulkier than they expected.
This case is the Goldilocks of grippiness: it won't slide of your dashboard, but it's also easy to take in and out of your pocket.
Pros: This minimal case comes with a screen protector and corners that create air pockets to cushion a fall. It weighs just 1.6 ounces and is slim enough so that you’ll barely notice it’s there at all.
Cons: It may not provide enough protection to save your kid’s phone even if they never take it off.
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