Finding the Most Protective Phone Cases

A Buyer's Guide: Finding the Most Protective Phone Cases

Need a phone case that can take on just about anything? While your phone offers tons of new camera features and functionalities and offers tons of style, it’s still a rather fragile device for those real adventures. So how can you get the most out of your phone and still enjoy the journey? By securing it in a more protective, rugged phone case. But what exactly makes a phone case rugged? We’re here to answer that question and more. 

Here is how to find the most protective phone cases. Plus, some reasons why you should consider a more rugged phone case and Case-Mate’s most protective cell phone cases you will find on our site.


All phone cases offer some degree of protection, plain and simple. Phone cases play such an important role in keeping your phone free of damage. If you drop your phone without a case, there’s a good chance it will shatter, chip or even damage internal components, which are really hard to fix. Ultimately, a phone case is an extra piece of insurance to keep your phone working properly (and looking good!) for as long as possible. 

But why would someone want to up the ante and purchase a super-rugged, protective phone case? Glad you asked! 

Tend to drop your phone a lot? If you have a habit of being clumsy with your phone or just in general, you may want to consider getting a more rugged phone case. Another reason a protective phone case comes in handy is if you are in a more dangerous line of work (think law enforcement or outdoor guide) or live an active lifestyle (like kayaking or mountain biking). When certain situations call for spending more time out in the elements or putting your phone in precarious positions, a protective phone case is a no-brainer. After all, a phone is an expensive piece of gear. But when you secure it with a rugged case, it relieves some of the anxiety and cautiousness. 

Protective phone cases offer more layers of protection than a standard phone case. Generally a thicker construction, which admittedly can be hard to slip into a pocket, they can take on harder impacts and higher drops. But the lack of a slim design makes up in other ways, like attached features from lanyards to belt loops. They can also offer extra protection against water, moisture, dust and extreme temperatures. 

So what exactly makes a protective phone case? If you’re considering a more protective phone case, it’s important to know the common features that make it rugged. In the next section, we explore what that means, as well as its advantages and disadvantages. 


Not all rugged phone cases are created equal. Calling a phone case “rugged” doesn’t automatically make it so. That means you must do your due diligence and your own research to find a truly rugged phone case that can take on all the hard knocks of life. Luckily, the most protective phone cases have some defining features in common that give them the durability you need. So as you shop for a tough-as-nails, rugged phone case that can take on just about anything, here’s what to look for: 

A Two-Piece Case

Most standard phone cases provide phones with protection along the back. The phone nestles snugly into the case, but it covers the back and edges, at best. However, one feature you’ll notice about many of the most protective phone cases is that they have a two-piece case design. This two-piece case locks your phone into place more securely, offering better, more well-rounded protection. 

This two-piece style also comes in several designs. One design offers an outer shell and a lip in the front, while others offer a soft inner shell surrounded by a polycarbonate layer. Each of these two styles of two-piece phone cases attaches and secures phones in a different manner. So which one you choose might come down to how often you plan to change cases. If you swap your phone case out regularly, you want to choose a two-piece design that doesn’t take much effort to pop off. Another consideration? How much the phone case weighs.   

Belt Clips and Holsters

Another piece of protection a phone case can offer is a belt clip or holster. While a simple feature, it prevents you from fumbling around with your phone. This is especially true for someone who has the habit of placing their phone in their pocket. Sometimes, the belt clip can also act as a kickstand when you need to watch videos or take a selfie. 

Keeping a phone on your hip also allows you to use your earbuds instead, using a Bluetooth connection while having conversations and listening to playlists. Instead of futzing around with a phone in your hand as you walk and talk or go for a run, you can keep hands-free, preventing a dropped phone. 

A MIL-STD Certification

Terms like “drop-proof” and “shockproof” and even “rugged” are just that — words! They have no real bearing or weight unless, of course, there’s the proof behind it. So when you come across a phone case that throws around these words in their ads and promotions all willy-nilly, investigate and make certain they have the hard facts to back up their claims. 

Look for specifics behind the marketing fluff. For example, a phone case can be MIL-STD Certified or offer an IP rating. For a truly protective phone case, double-check and make sure it has a MIL-STD certification. This will indicate how the case has been tested and for how many times it survived the specific durability tests put in place. 

An IP Rating

An IP Rating is another certification to look for. This indicates how well a phone case stands up to water. Each rating indicates a different degree of water resistance, some able to withstand deeper depths, while others for longer periods of time. 

The important thing to remember is that no phone case — no matter how rugged it looks or claims to be — is completely indestructible or waterproof. So take the marketing with a grain of salt and always verify the details and specific claims with recognized testing standards.

Display Sensitivity

Another feature to consider for heavy-duty cases is display sensitivity. Some of the most protective phone cases have a thick polycarbonate screen protector that disrupts the touchscreen and button sensitivity, as well as the speaker, microphone and port accessibility. Generally speaking, phone cases that have a separate screen protector will affect the touchscreen accuracy. 

So it’s important to look for a protective phone case that offers the same touch-sensitive qualities as a standard phone. 

A Lifetime Warranty

A protective phone case should come with an excellent warranty. It’s simply a sign that the brand stands behind its products and knows its phone case is built to last. 

Still, remember that most warranties tend to cover the case itself, not the entire phone should the glass shatter or the phone become damaged. 

It’s also important to note that an Apple warranty doesn’t cover water damage. Although they offer many water-resistant iPhone models, the key word here is “resistant.” iPhones are not waterproof, nor is any other phone that claims itself to be. 


Now that you know some of the standard features to look for in a protective phone case, let’s explore what Case-Mate has to offer. Each of the phone case series and specific cases listed below are some of Case-Mate’s most protective phone cases, built rugged and able to take on all the hard-knocks of life, pushing your phone to its limit. 

Explore each collection and phone case to see if it works for your lifestyle. Some offer more style, but if you’re looking for a rugged phone case to secure to a mountain bike or secure to a belt loop as you go rock climbing, we’ve got those, too!

Without further ado, here are Case-Mate’s most protective phone cases:

Pelican Phone Cases

In this collection, you’ll find a wide range of rugged phone case styles made with super-strength materials. Choose a Pelican phone case made from Kevlar and aramid fibers or something with elastomer inside a rigid polycarbonate shell that absorbs impact.

Pelican phone cases also offer 3x military drop protection and varying degrees of IP ratings, designed to shield your phone from anything nature throws at it — water, snow, dirt and dust. Even the access ports have a layer of protection. The Pelican Marine series, in particular, offers four-layer protection and an IP54 rating, making it dust and splashproof. And even though Pelican cases offer some slight bulkiness, they’re still compatible with wireless chargers. 

The best part about Pelican products? They come with a lifetime warranty and are made in the U.S.A. Check out Case-Mate’s most rugged Pelican models:

  • Pelican Shield
  • Pelican Voyager
  • Pelican Marine
  • Pelican Protector
  • Pelican Ranger

Tough Clear Phone Case Series

If you want something more stylish that doesn’t hide away your phone’s colored backing, we suggest using the Case-Mate Tough Clear series. Offered in a variety of phone makes and models, from Apple to Android Samsung phone cases, this is the perfect option for folks who want a protective phone case that still looks like a fashion accessory. 

Many Tough Clear phone cases have features like enhanced side protection, shock-absorbing materials and built-in magnets that work with MagSafe accessories like wireless chargers. 

The latest iPhone cases for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max series are made of plant-based materials, keeping a green-friendly design, yet can withstand a 15-foot drop. Plus, it features MicroPel® Antimicrobial Case Protection, which means it can withstand dirt, grime and bacteria pretty well.  


If you have a lifestyle that puts your phone through the wringer, you need a rugged phone case. Browse through each of Case-Mate’s most protective phone cases and find the perfect one that fits your style and meets the function you need. 

When you choose the most protective phone case for your phone, it can lengthen the life of your phone, saving you hard-earned cash and keeping it out of the landfill, too. 


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