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Without some sort of protection on your shiny, impossibly thin new iPhone, it’s not a matter of if your screen will smash or your frame will be dented or chipped, it’s a matter of when.
So much so that getting a case for your iPhone is no longer considered a smart addition, but rather an essential element of its longevity.
- IP68 standard, meaning fully waterproof.
- MIL-STD-810G, meaning you can drop your phone from up to 6.5ft.
- Only 1-year warranty.
- "3x military-grade drop protection” (as stated by Pelican).
- Includes Kevlar fiber which is very durable.
- Lifetime guarantee.
An Apple a Day …
There are three certainties in life: death, taxes, and smashed or dented iPhones.
As ubiquitous, easy to use, and stylish as the iPhone is and has been over the last 10 or so years, its lack of resilience in the durability department has left much to be desired.
So, you need to protect your iPhone, and we researched and tested for you the most durable iPhone case. This article is all about iPhone users. In case you’re a hardcore Android fan, you might not need a case at all.
Well, fortunately, there are literally thousands of options out there that cater to a whole variety of needs and preferences.
Some simply offer excellent, all-round protection for your phone whilst others go the extra mile by offering extended functionality like card holding, screen protection, or water-proofing, whilst maintaining the attractive aesthetic profile of the iPhone’s design.
This is RuggedRatings however, and our standards are very exacting.
We only consider rugged iPhone cases worthy of your hard-earned cash if they do the absolute most in the areas of protection, durability, and functionality.
Accordingly, we have scoured the web to dig out a selection of the most durable iPhone cases that do exactly that by meeting the following BIFL criteria:
We will be splitting our picks into two categories for your convenience:
‘Everyday iPhone Cases’, for protection against typical hazards in normal environments such as small drops, and ‘Tactical iPhone Cases’, for protection against non-typical hazards such as large impacts or water immersion in severe environments.
Let’s get started.
Everyday iPhone Cases
The cases in this category primarily protect your iPhone from all the typical drops, scrapes, and tumbles expected in everyday use. They are designed with a slim profile and are usually a stylish complement to the iPhone’s design.
Mous Limitless 3.0
Summing up the problem succinctly, Mous’s website declares “we found that slim phone cases weren’t that protective and protective cases were ugly”. We couldn’t agree more, and fortunately for us, they’ve come up with a solution that claims to offer fool-proof protection and look stylish while doing it.
Our favourite result of these efforts is the Limitless 3.0 case. It utilizes the company’s patented ‘Airoshock’  technology, which is an inner lining that absorbs the energy of drops by slowing the rate of deceleration.
The case itself is made of polycarbonate, a strong and tough material used in riot shields, and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).
The cases are designed with a ‘lip’ that exceeds the height of the screen, protecting it in the case of a flat fall. Adding an element of style, there are 5 ‘real material’ back panels on offer ranging from an eye-catching white leather to a dark and classic walnut.
Based on the many videos on the website of the team dropping iPhones off cranes, mountainsides, onto the streets of London, and on frozen lakes in Sweden  – it definitely works. Pretty neat.
The Limitless 3.0 is Qi wireless charging compatible and has a lifetime warranty.
PRICE: Around $55
COMPATIBILITY: iPhone 11 / iPhone 11 Pro / iPhone 11 Pro Max[amazon bestseller=”Mous Limitless 3.0 iphone” items=”4″]
Otterbox Defender Pro
Creating a diverse roster of products to enhance ‘life on the go’, Otterbox develops professional-grade phone cases for seemingly every phone model on the planet. And the Defender Pro series is the best of the bunch when it comes to the protection, of both the macro and micro scales.
That’s right, the Defender Pro is unique to this list as being the only case with antimicrobial properties that protect against many common bacteria. They achieve this by infusing the case with a silver-based additive that prevents microbial growth. A nice and intelligently implemented feature, especially these days…
As for protection against more obvious hazards, the Defender Pro is a hefty unit composed of two layers; a tough polycarbonate shell at the core, and a synthetic rubber slipcover providing the grippy exterior.
It also features a lip that protects the screen when lying flat. Each purchase comes with an additional attachment (also polycarbonate) that provides an adjustable holster clip for attaching the phone onto your belt, which doubles up as a kickstand.
It’s drop, tumble, and scrape-proof and, despite its bulk, the case is still Qi-compatible which means it will work with your wireless charging stands.
Another neat feature is the port cover that shields the charging slot from dust, dirt, and lint.
Overall, the Defender Pro is a great choice for those looking for protection above all else, and its price tag can be justified by the limited lifetime warranty and further discount eligibility on screen protection bundles.
More so, the Defender Pro is available in multiple colors and for several generations of iPhones, great news for anyone with an older model.
PRICE: From $60 to $70
COMPATIBILITY: All models from iPhone 5 – iPhone 11 Pro Max[amazon bestseller=”Otterbox Defender Pro iPhone” items=”4″]
It was tough to pick just one of legendary case-maker Pelican’s phone cases when their whole product line offers multi-point protection from a variety of different threats. But the Pelican Shield fits perfectly into our ‘everyday use’ category whilst being tough enough to challenge the big guys.
The case is composed of two polycarbonate and thermoplastic layers that latch to each other to secure the device.
Inside, a Kevlar fiber insert combined with reinforced corners and absorptive inner lining provides “3x military-grade drop protection” (as stated by Pelican) that survived c-net’s 19-foot drop test , a truly impressive height at this price point.
The case comes with a holster/swiveling belt clip and kickstand attachment that is useful for media viewing and portability.
It’s relatively slim for the level of protection it offers, but is only available in one color – black.
Possibly its greatest feature, and one that can be found in all Pelican products is its lifetime guarantee – “you break it, we replace it… forever”. Glad to hear it!
PRICE: Around $70
COMPATIBILITY: All models from iPhone X – iPhone 11 Pro Max[amazon bestseller=”Pelican Shield iPhone” items=”4″]
Tactical iPhone Cases
The cases in this category are a little more considered when it comes to comprehensive protection, and slightly more expensive on average. They are all ‘military-grade’ iPhone cases, compliant with one or more MIL-SPEC standards, and aim to provide 360 degrees of shielding from one or many of the more severe non-typical environmental hazards.
Juggernaut Case IMPCT
If the name didn’t give it away, the tagline certainly will: “smartphones on the battlefield”. That’s right, Juggernaut makes cases tough enough for combat zones. And whilst the IMPCT is their slimmest and most compact model, it’s still beefy enough to withstand some significant punishment.
The IMPCT is a ‘top-loading’ style case, meaning you slide the phone into the top of the open enclosure, and seal it with a snap-on top cover and elastomer connector dust-cover at the bottom for full-body protection.
Once loaded, the IMPCT is rated for protection from up to two-meter drops. It’s made from MIL-STD-810G rated polycarbonate material with interior dampening foam, raised edges surrounding the screen, and corner-bumpers.
Adding to its military appeal, the IMPCT is designed to be compatible with a number of tactical mounts from Juggernaut – a PALS Armor chest, a Belt, and finally a RAM/Vehicle mount. It’s also wireless charger-friendly.
Overall, a great addition to your technological arsenal, perfectly suited for the battlefield or outdoor recreation, only let down by its relatively short one-year warranty.
PRICE: Around $55
COMPATIBILITY: iPhone 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus / iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max, XR / iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max[amazon bestseller=”Juggernaut Case IMPCT iPhone” items=”4″]
Rokform Rugged Wireless Case
Showing that there’s always room for innovation, phone case and accessory-focussed company Rokform have developed a case that’s military tough and boasts a few unique additions that we haven’t seen in their competition’s offerings.
The Rugged Wireless is Rokform’s toughest case, compliant with MIL-STD-810 method 516.6 – (for shock testing)  which subjects a device to eight different ‘infrequent, single-pulse accelerations’ in case you were wondering.
This means it can survive a 6-foot drop (1.82 meters), thanks to its ‘high-impact’ polycarbonate exterior and soft inner liner and reinforced corners.
The four-point raised front and rear guard protects both your screen and your camera(s) from surfaces, and it does all this in a relatively slim, scratch-resistant profile.
The most interesting thing about the Rokform however is its ability to be mounted via a number of different methods, but primarily through magnets.
In its natural state, a removable plug covers a hole in the centre which can be filled with a strong Neodymium magnet that allows it to be mounted to almost any metallic surface. Think forklift-mounting for an industrial worker, or Jeep-mounting for a military unit. This will not disrupt any of the iPhone’s network functions either.
A second magnet inside the case offers compatibility with Rokform’s mounting accessories and will work with wireless charging.
You are granted a reasonable two-year warranty with each purchase.
PRICE: Around $39.99
COMPATIBILITY: All models from iPhone SE 2nd Gen – iPhone 11 Pro Max[amazon bestseller=”Rokform Rugged iPhone” items=”4″]
Catalyst Waterproof Case
Rugged electronic peripheral company Catalyst make accessories that are almost invulnerable to a whole host of tech-slaying hazards, and the Waterproof Case pits your iPhone against maybe its most intimidating foe – you guessed it, water.
This case makes your iPhone fully waterproof at up to an astonishing 33 feet (10 meters) to an IP68 standard, all whilst being fully usable.
This is thanks to its simple two-panel enclosure-style design and port cover, which as well as making your phone waterproof, also makes it snow, dirt, and sand proof.
As if being fully submersible wasn’t enough, this case is also tough enough to protect your phone from drops of up to two meters, compliant with MIL-STD-810G drop tests.
We love the fact that with the case on, your phone becomes fully washable with soap or alcohol too. Great for easy disinfecting your germ-ridden phone, which they suggest can protect you from COVID-19 .
The case has a clear back and so preserves the style and color of your phone, and it’s also wireless charging compatible.
You can pick up a Catalyst waterproof case inexpensively for older models, but the latest iteration for the iPhone 11 Pro Max will set you back around $90 with a limited one-year warranty.
PRICE: From $40 to $90
COMPATIBILITY: All models from iPhone 4 – iPhone 11 Pro Max[amazon bestseller=”Catalyst Waterproof iPhone” items=”4″]
It’s not often we get a clear winner in our product comparisons, and this one is no exception!
The Pelican Shield won us over with its premium protective materials which uniquely include Kevlar, independently tested and verified drop-protection, and generous lifetime warranty.
If you’re looking for a rugged iPhone case that will easily survive day-to-day abuse, the Shield will go above and beyond at a price point which we think is fairly reasonable.
However, the Catalyst is the only case on our list with IP68 rated water protection, which is a selling point on its own even when you’re not considering the MIL-SPEC compliance, full-functionality when encased, and neat considerations like full ‘wash-ability’ and cases for a wide variety of different iPhone models.
What do you think? Do you have a different opinion on the Most Durable iPhone Case? Be sure to share this article with anyone and everyone in the market for #BIFL durable iPhone Cases. We regularly post guides similar to this one all about products that aim to last a lifetime, so stay posted if you agree with the Buy It For Life golden rule as much as we do.
What to check next: The Best Military Grade Flip Phones. Given their suitability to military situations, many modern-day flip phones are designed with extreme ruggedness and durability in mind, often built to military specifications. We have scoured the market and discovered the best military-grade flip phones available today – and we’ll compare and review the top 4…