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The best phone cases in 2021: safeguard your camera phone in style

Best phone cases
(Image credit: Moment)

When you've got a new phone, picking up the best phone case to protect your lovely tech from harm is the next sensible move. If you’re the proud new owner of one of today’s best camera phones, there are a lot of options for keeping it safe, from ultra-slim phone cases that enable you to showcase your device’s design through to rugged, super-protective shells that can survive almost any kind of accident. 

As there are so many different styles to choose from, we've collated this guide for you, to show you some of the best camera phone cases there currently are. Some give maximum drop protection to guard against smashed screens, while others will safeguard your phone from dirt and spills. You may like to choose a wallet-style case, or a clear slimline one... The decision is yours.

The best phone cases in 2021

We've all seen them, the cell phones with the shattered glass screens... and it is actually avoidable, if you buy the right protective cell phone case. Shattered displays are one of the most common accidents to befall a cell phone. It's most likely to happen if you drop your device and it lands on a corner, where the force exerted on the glass is more concentrated. So, as a bare minimum, you need a cell phone case that uses a shock-absorbent material, such as silicone or rubber, and it's also best to go for one that protects the corners. If you’re not accident prone and are careful with your cell phone, then a slim, unobtrusive cell phone case from a brand like Peel might suffice.

Having said that, a more costly calamity for a camera phone is a cracked lens – and the best way to avoid this is to buy a tougher cell phone case. You'll want to opt for something like the Defender series from OtterBox, if you're a but of a butter fingers, or even if you're just not willing to risk it, which has a durable, layered design to safeguard your cell phone from dents and drops.

Ultimately, the best cell phone case for you depends on what you want from your cell phone: you need to ask yourself if you want it to be more stylish or safe? And consider how you use it. If you're out and about in any weather, you'll probably want to opt for a waterproof cell phone design that's also rugged.

All the cell phone cases here are optimized for camera phones, so whatever level of protection you’re after, you’ll find one that won't hinder your ability to take great photographs quickly and easily. Read on to see the line-up we've selected for you...

1. Moment Photo Case

The best phone case for mobile photographers and filmmakers

Specifications
Color: Black, Walnut Wood, Tan Leather
Compatible with: Most Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Pixel and OnePlus models
Reasons to buy
+Lens-ready and low cost+Slim and durable
Reasons to avoid
-Bear in mind that lenses aren’t cheap

The Moment Photo Case is designed to turn the world's top camera phones – the newest Pixel, iPhone, OnePlus and Samsung Galaxy devices – into more sophisticated snappers. Aside from protecting them from drops and scrapes with a thin, shock-absorbing rubberized body, the Moment Pixel Photo Case comes with a built-in lens interface for attaching Moment's range of add-on smartphone lenses, plus a strap attachment to stop you dropping your camera phone again. Meanwhile, wireless charging support means you can place it on any Qi-compatible charging pad. 

If you’ve got an iPhone SE 2, 8 Plus, 8, 7 Plus or 7, we’d choose Moment’s excellent MFi-approved Battery Photo Case for iPhone. It comes with a 3,100mAh built-in battery for charging your iPhone on the go, giving you longer shooting time, and an integrated Lightening port, as well as a two-stage shutter button for taking photos: pressing down halfway focuses the lens and a full press takes the picture. Whichever camera phone you have, though, if you're into mobile photography or filmmaking, these are some of the best phone cases you can buy. 

2. Spigen Neo Hybrid

One of the best phone cases for everyday use you can get

Specifications
Color: Shiny Black, Gunmetal, Burgundy, Artic Silver, Pale Dogwood, Lilac Purple
Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Android cell phones
Reasons to buy
+Slim grip design+Handles well 
Reasons to avoid
-Could be tougher

Spigen is one of the biggest names in cell phone protection, and it’s easy to see why its Neo Hybrid line is one of the company’s most popular set of  phone cases. With enhanced shock absorption, slim-grip design and a dual-layered structure for extra protection, the Neo Hyrid won’t add as much bulk to your camera phone as some other cases, but you’ll get plenty of protection for day-to-day use. The Herringbone-textured rubber is smooth but grippy, so your device won't slip out of your hand while you're taking photos, and it comes in a range of different colors: gunmetal, burgundy, jet black, pale dogwood and satin silver. Bear in mind that it isn't as tough as the most protective ranges on the market, so if you're prone to dropping your cell phone or other phone-related accidents then a cell phone case like the Otterbox Defender (number three in this list) might be a better choice. But if you're looking for a brilliant balance of style, functionality and usability, the Spigen Neo Hybrid is one of the best phone cases you can buy.

3. OtterBox Defender Screenless edition

The best drop protection you can get in a phone case

Specifications
Color: Black, Blue, Gunmetal Gray, Purple, Teal
Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Android cell phones
Reasons to buy
+Very protective+Good grip+Lots of color options
Reasons to avoid
-Adds a lot of bulk

When it comes to protective cell phone cases, the Otterbox Defender is known as the gold standard. The multi-layer design gives you dust, drop and scratch protection, while a reinforced polycarbonate inner and a thick silicone outer shell absorbs impact. Port covers prevent dirt and dirt from clogging jacks and ports; and the rubber back provides a good camera cut out that also protects protruding lenses when you place your camera phone on a flat surface. The Otterbox Defender series will add a fair bit of bulk to your phone, so this isn’t the best option if you like to keep your phone in your pocket or want to show off its form – and it isn’t waterproof, either. But when it comes to ultimate drop protection, this cell phone case is about as comprehensive as it gets.

4. OtterBox Symmetry

A bulkier than average slim-line phone case with better than average protection

Specifications
Color: Tonic Violet, Black, Aspen Gleam, Fine Port, You Ashed 4 It, On Fleck, Gradient Energy
Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Android cell phones
Reasons to buy
+Slim and durable+Great protection
Reasons to avoid
-Larger than a slim-line case

OtterBox is best-known for its robust protection and tank-sized cases. The company's OtterBox Symmetry series, however, is a lighter-duty line, offering a thinner one-piece design that doesn't loose too much on the protection front. Build quality is excellent, marrying a synthetic rubber interior with a durable polycarbonate outer shell, and it's easy to put on and take off. As with the Spiegen Neo Hybrid, there are no advanced features, so it doesn't have waterproof capabilities, built-in batteries or fold out kickstands – and it will still add a little bulk to your camera phone. However, if you’re looking for a pocket-friendly phone case with better-than-average protection for the size and weight, the Symmetry series is definitely worth considering. 

(Image credit: Clickr)

5. Clckr clear stand phone case

The best drop protection, clear silicone slim-line case with grip and kickstand

Specifications
Colors: Many options. Featured here: transparent
Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung, LG, Huawei and Android cell phones
Reasons to buy
+Slim: adds only 2.5mm to your phone+Flexible and durable+Great drop protection with TPU bumper
Reasons to avoid
-Does not work with many iPhone Pro models

If you're looking for something a little more streamlined that could help you with your grip (especially if you have small hands) then you might want to opt for this stand and grip-style phone case from Clckr. This case fits loads of different camera phones – the one reviewed was used on a Samsung Galaxy 2021 (6.2-inch) model and fitted tightly with neat cuts outs to the ports, and buttons that worked well. It's made out of silicone and feels nice and grippy, while the back has a slim handle that pops out. This grip is ideal for photography as it means that you can be ready to shoot with confidence, knowing your fingers won't tired and you won't drop your phone. The handle can also be used as a kickstand for horizontal and vertical viewing; you just snap it into place. The case is highly durable and has a TPU bumper with a raised edge to protect your camera and the screen against scratches, bumps and drops (up to 2m/6.6ft). Being clear silicone (as pictured here), the Clckr case is strong yet flexible, and your expensive tech can shine through.

(Image credit: Woolnut)

6. Woolnut - Cognac Brown

A luxurious leather case for iPhones

Specifications
Color: Cognac Brown, Racing Green, Black
Compatible with: iPhone only
Reasons to buy
+Made from premium leather
Reasons to avoid
-No screen protection 

Designed with premium Scandinavian full-grain leather, this beautifully manufactured cell phone case is perfect for discerning iPhone users who like to live in the lap of luxury. The slim profile of the case means that you don't have to worry about adding bulk to your iPhone's build, while the inside of the case is made of a soft microfiber lining that gently cossets your cell phone. It's true that this cell phone case won't be quite as robust as some of the others on this list, but its stylish design is perfect for everyday professional use, and the leather is pretty durable. It also develops a lovely patina over time.

(Image credit: Shieldon)

7. Shieldon iPhone Case

Store your cards in this handy cell phone wallet-style case

Specifications
Color: Black, Brown, Dark Blue, Red, Coffee Brown, Dark Purple, Wine Red
Compatible with: iPhone only
Reasons to buy
+Hands-free stand+Space for three bank cards+Magnetic closure
Reasons to avoid
-Only for iPhones

If you like to conserve as much space as possible, carrying around both a cell phone and a wallet can often be frustrating. If you feel like this, why not consider investing in a cell phone case that doubles up as a wallet? The Shieldon cell phone case has three slots for bank cards and an inside bill compartment to store notes and receipts. The case features an invisible kickstand that can be used for a hands-free phone display.

The Shieldon phone case has a hidden magnetic closure that's designed to help keep your valuables safe, while RFID Shielding Technology has been employed to help shield your cards from unauthorized scanning. 

(Image credit: Griffin)

8. Griffin Survivor Extreme Case

An all-weather case with maximum drop protection

Specifications
Color: Black
Compatible with: Most major Apple cell phones
Reasons to buy
+Multi-layer protection+FortiCore shock absorption technology
Reasons to avoid
-For iPhone only-Quite a large case

Boasting a tough, two-piece design, the Griffin Survivor Extreme is the ideal cell phone case for outdoor adventures. It has been drop tested to up to 10 feet (3 meters) onto concrete, and while we don't want to test that ourselves, it certainly seems rugged and durable so we're sure it will deliver on the promise of keeping your iPhone safely cushioned inside. It's rated IP55 against mud, rain, snow and sand that can damage your iPhone, this is thanks to the case's sealed design, which features button and port covers. Despite being a rugged protection cell phone case, it doesn't add too much bulk so you can still comfortably carry this around with you, but the Griffin Survivor isn't for small hands, which may not be a problem if you like using two anyway. If you're prone to accidents and want a case that will help your iPhone to withstand pretty big drops and anything the weather can throw at you, this tough case is a winner.

(Image credit: Caseology)

9. Caseology Legion case

Military grade protection in a smart stylish phone case

Specifications
Color: Black, Gold, Blue, Red, Coffee Brown, Green
Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Google cell phones
Reasons to buy
+Cool geometric pattern+Multi-layer protection+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Can hide phone's branding

This sleek, lightweight case from Caseology will snugly guard your cell phone – while improving your grip. The Legion's slim profile has durable double layers, and encases your device with certified military grade protection so you can rest assured smartphone will be safe. The Google Pixel and Apple iPhone ranges are catered for – as are some Samsung Galaxys. The flexible thermoplastic polyurethane provides good shock absorption, while a rigid outer shell of polycarbonate and carbon fiber corners effectively guards your cell phone against knocks.

(Image credit: Clckr)

10. Clckr Phone Stand and Grip

Not just a case, but a kick-stand and a photography grip too

Reasons to buy
+Nice materials and finish+Integrated stand
Reasons to avoid
-Clckr catch takes a little practice

The Clckr Phone Case has a special trick: There's a strip on the back that pulls out to form a rigid 'loop' to put your hand through for a more secure grip when holding your cell phone one-handed or when you want to take a selfie. That's not all. You can fold one section back against the rear of the case to produce a kickstand for hands-free movie watching or Facetime calls, either in vertical or horizontal orientation. It works really well, although there does seem to be a knack to getting the Clckr mechanism to snap shut properly (one side then the other, not both at once). With the Clickr stand shut, it's like any other cell phone case. There's a choice of nicely finished colors and materials, the phone buttons work fine without any stiffness, and the case is drop-tested to a height of 2 meters. The price is really good too, what's not to like?

(Image credit: Joby)

11. Joby StandPoint

A protective phone case with built-in tripod legs

Specifications
Color: Black
Compatible with: iPhone 12 Pro/12 Pro Max, 11/11 Pro/X/Xs, Google Pixel 4/4XL
Reasons to buy
+Ideal for low-light and long exposures+Useful for watching videos
Reasons to avoid
-Limited phone models-Requires flat surface

This cell phone case has got legs. Literally. While most cell phone photographers don’t use any support, all photos benefit from a camera being completely still. In low-light, or if you want to try a night-time shot – perhaps of star fields of the Milky Way – a tripod is imperative, and this case's rubber-tipped legs will help you to take such shots. The tripod is built-in, so you can fold the legs in and have a slim-line cell phone case, and it easily fits in your pocket. Aside from taking long-exposure shots, the StandPoint is perfect for perching your cell phone on a surface – a train or airline tray-table being the obvious candidates – for hands-free video as well as video calls and photo reviewing. We like the case’s protective nature, and the fact that it works with wireless charging pads. The only drawbacks are that the StandPoint’s tiny tripod legs require a flat surface, and the case itself feels a little plasticky, but it's very good value.

(Image credit: Ted Baker)

12. Ted Baker anti-shock case

One of the best fashion phone cases for everyday use

Specifications
Color: Jasmine print, Elderflower print
Compatible with: iPhone 12/12 Pro/12 Pro Max/12 Mini, 11/11 Pro/X/Xs/XR, SE (2020)
Reasons to buy
+Slim grip design+Handles well +MagSafe and Qi wireless charging compatible on iPhone 12
Reasons to avoid
-Could be tougher

This clear shell case from fashion label Ted Baker has been adorned with a stunning floral design (choose Jasmine or Elderflower) and it's slightly see-through so your iPhone shows through in a really appealing way. No matter what color your cell phone, this design is a winner. But, it's not all about the look: An AirWall-lined TPU bumper edge adds protection while allowing access to all ports and controls. The fit is as close as you can get, and the buttons are easy to press, which isn't always the case. It's really comfortable despite being a little chunkier than some of its rivals. 

(Image credit: Moshi)

13. Moshi Altra Wrist Strap case

The best slim case with a wrist strap

Specifications
Color: Midnight Blue and Sahara Beige
Compatible with: iPhone 12/12 Pro/12 Pro Max/12 Mini, 11/11 Pro/XR Max/XR
Reasons to buy
+Good grip+Great protection
Reasons to avoid
-Larger than a slim-line case

This Altra case features a quick-release detachable wrist strap and optional crossbody strap which is ideal if you're a person who likes to have your hands free but your phone ready to use. The case's textured grip makes holding the phone in one hand or taking photos safe and convenient, and it also has responsive metal buttons that provides easy access to your device's key controls. The Altra case features Moshi's proprietary NanoShield anti-microbial coating which is said to kill germs and bacteria upon contact. And it supports Moshi's handy SnapTo magnetic mounting system for SnapTo Car Mount, and is compatible with wireless charging. 

(Image credit: Spidercase)

14. Spidercase Waterproof Case

Heavy duty shockproof waterproof clear cover

Specifications
Color: Clear
Compatible with: Most major Apple, Samsung and Google cell phones
Reasons to buy
+Waterproof +Great protection and grip
Reasons to avoid
-Adds bulk-Fingerprint facility needs refinement

This waterproof case comes with a built-in screen protector and a scratch-resistant back panel, providing your cell phone with great protection. It incorporates shock-absorbing edges and corners, so you can rest assured that you phone will be protected against everyday shocks and drops. The Spidercase is constructed of shock-absorbing high-grade TPU and PC materials which keeps the case lightweight and sturdy. The case is fully sealed, and so you could potentially use it for taking underwater shots, but don't expect to be diving to any great depths with it. It also includes precise cutouts for your cell phone's buttons, ports and cameras, and is compatible with wireless chargers. It’s a cheaper alternative to the other rugged, waterproof cases in this list, and it works well. 

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Kulsoom Middleton

Kulsoom has a long history of contributing to Future’s portfolio of photography publications, including N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine and Digital Camera Magazine, making her well placed to identify some of the best deals and savings being offered – especially during sales bonanzas like Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day.


Her expertise isn’t just limited to imaging, but extends across all forms of technology. So in addition to writing about cameras, lenses, filters, tripods, gimbals and camera bags, Kulsoom also provides buying guides and flags up great deals on smartphones, smartphone cases, camera drones, instant cameras, action cameras, laptops, laptop cases, scrapbooks and everything in-between.