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The best iPad Air cases in 2021: stylish protection for your Apple tablet

best iPad Air case: OtterBox Symmetry Series 360 case
(Image credit: OtterBox)

The best iPad Air cases aren't just a nice thing to have, they're essential. After all, even if you're 100 per cent careful 100 per cent of the time (and who can say that?), you still can't predict what children, animals or other adults might do to accidentally damage your beloved tablet. So the protection and peace of mind offered by a decent case means it basically pays for itself. 

And that's just one part of it. The best iPad Air cases also look stylish, include a stand for raising up your tablet at a comfortable viewing angle, and may even come with a keyboard and/or trackpad too, instantly transforming your iPad Air into a laptop for productive work.

• See the best iPads Best iPad Pro casesBest iPad Mini cases

In this article, we've listed the 10 best iPad Air cases, at a range of prices to suit all budgets. Note that most of these cases are for the latest, 4th generation iPad Air, but if you have the 3rd generation iPad Air, you'll find the best cases for that model at number 2, 7 and 10 on our list.

10 best iPad Air cases in 2021

(Image credit: Apple)

1. Apple Smart Folio

The best iPad Air case for 4th generation models

Specifications
Manufacturer: Apple
Colors: Electric Orange, Mallard Green, Deep Navy, Cyprus Green, Pink Citrus, White, Black
Weight: 297g
Compatible with: iPad Air 4th generation
Reasons to buy
+Protective+Flexible+Wide range of colors
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

If you have the latest, fourth-generation model, then the best iPad Air case you can buy right now is this official one from Apple.

It's protective: constructed from a single piece of polyurethane, it's able to safeguard both the front and back of your device. It's flexible: you can easily fold it into different positions to create a stand for reading, viewing, typing, watching movies, or making video calls. And it's functional, in the sense that it automatically wakes your iPad Air when opened, and puts it to sleep when closed.  

This case comes in a wide range of cool colors, too, so you'll be sure to find a hue that matches your personal style. 

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Apple Smart Cover for iPad Air (3rd generation)

The best iPad Air case for 3rd generation models

Specifications
Manufacturer: Apple
Colors: Electric Orange, Mallard Green, Deep Navy, Cyprus Green, Pink Citrus, White, Black
Weight: 272g
Compatible with: iPad Air 3rd generation
Reasons to buy
+Compatible with several iPad models+Good range of color options
Reasons to avoid
-Apple pricing!

If you have a 3rd generation model, then the best iPad Air case for you is again the official Apple product. This version of the Apple Smart Cover comes with all the advantages of the 4th gen version listed above (flexible, protective and functional), but sized perfectly for the iPad Air 3rd generation.

It also suits the iPad Pro 10.5-inch, the iPad (8th generation) and the iPad (7th generation), just in case you have one of those knocking around too.

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Apple Magic Keyboard

The best iPad Air case with a keyboard

Specifications
Manufacturer: Apple
Colors: White, Black
Weight: 601g
Compatible with: iPad Air 4th generation
Reasons to buy
+Responsive keys+Excellent trackpad+Pass-through charging
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

You don't just want a case that protects your iPad Air; you want a keyboard you can use it with too. Which means you need to check out the Apple Magic Keyboard.

Compatible with both the iPad Air (4th generation) and the iPad Pro 11-inch (1st-3rd generation), the Magic Keyboard offers a good typing experience, with comfortable backlit keys and 1mm travel for comfortable and responsive typing.

You also get a trackpad designed for Multi‑Touch gestures and the cursor in iPadOS; a USB‑C port for pass-through charging; and front and back protection for your iPad Air. So yes, it's expensive, but you are getting a lot for your money in return. 

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Apple Smart Keyboard

An affordable alternative to the Magic Keyboard

Specifications
Manufacturer: Apple
Colors: Black
Weight: 646g
Compatible with: iPad Air 4th generation
Reasons to buy
+Light+Water-resistant+Cheaper than Magic Keyboard
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks trackpad

The Magic Keyboard is not the only official iPad Air case that allows you to type. Apple also sells the Smart Keyboard Folio. So what's the difference?

To start with, the Smart Keyboard is lighter, so it's a good choice if you carry your iPad Air from place to place a lot. It's also water-resistant. On the downside, it lacks a trackpad, the keys aren't backlit, and nor are they quite as responsive as those on the Magic Keyboard. Plus, there's only one USB-C port to the Magic Keyboard's two. 

Still, it's still a nice keyboard and case, and these compromises may well be ones you're willing to make, given the lower price.

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Logitech Folio Touch

The best third-party iPad Air case

Specifications
Manufacturer: Logitech
Colors: Grey
Weight: 317.5g
Compatible with: iPad Air 4th generation
Reasons to buy
+Keyboard & trackpad+Shortcut keys+Reasonable price
Reasons to avoid
-Not particularly stylish

Here's a great iPad case from Logitech which gets the Apple seal of approval, as they sell it on their official site. And for good reason, because it's a quality case featuring both a keyboard and trackpad, for less money than the Magic Keyboard. 

The soft, plastic keys have a lovely responsive feel to them, and they're backlit too. There's a row of iPadOS shortcut keys, providing one-tap access to the Home screen, Siri, Search, media controls and more. There's a kick-back stand with 40-degree tilt. And you also get space to charge your Apple Pencil (2nd generation) while keeping the case on.

All in all, while this grey-only case isn't as stylish looking as the Magic Keyboard, its functionality is very impressive consider the lower price.

(Image credit: Otterbox)

6. OtterBox Symmetry Series 360

Sleek and elegant iPad Air case that ticks all our boxes

Specifications
Manufacturer: OtterBox
Colors: Grey, purple
Weight: 297g
Compatible with: iPad Air 4th generation
Reasons to buy
+Drop protection+Elegant looks+Lifetime warranty
Reasons to avoid
-Not the cheapest

The other case on our list to have official approval from Apple, this scratch-resistant case from Otterbox is specially designed for the iPad Air (4th generation).

With a clear plastic back and rubber border, this case looks sleek and elegant, even though it's slightly bulkier than Apple's offical case. Plus there's a multi-position stand for hands-free use, and opening and closing your case activates your iPad Air's sleep and wake modes.

Most significantly, despite being so slim, it also offers an impressive level of drop protection, as well as a limited lifetime warranty. So despite being on the pricey side, you do get good value from this iPad Air case.

(Image credit: Torro)

7. Torro Premium Leather Case for Ipad Air (3rd generation)

The best leather case for the iPad Air

Specifications
Manufacturer: Torro
Colors: Black, dark brown, tan
Weight: 221g
Compatible with: iPad Air 3rd generation
Reasons to buy
+Quality handcrafted leather+Stylish design+Good protection
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks Apple Pencil support

Got a third-generation iPad Air and want something a little more old-school, style-wise, than Apple's official case? Then let us point you to this precision-cut leather case from Torro.

It's beautifully handcrafted from genuine black napa leather, a fine grain soft leather, with contrasting red stitching to give a refined and elegant look. And the inside is lined with soft microfibre to provide additional protection to your iPad Air screen.

This case supports the iPad Air's sleep/wake function, and there are two stand functions for TV viewing and typing. 

UAG Metropolis case for iPad Air

(Image credit: UAG)

8. UAG Metropolis

The best rugged iPad Air case

Specifications
Manufacturer: UAG
Colors: Cobalt, black
Weight: 283g
Compatible with: iPad Air 4th generation
Reasons to buy
+Strong protection+Lightweight construction+Water-resistant
Reasons to avoid
-Lacks sleep/wake support

Are you very worried about dropping or otherwise damaging your iPad Air? Then you need a rugged case, and we recommend this one from UAG (Urban Armor Gear).

Despite being lovely and light at 283g, it provides a high level of protection against bumps, scratches and drops that meets military drop test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6). It's also water-resistant. However, be aware that it does not support the sleep or wake function on the iPad Air (4th Generation).

ESR Slim Smart Case

(Image credit: ESL)

9. ESR Slim Case

The best cheap iPad Air case

Specifications
Manufacturer: ESR
Colors: Papaya, rose gold, blue, black, grey, green
Weight: 218g
Compatible with: iPad Air 4th generation
Reasons to buy
+Cheap+Range of colors+Ticks all the boxes
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most stylish

Light on funds? Then we recommend the ESR Slim case, which costs a fraction of the price of other iPad Air cases on this list, but still delivers a good experience. Designed specifically for the iPad Air 4th Generation, this case offers all the basic functionality you need. 

Its flexible back and hard cover provide a decent level of grip, and protection against bumps and scratches. The magnetic front cover can be folded into two stand positions for viewing or typing. It supports auto wake and sleep. And you can pair and charge your Pencil 2. All at a remarkably low price.

(Image credit: ESR)

10. ESR Urban Premium Case (iPad Air 3)

The best cheap iPad Air case (3rd generation)

Specifications
Manufacturer: ESR
Colors: Knight, Sky
Weight: 213g
Compatible with: iPad Air 3rd generation
Reasons to buy
+Low price+Stylish looks+Supports auto wake/sleep
Reasons to avoid
-Stand isn't the sturdiest

You might expect a cheap iPad Air case to look kind of basic and unappealing. But this ESR case for the iPad Air 3rd generation is not only very affordable, it's very stylish too. 

Its polycarbonate back plate with a large ventilation cutout will keep your iPad Air light and cool. The front cover, made of leather with wood grain texture and decorative stitching, adds a touch of class. And the soft microfiber lining inside helps keep your device safe.

Two non-slip grooves provide different viewing angles in stand mode, although be aware that the stand isn't the sturdiest on the market. There's support for auto wake/sleep too.

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Tom May

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specializing in art, photography, design and travel. He has been editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. He has also worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, T3, Heat, Company and Bella.