The 10 Best Waterproof Cell Phone Cases
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in July of 2015. With mobile phones costing more than some computers these days, it's probably smart to protect your investment from moisture, dirt, debris, and accidental drops with one of these sturdy waterproof cases. Now, should a clumsy friend knock that device into the pool, or if you make the mistake of keeping it in the bathroom and splashing it while using the sink, the mishap won't ruin your day. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 09, 2020:
We had made a lot of changes to this list during this update to ensure we included options to suit the newest smartphone models. We also wanted to make sure we had some good variety in the offerings. It was with this latter thought in mind that we decided to eliminate the Segmart Pouch, Vansky Floatable, and Cali Case XL. While there was nothing major wrong with any of these, the truth is that all of these waterproof pouches are essentially the same. And, since we still have the Joto Dry Pouch and Kona Submariner representing that category, we didn't see any reason to include three more, nearly identical, items.
The removal of the above three opened up a lot of space for new models. That, coupled with the fact that we eliminated models for some of the old generation phones, resulted in 70 percent of the list being replaced with new options.
One of the few models that allows for full use of your device and access to all of its ports, and that can also be taken deeper than just 5 of 6 feet, is the Catalyst MW9E2LL. It is rated for depths down to 33 feet, so you can take it snorkeling with you without fear that your device will be damaged. That being said, if you try this, you will quickly learn that touchscreens don't work well underwater. So, if you do want the ability to take photos and videos while underwater, you will either need to install an app that turns some of your physical buttons into camera controls, or opt for the ProShot Touch or Willbox Professional Universal.
We also really like the Temdan Note 20, which is another new addition this year. In addition to a cover over the charging port, it also has one over the S pen storage slot, so it won't interfere with access to this handy stylus when needed. Plus, it is quite lightweight and doesn't add much bulk to your device. The PunkCase StudStar S10 Plus is another slim option that won't make it feel like you are carrying a giant brick in your pocket.
Conversely, the PunkCase StudStar S10 Plus does add quite a bit of heft to a phone, but its rugged metal build offers a very high level of protection, making it ideal for anyone who is prone to dropping their device.
May 16, 2019:
There are typically two reasons one needs a waterproof phone case: 1) they fear accidental water exposure (like dropping it in a lake) or 2) they plan on purposefully getting their phone wet (like taking photos with it when snorkeling). So, we made our selection of models with those two aims in mind. We added a few great choices that should make passionate photographers happy, like the ProShot 007133, which comes with an intuitive app that allows for camera functionality, is GoPro mountable, and has a floating hand grip. The Segmart Pouch has clear material over the camera to let you snap those underwater pictures, and a neck strap to leave your hands free for swimming. The Haweel Max means business and is capable of being submerged 130 feet while delivering clear images through its anti-reflective glass. As for those who are just concerned about accidental drops and spills, the Ounne Cover is a life saver. It can remain under 10 feet of water for an hour, so an accidentaly drop in the pool or taking a call in the shower won't be an issue. The Kona Submariner boasts triple-strength seams to ensure nothing makes it inside and the Cali Case XL floats so if you do lose it in a pool or ocean, it should pop right back up.
TurboTech 215 360 Hybrid TurboTech 215 360 Hybrid is made from metal to offer a high level of protection to your device, however, thanks to a thin construction, it is still quite lightweight. It is designed for Samsung S20 Plus and Ultra models, and features an integrated kickstand for media viewing. turbotech215.com
Gorilla Case iPhone 12 Pro Max At a touch less than half-an-inch thick and weighing a mere two ounces, the Gorilla Case iPhone 12 Pro Max slips easily into a pocket and hardly adds any heft or bulk to your device. It is made from a rubber-like material that offers a secure grip, while also absorbing impacts in the event your phone is dropped. gorillacasestore.com
Why A Waterproof Cover Is A Necessity
When looking into a waterproof case, it's important to make sure that it is in fact waterproof and not just water resistant.
If you've broken or lost a cell phone in the past, particularly a smartphone, then you know how expensive it is to replace these devices. It's a smart idea to get insurance for your phone, but if you look into what's covered in most cell phone insurance plans, you'll see that water damage isn't. You should also know that most cell phones today have a small moistness indicator inside of them, that tells the phone company if water damage has occurred. So saying the source of your phone's troubles is something other than water isn't an option.
When looking into a waterproof case, it's important to make sure that it is in fact waterproof and not just water resistant. Make sure your case meets certain standards and specifications, particularly those on the International Protection Rating scale before you buy it. If you're already purchasing a case, it would be wise to invest in some extra protective features, too, like buying one that can withstand drops up to six feet.
Cases that cover the entire device, including the screen, offer the most protection, but some of these models may interfere with key functionality. Make sure your case doesn't cover the important volume and power buttons. People who spend a lot of time near natural bodies of water should consider a case that floats since it can be nearly impossible to relocate a phone that's dropped to the bottom of a dark lake. For people who like to consolidate their valuables in one place, there are cases that have a dedicated compartment for credit cards.
The Difficulty In Fixing A Water Damaged Phone
Since water damage makes up for thirty percent of broken smartphones, it's an issue most are bound to face at some point. In some cases, should you not have a waterproof case and drop your phone in water, you may be able to have it fixed. But there are a number of reasons that water damage repairs are rarely successful. First, one should know that even if they can fix their smartphone, it may cost as much to fix it as it does to replace it.
So the full repair, once you've replaced the broken screen and a few controls, might be much more than you had planned.
While the actual repair might not cost too much, this usually doesn't cover any components that might require replacing. For example, you may need to have your screen replaced, which significantly add to the overall cost(http://www.phonescreenrepair.org/Average-Cost-of-Repairing-a-Phone-Screen-and-Tips-to-Save.html). So the full repair, once you've replaced the broken screen and a few controls, might be much more than you had planned.
Water damage doesn't happen all at once but rather seeps into your phone over time, like rust in a vehicle. So, a phone repair technician may be able to fix the damage that is visible now, but he cannot predict what damage is still to come. And the fee you've already paid him will not cover new issues if you have to come back. Most electronics safe cleaning solutions or sonic cleaners only remove 95 percent of the foreign material (in this case, water). The five percent liquid that's left behind, however, will continue to spread long after the cleaning.
In theory, one could spend hundreds on a phone repair, with a new screen added, only to find two weeks later that there are new problems related to the water damage. The problems typically happen one at a time, like a malfunctioning camera one day, finicky keys the next, and entirely broken volume settings the following.
A Brief History Of Smartphones
Before smartphones, people would need to carry around both a cell phone and a personal digital assistant (PDA). For those who are too young to have witnessed the PDA era, these little devices can browse the web, keep calendars, and run software programs. In 1992, IBM created a phone that had PDA capabilities. Working in conjunction with BellSouth, they unveiled it to the public in late 1993. Their model was called the Simon Personal Communicator and it could make calls, send emails and send faxes.
Working in conjunction with BellSouth, they unveiled it to the public in late 1993.
Throughout the 1990s, cell phones with PDA capabilities became very popular. In fact, at one point, one of the leading PDA companies, Blackberry, was valued at 40 billion. But just on the heels of this valuation came the iPhone, which caused a shift in the market trend from PDAs to smartphones. After being on the market for just one year, between 2007 and 2008, Apple sold 4.7 million iPhones.
Around the same time, Microsoft had been making a name for itself in the smartphone market with its Windows Mobile. In 2007, they had an eighteen percent share of the smartphone market. In 2008, Google released their Android, while Microsoft put an end to their Windows Mobile and instead created the Windows Phone. By 2011, smartphones were outselling personal computers.