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Though many of the latest smartphones are water-resistant, you’re out of luck if you drop your phone in the pool. Sure, you could reach for a bowl of rice and try that method, but why be reactive when you can be proactive? What do we mean? We mean a waterproof case.
With the weather warming up, you might be heading to the pool, the beach or the dock, where a ruined smartphone is one careless moment away. Unless you’re the type who enjoys living on the edge (read: lives without a phone case), you’re going to protect your phone with some sort of shield anyway. So, why not make that safety feature even safer, especially when you’re near a body of water? The best smartphones are expensive, so spend a little more now and save yourself a lot of potential money and grief if anything happens.
How Are Waterproof Phone Cases Different From Regular Cases?
Unlike a typical phone case, which utilizes a form of raised bumpers to protect your phone’s screen and hardware should it fall, a waterproof case will totally encase your phone in protective and waterproof materials. So not only is your device protected from bumps, scrapes, scratches and bruises, but it’s protected if you drop it in the sink, toilet, bath or pool. Even better, some of the best waterproof phone cases actually float in water, so you don’t need to go diving for your lost phone ala Hvaldimir the spy whale.
If you’re looking to keep your phone safe from rain and — gulp — dropping it in the pool, here are our favorite waterproof phone cases. Best of all, we’ve divided our picks into three different buckets:
- Waterproof iPhone cases
- Waterproof Samsung cases
- Universal and floating cases
What About The New iPhone SE?
Apple just unveiled its new iPhone SE 2022. So are there any cases for it yet? Well, there’s some good news. The iPhone SE 2022 has the same dimensions as the 2020 version. That means that if you’re upgrading from the 2020 model, you can pick up one of the cases below that’s designed for the 2020 model.
From ultra-thin waterproof cases to full-blown floating designs and more, you owe to your phone (and your bank account) to make sure it stays dry.
Best Waterproof iPhone Cases
1. Ghostek NAUTICAL Waterproof Case
BEST IPHONE 13 PRO MAX CASE
There are actually quite a few versions of Apple’s most recent flagship iPhone, the iPhone 13. These include the Pro, the Pro Max, the regular iPhone 13, and the iPhone mini. They’ve all got slightly different dimensions, so you’ll need to choose the case wisely. If you want an option for your iPhone 13 Pro Max, then consider picking up this case from Ghostek. It has a transparent back to see the phone’s case, and you can use it with MagSafe chargers. The phone is IP68 waterproof.
2. LifeProof FRĒ SERIES Waterproof Case
BEST IPHONE 13 CASE
If you want an option for the base model of the iPhone 13, then consider picking up this case from LifeProof. It’s made from polycarbonate and comes in a stylish purple design. The unit comes with a built-in screen protector for a watertight seal. Plus, the case is made from recycled plastic.
3. LifeProof FRĒ Series Hard Shell
BEST IPHONE 13 PRO CASE
LifeProof has cases for many different iPhone models, including this option for the iPhone 13 Pro. Like LifeProof’s other cases, this option is made from recycled plastic, including ocean plastic. The protection allows you to submerge the phone two meters for up to one hour. The design also maintains access to your phone’s buttons and ports.
4. Ghostek NAUTICAL Case
BEST FOR IPHONE 13 MINI
Got the mini version of the iPhone 13? It may be more affordable, but it still needs protection. Fortunately, Ghostek, once again, has you covered. The case is available in either black or with a transparent cover. The case is designed to be shockproof and waterproof, and it can support wireless charging through MagSafe.
5. Ghostek Nautical Waterproof iPhone 12 Pro Max Case
BEST FOR IPHONE 12 PRO MAX
You made an investment in getting a new iPhone Pro Max, now protect that investment with the Ghostek military-grade case. It completely seals all of your phone’s ports and holes. It can handle dives down to 21 feet of water, and the camera protector creates a clear window to take great underwater photos. When you’re on land, the non-slip grip helps prevent those pesky butter-finger moments. But if (when) they do happen, the case can withstand up to a 12-foot drop.
6. Temdan iPhone 12 Pro Max Case
Whether you take your iPhone 12 Pro Max to the beach or the pool, a little extra protection is ideal. Although the iPhones 12s are IP68 rated already, the Temdan case provides a protective layer that further water and dust proofs your phone. While we don’t recommend you go diving with this case, it completely seals off the buttons, holes and ports to provide extra waterproof protection. And the slim profile doesn’t make it a big bulky block in your pocket either.
7. Lifeproof FRĒ SERIES Waterproof Case for iPhone SE
BEST FOR IPHONE SE
As mentioned, the iPhone SE shares the same dimensions for both its 2020 and 2022 iterations, so if you have either the new one or the one from 2020, you can use the same case. This case from Lifeproof has an eye-catching lime green and black color, but you can also choose from other colors. The case is submersible up to two meters for one hour.
8. DiverBox iPhone SE 2020 Waterproof Case
RUNNER UP FOR IPHONE SE
When you insert your iPhone SE into the DiverBox Waterproof Case, you essentially double the water-resistance of your phone. Without it, the iPhone SE can handle being under about three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. With this case, that depth increases to about six and a half feet. Of course, you also get the benefit of added drop protection. This case has been tested by being dropped 1,000 times from six feet without the phone inside taking any damage. So, even the most unsure-handed person can have peace of mind.
9. LifeProof Fre Case for iPhone 12 Mini
MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIAL for IPHONE MINI
Not only are you protecting your sleek iPhone Mini, but you’re also doing so with a product made from 35% recycled ocean plastic and 25% recycled plastic. Beyond doing good for the planet, your phone will be able to handle drops from up to six and a half without any damage, as well as being submerged in six and a half feet of water for up to an hour without any leaking. So while you protect your phone from the ocean, you are also protecting the ocean from unwanted plastics.
Best Waterproof Samsung Cases
1. Ghostek Galaxy S22 — NAUTICAL slim
Yet again, Ghostek makes a solid option for Android users. If you have the Galaxy S22, consider picking up Ghostek’s Nautical Slim case, which is designed to have a slim build to protect your phone without adding too much bulk. It’s designed to protect the phone for up to an hour and a half at six feet deep, while the cutouts are designed to make it easy to continue using the phone’s buttons. It’s also available for the Galaxy S22 Plus.
2. Ghostek Nautical Waterproof Case for Samsung S21
BEST FOR SAMSUNG S21
You can take some sweet underwater pictures with the Samsung S21 when it’s protected by the Ghostek Waterproof case. This completely seals all the ports and protects the camera so you can dive down 21 feet underwater and still keep your phone completely protected for up to an hour. Then when you’re out of the water, your phone can withstand being dropped from up to 12 feet without any damage. It will cost a lot more to fix or replace your damaged phone than it will to buy this military-grade waterproof phone case.
3. Vapesoon for Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
GALAXY NOTE 20 ULTRA BUDGET OPTION
With a screen protector that is nicely contoured to fit the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra screen and a nice grip along the edges, the Vapesoon case maintains the sleek profile of your Note 20 but adds plenty of protection. For instance, this case has been tested with 100 drops from six feet and will keep your phone protected under six of water for up to 30 minutes. That’s not to mention that it’s completely protected from dust and snow. And perhaps the best part, it’s less than $20 for all this extra protection.
4. GOLDJU Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Waterproof Case
BEST FOR FUNCTIONALITY
This gorgeous case is perfect for Galaxy S10 models and comes with a built-in screen protector to help keep your phone dust- and scuff-free. What’s amazing is that it completely encases your phone, but the latest model still supports your phone’s biometric fingerprint reader, so you can do all the things you like to do — whether you’re on land or underwater.
Universal Waterproof Phone Cases
1. AlCase Universal Waterproof Housing
BEST FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY
This underwater housing works for iPhone 11 Pro Max and smaller iPhones as well as Samsung S10 Plus, Note 10 Plus and S9 Plus. The design completely protects your phone when you’re diving down 49 feet underwater, and even allows you to take pictures thanks to its ergonomic grips and a big shutter button. On the bottom of the housing is an attachment for tripods or stabilizers. This is the case you want if you’re more serious about diving and want a bit more protection and utility from your waterproof phone case.
2. 5-Pack Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch
For when you have phones to spare, these waterproof pouches are sure to be a hit. Each set comes in packs of five, and they’re all made with the same durable PC plastic. What’s more, these waterproof pouches are super thin, only .3mm thick, and can withstand being submerged up to 30 meters underwater.
3. Kona Submariner Large Waterproof Phone Pouch
BEST UNIVERSAL POUCH
For when you’re looking to dive deep but don’t want your phone to go kaput, this Kona pouch is a must-have. For starters, it’s able to protect your phone up to 100 feet underwater, which is leagues ahead of other waterproof cases. It also features a smart durable in-seam that helps provide extra protection, and it even comes with an impressive five-year hassle-free warranty. What more could you ask for?
4. SURITCH Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch
The SURITCH waterproof phone case pouch is a beaut. The extra buoyant TPU casing helps keep it safe in the water, and the slim and stylish design really helps it stand out. As a universal phone pouch, it works with most smartphone makes and models. That said, due to its smaller size it’s only compatible with phones under 7 inches, so readers with Plus and X models may want to look for a different case.
5. Hiearcool Universal Waterproof Case
This case is protective, portable and will guard your expensive tech up to 30 meters underwater. Take videos, text, send pictures and more all with the comfort of knowing your device is protected and all you need to worry about is capturing the moment. This case is made for touch screen users and designed for seamless use through its protective layer as well as any additional screen protectors you might have on. Just be sure to increase your touch screen’s sensitivity before you take the plunge.
6. GSI Outdoors Lexan Gear Box
BEST FOR KAYAKING
This isn’t the same as a phone case, but it’s still a product worth considering, especially if you’re going to be spending time on the water or kayaking. This case has a secure snap closure and is watertight to securely store small personal accessories like your phone, wallet and keys. There are multiple box sizes available, but the small box is a good size for phones and other personal effects.
7. Schwinn Top Tube Bike Phone Bag
BEST FOR BIKE RIDING
This is another unique option that isn’t quite a phone case but can still serve as a way to safely store your device while on the move. It’s designed for attaching to the top tube of a bicycle, and there’s enough space in the bag to store miscellaneous items such as your keys or cards. Plus, the transparent lid allows you to continue to use your touchscreen.
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