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 world finally beginning to re-open, many of our readers will 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
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 iPhone 12 Pro Max Case
BEST FOR IPHONE 12 PRO MAX
You made an investment 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.
2. 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 new 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.
3. DiverBox iPhone SE 2020 Waterproof Case
BEST 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.
4. LifeProof Fre Case for iPhone 12 Mini
MADE FROM RECYCLED MATERIAL for IPHONE MINI
Not only are you protecting your sleek new 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.
5. Otterbox Defender Series for iPhone 11
BEST IPHONE 11 CASE
OtterBox makes some of our favorite iPhone cases, and their cases are also consistently some of the top-rated protective cases on Amazon. If you want to provide total protection for your new iPhone 11, then go with the OtterBox Defender Series. This phone case for iPhones comes in a variety of colors and will protect your phone from all manner of accidents.
By covering your phone ports and protecting it from drops, the Defender Series will keep your phone safe. However, it’s not fully waterproof like some options. While it will protect your phone from spills and moisture, it won’t let you take underwater photos like some options. This case is also designed to go around a screen protector for added protection, but it doesn’t come with its own screen protector. Of course, because the iPhone 11 itself is water-resistant, this case is more than enough protection to safeguard your investment.
6. Catalyst iPhone XR Waterproof Phone Case
Catalyst specializes in making waterproof iPhone and AirPods cases. Quite possibly the most robust iPhone case ever made, this Catalyst model is made for XR phones and features a stunning build to offer superior protection. The fully submersible design is able to protect your phone up to an impressive 33 feet underwater, and the military-grade shock-resistant protection helps to ensure your phone’s safety no matter how many times you drop it. Plus, unlike other waterproof cases, this one doesn’t interfere with your phone’s functionality.
7. OTBBA iPhone X/iPhone Xs Waterproof Case
GREAT DROP AND WATERPROOF PROTECTION
Designed for both standard X and Xs iPhone models, this sleek waterproof case is able to keep your phone safe up to 6.6 feet underwater for roughly one hour. The smart, full-bodied design helps to add more shock and drop protection, and the transparent front and back cover lets you access your camera, volume levels and more with ease. It even comes with its own front screen protector.
8. iPhone 7 Plus/8 Plus Waterproof Case
BEST PROTECTION FOR OLDER IPHONES
For those who want a little extra protection, this robust waterproof case is also dirt-proof, snow-proof and even shockproof. Designed specifically for iPhone 7 and 8 models, the built-in screen protector will help prevent scratches and smudges. What’s more, you’re still able to utilize the touchscreen’s functionality, unlike a few of the other cases on our list.
9. Lifeproof FRE SERIES Waterproof Case for iPhone XR
MOST STYLISH FOR IPHONE
This stylish option from Lifeproof is available in multi-colored options that give you choice along with unbeatable protection. These cases are completely water-, snow- and scratch-proof, so no matter what your lifestyle is, you can adventure knowing your phone is safe. It also boasts amazing shock absorbency and can withstand drops from over 6 feet. Designed to be used as a daily phone case, the FRE Series allows you to enjoy full functionality of the charging port along with its stellar defense against liquids, dust and other potential invaders.
Best Waterproof Samsung Cases
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Oterkin Samsung Galaxy S20 Waterproof Case
Sleek, slim, shock-absorbent and yes, even waterproof, the Oterkin is easily one of the best waterproof Samsung cases on the market. Able to be submerged up to 6.6 feet for up to an hour, it features a clear and extra thin design to help it conform to your phone’s original look and feel. That said, this beauty is only compatible with Samsung’s S20 6.2inch 2020, so other Samsung models won’t fit.
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.
5. RedPepper Samsung Galaxy
Tired of reading about all these iPhone-only cases? Fret not, because this beauty is custom-designed for Galaxy geeks. Fully waterproof up to an impressive 6.6 feet, this sleek case comes in three vibrant colors and is even backed by a generous 30-day money-back guarantee.
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. Mpow 097 Universal Pouch
When it comes to waterproof pouches, there are a lot of options. But the Mpow 097 has over 36,500 ratings on amazon and 4.5 stars. This highly reviewed waterproof phone case is big enough to hold your iPhone 12 Pro Max, 11 Pro, and Xs Max (and smaller phones as well). Keep in mind, although it protects your phone from water, it is not pressure rated, so don’t dive with your phone in the pouch. It’s better suited for kayaking, rafting or boating.
3. 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.
4. 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 5-year hassle-free warranty. What more could you ask for?
5. 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.
6. RANVOO Floating Waterproof Phone Pouch
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY OPTION
Able to fit most small smartphones, this awesome waterproof pouch features a sturdy TPU build and is both eco-friendly and extra easy to use. The clear transparent front and back screens are a nice touch. And the best part? You can still utilize the touchscreen so you can snap or even text to your heart’s content.
7. JOTO Universal Waterproof Pouch
BEST FOR UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY
Unlike your average waterproof phone case, this handy waterproof pouch features clear back and front windows and even comes with its own built-in credit card holder. Available in 11 fun colors, it includes its own neck strap. It may not be the slimmest case, but the JOTO will ensure your phone is protected regardless of the environment. If you’re somewhere tropical and absolutely need to document your snorkeling class, this is the case we’d recommend.
8. 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.