Must-Have Picks for Every Occasion, Style, and Budget
CaseMate Brilliance Tough ($67.99–$80) This case has become one of my absolute favorites. Although it's a bit flashy for some, that's one of the many reasons I love it so much. Not only is it just plain glamorous, but it's pretty rugged too. While testing this case, I dropped it quite a few times, and my phone made it out completely unscathed (and, remarkably, the case did too). I'll admit, I was pretty concerned about the gems on the back falling off, as that's what happens to most cases like this, but I've had no such problem with the Brilliance Tough. The only downside is that it's not super easy to take on and off, which isn't a problem if you only remove your case to swap it out for another, but can get frustrating if you (like me) frequently use external lenses that require a naked iPhone.
DODOcase Leather Cardcase ($34.95) If I'm at a concert or out on the town, then there are really only three things I need: my phone, my credit card, and my ID. Anything else is cumbersome and unnecessary. This case has been the perfect solution. It isn't as rugged as some of the other options listed here, but its slim design makes it perfect for your pocket. The case features a leather backing and card pocket, which can stretch to accommodate up to four cards. I slid two cards into the pocket and found that they stayed firmly in place, so I didn't worry about losing them at any point. You can also include a gold monogram on the leather backing if you so choose. This is a great case for activities that require you to pack as light as possible.
Mophie Charge Force Case ($59.95) I take a lot of photos and videos when I travel. That means that my battery drains much faster than I would like. Although I have a ton of external batteries that I pack on my trips, all of them require me to plug my phone into them for it to charge. That usually ends up putting my phone out of commission until it reaches 100 percent again. Mophie's Charge Force case is a great alternative. The case is compatible with nearly all wireless chargers, but I use Mophie's Charge Force Powerstation Mini ($49.95). All I have to do is charge the Powerstation before my trip, and then it's ready to use next time my phone's battery runs low. The Powerstation magnetically adheres to the back of my phone and begins charging instantly, so I can continue using my phone with no issues—no wires necessary!
Otterbox Defender Series Case ($23.95–$49.95) Otterbox is a household name when it comes to protective iPhone cases—and for good reason! This case not only protects your iPhone against drops with its rugged design, but its built-in screen protector safeguards your device against cracks and scratches as well. Most of my friends who work outdoors (especially in construction) swear by Otterbox, and it's been hard to convince them to try anything else. They've shared many stories about dropping phones from roofs or accidently leaving them on their car as they drove away, and in each scenario their devices miraculously escaped unscathed. I've used the product myself in the past, and although it was a bit bulky for my liking, it would be a disservice not to mention it in this roundup, especially considering how many of my close friends love it so much. If you regularly work outdoors, then I definitely recommend the Otterbox Defender Series.
Lifeproof FRĒ Case ($18.99–$89.99) I don't let hazards like rivers and rocky slopes stand in my way when I'm taking pictures. Even though the iPhone 7 has proven itself to be incredibly resistant to water, I don't trust that it can withstand some of the situations I place it in (I really like capturing underwater shots). This case is my go-to for all outdoor adventures. I recently took it on a four-day camping trip along the Chattooga River in South Carolina, and I thoroughly freaked out my companions every time I dipped my phone below the water's surface to snap a photo of a fish. I did this a lot, and never once did a drop of water manage to sneak into the case. And despite its slim design, it offered incredible protection against the jagged rocks I occasionally dropped it on. The only downside is that it's nearly impossible to use the screen while it's submerged.
REVEAL Nature Tech Collection (Starting at $25) This case isn't designed to be very protective, but it is one of the few environmentally friendly options available and it looks beautiful too. REVEAL's case easily guards against dents and scratches, but I certainly wouldn't feel safe dropping my phone while using it. Regardless, I love the design and found it to offer a sufficient amount of protection for everyday use. Not only is REVEAL's Nature Tech line made from renewable cork and bamboo, but through the company's partnership with the nonprofit American Forests, it also promises to plant a tree for every product bought from the collection. To date, the nonprofit has already planted over 50 million trees worldwide, which is certainly significant. If you're trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, then it's hard to go wrong with this case.
Speck Presidio Protective Cases ($18.99–$39.95) Speck's cases may seem basic, but they haven't let me down yet! Despite their slim design, they are incredibly resilient. In fact, they boast 10-foot protection against drops—and trust me, I've dropped my phone more times than I care to admit. Speck's top-selling case is the Presidio Clear (which protects your iPhone while allowing you to appreciate its design) but my personal favorite has been the Presidio Inked, which comes in a variety of colorful options. The company also offers the Presidio WALLET (which allows you to easily store your credit card and ID) and the Presidio GRIP (which features a ridged exterior that prevents your iPhone from slipping out of your hands). I've been impressed with how this case has held up for me. It has never felt too bulky, which is important to me, but has offered just the right amount of protection.
X-Doria Case Defense Lux Wood ($24.95–$39.99) I'm a sucker for beautiful, natural-looking designs, but even so, I never expected that I would grow to love this case as much as I have. Its smooth wooden backing is right up my alley, and its soft rubber interior and aluminum frame offer just the right amount of protection against drops without making the case too bulky. I used this case for a solid three months in all manner of conditions, and it held up amazingly well. Many cases start showing signs of wear and tear early on, but this one looks almost the same as the day I first put it on, which is incredible in and of itself. The metal latch on the case's side is easy to lock and unlock, which makes removing the phone fairly easy, and its raised lip edges have no doubt protected my screen more times than I realize (which is great, because I've boldly chosen not to use a screen protector).