How Effective Are Protective Phone Cases?

More people make the switch to smartphones each year, but with the average selling price around $363, it's no small investment. Premium models sell for even more, often reaching a price tag of $1,000 and up. 

At that cost, you want to protect your smartphone in any way you can. Unless your phone is still under warranty, repairs and replacements can get expensive. 

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One way people safeguard their phones is with a protective phone case. If you're also considering this route, you're likely wondering how effective a case is. We'll go over what a smartphone case does, why the material matters, and what you should look for so you can determine if a case is right for you. 

How People Damage Their Phones

How Effective Are Protective Phone Cases

Before considering what a protective phone case does, it's important to cover why phones get damaged. 

According to a recent Allstate Protection Plans survey, 140 million Americans have managed to damage their smartphone at some point in their lives.

The most common types of damage include: 

  • • Cracked screens
  • • Scratches
  • • Battery failure
  • • Damaged sides or corners 
  • • Faulty charging ports
  • • Broken power button or home button
  • • Water damage

Dropping a phone is the most common reason for damage. Cracked screens are often the result of dropping a phone on a hard surface such as a sidewalk or tile floor.

Phones may slip as they're removed from pockets, purses, or picked up. Whatever the reason, a device landing on the ground is a recipe for a cracked screen. 

While not as devastating as a cracked screen, a scratch can be equally frustrating as it ruins your phone's appearance.

Phone cases should protect your device from basic wear and tear and impact. Having the proper phone case prevents many of the issues listed above, as long as you get a quality cover. 

What Does a Smartphone Case Do?

A high-quality smartphone case will help protect your device from impacts, such as when you drop it. You'll want to look for cases made of shock-absorbent materials like rubber or silicone. 

Not all phone cases are created equally. Cheap plastic cases won't protect your device as well. 

SUPCASE rugged phone cases are made of shock-absorbent TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and PC material (Polycarbonates).

TPU is flexible and smooth yet durable and strong, making it perfect for phone cases. Polycarbonates are a type of thermoplastic polymer that produce tough and impact-resistant materials.

The SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle PRO phone cases came out as the winner of CNET's annual drop test, giving you the ultimate peace of mind. 

Everyone can benefit from a durable smartphone case, but it's especially critical for those that spend a lot of time outdoors, runners, construction workers, those in the transportation industry, and people that do a lot of physical labor. 

Waterproof Cases

If you're worried about dropping your phone in water or exposing it to moisture, a waterproof case is your best bet. Keep in mind that not all cases are designed to be waterproof. Don't make the mistake of expecting your phone to be safe if you lose it in the lake. 

Apple started producing water-resistant phones when they released the iPhone 7 in 2016. The first Android phone with water resistance was the Motorola Defy back in 2010. 

While your phone might be water-resistant, that only means it's protected up to a certain depth and for a limited period. If you want a truly waterproof phone, you'll have to buy a case rated for extended time underwater. 

Protection From Scratches

Screen protectors prevent cracks as well as scratches on your phone's screen. Although most smartphones these days have higher levels of scratch resistance, there's always a chance you can gouge the screen with your keys or another sharp object. 

While you can buy screen protectors separately, the best protection you can get comes from buying a case with an included screen guard. 

These cases protect your device from scratches, cracks, and shattered screens. 

Accessories for Extra Protection

Air Vent Phone Ring Holder

In addition to a durable phone case, you might also want to invest in accessories that can provide additional protection and avoid bad habits. While accessories are optional, they can provide a better grip, allow you to use your phone in new ways, and prevent drops and damage. 

Phone grips attach to your case and act as a stand or a more secure way to hold a phone.

Our air vent phone rings allow you to attach your phone to automobile vents, perfect for GPS. The ring also doubles as a kickstand, allowing users to rest their phone on a desk or hard surface. The 360° rotation and 180° flip let the user find the perfect viewing angle. 

A cell phone holster is a great option for anyone looking to minimize what they have to carry, such as a backpack or purse. It attaches to a belt to keep the phone in place and within easy reach. Holsters are great for camping, hiking, or anytime you want a secure and convenient way to carry a phone around. 

A phone tether or leash connects your phone case to a bag or belt clip. It's retractable, allowing you to pull up and use your device at any time without worrying about dropping it. Tethers also prevent thefts, as thieves won't be able to run off with your phone. 

Armbands are another way to protect your phone while running, exercising, climbing, hiking, etc. As the name implies, an armband is an adjustable strap that goes around your upper arm and contains a phone case. This type of case holds your phone in place as you move around so you can listen to music or take calls while on the go. 

How Do People Test Cases? 

Now that you know more about why people use phone cases and what type of damage they prevent, it's important to understand how people test a case's durability. 

What makes one brand better than another? It comes down to durability, and that's measured through various tests. 

Some cases have a MIL-STD-810G claim, which is a US military standard used to certify military equipment. Manufacturers are responsible for testing their products, so there are variations in testing methods.

You want to look for cases tested by the manufacturer as well as third parties. The best testing methods involve shock tests and drop from various heights on plywood or concrete. Look for video evidence or tester reviews to validate claims about ruggedness and durability. 

What Can Damage a Phone? 

Tests should cover various elements that can damage a device, such as dust, high temperatures, humidity, etc. The higher a case ranks, the more coverage you'll receive. 

Phone case testing may include checking the protection against the following: 

  • • Dust and sand
  • • High and low temperature
  • • Rain and humidity
  • • Immersion in water
  • • Shock
  • • Vibration
  • • Altitude

Consider your needs when shopping for a case. You may not need a waterproof case or one that can stand temperature shock. Most people only need a case that can withstand falls and impacts. 

Factors to Consider When Buying a Phone Case

Factors to Consider When Buying a Phone Case

Choosing the best phone case includes more than selecting a color you like. To ensure maximum protection, you'll need to consider factors such as material and grip. 

You want a phone that's easy to hold but not too slippery that it might fall out of your hand. The ideal phone case should be made from tough shock-absorbing material for optimal protection. 

Complete or 360° protection means your entire device is safe. Phone cases that offer complete protection often include a front and back cover with a bumper.

Fit is critical to consider when selecting a case, as one that's too big allows a phone to slip out, while one that's too small won't provide enough coverage. Make sure to consider the phone model a case will fit, such as iPhone 14 or Samsung Galaxy A. 

You should also consider whether you want any accessories or additional features in a case, such as a stand or clip. These features increase the number of ways you can use your phone and provide additional safety and convenience. 

Cases always add extra bulk to a phone, some more than others. Consider how thick you want a case to be before selecting one but remember that higher-quality cases will add extra thickness as a measure of protection. 

The SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Rugged Case has full-body protection and exceeds military drop standards. It also has a kickstand for hands-free viewing and a convenient belt clip. It's also slender, adding maximum protection without too much bulk. 

Is a Protective Phone Case Worth It? 

Investing in a protective phone case is absolutely worth it, as it can prevent damage due to scratches, drops, and other accidents. There are many different cases out there, such as waterproof covers, that offer additional protection. Consider your needs when shopping to select the best protection for your device. 

SUPCASE offers supreme protection at an affordable price. Cases such as the Unicorn Beetle PRO, winner of CNET’s first annual drop test, deliver the quality and longevity you count on. Take a look at the SUPCASE collections to find a case that's as tough as you are. 

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Kristel Silang
Kristel Silang is the Content Marketing Manager for SUPCASE. She has been in the marketing industry for 12 years with expertise on content marketing, search engine optimization, and photography. Previous publications she has contributed to include The Manila Times, Compound Butter, and Livingston County CVB.

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