With the exception of Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Sony’s Xperia Z1S, you won’t find many smartphones that ship from the factory with a waterproof casing. So, it’s on you to select the phone of your dreams and then wrap it in a case that’ll protect it from the elements. We’ve all watched our friends haplessly texting away on screens with a million cracks across the front, and we all know the reason: they didn’t invest in a case.
Rather than becoming that guy, protect your investment. You’ll add a little bulk, but you’ll rest easier knowing that summer hazards — beach balls, sand, suntan lotion — won’t end up destroying the single most important piece of technology in your life.
Best Waterproof Case for iPhone: As of now, Catalyst’s smartphone cases serve the iPhone market and the iPhone market alone. Still, they make cases going back as far as the iPhone 4, enabling you to protect the last three generations of iPhone devices. These cases are laudably slim given their ability to resist water intrusion (even in pools and oceans), and they’re decidedly un-ugly — an unusual trait in the world of rugged cases. Best of all, the cases keep things sealed up while still providing access to switches, buttons, and the entire screen, so you won’t have to pop your phone in and out to use it away from water.
Buy Now: $65+
Best Waterproof Case for Galaxy Devices: Lifeproof makes cases for a multitude of products, but most importantly, it looks after those who have snapped up one of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. Cases are available for the S4, S5 and soon-to-be-released S6. They’re a bit bulky and spartan, but they do what they claim to: protect your phone from drops, spills, dust and things you’ve yet to imagine.
Buy Now: $80+
Best Battery-Infused Rugged Case: Home to some of the thickest waterproof cases on Earth, ibattz offers up products that completely mask the design of your phone. The upside? These cases resist water, dust, debris and other intruders, all while including a built-in battery pack that’ll keep your smartphone chugging along for days. It’s the ideal combination of protection and longevity… as long as you’re willing to deal with the funny looks.
Buy Now: $90+
Best Sports Case: Designed specifically for those engaging in high-octane sports, Optrix’s line of waterproof cases have clips and attachments that enable your phone to both resist elements and still capture footage. You could just go buy a GoPro, but if you’re already in possession of a phone that’ll handle 1080p video, this option may save you a bundle. From cycling to helmet mounts, you’ll find just about every adornment necessary to get your phone properly suited on your vehicle of choice.
Buy Now: $100+
Best Multipurpose Case: Built for both outdoor and everyday use, Otterbox’s Preserver (and the phone within it) can be submerged in up to 6.6 feet of water for a half hour. It’ll also handle everyday falls from nearly seven feet, and those working in dusty environments will appreciate the IP-6X certification ensuring the case keeps even the finest particles out. There’s no need to ever remove your phone once it’s strapped in, as the screen and all surrounding buttons are fully accessible from the outside. Oh, and the included lanyard is nice when maintaining grip becomes an issue.
Buy Now: $90