Best rugged phone cases 2024

Two black phone cases on two phones stacked on top of each other.
Credit: Mous

Two black phone cases on two phones stacked on top of each other.
Credit: Mous

The best rugged phone cases are a great investment if you're someone who likes hobbies that are a little extreme, someone who has a physical job, or you're just clumsy. If any of these apply to you, you're in the right place.

It doesn't matter whether you've got a high-end phone, the best mid-range phone, or one of the best cheap phones, keeping them safe is an excellent idea. After all, it's never worth risking a big purchase like that.

While the best rugged phone cases can be larger, it's usually worth the trade-off for the extra protection. Thankfully for you, we've made a list of the best cases around right now to help kick off your search, so let's slap on a flannel shirt and get going.

Best rugged phone cases

  1. Otterbox Defender - a top choice from Otterbox
  2. Spigen Tough Armor - best pick from Spigen
  3. Mous Limitless Protective Case - a superb alternative from Mous
  4. UAG Monarch - the best from UAG
  5. Supcase UB Pro - top pick from Supercase
Otterbox Defender product image of a black, bulky phone case.
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Credit: Otterbox

1. Otterbox Defender

Best rugged phone case from Otterbox

Otterbox makes some of the best phone cases out there, and the Otterbox Defender looks like a great all-round choice. 

You'll find it utilises a synthetic rubber slipcover and a polycarbonate outer shell to ensure the case is durable and will protect your phone from any bumps and scrapes.

In addition, the Otterbox Defender features port covers to keep any unwanted dust and dirt away from clogging up the phone's ports, and its thick raised bezel ensures that your display is protected. It also appears to have a clip on the back, which would make it an incredibly useful case, with capabilities for protection and convenience.

It's a versatile case also in terms of the phones it supports, with models available for everything from iPhones to Samsung Galaxys.

Reasons to buy:

  • The polycarbonate outer shell ensures durability
  • Its raised bezel helps protect your screen

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Spigen Tough Armor product image of three black cases, the one in the middle also feature yellow details.
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Credit: Spigen

2. Spigen Tough Armor

Best rugged phone case from Spigen

The Spigen Tough Armor looks like a brilliant rugged phone case with plenty of measures to keep your phone protected. 

You'll find it features two layers with a flexible TPU interior and a hard polycarbonate outer layer to ensure your phone is well-supported on the inside and should be able to withstand any accidental scrapes on the outside.

Combined with this, the Spigen Tough Armor also comes with extra foam inserts you can put inside the case for some extra shock absorption. The case also comes with a built-in kickstand on the back so you can prop your phone up when it's placed down on your desk. 

As for compatibility, there are variants of this case available for Samsung phones, basically the entire iPhone range, Pixels, and even OnePlus phones.

Reasons to buy:

  • It has a flexible TPU interior
  • It comes with extra foam inserts for added protection

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Mous Limitless Protective Case product image of a black rugged phone case.
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Credit: Mous

3. Mous Limitless Protective Case

Best rugged phone case from Mous

The Mous Limitless Protective Case looks like a brilliant rugged phone case, especially if you're after something a little more stylish in terms of looks. 

It's available in a range of styles including aramid fibre, which is especially protective as a material that was originally designed for the U.S. Military, as well as bamboo, leather and fabrics, so you'll be sure to find a look that suits your needs. 

As well as looking great, the Mous Limitless Protective Case are also rather functional too, being made from a blend of polycarbonate and TPU to ensure they're durable, as well as containing a microfibre internal lining to ensure your phone is well padded.

Moreover, they also feature Mous' own AiroShock lining, which is a material that can help to dissipate the energy that can come from dropping your phone and let it land safely, even from the largest of drops. 

As for compatibility, this case is available for iPhones from the 11 upwards, as well as Samsung Galaxy devices and the Google range.

Reasons to buy:

  • It comes in a range of styles and materials
  • AiroShock technology helps it dissipate energy

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UAG Monarch product image of a black and red phone case.
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Credit: UAG

4. UAG Monarch

Best rugged phone case from UAG

If you're after a rugged phone case with some mean looks, the UAG Monarch looks like a marvellous choice. 

It featured some sharp corners alongside a honeycomb pattern on the sides of the case that looks rather cool, as well as a matte black textured finish that also looks clean and should mean you have a good grip on your phone at all times.

As for protection, they're comprised of five different layers to offer a substantial barrier between your phone and any drops or scrapes. Being comprised of a mix of metal alloy, polycarbonate and hard rubber means the UAG Monarch should be extra durable.

When it comes to compatibility, this case has arguably one of the vastest lists of phones, with it working with iPhones from the SE onwards, as well as Samsung devices and Pixels.

Reasons to buy:

  • It features a unique honeycomb pattern
  • It has five-layer protection

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Supcase UB Pro product image of a black phone case with a front screen protector.
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Credit: Supcase

5. Supcase UB Pro

Best rugged phone case from Supcase

Have an opinion on this article? We'd love to hear it!

The Supcase UB Pro should be an immense option for a rugged phone case, especially if you're looking for a full-body case.

As a full-body case, this particular offering surrounds the entire phone, as opposed to just the back, ensuring the screen is also protected from any potential damage. It's comprised of a durable polycarbonate shell, as well as a thick TPU bumper to ensure your phone's corners are also protected.

For convenience, the Supcase UB Pro also features a rotating belt holster so you can attach the phone to your belt for ease of access. In addition, you'll also find a built-in kickstand so you can prop your phone up easily and watch all manner of content. 

It's also available for a wide range of phones, from Google Pixels to iPhones, Samsungs, and so on.

Reasons to buy:

  • The full-body case that encapsulates your entire phone
  • It features a rotating belt holster

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Picking the right phone case can often lead to a ton of questions. Don't worry though, we've answered some of the most common queries right here.

Should I buy a rugged phone case?

In our humble opinion, a rugged phone case represents a marvellous investment if you're looking to keep your phone as protected as it can be from any unfortunate accidents. 

In comparison to more of a standard phone case, rugged phone cases are specifically engineered to protect your phone from any drops, bumps and scrapes, and should definitely be something you consider buying.

How much should I spend on a rugged phone case?

As a general rule, spending $25-$50 will get you a rather good rugged phone case that will do a great job of protecting your phone, whether you're wanting something sleek and stylish, or a little bulkier with meaner looks. 

Going for a more expensive case may get you an option that's even more durable and hard-wearing than at the cheaper end of the spectrum, with extra benefits such as dust covers for ports and clever foam linings for added protection.

What should I look for in a rugged phone case? 

In short, for a rugged phone case, you'll first want to look for a case that's available for your phone, and from there, you'll want to check out ones that are durable and comprised of materials such as polycarbonate and TPU. 

Things such as whether the case comes with a kickstand or belt clip may be important to you from a quality of life perspective, as well as whether they're single-piece and protect the back of your phone, or whether you're wanting an all-around two-piece case. 

Is a hard case or a soft case better for a phone?

In a general sense, a hard case is likely to be better for your phone, given the extra protection that they can offer over softer cases.

This becomes apparent when looking at rugged phone cases and noting that the vast majority of offerings, such as those on our list, are also hard cases comprised of some rather sturdy plastics.

What does rugged mean in a phone case?

In essence, a 'rugged' phone case refers to a casing for your phone that will be sturdy and able to withstand hard impacts.

Some, such as the ones on our list, may have been through certified military drop tests to act as a testament to their durability and ensure your phone will be protected in nearly every eventuality.

What type of phone cases are most protective?

Generally speaking, if you can get a hard case made of polycarbonate, then these are likely to be the most protective given the hard surface on offer that should protect both the back and corners of your phone.

Some silicone and leather cases can also be durable, but they may not be as reinforced or specially designed for rugged use as the ones made of polycarbonate that we've listed above.

What material is the best rugged phone case made out of?

In a general sense, as you'll see from our list above, rugged phone cases are usually comprised of polycarbonate, a form of plastic, which means they are especially hard-wearing, on the back, as well as a hard TPU edging to offer enhanced corner protection

On the inside, they may feature a fabric lining to act as a cushion for any potential impacts, or other materials that do a similar job, such as Mous' AiroFoam.

Do phones really need cases?

In short, yes. While phones can be durable and majorly made of some quality materials, they aren't going to survive everything. The screens are also especially fragile and can cause frustration when they aren't pristine.

Getting a phone case, rugged or not, fundamentally offers you an extra barrier against any potential damage and offers extra peace of mind.

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