What are the best waterproof phone cases?

Snorkeling is a popular pastime for many when they get to the coast. There’s something magical about floating on the surface to watch all the marine activity below you. Most aquatic critters don’t seem to mind their human observers.

But as we all know, water and technology don’t mix. There are plenty of videos on YouTube where people drop their phones into the ocean, lost forever to the tides. So if you want to show those back on dry land what you found, an underwater camera is your best bet.

There is another option, though. By snapping your mobile phone into a waterproof case, you have access to all of its functions and can blissfully capture crabs, sea anemones and all kinds of coral fish. The case also will protect your phone if it accidentally falls into the bath, kitchen sink or swimming pool. 

Compatibility

One of the most important aspects of a waterproof case is compatibility. You should only use a case that is designed for your phone, as the clips, plugs and screen protectors might fail otherwise.

However, several waterproof cases are universal, and can easily house phones of different dimensions. Their possible drawback is that the camera opening at the back may not sit flush with your lens, or there might be some space between the sides.

Protection rating

Any protective case, whether for phones or tablets, has a certified protection rating. This universal system lets you know exactly what the case can and can’t protect your device from. The rating is a two-number system, and relatively easy to interpret. It’s essential to remember that a higher rating doesn’t necessarily mean it provides better security.

The first number after IP (ingress protection) denotes the case’s level of protection against solid objects such as dirt and dust. The second number gives its level of liquid protection, ranging from 1 to 9. For example, a case with an IP68 rating provides complete protection against dust and contact (level 6). It protects against continuous immersion in water up to a depth of around 6 feet (level 8).

But protection against water jets and powerful washers is indicated as levels 5 and 6, which is lower than the certification of an IP68 rating. Since effectiveness against water jets is better than just against submersion, some cases have multiple IP ratings.

That’s just for civilian use, and there is an entirely different rating system for military standards. It’s more complex than the simple IP ratings, which is why some manufacturers call their products “military-grade” or say they meet “military specifications.”

The best waterproof phone cases

Nisso Snorkeling Underwater Phone Case

Nisso Snorkeling Underwater Phone Case

This waterproof case is compatible with any mobile phone that’s between 4.7 and 6.7 inches long. The two-piece housing opens with a special tool, and small suction cups are inside to keep the phone in place. The large window ensures that the camera has a clear view.

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Joto Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch

Joto Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch

This pouch is made from robust plastic with a large window on the front. It is compatible with phones up to 7 inches long, and the window allows for touchscreen functionality. Hinges and a clip on the top ensure a waterproof seal, certified for up to 100 feet deep.

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LifeProof Fre Series Waterproof Case

LifeProof Fre Series Waterproof Case

Compatible with the iPhone 12 Pro, this waterproof case has a built-in scratch protector that is hardly visible. The thick case still allows access to all the buttons and the charging port is protected with a waterproof plug. It can submerge for an hour in 6 feet of water.

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Dewfoam Waterproof Case for iPhone 13 Pro Max

Dewfoam Waterproof Case for iPhone 13 Pro Max 

Certified as IP68 (can be submerged in 6 feet of water), this robust case has a lip around the camera edge and display. It has special air pockets in the corner to absorb the shock from impacts, and the charging port is kept dry with a solid plug.

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Diverbox Waterproof Case for iPhone XR

Diverbox Waterproof Case for iPhone XR

This case has a kickstand at the back so you can watch content on a flat surface. It has a raised lip around the edge of the display and by the camera lenses. It can be submerged to a depth of 6.6 feet and it clips together to create a tight seal.

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Temdan Waterproof Case for iPhone 12 Pro Max Case

Temdan Waterproof Case for iPhone 12 Pro Max Case

Perfect for snorkeling, this case lets you take your iPhone 12 with you to a depth of 33 feet. The two-piece case snaps together over the phone to create a watertight seal. The charging port is protected with a waterproof plug, and all the buttons are still easily accessible.

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Lanhiem Samsung Galaxy A53 Waterproof Case

Lanhiem Samsung Galaxy A53 Waterproof Case

Coming in a classy matte black finish, this case will keep your Samsung phone dry and protected from drops. The case consists of two parts that clip over the phone to give it protection down to 6.6 feet of water. It is also snowproof, and the case keeps out any dirt and dust.

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Ezanmull Universal Waterproof Phone Case

Ezanmull Universal Waterproof Phone Case 

Compatible with a wide array of cellphones, this relatively bulky case is certified to keep your phone dry to a depth of 50 feet. The second-generation case has a large camera window on the back, a built-in screen protector compatible with touchscreen operation, and a selfie-stick mount at the bottom. It has camera shutter buttons on both sides to be compatible with more devices.

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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