There is undoubtedly no shortage of heavy-duty cases on the market, and I've tested most of them, under extreme circumstances. And to an extent, you do get what you pay for. However, you don't have to invest $40.00 or $50.00 and up for a good, protective iPhone case that will protect your iPhone from day to day hazards and abuse. These entry level, "heavy-duty" cases can fit anyone's budget, none costing more than $20.00.
$20.00 for a case that will protect your valuable iPhone against most drops and jolts that you are likely to encounter is not a bad deal at all. All three of these cases are pretty similar in their construction, so your decision would be more a matter of taste and personal preference than one of functionality and protection.
Each of these cases share certain good attributes, namely a silicone, shock absorbing skin encased within a rigid polycarbonate shell. None of these cases have integrated clear plastic screen protection, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering the great strength and durability of the built in Gorilla Glass touchscreen.
That said, meet my top three picks for most affordable, rugged protection cases.
Cygnett WorkMate Pro.
Cygnett’s WorkMate PRO comes with an adhesive screen protector for a little extra protection, and a two-year warranty. The external hard shell has a smooth silky traction to it keeping it securely snug in your hand but not making it so silicone-sticky that it’s hard to get out of your pocket, or that it’s a dust magnet. The access to the docking port and headphone jack is unobstructed, and the case is available in a few color choices, including a unique orange and grey combo.
Acase Superleggera PRO.
The Superleggera PRO is perhaps my favorite of these three choices primarily because of the dust and debris protection it offers with incorporated silicone flaps over the headphone and docking ports. The flaps are very sturdy and fit the openings snugly, creating a tight seal. While this case is certainly not to be considered waterproof, I can tell it does offer a fair amount of “accidental spill” protection.
Incipio Destroyer Ultra.
Incipio’s Destroyer Ultra rugged case comes with a well-built holster that also doubles as a stand in horizontal landscape mode. You also get an adhesive screen protector with this case for an additional level of coverage. This case also provides a little extra bezel protection around the perimeter of the iPhone’s touchscreen, which can come in handy in the event of any unexpected minor calamities.
Any one of these 3 top-rated cases would be great for someone who can be rough, but not too rough on their iPhone. Their prices are hard to beat and make it so that anyone who feels they might need a little extra protection for their iPhone can do so without A) spending a lot of cash on it, and B) without adding a lot of bulk, which many other heavier duty cases, by default happen to add.
Those are this reporter's picks for the top 3 most affordably priced rugged style cases. Thanks for reading and hopefully this helps anyone looking for a sturdy case, find their match!