By Siva Om updated on 04/14/2014
It's been a wild winter for many of us in the United States, to say the least! Now at long last the warm weather is here, and with the change of seasons (and summer vacation!), folks will be spending more time outdoors and on adventures with their tech toys in tow. Of course, it's a good idea to have a well-protected iPhone or iPad if you're bringing it along with you on you escapades, so I've rounded up some of the best rugged, heavy-duty cases to help you find the perfect protection for your valuable iDevice.
- The case must provide a significant amount of impact protection.
- Must be able to withstand a 6-foot drop with no damage to iDevice.
- Added protection, such as an IP-rating, a built-in screen protector and/or port covers are bonuses that are taken into consideration.
Unless otherwise noted, prices listed will be for the most current versions of the iPhone or iPad.
Top 7 Rugged iPhone Cases:
Otterbox Preserver $89.95
The Preserver is my go-to rugged case. If you’re looking for a slim-profile, ultra-protective waterproof and rugged case, look no further. The Preserver has all of the qualities I'd look for in a waterproof and ruggedized case, all conveniently wrapped into one.
Lifeproof frē $79.99
The Lifeproof frē is a top-notch iPhone case that completely covers and protects your device from all elements and potential disasters. It's an excellent case that shows the intense attention to detail that went into its design.
Lifeproof nüüd $89.99
The nüüd is almost identical to the Lifeproof frē, with the very notable exception that it has no built in screen protector. Instead, the nüüd is able to deliver unobstructed interaction with your iPhone’s screen thanks to a revolutionary, patented seal between the case and the iPhone’s touchscreen perimeter.
Griffin + Catalyst Survivor $69.99
This case is made of a transparent hard plastic shell and accented with a minimum of colored silicon rubber and plastic seals, making the G+C Survivor one of the more inconspicuous rugged cases available.
Griffin Survivor $49.99
Griffin’s Survivor is a full-traction, full-protection, heavy-duty case. It provides super shock and impact protection as well as excellent water-resistance and screen protection.
Case-Mate Tough Xtreme $25.00
The Case-Mate Tough Xtreme is an exceptionally well-designed rugged case, and perhaps one of the more fashion conscious options available. With a stylish design, accented with a hint of complementary color, and its textured, triple-layered shell, the Tough Xtreme is one cool customer. It also manages to be the most affordable, rugged protective case featured here, without sacrificing integrity. In terms of performance it remains competitive with some of the more expensive heavy-duty cases in this roundup.
LUNATIK TAKTIK EXTREME $124.95
If you’re the kind of person who likes to have their touchscreen protected, the TAKTIK EXTREME has got the sweetest screen protection of all the rugged cases. It sports a tough Gorilla Glass protector that sits against your iPhone's screen perfectly, and allows for a user experience almost identical to the iPhone by itself.
Top 7 Rugged iPad Cases:
Lifeproof frē $99.99 - $109.99
Leading the pack of rugged, heavy-duty iPad cases is Lifeproof’s frē for the iPad mini with Retina display and iPad Air. Like its smaller sibling for the iPhone, the frē for the iPad offers the best, most comprehensive and most dependable protection from environmental and incidental damage.
Lifeproof nüüd $119.99 - $129.99
As mentioned above, the main difference between the Lifeproof nüüd iPad cases (available for both the iPad mini with Retina display and iPad Air models) and the Lifeproof frē iPad cases is that the nüüd does not have a built in screen protector, relying on an internal compression seal to establish its waterproof integrity. While the screen protection of the frē provides a slightly higher degree of protection from accidental screen damage, the go-anywhere, do-anything Lifeproof nüüd is by no means a slouch when it comes to extreme-duty iPad protection.
Griffin Survivor $59.99 - $79.99
The Survivor line of iPad cases (available for every iPad version out there) is one of the most protective iPad cases on the market. Combining superior shock absorbency and protection from the elements with a tactile and grippy exterior, the Griffin Survivor is a case to be reckoned with. Another cool thing about the Survivor is that you can customize its appearance, with a huge selection of color combinations to choose from.
Pelican ProGear Vault $79.95 - $99.95
Pelican has been in the business of designing rugged gear for a wide range of devices for over 30 years now, and its experience shows in their line up of exceptional iPad cases. The Pelican ProGear Vault meets or exceeds military standards of protection and features a unique hinged protective cover that doubles as a viewing stand when open, and protects the iPad’s naked screen when closed.
Otterbox Defender $79.90 - $99.90
Otterbox’s Defender series is one of the pioneers in the arena of heavy-duty iDevice protection. With the Defender for the iPad (available for all iPad models) you can rest assured that your iPad will be protected from any abuse or hardship it might encounter when accompanying you on your outdoor adventures.
Trident Kraken A.M.S. $59.95 - $69.95
The Kraken A.M.S. iPad cases are heavy-duty cases that are ready for wherever you want to take them. Not only do these cases offer superior hardcore protection, they also work seamlessly with Trident’s patented Adaptive Modular System which allows you to mount your iPad virtually anywhere on almost anything.
Joy Factory aXtion Bold ($59.95)
The Joy Factory makes a number of rugged case solutions for the various iPad models. Its new aXtion Bold for the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina offer secure and reliable protection from shock, dirt, splashes, and compression. The aXtion Bold is a slim, lightweight, and action-ready alternative for the protection of your precious iPad.
Important note: Get out there and enjoy! Unplug for awhile, if you have the opportunity. And if you'll be roughin' it a bit this summer, make sure you have good protection for your iDevice! Hopefully this roundup will inspire you and make any shopping choices a little easier. Have fun on your adventures and be safe...