Phone cases are an important accessory for protecting your smartphone investment. With cases ranging wildly in price, many consumers wonder if cheap cases actually provide good protection or if you need to spend more for quality. Here we’ll examine whether inexpensive phone cases get the job done.
What factors affect case durability?
Several qualities affect how protective and durable a phone case will be:
- Materials – More rigid plastics and rubbers protect better than flimsy materials.
- Thickness – Thicker cases cushion impacts better.
- Coverage – Cases protecting the corners and edges prevent damage where it often occurs.
- Design – Features like air pockets and raised edges also help.
- Brand – Established brands often guarantee quality control better.
Do cheap cases skimp on protection features?
It depends. Some cheap cases actually check the right boxes:
- Use decent materials like thermoplastics and silicone.
- Have ample thickness of 1-3mm.
- Cover corners and raised edges.
- Include protective design elements.
However, cheaper cases more often lack comprehensive protection. They might:
- Use flimsy polycarbonate plastic or gel.
- Have very thin 1mm or less thickness.
- Leave corners or edges exposed.
- Lack reinforced lips and bumpers.
So cheap cases can sometimes provide good safeguards, but more often they cut corners on features that compromise protection.
How durable are budget phone case brands?
Cheap cases you find for under $10-15 are often generic no-name brands. The quality varies widely:
- Some have decent construction that matches pricier brands.
- Others have flimsy parts, uneven molding, and cheap materials.
- Most lack extensive quality testing compared to bigger brands.
You may luck out and find a surprisingly sturdy cheap case. But chances are higher it won’t hold up through everyday use and drops as well as better brands.
Which phone case brands have the best quality?
Higher priced phone case brands around $30-50 generally offer better construction and materials. Some well-known quality brands include:
- Otterbox – Known for multi-layer defense cases.
- Lifeproof – Specializes in waterproof and rugged cases.
- Incipio – Offers protective cases with cool designs.
- Spigen – Makes slim cases with good shock absorption.
- Casetify – Trendy cases crafted from quality materials.
Buying from established and trusted brands gives you far better odds of getting a durable case.
Should you pay more for brand name cases?
Brand name cases that cost $30-50 or more offer a few advantages over cheap cases:
- They rigidly test cases to meet protection standards.
- They use higher grade materials that withstand daily wear.
- Many include multi-layer or innovative safeguard designs.
- They cover defects with warranty programs.
So you often get measurably better protection from pricier major brands. If your phone is very expensive, like the latest iPhone or Galaxy, paying more for a quality case is wise to protect your investment.
When can cheap cases be sufficient?
There are times when low-cost cases in the $5-15 range provide enough protection:
- If you have an older or budget smartphone that costs less to replace.
- For basic everyday safeguarding from minor bumps and swipes.
- As temporary cases when you’re waiting for one to arrive.
- If you tend to swap cases frequently.
So with the right phone and usage, a cheap case can potentially fit the bill.
Tips for finding good quality cheap cases
While cheap cases are riskier, follow these tips to locate ones offering decent protection:
- Read reviews – Cases with consistently good feedback likely perform better.
- Check materials and dimensions against pricier brands.
- Look for air cushions, raised edges and other protective features.
- Search for lesser known brands with positive buzz in forums.
- Avoid thin gel cases and slippery silicone cases.
Checking comparative product details can help you identify cheap cases that seem to provide good safeguards for the low price.
Testing the protection of phone cases
To get a sense of how protective a phone case is, you can do informal drop tests like these:
- Drop onto carpet from waist height (about 3 feet).
- Drop onto a wooden floor from hip height (2-3 feet).
- Drop onto a concrete surface from 2 feet high.
- Drop down a short flight of hardwood stairs.
Check for any cracks, scratches or separation of the case after drops. Quality cases should protect from waist and hip height drops onto hard surfaces without issue.
Can cheap phone cases still effectively protect your phone? They can provide good protection in the right situations:
- If they offer decent quality materials and construction.
- For phones that aren’t super expensive.
- For short-term everyday use.
But for best results, go with established brands. Paying $30-50 gives you far better odds of getting durable long-term protection. Your phone’s safety is worth investing a little extra in.
|Case Price Range||Level of Protection|
|Under $10||Low – higher risk|
|$10-$30||Medium – inspect case closely|
|Over $30 (major brands)||High – better materials and construction|