Shopping for an iPhone 13 case? We spent hours researching more than 50 of the best models before purchasing the 11 cases to test side-by-side. We timed how long it took to install each model and how long it took to remove them. We measured each model, weighed them ourselves, and carefully noted any difficulties operating phone buttons and controls. We conducted a grip test to see the maximum angle each model could stick to a hard surface and analyzed the manufacturer's specs to identify drop test certifications. Most importantly, we used each model for day-to-day activities and adventures to compare overall performance relative to their price. We have designed our comprehensive review to help you find the best iPhone 13 case for your needs and budget.
Weight: 1.8 ounces | Dimensions: 6.0 x 3.0 x 0.5 inches
REASONS TO BUY
Military-grade environmental protection
Hardly affects button function
Rubber and plastic combo
Charge port cover
REASONS TO AVOID
Larger than many models
Extra installation steps
If you're looking for a case that offers a high degree of protection while maintaining functionality and style, it's hard to beat the OtterBox Commuter Series. The hard plastic shell has slots in perfect locations to allow rubber bumpers from the inner liner to poke through. The combination of plastic and rubber creates a case that is grippy in your hand or on a hard surface but easily slides in and out of your pocket. In addition to the obvious protection, this model has a MIL-STD-810G US military certification. This means that it meets the US military's standards for durability, specifically against shock and vibration. We've found that most cases with a durability certification affect how the silent switch feels and functions. The designers of the Commuter Series certainly took this into account — the toggle functions perfectly with the case installed. Although the iPhone 13 has a degree of water resistance on its own, we love that this case has a rubber cover for the charging port to keep dirt, sand, and debris out of the slot while adventuring.
Although we didn't find much to complain about while testing the OtterBox Commuter, there are a few specs that you should be aware of. This model adds about an eighth of an inch to the overall size of your phone on all sides in addition to 1.8 ounces of total weight. Because of the dual-layer design of this model, it takes a bit longer to install than the quickest products we tested. However, when it comes to removal, the Commuter comes off very easily because the inner rubber layer is so stretchy and flexible. This is a short list of flaws, and we highly recommend the OtterBox Commuter Series to anybody looking for ultimate phone protection.
Weight: 1 ounce | Dimensions: 5.9 x 3.0 x 0.4 inches
REASONS TO BUY
Lots of grip
Easy to install and remove
REASONS TO AVOID
Challenging silent switch
No protection rating
For those looking for an iPhone 13 case that won't break the bank, look no further than the CASEKOO Crystal Clear. Not only is this model super affordable, but it also outperformed most of the competition during our series of hands-on evaluations. Our team found it to be very easy to install and even easier to remove. When we set the CASEKOO side-by-side with the other models in a grip test, it earned one of the highest scores.
The CASEKOO Crystal Clear is not without its flaws. The grippy rubber helps in some situations but also makes sliding the case in and out of your pocket more difficult than other models. Our team noticed that the slot for the silent switch is fairly small, making the toggle a bit difficult to operate. Although the rubber undoubtedly adds a degree of drop protection, the CASEKOO doesn't come with any durability certifications. If you're looking for a case to protect your phone during extended travel or backcountry adventures, it's probably worth spending more on a beefier model. But if you're shopping for a case on a tight budget, this is the one.
Weight: 1 ounce | Dimensions: 5.8 x 2.9 x 0.4 inches
REASONS TO BUY
Apple MagSafe accessories
Buttons function perfectly
REASONS TO AVOID
Minimal shock protection
The simple-looking Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe is highly customizable with Apple's MagSafe accessories. In addition to magnetic charging, several magnetic mods are available for purchase. With the right combination of accessories, you could use a card holder when you attend a concert and then slap an auxiliary battery pack on your phone for a camping trip the next day without ever removing the case. Not only is this silicone case super grippy, but it's also practically scratch-proof. One of the most attractive elements of this case is its functionality. Not surprisingly, Apple's most popular phone case works seamlessly with the iPhone — it hardly affects the operation of the buttons and the silent switch.
The silicone certainly adds a bit of shock protection, but the improvement in durability is insignificant when compared to certified drop-tested models. If you're searching for a case to defend your phone from the elements, this is not the case for you. Despite its simple design, the Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe is pricey. If you're shopping for an iPhone case on a tight budget, many models cost a fraction of what this one does. Regardless of the drawbacks, this case is our recommendation if you want to attach Apple MagSafe accessories.
Weight: 0.2 ounces | Dimensions: 5.75 x 2.9 x 0.3 inches
REASONS TO BUY
Does not affect button operation
Weighs practically nothing
REASONS TO AVOID
Difficult to remove
No drop protection
We recommend the Totallee Thin to those seeking to protect their iPhone from scratches but like the stock look of the phone. Weighing a mere 0.2 ounces, this model will not add any noticeable weight to your phone. It's also about as thick as a business card and adds next to nothing to the overall size of the phone. Despite its thin profile, the Totallee Thin adds a tiny rim around the front of the phone and the camera lenses on the back so your phone will never be resting on the glass when placed on a flat surface. Most iPhone cases we've tested have button covers, but this model is so thin that they've left slots for operating the actual phone buttons.
Unfortunately, the Totalee Thin's slim profile does little to nothing for shock protection, which is a significant shortcoming. Although our testing showed that this case adds a tiny bit of grip, it's only a minor improvement over using no case. This case snaps into place on the phone, which makes it oddly difficult to remove compared to the majority of the models that we've tested. Flaws aside, the Totalee Thin is very scratch resistant and will keep your phone's glass and lenses out of contact with flat surfaces.
Why You Should Trust Us
To uncover the various strengths and weaknesses of each iPhone 13 case, we broke our review down into a series of hands-on evaluations. In addition to carefully studying the manufacturer's specs, we also subjected each model to a scratch test and grip test. To keep the companies honest, we weighed and measured every model to cross-reference their claims. We timed how long each case takes to install and remove, and we meticulously considered any extra features offered for or included with the cases. Finally, we used a panel of judges to give their thoughts on each model's overall style and aesthetic value. These products undergo 143 individual tests during our side-by-side comparative analysis.
We break down the overall score into four key metrics:
Protection (40% of overall score weighting)
Portability (25% weighting)
Design (25% weighting)
Ease of Use (10% weighting)
Spearheading our iPhone case review is Senior Review Editor Ross Patton. Ross has worked on an array of tech products, from MacBook cases to external hard drives to WiFi extenders. With a passion for playing with gadgets and formal education from the University of Nevada, Reno in Environmental Science, you can trust that he has created tests that have determined which cases are worth your investment and which ones are better off left on the shelf. The comprehensive results below outline the overall performance of 11 of the best iPhone 13 cases available today.
Analysis and Test Results
We thoroughly reviewed these iPhone 13 cases using four primary traits: protection, portability, design, and ease of use. We implemented a system of scoring that weights these metrics according to their overall importance in choosing a product. After hours of objective testing and weeks of normal, day-to-day use, we compiled our data. We have crunched all the numbers, vetted subjective opinions, and analyzed the data to save you the headache of sifting through thousands of products.
The price of a product does not always match its performance. In some instances, we find that the most expensive products are the best of the best — but for iPhone 13 cases, this is not the case. For those looking for lots of drop protection, the OtterBox Commuter Series offers better specs than some shock-resistant cases that cost a whole lot more. If you want a case with a solid overall performance that's super affordable, we recommend the CASEKOO Crystal Clear. The value of the Totallee Thin is that it protects your investment from scratches but hardly alters the look of the phone. Although The Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe is a bit pricey, considering the versatility offered by MagSafe accessories and its impressive scratch resistance, we think it's worth the extra investment.
For most people, the key factor to consider when shopping for an iPhone 13 case is its added durability to a stock phone. On its own, the iPhone 13 has an impressive water-resistance rating of IP68. This rating means it can be submerged in six meters of water for up to thirty minutes without sustaining any damage. So the protection offered by a case is primarily geared toward impacts, vibration, and scratches. For this metric, we noted any legitimate drop-testing certifications, conducted a scratch test, and subjectively judged the overall sturdiness of each model.
The clear champion of this section of our assessments is the OtterBox Commuter Series. This model has an overall rugged feel and was one of the most scratch-resistant models of the bunch. Most importantly, it has a military standard rating of MIL-STD-810 516.6. It has stood up to a series of laboratory tests at a certified facility that evaluates the product's resistance to adverse environmental conditions. This particular test involves dropping the phone onto concrete 26 times from a height of 48 inches.
Other models with military drop-test certifications are the Raptic Shield Case and the LifeProof FRĒ Case. Unfortunately, neither of these models held up to our scratch tests, with the Raptic scratching particularly easily. Several other models in our review earned decent scores for this metric despite their lack of official certifications because they excelled in the scratch test. The CASEKOO Crystal Clear case is very scratch resistant, while we deemed the Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe practically unscratchable.
While you are going to want to protect your iPhone 13, nobody wants to walk around carrying a heavy, bulky brick. The next portion of our overall score is dedicated to the size and weight of each model we tested. For this metric, we simply weighed and measured each case.
You can't top the Totallee Thin regarding mobility. This paper-thin model adds practically nothing to your phone's total size and weight while still offering scratch protection for the body and the glass. This case is less than one millimeter thick and weighs 0.2 ounces.
The Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe weighs 1 ounce, which is next to nothing compared to a belt, wallet, or pocket change. It barely adds any bulk to the phone at all. The CASEKOO Crystal Clear also weighs in at 1 ounce, but this model is not nearly as low-profile. If you want the highest-rated drop-tested model, you'll be paying for it with added bulk and weight — the OtterBox Commuter Series is almost ten times as thick as the Totallee Thin case and weighs 1.8 ounces.
Many of the cases in our review are drastically different from each another regarding their material composition, style, and additional features. Some models include cleaning cloths or stands as part of the package, and others feature an innovative case design. This portion of the overall score is dedicated to examining and discussing these differences.
Regarding features and style, our favorite model is the Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe. This model is available in various colors, and Apple fanatics will love the classic logo. Our favorite feature of the Apple Silicone Case is its MagSafe compatibility. Not only is it compatible with MagSafe chargers, but Apple also offers several MagSafe accessories, including wallets and auxiliary batteries. Here at GearLab, we are an adventurous bunch. We love the idea of being able to use the auxiliary battery on a backpacking trip and then switching to the wallet for a night on the town.
The Apple Silicone Case's cousin, the Apple Leather Case with MagSafe is another one that stands out as sleek and functional, thanks to its metal buttons and MagSafe capabilities. If you're into vibrant colors, check out the Casetify Impact Crush — it is available in several sparkly editions. The OtterBox Commuter Series is offered in a variety of colors, and our team loves the look of the plastic and rubber combination.
Although the Torro Leather Wallet Case fell short in some of our assessments, it earns some serious style points. Designed to be used in place of a day-to-day wallet, it has card slots, a cash slot, and a magnetic closure. This model is the way to go if you're looking for style and class.
Ease of Use
The final portion of the total score is dedicated to the functionality of each model. We timed how long each case takes to unbox, install, and remove. We then asked a panel of judges to offer subjective opinions about how difficult the buttons are to operate and how easily they slide in and out of a pants pocket. Finally, we devised a grip test, placing each model on a piece of veneered maple and gradually tilting the board until the phone slipped. We measured the maximum grip angle with an iPhone inclinometer.
Our two favorite models for this metric are the Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe and the Cordking iPhone 13 Case. The Apple Silicone is incredibly easy to attach and remove, and the case does not interfere with the buttons at all. The Cordking is also notably easy to install and remove, but where it impressed us was with its incredible grip. This model stuck to our test board up to 40 degrees, and even when it slipped, it slowly crawled down the wood rather than abruptly fall. Neither the Apple Silicone nor the Cordking cases interfered with the button or switch function.
The Totallee Thin is our favorite iPhone 13 case for sliding in and out of pockets, but as a result, it lagged behind in the grip test. This model is super easy to attach but snaps into place, making removal a bit more difficult. One attractive element of the Totallee Thin is that the case uses slots rather than covers for the buttons, allowing for extra-easy operation. The CASEKOO Crystal Clear stuck to the board up to an incline of 33 degrees, but the stickiness makes it a bit harder to slip in and out of a pocket. The CASEKOO model is also super easy to install and remove.
The drop-tested models are harder to attach, remove, and operate than the low-profile models. The Raptic Shield Case is fairly easy to install, but the case design makes the silent switch more difficult to flip. The OtterBox Commuter Series takes a few extra seconds to attach because of its dual-layer design, but the silent toggle is easy to switch because of the large slot with an angled border. The Commuter also has a charge port cover. Although the iPhone 13 has an IP68 waterproof rating, the charge port can still get clogged with sand, pocket lint, and debris, so a model with a port cover is ideal for activities like camping and hiking.
There are nearly limitless options for iPhone 13 cases. We understand that sifting through thousands of products to find the perfect one can be overwhelming. Here at GearLab, we aim to do the dirty work so our readers don't have to. Our comprehensive review of iPhone 13 cases couples in-depth research with a side-by-side analysis to ensure that you purchase the case that will be best for your style, needs, and budget.
GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.