The 12 Best Apple Watch Cases To Buy in 2021

Sep 20, 2021

Category: Gear

More than just a gadget on your wrist, an Apple Watch is an investment in convenience and a key that unlocks a host of crucial health, fitness, and lifestyle tracking capabilities. And while these smartwatches offer a slew of features and upsides, ample durability isn’t one of them — nor is protection from the elements. One simple solution to fortify the device is an aftermarket case, as even low-end, entry-level cases can often hugely bolster an Apple Watch’s level of overall ruggedness. Furthermore, cases from third-party manufacturers also have the ability to radically alter an Apple Watch’s appearance, bestowing the smartwatch’s round-edged rectangular housing with a variety of different shapes, designs, colors. and textures.

With more than half-a-decade now having passed since the debut of the first Apple Watch in the Spring of 2015, there are currently dozens and dozens of different Apple Watch cases to choose from, ranging from simple screen protectors to full transformative kits comprised of new housings (i.e. watch cases) paired with an included watchband or strap. And while the sheer abundance of different models on the market gives buyers an enormous array of cases to select from, the market’s oversaturation can also make it difficult to hone in on the few standout models that exist. So, with this in mind, we’ve thoroughly pored over the space to deliver this hand-picked guide to the best Apple Watch cases.

Properties Of A Quality Case

What To Consider When Shopping For An Apple Watch Case

Though every Apple Watch case will serve the same basic and inherent function of shielding the smartwatch from the elements, impacts, scratches, and other harm, there are a handful of areas in which these items can hugely differ. To help streamline the buying process, we’ve pieced together this condensed guide on the five most pivotal areas to consider when shopping for a new Apple Watch case.

Protection: Considering that the whole purpose of an Apple Watch case is to bolster the smartwatch’s level of durability, the protection provided by a case is of extreme importance. Some cases merely provide scratch protection for the watch’s OLED display, while others are of the bump-case variety and feature multi-layer fortifications that are hugely resistant to impacts. Often the manufacturers of these cases will cite specific (height) drop ratings to give a more objective sense of a case’s protective abilities.

Kit & Components: As previously mentioned, Apple Watch cases can vary from simple screen protectors to full kits that include watch housings/cases along with new bands or straps. These kits are also designed to suit a wide variety of tastes and lifestyles and include everything from metal cases mated to linked bracelets and rubber straps paired with silicone bump-cases.

Materials: Arguably the most important factor determining a case’s level of protection is the material (or materials) used to construct it. Impact-absorbing constructions such as TPU, polymer, rubber, and silicone are fairly commonplace in this segment, as are metal construction cases which are often crafted from stainless steel or aluminum, though there are also more high-end models that are made from top-shelf metal alloys like titanium.

Size: Size is another important area to consider when buying an Apple Watch case as there’s a major tradeoff occurring here. The bigger, bulkier cases tend to afford better protection but do so at the cost of adding a significant amount of heft to the Apple Watch’s sleek design. There are also some cases that manage to deliver stellar protection despite coming in rather thin packages — usually thanks to advanced multi-layer designs.

Style: We’re fans of the minimalistic aesthetic of the Apple Watch, though the look admittedly isn’t for everyone — another reason that aftermarket cases can be a great idea, as these items can hugely alter the outward appearance of Apple’s smartwatches by shoehorning the device into new housings and/or pairing the watch with a new strap or band. And, just like the Apple Watch itself, many of these offerings are available in a plethora of color, material, and finish options.

Penom Apple Watch Series 6 Case Protector

A small but incredibly worthwhile investment to protect your Apple Watch, this minimalistic case from Penom wraps around the outside of the smartwatch’s housing and features cut-outs to accommodate the device’s buttons and its band or strap. Compatible with Apple Watches Series 4 through 6 — and good for accommodating 38, 40, 42, and 44mm sizes — the case is constructed from a scratch and shatter-resistant thermoplastic polyurethane and is produced in a trio of color options, as well as in a clear version.

Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Band Included: No

Purchase: $8

Caseology Nero Apple Watch Case

By pairing an immensely effective bump-case system with an impact-absorbing thermoplastic polyurethane housing Caseology has managed to deliver an ultra-low-profile case that affords remarkable levels of durability while measuring less than 0.05” (or 1.2mm) thick. The raised front lip and corner protection on the case also go a long way in terms of fortifying the watch’s color display, and the Apple Watch’s wireless Super Charging feature is still compatible even with the case on.

Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Band Included: No

Purchase: $13

Spigen Rugged Armor Pro

Spigen’s Rugged Armor Pro brings an enormous amount of protection to the table while also affording the Apple Watch with a heavy dose of tactical-inspired style. Compatible with all 44mm Apple Watches (Series 4, 5, and 6), this item features a thick thermoplastic polyurethane bump case with screen-protecting raised bezels, and a secondary, inner shock-absorbing layer. Tipping the scales at less than 1oz, the Rugged Armor Pro case boasts a matte finish that’s accented via carbon fiber inlays and comes paired with an adjustable band with matching carbon inlays and a metal clasp.

Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane & Carbon Fiber
Band Included: Yes

Purchase: $20

Urban Armor Gear Watch Case

Aptly-named and accessibly priced, UAG’s Rugged Case for the 44mm Apple Watch is another wildly protective case that utilizes a clever dual-layer construction that’s comprised of a polycarbonate fortified via a thermoplastic polyurethane bump-case. Cut-outs offer unobstructed access to the watch’s buttons and rear wireless charger coupling, while raised bezels protect the watch’s OLED face without preventing access to the touchscreen display. Also offered in an all-black version, this case is heavily weather resistant and comes backed by a one-year warranty.

Material: Polycarbonate & Thermoplastic Polyurethane
Band Included: No

Purchase: $25

Otter box EXO EDGE Case

A pared-down item specifically made to compliment the sleek and minimalistic design of the Apple Watch, Otterbox’s EXO EDGE case features similar levels of protection as the above item from UAG while sporting a markedly more understated appearance. The case features a hardwearing polycarbonate chassis that’s been bestowed with an outer thermoplastic elastomer case with a screen-protecting solid bezel and smooth bumpers. Produced in five color options — including orange, blue, and black — this case can accommodate 44mm Apple Watches (Series 4, 5, and 6).

Material: Polycarbonate & Thermoplastic Elastomer
Band Included: No

Purchase: $30

The Armour Case With Silicone Strap

Another design that’s clearly been penned to compliment the existing Apple Watch that it’s fortifying, this protective case kit from TAC utilizes a unique, multi-layer, multi-material housing with a bottom case that’s mated to a rugged screwed-down top cover and paired with an adjustable liquid silicone band. Made to accommodate 44mm Apple Watches, this protective case is also available in an all-white variant.

Material: Thermoplastic Polyurethane & Liquid Silicone
Band Included: Yes

Purchase: $33

SkyB Minimalist Apple Watch Case

A subtle and minimalistic yet undeniably premium take on a modern Apple Watch case, this case from SkyB is handcrafted from bronze before being equipped with genuine gunmetal plating that’s extensively been hand-polished. Beneath the alloy exterior, the case sports a protective silicone gasket. Available in multiple colors and finishes, the case’s metal construction doesn’t interfere with the smartwatch’s signal or reception, either. This SkyB case also fits every Series of the Apple Watch (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6) as well as the SE-spec models.

Material: Bronze, Metal-Plating, & Silicone
Band Included: No

Purchase: $42

Catalyst Waterproof Apple Watch Case

An insanely rugged kit that’s built to MIL-STD 810G standards, the Catalyst Waterproof Apple Watch Case is IP68-rated, is sealed to depths of at least 330’ (or 100m), and is impact and drop-proof to 6.6’ (or 2m). What’s more, this case’s polycarbonate housing is extremely resistant to scratches and shocks, is snow, dirt, and sand-proof, and comes linked to a silicone band. This award-winning case also boasts a patented rotating crown dial and a raised bezel and comes backed by a year-long factory warranty.

Material: Polycarbonate & Silicone
Band Included: Yes

Purchase: $70

LUNATIK EPIK SPORTS Apple Watch Series 6

LUNATIK’s EPIK SPORTS case for the Apple Watch Series 6 affords ample protection and durability despite the fact it takes a sleek and low-profile form. Secured via stainless steel hardware, the case features an advanced shock-absorbing polycarbonate suspension housing that’s complimented with raised ballistic bezels and a liquid silicone sport band. In addition to a variety of color options, LUNATIK also offers this same kit in multiple versions, including cases that come paired with leather straps and stainless steel cases equipped with matching metal link bracelets.

Material: Polycarbonate, Stainless Steel, & Liquid Silicone
Band Included: Yes

Purchase: $99

MTM A-38

Looking like nothing else currently on the market, MTM’s A-38 case saw the company apply its signature bad-ass tactical style to a rugged metal housing for the Apple Watch. Built around a 16mm thick, solid titanium construction housing with a sand-blasted grey finish, this case sports a pair of IP06-rated brass sub-dials with luminous hands under K1 glass, that are kept ticking via a Japanese quartz movement. Sold in a water-tight tactical case and weighing just 2oz, the A-38 also features a knurled crown and a second-generation version of MTM’s adjustable rubber band.

Material: Titanium, Brass, Rubber, & Glass
Band Included: Yes

Purchase: $199

Golden Concept Rubber Apple Watch Case

Part of a limited edition release of just 999 units in total, Golden Concept’s Rubber Apple Watch Case transforms the 44mm smartwatch into an elegant-looking timepiece that bears an unmistakable resemblance to Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak. Mated to a rubber strap, this case features a housing that’s crafted from a solid block of 316L stainless steel with a vertically brushed finish and is outfitted with a working crown and button pusher. This exclusive Swiss watch-inspired case also comes sold in an equally swanky folding suede-lined wooden presentation box.

Material: Stainless Steel & Rubber
Band Included: Yes

Purchase: $720

GRAY RESKAR Stealth Ti Apple Watch Case + Band

Taking inspiration from the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, GRAY’s new RESKAR case for the (Series 4, 5, and 6) Apple Watch is a spare-no-expense item that’s precision-machined from aerospace-grade 6Al4V titanium billet before being fortified with a rugged black PVD-coating and then treated to a mechanically-textured surface finish. Limited to only 1,000 units worldwide, the RESKAR comes paired with one of GRAY’s equally high-end black FKM (fluoroelastomer) construction CYBER BANDS. This titanium construction case is also offered in gold, light grey, and burnt and blued variants, as well as in black or orange carbon fiber versions.

Material: Titanium & Fluoroelastomer
Band Included: Yes

Purchase: $799+

The 15 Best Apple Watch Accessories

Now that you’ve got the case situation for your smartwatch squared away, why not check out some additional aftermarket peripherals in our guide to the best Apple Watch accessories for more than a dozen of the market’s best bands, straps, chargers, and stands.

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