Even if you occasionally leave your child’s car seat on top of your vehicle when you pull out of the parking lot, there is one item that must always be protected: your iPhone 5. The trouble is there are many places that are hazardous to electronics, like the kitchen, the beach, the bathroom, and during a typhoon making landfall. Each of these places has water which can quickly render any device completely useless. If you are never without your phone, you will want to make sure that moisture doesn’t wreck it by using a waterproof case.
Picking one of these cases isn’t as simple as plastic wrapping your sofa or caulking up your kitchen counter. Some cases hermetically seal your phone, which is great if you are on a nuclear sub, but will make it nearly impossible to use. Others are weatherproof allowing you to bask during a monsoon, but won’t save your little digital friend if you accidentally put it through the rinse cycle. Whether you plan on using it with damp fingers or taking it with you on a swim across the English channel, keep it alive with our waterproof iPhone 5 cases.
Budget Friendly: It doesn’t look like much, unless you think Ziploc bags are chic, but it is brilliant in its simplicity. You slide your iPhone into it, seal it up like leftovers, and voilà! instant waterproofing. The clear plastic cover on both the front and back mean that you can still use all your phone’s features – including the camera – with only minor troubles. The locking mechanism is tested up to 100 feet, so even if it slips out of your hand while shooting pictures off the leto deck, your precious shall remain safe. There’s no special features to it, but the price is perfect for the purpose. [Purchase: $12]
Best All-Purpose: A case maker that needs no introduction, Otterbox naturally made a an offering for the iPhone 5 that met the same high standards as all of their other merch. The Preserver is meant to keep out water, dust, and any other detritus that you may encounter in your daily life. It can be submerged in about 6 feet of water for half an hour, but the case’s purpose is all-around protection, so try to avoid too many Words with Friends marathons when you visit Atlantis.
The preserver is best for constant use at the beach, in the garden, or if you get caught in the storm during a nature walk. It can withstand a 6 foot drop, but isn’t meant for heavy abuse. The entire design is meant to allow full functionality at all times, making this the last outfit your phone should ever need so long as you aren’t planning anything too strenuous. [Purchase: $85]
Total Control: The Nuud is an oddity in the waterproof case world. While every other case puts a screen protector over the iPhone, the Nuud leaves the screen open to the elements. While that sounds worrying, the unique design seals all around the glass screen and protects it as well as any device that locks it away completely. This means that even when damp the screen will never lose sensitivity.
The other attractive draw to the Nuud is it works with LifeProof’s wide range of products so that you can add in waterproof headphones, floatation devices, or additional accessories to pimp out your phone. It can take a 6 foot drop and total submersion, but is meant to fight off weather or be used while drifting around the pool slurping frozen margaritas. Expect much more from it and you’ll be disappointed. [Purchase: $90]
Incipio ATLAS ID
Peace of Mind: The Incipio includes the same basic 6 foot submersion feature the Preserver and the Nuud, so it doesn’t necessarily stand out from the pack. Instead, it makes itself notable by having the easiest interface with the ID scanner for the 5s and 5c. The slim body and polycarbonate glass make it look more stylish than many other choices, so if smooth is your jam, then this can help you complete the look. It also comes with a 1-year warranty standard, so if it dampens your device beyond repair, Incipio will cover you. [Purchase: $62]
ibattz Refuel Aqua
Long Life and Easy Use: If power and accessibility are what you crave, then the Refuel Aqua has your bases covered. It can be submerged up to ten feet which makes it slightly better than some competitors, but what makes it more impressive is the removable battery backup included in the body. It carries a 2200mAh backup that will keep your phone charged for double the talk time. Unlike other iPhone 5 battery cases, the backup can be removed and replaced easily, so as long as you have fresh batteries to go in, your phone can live on and on and on. It also has the easiest access to all the ports and controls of the iPhone so you won’t be removing and replacing the case time and again just to make it function. [Purchase: $115]
The Diver’s Dream: If you aren’t willing to risk your GoPro or another action camera, but you still want to get some great footage from under the sea, then the Watershot is your only real option. Most of the other iPhone 5 cases can be submerged slightly for limited periods of time without doing egregious harm, but none of them come close to the Hitcase. It can go down nearly 200 feet for long periods without leaking at all. It is intended to help you become Jacques Cousteau, so don’t expect to be able to do much of anything other than shoot underwater video. If you were hoping to have a garbled, bubbly conversation from 20,000 leagues under the sea, think again. [Purchase: $109]
Pure Sport: This titan of protection does it all. The rubber gasket seals will keep your iPhone safe if submerged up to 6 feet while the exterior hand grips ensure that you can maintain your hold on it during gale force winds or a rough night pulling up crab traps in a perfect storm. The SLXtreme earned a rating of 810-G making it drop proof for up to 2 meters. In addition to protection, it also includes a backup battery with 2,550 mAh that almost doubles your talk time. Add in trickle charge solar panels on the back, and it can be the only case you need whether taking a leisurely cruise or chasing storms in the turbulent waters of the Indian Ocean. [Purchase: $141]
Honorable Mention: Liquipel
It isn’t technically a “case” but if you want to waterproof your iPhone 5 without adding bulk to the body, then sending it off toe Liquipel will do it. They don’t seal the phone off, so it won’t last long if totally immersed, but for splashes, wet fingers, rainstorms, and even a quick bath, Liquipel will keep your phone protected. They also do tablets for those that like to take their pad to the hot tub. [Purchase: $60]