Reaching for your iPad and noticing a badly scratched, cracked or damaged screen can be a significant inconvenience. Many people use their iPad every day for both work and pleasure, which is why it’s important to protect and safeguard your tablet against these common occurrences.
Touch screens undergo rigorous daily use, but fortunately, there are plenty of durable screen protectors that can shield the vulnerable screen from accidental drops, spills or rough surfaces. Options like our top-rated Zagg Apple iPad Air InvisibleShield Glass Screen Protector use strong, smooth and touch-sensitive glass to create a reliable protective barrier.
The main difference between most screen protectors on the market today is the type of material used. Glass and plastic are both popular options, each offering slightly different benefits but providing the same basic service.
If you’re looking to maintain the same surface texture when using your iPad, a glass screen protector does the best job at replicating the smooth feel and clear appearance. Glass protectors are less likely to diminish the brightness, color or clarity of your screen.
Glass screen protectors are also noticeably thicker than plastic models, ranging from .3-.5 millimeters. This ultimately leads to greater durability and increased protection. You should note that the thickness of specific glass protectors can hinder the use of some iPad cases.
Like the iPad screen itself, glass screen protectors are at risk of cracking or shattering under certain conditions. However, most tempered glass is designed to withstand scratches safely.
At just .1 millimeter thick on average, plastic screen protectors are much thinner and lighter than similar glass models. Choosing a plastic option can sometimes be less costly, as they are made from less expensive material.
While these types of screen protectors do protect your screen from most scratches, providing a barrier between your screen and the outside environment, they can start to look worn and ragged after continued use. They also tend to collect fingerprints more readily than their glass counterparts, as they are not as easy to wipe clean.
The primary duty of a screen protector is to keep your screen in pristine condition. How well it can achieve that goal is based on its overall durability. When purchasing a screen protector, you should consider its thickness, material, whether it uses multi-layer protection and what type of protection it offers.
Screen protectors with oleophobic coatings essentially block the oil from your fingers and hands from sticking to the surface and causing streaks. These coatings can either be sprayed on, as is standard with cheaper models, or statically applied. While helpful at reducing fingerprints, both forms of oleophobic coatings can wear off over time.
When using an iPad outdoors on a sunny day or under bright lights, the glare from the screen can sometimes be a nuisance. An anti-glare feature can help remedy this problem, reducing the light reflected toward the user.
People who commonly use their iPad for work, or those who prefer to be more discreet when using an iPad in public, might benefit from some screen protectors’ privacy feature. This handy feature makes it difficult for others to view your screen if they aren't facing it directly.
The more transparent and clear your screen protector is, the less you’ll even notice it's there in the first place. Ultra-clear coatings are the best at maintaining clarity.
The least expensive plastic screen protectors can be as cheap as $1, while high-end models can range upwards of $40. The price for most models will fall somewhere in the middle.
A. This depends on the type of screen protector you choose. Specific high-end glass and some plastic screen protectors can be removed and reinstalled at a later date. Ultra-thin plastic models are more likely to be designed for a single installation.
A. Tempered glass options are generally easy to apply and can be done quickly at home. They’re also less likely to form annoying bubbles under the surface. Screen protectors that resemble stickers sometimes require more patience, as they can be trickier to place correctly.
If you’re having trouble applying your screen protector, you can always choose to have it professionally installed to eliminate bubbles or misalignment.
Zagg Apple iPad Air InvisibleShield Glass Screen Protector
What you need to know: Made from scratch-resistant tempered glass, this model is highly durable.
What you’ll love: The impressive clarity and lifetime guarantee make this a worthy investment for all iPad users.
What you should consider: Rare difficulties with the application have occurred.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
amFilm Glass Screen Protector For iPad
What you need to know: Thinner than many competitors, this screen protector offers maximum screen clarity.
What you’ll love: Responsive, scratch-resistant and oleophobic, this tempered glass option is compatible with Apple Pencil.
What you should consider: There is a slight possibility for bubble formation after application.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Tech Armor High Definition HD-Clear PET Film Screen Protector
What you need to know: An excellent choice for those looking for a clear and durable non-glass option.
What you’ll love: These smudge-resistant PET film screen protectors come in a convenient two-pack.
What you should consider: Achieving a perfect application with these screen protectors can sometimes be frustrating.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Matthew Young is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.