Best Acoustic Guitar Cases

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
302 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best acoustic guitar cases

Last Updated December 2019

Guitars are pieces of art, but at the same time, they’re tools of a particularly rigorous trade. Guitars are jammed with, lugged around from venue to venue, passed between friends, and sometimes even knocked around a bit. Yes, these instruments are meant to be played, but they’re certainly not invincible, and that makes the protection of a guitar case a worthy investment for any musician.

Acoustic guitars are particularly fragile because of their thin wood construction and hollow bodies, which are susceptible to moisture buildup. An acoustic guitar case, whether it be hard or soft, offers an extra layer of protection for your prized axe. They can save your instrument from a fall, a dropped piece of equipment, or a spilled drink. They also provide clever storage options and improved carrying ergonomics. In short, a guitar case should be one of the first purchases any new guitarist makes.

Whether you’re new to guitar ownership or a seasoned player, we’ve got the information you need in this buying guide to select an excellent case for your instrument.

Guitar cases provide physical barriers to damage, but that doesn’t mean your axe is impervious to the environment. Drastic changes in temperature and humidity can still wreak havoc on an open-bodied acoustic instrument inside a case, so store your guitar in an environmentally controlled area.

Key considerations

Size

Believe it or not, acoustic guitar cases are not “one size fits all.” Acoustic six-string guitars come in a variety of dimensions, with some being full size, some 3/4 scale, and others with a unique design all their own. Before making any other considerations, compare the dimensions of any potential purchase with your own guitar. The last thing you want is to build excitement for a new piece of equipment only to realize it’s not compatible with your gear when it arrives.

Hard cases vs. soft cases

Once you have your measurements sorted, it’s time to decide whether you want a hard guitar case or a soft one. Each offers its own advantages and drawbacks.

Let’s start with soft cases. As you may imagine, soft cases and gig bags generally cost less than their hardshell alternatives, with flexible cloth and nylon taking the place of rigid wood or molded ABS plastic. They’re also physically lighter because of this, taking some strain off the guitarist’s back and shoulders during transport. The drawback to a soft case is that it provides less protection from physical harm than a hard case would. Soft cases are often padded inside, though. In addition, soft cases zip closed backpack-style as opposed to using metal clasps and locks to stay secure.

Hard cases provide a solid barrier between your instrument and the outside world. Heavier, more expensive, and more durable, this is the type of case you’d want to safeguard a highly expensive guitar.  Because of their solid shells, these cases often feature rigid interior compartments rather than exterior zipper pockets. If you’re going to be flying with your instrument and checking your guitar at the airport, a hard case or flight case with interior padding is an absolute must.

An in-between style of acoustic guitar case is called a chipboard case. While these are technically solid, the material is rather thin and not far removed from cardboard. Thus, it offers little more physical protection than a soft case. Chipboard cases commonly feature low-quality clasps that are prone to failure, too.

EXPERT TIP

Always latch or zip up your guitar case, even if it’s for a short period of time. The last thing you want is to pick up your case, forget that it’s not secured, and have your beautiful music maker crash to the floor.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Storage compartments

As mentioned, storage features vary depending on the case you choose. On the whole, soft cases generally offer more integrated storage with multiple exterior pockets. A common layout on a soft case is one large pocket over the main guitar body and one over the neck area. Hard cases usually have a single interior compartment where the neck meets the body, but these compartments don’t flex to keep contents secure.

Accessory packs

Manufacturers are always scrambling to come up with different ways to set their guitar cases apart. One example is an included accessory pack that contains a strap, sets of strings, sets of picks, a tuner, or other consumable items. If you’re looking to consolidate your guitar shopping as much as possible, consider a product with a starter pack.

EXPERT TIP

Even with a solid guitar case, a careful attitude, and a watchful eye, guitar damage is likely to occur at some point. To remove a scratch that hasn’t gone all the way through the finish, apply a gentle rubbing compound and polish to buff the scratch away. For imperfections down the wood, you may need to fill the scratch and repaint.


Staff  | BestReviews

Acoustic guitar case prices

Guitars are an investment, both financially and timewise. Thankfully, a basic guitar case can be had for the price of a few coffees.

Inexpensive: For just $15 to $25, you can provide a simple yet effective safeguard to your six- or twelve-string guitar. Gigs bags and chipboard cases make up the majority of options at this price point. Most times, a gig bag would be a better choice than a chipboard case.

Mid-range: Budget $50, and you have access to higher-end gig bags — ones with ergonomic backpack straps, padded interiors, and clever storage. You may find entry-level hard cases at this level, as well.

Expensive: For $75 to $100, you can find hard cases of extremely high quality. These will likely have tough wood walls, extremely soft interiors, and strong metal locks for extra peace of mind. 

There are options outside the typical consumer price range, too. Some guitar cases cost $200 or more. However, these are outliers with integrated stands, custom-molded velvet interiors, and high-security locks.

EXPERT TIP

Resist the temptation to change your guitar strings inside the case. This can lead to something called “case bite,” which occurs when the lid unexpectedly falls down on your guitar, leading the metal clasps to strike the body and cause unsightly damage.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • If you live in a humid area or one with drastic temperature changes, consider buying a guitar case humidifier or moisture absorber to stabilize the environment inside your case. Know, however, that the most effective way to do this is to store your guitar in a controlled area.
  • When carrying your guitar inside its case, it’s a good idea to carry it with the latches toward your body. Why? If the latches happen to fail and the case opens, you have your body to catch the guitar before it falls. Better safe than sorry!
  • Take a moment to wipe down your strings before storing your guitar for extended periods. This removes sweat from the strings, reducing the risk of corrosion. It also cuts down on the ambient moisture inside the case. A clean rag or old t-shirt is all you need to do the trick.

Other products we considered

During our research, there were several acoustic guitar cases beyond our top five that impressed us. For example, we noticed the Cahaya Acoustic Guitar Gig Bag, which offers comfortable backpack-style straps, thick interior padding, and a waterproof exterior. It also boasts two exterior storage pouches for picks, strings, sheet music, or accessories like cables and tuners.

This Dreadnought-style hardshell case from Topeakmart piqued our interest, as well. It’s made from durable MDF plywood and features a soft flannelette interior for maximum protection. It comes equipped with heavy-duty metal clasps to hold the lid down securely.

A guitar case offers stellar protection to your prized instrument, but it’s not imbued with superpowers. If you drop your guitar from height, the force could still crack the wood, even if the guitar is in its case.

FAQ

Q. Can I use my electric guitar case for my acoustic guitar?
A.
In almost every instance, no. Acoustic guitars are much thicker and larger than electric guitars because instead of using magnetic pickups to boost the sound, they use hollow acoustic chambers to project their tone outward. In a nutshell, acoustics and electrics have very different dimensions, so they need their own cases.
 

Q. Do I need a special guitar case for my 12-string, extended range, baritone, or acoustic bass guitar?
A.
Most likely, yes. A 12-string guitar head is significantly longer than a standard six-string head, as there needs to be space for the extra tuners. Similarly, extended range guitars, baritone guitars, and acoustic basses have longer necks. These are specialty instruments that require speciality protection.
 

Q. Should I detune my guitar before storing it?
A.
There’s a misconception that you should detune your guitar before storing it, as this lessens the string tension over the body and could potentially extend your guitar’s lifespan. In reality, there’s no reason to do this with a steel-string acoustic or electric guitar. These instruments are built with something called a truss rod, which is a metal rod that goes down the length of the guitar neck. Its purpose is to counteract the tension of the strings, taking the pressure off the body itself. That said, if you have a nylon string or classical guitar, it may not have a truss rod, so detuning your strings before storing may actually have tangible benefits.

The team that worked on this review
  • Andrew
    Andrew
    Writer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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