Best Apple Watch Cases

Updated November 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.

18 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
237 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 Apple Watch cases

Last Updated November 2019

Apple Watches can be expensive, ranging from $170 to $380 and up, so protecting yours is a matter of protecting an investment. The shiny surface of Apple Watches tend to show off and highlight scratches instead of hiding them.

Consequently, you need a protective case for your Apple Watch. Just like a smartphone, your smartwatch is a computer. It’s smaller and wearable, with a limited range compared to larger ones, but it requires the same serious protection to prevent wear.

Cases come in a variety of styles. Some of them surround the watch but don’t include a screen protector while others not only have a screen protector but also include a band. Some cases are dark and bulky, resembling something the Terminator would wear — others are slim and transparent to the point of near invisibility.

Finding a compatible case for your Apple Watch that includes all of the features you need can be challenging, but our buying guide will walk you through your decision.

Watch cases should be viewed as consumable items with a limited lifespan.

Key considerations

Series

The first thing to consider is which Series Apple Watch you have. Most Apple Watch cases are compatible with the Series 3, Series 2, and Series 1, but there are exceptions. If a manufacturer does not say that a case is compatible with your watch, the fit may not be ideal.

If you have a Series 4, it will most likely require a different case than the other three series. Be sure you know which you have. While they can appear almost identical, they vary slightly in their design. The engraving on the back of the watch tells you the model number but not the series. You’ll need to search online for your model number to determine which series it is.

Size

Thankfully, the physical size of your Apple Watch is easier to determine. You’ll find the size engraved on the back face of the watch near the model number. There are only four possibilities: 38, 40, 42, or 44 millimeters. There aren’t any other sizes available at the time this article was written, but Apple may add new sizes or dimensions in the future.

Once you know the series and size of your Apple watch, you’re ready to move on to the features and style of your case.

Watch cases will accommodate standalone screen protectors without any problems.

Staff
BestReviews

Features

Materials

Many cases are made from TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane. It is a polyurethane plastic that has several useful properties, including elasticity, transparency, and resistance to abrasion, grease, and oil. Cases made from TPU are clear and stretchable.

Others are made from a combination of polycarbonate and TPU. The polycarbonate adds strength and toughness to the elasticity of the TPU. Cases made from the combination generally aren’t transparent.

Colors

Black, white, and shades of gray are common, but other shades include blue, red, and various tones of gold.

Screen protector

Some cases don’t come with a screen protector. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. People often only want a case to protect their watch from being banged into door jambs, desks, and other everyday items around the office or at home. As long as the case includes a bit of a ridge around the outside of the face, which is fairly common, you may not need a screen protector depending on your willingness to take a bit of a risk. It is still possible for your screen to become scratched, but the edge of the case provides decent protection.

Frequency of use will dictate whether or not you need a screen protector. The more you use your watch, the more protection your screen will require. If you only use it a few times a day, you probably won’t miss not having a screen protector. If you’ve downloaded a lot of apps and make frequent use of them 20 or more times a day, a screen protector is probably a good idea to prevent oil buildup and keep your screen smooth and clear.

Don’t be put off by a case that has a built-in screen protector, however. If you like the case, the included screen protector is like icing on the cake.

Band

Some watch cases come with a band. We’re agnostic on this point. Bands are widely available as accessories, so a watch case that includes a band may be unnecessary. The band included with a case may not be removable, so if you are unsure of whether you will like the look and feel of a band, your best bet is to look elsewhere or double-check that the band can be removed.

Essential accessories

While you’re shopping for a case, consider picking up a few other useful accessories to help you keep your Apple Watch charged and protected.

When you’re traveling, use the  Moretek Apple Watch Charging Holder Dock to protect your watch when it’s in your luggage and to charge it at night. It’s rugged, lightweight, and crush-proof.

When you get a case that doesn’t have a built-in screen protector, you can add one of the AMZ Original Screen Protectors for Apple Watch Series 3/2/1 42mm.This set has three ultra-thin TPU screen protectors to give you peace of mind.

Spice up your Apple Watch with one of the Barton Silicone Watch Bands. It is available in 13 different colors to suit any personality or style. The silicone band is available in five different widths, ranging from 16 to 24 millimeters wide.

At night, use the Apple Watch Charging Station for your iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time. It comes in four different colors and is compatible with a wide range of Apple tablets, phones, e-readers, and watches.

Apple Watch case prices

Inexpensive: On the lower end of the price range are cases for $5 to $7. These are typically clear plastic (TPU) cases with a built-in screen protector. These cases are usually designed to be simple and sleek in design.

Midrange: From $7 to $10 are a variety of two-packs of cases, which are generally similar in design to less expensive models.

Expensive: For $10 to $20 are stylish and durable Apple Watch cases. These cases are more heavy-duty and may include bands. They are usually available in a range of color options.

EXPERT TIP

Every time you take a case off and put it back on, it loses some of the elasticity in the material. Eventually it will be too stretched out to fit properly anymore.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

The built-in screen protectors on watch cases aren’t as responsive as stand-alone screen protectors. If you’re having touchscreen issues, select a watch case that doesn’t have a screen protector.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

Getting your Apple Watch into its case can be tricky. Here are a few pointers:

  • When putting a case on your Apple Watch, both of the straps of the existing wristband have to be removed. If you’ve never done that before, turn the watch over and look closely at the back. You should see a tiny latch on either side, just above the strap. Push it down with your fingernail and slide the strap sideways out of the slot on the side of the watch.

  • Put the side of the watch with the knobs on it into the case first. You’ll have to push it a bit to get it into the case.

  • Once one side is snuggly in the case, pry the edges of the case back with your fingernails to get the rest of the watch in place. Cases are designed to fit tightly, so you will have to exert some effort. You can also pry it the lip of the case back with something non-abrasive such as a toothpick.

  • The clear cases with built-in screen protectors are actually easier to put on and take off than the harder, more rugged cases that don’t include protectors.

Other products we considered

If you don’t see anything that meets your needs or tastes, we have a few other recommendations. We like the Apple Watch Case 42mm from V85, which is compatible with Series 3, Series 2, and Series 1. The raised case is shock-proof and shatter-proof for maximum protection of your Apple Watch, and it holds the watch tightly. All the holes and knobs line up accurately, and it is also available in the 38-millimeter size. We also found the Apple Watch Case from ADWLOF to be a good budget option for those not willing  to sacrifice style. It comes in 38-, 40-, and 42-millimeter sizes and 6 different colors for Series 3, Series 2, and Series 1 watches. It includes a screen protector and a matching wrist band with a magnetic clasp. While this case is a bit difficult to get your watch into, the end result is simple and classy.

Watch cases are designed to sacrifice themselves to protect your watch. If you drop your watch a great distance or it receives a strong impact, you should consider replacing the watch case.

FAQ

Q. Will a watch case keep water out of my watch?

A. Some cases are specifically designed to be waterproof, but this is not the norm. Basic cases may keep out a bit of rain, however.

Q. Why does the built-in screen protector fog up?

A. Watch cases that have a built-in screen protector don’t create an airtight seal between the watch and the screen protector the way stand-alone screen protectors do. There is enough space between them to allow moisture to seep in and condense, creating the “fog” you’re noticing. Remove the case and dry it out, and then dry off the watch and replace the case.

Q. How long should a watch case last?

A. No more than a year or so after a few good bangs. Watch cases are inexpensive enough that replacing it each year shouldn’t be a problem.

The team that worked on this review
  • Alvina
    Alvina
    Photographer
  • Amos
    Amos
    Director of Photography
  • Branson
    Branson
    Videographer
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Michael
    Michael
    Writer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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