Updated May 2022
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Buying guide for Best iPad Air cases

The iPad Air is a classic — it’s one of the most iconic iPads that Apple has ever made, thanks in no small part to it being light as a feather, fast as a laptop, and elegant to boot. In fact, the iPad Air has evolved over a few generations, making it one of the staples of the iPad lineup along with the iPad Mini, the iPad Pro, and the original iPad.

As unique as the iPad Air is, it’s got something in common with its brethren: every iPad needs a case. Cases are a must for iPads to keep them safe from accidental falls, but there’s more to it than that: many cases include extended functionality like a built-in Bluetooth keyboard or a kickstand to hold up the iPad Air hands-free.

Different cases are tailor-made for specific situations. For example, some include an extra-rugged shell for using your iPad outdoors. Other cases resemble traditional folios that are more suited for business users.

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If you travel a lot with your iPad Air, get a case with a handle or carrying strap. Many cases are built for portability, and some even have straps long enough so they can function as a small satchel or messenger bag.

Key considerations

Before you start shopping for a case for your iPad Air, consider what kind of case will work best for you. Start by answering these questions.

What size iPad Air do you have?

The most important thing to know is which version of the iPad Air you have. The original iPad Air has a 9.7-inch screen; the iPad Air 2 has the same size screen but is significantly thinner; the most recent iPad Air has a 10.5-inch display. If you get a case for an iPad Air that’s different from the one you have, it won’t fit, so consider this the most crucial detail.

Do you want a case that can also function as a stand?

If you use your iPad Air on airplanes a lot or at night in bed, a case with a built-in stand is incredibly useful. Some are called kickstands, but they all do the same thing: prop up your iPad Air’s screen so you don’t have to.

Do you need a case that includes a keyboard?

If you’re looking to be as productive as possible with your iPad Air, it’s a good idea to get a case with a Bluetooth keyboard — that way you can always easily type in anything you need, no matter where you are. Cases with keyboards are definitely more expensive, and they require you to keep the keyboard’s battery charged, but they’re so useful that we think it’s a worthwhile trade-off.

iPad Air case features

What separates the great from the so-so iPad Air cases? For us, it comes down to a few key features.

Premium materials

The best iPad Air cases are made of materials that are both durable and elegant. For example, some cases are made of real wood or leather, which meets both qualifications, although it costs more. We don’t have anything against the dozens of silicone options available, but it’s hard to deny that better iPad Air cases are made from better materials.

Multi-angle kickstand

Most iPad Air cases include some type of kickstand functionality, but some are more adjustable than others. If you’ll be using your iPad Air in situations where you expect to battle glaring lights to see the screen, get a case that has an adjustable stand so you’ve got the flexibility for any situation.

Bluetooth keyboard

Apple has made no bones about the fact that they want iPads to blur the line between tablets and laptops, and a case with a Bluetooth keyboard goes a long way toward making that happen. If you’re serious about using your iPad Air as a device for consistent work that requires typing, get a case with a Bluetooth keyboard.

Some iPad Air cases come with an elastic band that holds the cover in place, while others use magnets to keep the cover from accidentally opening.


iPad Air case prices

Between $8 and $20

In this range, you’ll find the most straightforward cases that have roughly the same features: they’re made of silicone, are moderately durable, and include a kickstand. If you need a case for your iPad Air that will keep it safe and not add a lot of bulk, you don’t need to spend more than this.

Between $20 and $50

Here is where things get a little more interesting. Many cases in this price range include keyboards or are made of premium materials. Many smaller companies offer handmade cases in this price range; some can even be engraved. If you’re looking for a case that’s more than a case or one that rises to Apple’s aesthetic standards, this is the price range to keep in mind.


  • Double-check compatibility. We can’t stress this enough: just because a case is labeled as being compatible with the iPad Air doesn’t mean it will work with your iPad Air. Determine if your iPad Air is an original-generation model (with a 9.7-inch screen), an iPad Air 2 (which is nearly the same size as the original but thinner), or a current-generation iPad Air (which has a 10.5-inch screen), and make sure the case you choose is explicitly compatible.

  • Wipe down your iPad Air before you put it in the case. It’s easy for dust and dirt to get trapped in your case, so do some preventative maintenance with a soft cloth before you set everything up.

  • Get a kid-friendly case. Some iPad Air cases are made with younger users in mind, so they’re extra rugged and can put up with their fair share of abuse. Whether you need to protect your iPad from a temper tantrum or the occasional juice spill, a kid-centric case can go a long way toward keeping everything safe and running smoothly.
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The current generation of iPad Air works with the Apple Pencil. If you plan on taking one with you, find a case that has a built-in stylus holder.


Q. If I get an iPad case, is it still worthwhile to get a screen protector?

A. Yes. Your iPad Air case can protect your screen when you’re not using it, but it doesn’t do much to curb screen scratches or fingerprint smudges while you’re using it. Screen protectors are more affordable than they’ve ever been, and more importantly, they help protect the resalability of your iPad Air for when you decide to upgrade.

Q. Will a case add a lot of weight to my iPad?

A. Only if it’s a rugged case. Certain iPad Air cases are built to provide maximum protection, so they naturally add a lot bulk. If you’re getting a rugged case for a specific reason, the extra weight is usually worth the trade-off.

Q. Can I get a waterproof case for my iPad?

A. Yes. Some iPad Air cases are sealed so you can take them in the pool or to the beach — just know that in these cases, “waterproof” usually means they’ll survive getting dropped in the water but not much past that. If you get a waterproof iPad Air case, rest assured your iPad Air will be mostly safe so long as you don’t leave it underwater for prolonged periods of time.

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