While an Apple Watch can withstand a great deal of impact, some Apple Watch owners would tell you there are exceptions. Apple doesn’t sell standalone cases for its signature smartwatch — the latest of which is the Series 7 — but there are plenty available from third-party sellers, including leading names in protective gear such as Caseology and Urban Armor.
No case for any product can guarantee you complete protection, but an Apple Watch case can ensure an extra layer of defense against scratches and screen cracks. (Which is an especially important factor to consider for the new, extra big and glorious Series 7 screen.) Plus, as more watch bands and faces continue to arrive, a case gives you another opportunity to ornament your accessory with a touch of personality and style. There are tons of Apple Watch cases available for purchase, so we narrowed down our top picks for the best apple watch cases to fit your budget and expectations.
— Best Overall: Caseology Nero Apple Watch Case
— Best Budget: HANKN Apple Watch Series Case
— Best With Screen Protector: QHOHQ 2 Pack Hard PC Case
— Best Rugged: Spigen Rugged Armor Pro
— Best Waterproof: Catalyst Waterproof Case
How We Picked The Best Apple Watch Cases
To narrow down our list, we considered more than two dozen Apple Watch cases, ranking them based on key features that most owners are interested in, including screen protectors, and design features that resist water, scratches, and damage from drops. We looked at each case’s material and weight as well as their compatibility with a wide range of Apple Watch generations. And we evaluated our experience, user reviews, and the reputations and product history of the brands behind them
The Apple Watch case market is fairly saturated, but there are a ton of duds out there, most of which have a minimal effect on the constitution of your device. We looked for products that stood out for their ability to stave off damage, without interrupting the smartwatch features you love.
Best Overall: Caseology Nero Apple Watch Case
Why It Made The Cut: Caseology is practically a household name, and its Apple Watch case delivers on that reputation with a secure and flexible fit, accurate cutouts and shock-absorbing material.
— Material: Thermoplastic polyurethane
— Size: 45 or 44 millimeters
— Weight: .704 ounces
— Flexible material molds to the curve of your watch face
— Raised front lip provides added protection
— Low-profile design
— Difficult to pair with some screen protectors
The Caseology Nero Apple Watch Case is a generalist’s dream: its pink or black colors pair with most outfits, are suitable for most settings, and help wearers avoid dings while swiping their public transportation pass or going about their daily business. Flexible PTU material ensures that this case hugs the corners of multiple Apple Watch models. Cutouts on this watch allow you to easily charge your watch, as well as take advantage of your device’s heart rate sensor. It’s low maintenance enough to be swapped out whenever you’d like, and easy to clean. Caseology also provides a helpful installation video, which is just another reason this case stands out from the scores of competitors.
Best Budget: HANKN Apple Watch Series Case
Why It Made The Cut: The HANKN bumper case is lightweight, slim and comes in a few attractive colors. The cutouts make sense, and it gets the basic protectiveness job done.
— Material: Thermoplastic polyurethane
— Size: 44/45mm, 40/41mm, 38mm or 42mm (millimeters)
— Weight: .106 ounces
— Affordable price
— Electroplated coating is well-made and looks nice
— Super easy to install
— Not water resistant
— No screen protector
The HANKN Apple Watch Series Case is a great option for people who want to change up the look of their device, and get the added benefit of scratch protection — all without breaking the bank. Fans of this product rave that it looks far more expensive than it actually is, and its range of metallic colors give it a true accessory feel. Buy multiple, swap them out depending on your mood, and never worry about hassle. Looks aside, the cutouts are precise and well designed, and allow you to charge your watch or change your band without removing anything. While plenty of Apple Watch users forgo a case entirely, this one is both attainable for most budgets and versatile enough to be paired with other accessories. It’s a sure bet for basic protection, and if you end up wanting a double pack, those too are available in the HANKN store.
Best With Screen Protector: QHOHQ 2 Pack Hard PC Case
Why It Made The Cut: The QHOHQ two-pack comes at an affordable price point and is perfect for sharing or having a backup case.
— Material: Tempered glass and hard polycarbonate
— Size: 41 or 45 millimeters
— Weight: .704 ounces
— Two cases for the price of one
— Slim material means it's responsive to touch
— Exceptionally easy to install
— Requires more cleaning to maintain
— Not recommended for protection while swimming
The QHOHQ 2 Pack Hard PC Case comes with either clear or black bumpers and offers a fairly low-maintenance protective layer to your Apple Watch screen and bezel at an accessible cost. This product stands out from competitors thanks to its shock-resistant technology and light weight. The clear model allows you to keep the aesthetic of your Apple Watch plainly visible, and is pairable with any band of your choosing. Thanks to cutouts around the perimeter of the case, wearers can easily access all of the buttons on their Apple Watch without any fuss or trouble.
The QHOHQ’s packaging also includes wet wipes and stickers for professional-grade, home installation. With such a nice installation, you might be hesitant to swap this case out on a regular basis. Overall, this case boasts full coverage thanks to its tempered glass screen protector and slim, durable bumper.
Best Rugged: Spigen Rugged Armor Pro
Why It Made The Cut: Spigen’s band with case combo is a no-nonsense option for people who want raised edges to protect from scratches, and easy charging.
— Material: Thermoplastic polyurethane
— Size: 41 or 45 millimeters
— Weight: .9 ounces
— Excellent shock-resistant tech
— Sturdy, adjustable and secure band
— Sharp colors including military green and black
— Bulky design for some people
The Spigen Rugged Armor Pro is like a shield for your watch: while it’s thick and durable, it also has precise cutouts that allow for convenient use of your device’s features. It has a matte finish and attractive carbon fiber accents that add flair to an overall utilitarian product.
The Spigen is compatible with the leading Watch generations — including Series 7, SE, 6, 5 and 4. The prominent edges around the bezel serve to protect from everyday wear, and fans of this case note that it gives a “G-shock” feel to their smart-timepiece. The strap is adjustable and features a slide-and-lock design so you get the best fit for you.
Best Waterproof: Catalyst Waterproof Case
Why It Made The Cut: The Catalyst case can withstand submersion in impressive depths, and while not yet compatible with the Series 7, it will fit a range of previous Apple Watch generations.
— Material: Polycarbonate and soft silicone
— Size: 38mm or 44 mm
— Weight: .634 ounces
— Multi-layered protection from screen to band
— Claims to be waterproof at up to 330 feet
— Engineered to support acoustics
— Not yet available for Series 7
— More complicated installation and removal
— More expensive than other cases
Take this watch on your next deep dive, and don't worry about wearing it to shovel snow or take a shower, while Apple advertises that its watches are swim proof, that claim comes with an asterisk — and anyone who’s gone for too many swims and seen their Apple Watch’s functionality fade understands why. The Catalyst case and band are designed to give you more freedom in the water with your Apple Watch. The case’s design doesn’t get in the way of any of your device’s features, from its crown dial to its side button, and supports MagSafe charging. The soft shell adds a nice touch to this smartwatch’s exceptional functionality. If you prefer a waterproof case without a band, check out Catalyst’s full store.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Apple Watch Case
Your Risk Tolerance
It’s best to accept that a case won’t keep your watch totally free from dings or damage. While it certainly will help prevent scratches to the bezel, a case is no guarantee that your watch will last forever or withstand tough impact. As with any product designed to keep your precious tech safe, a case will help your cause, but will never be foolproof.
Your Device’s Generation
The Apple Series 7 watch comes in 41mm and 45mm sizes, so most new cases are also available to fit both options. Fret not, SE owners, the Series 7 case is compatible with older generations as well, but you should know which watch you’re looking to fit before making any purchase.
A translucent case might help guard against basic scratches, but it won’t add as much durability as a case with military-grade protection abilities. Consider which material is suitable for your needs and style. Your choice will also determine how you clean the case, the weight of your watch, and your overall comfort.
A major benefit of Apple Watch cases is that they’re usually slim and easy to remove, so you can wear them during workouts and opt out of wearing them during your everyday office routine. Many Apple Watch cases come connected to a band. Others are standalone cases that should be compatible with any Apple or third party-made band you’re using. Your best bet is to go with a product that’s easy to slip on and off.
Q: Is it worth getting a case for the Apple Watch?
It is worth getting a case for the Apple Watch because the device itself is super expensive, and like with your other expensive tech, such as iPhones and MacBooks, a case can act as a buffer against major repair costs and everyday wear and tear. While the Apple Watch can often withstand harsh treatment and even water exposure, a case can prevent damage from unexpected drops, and other severe events that could damage your watch beyond repair.
Q: Do you need a case for the apple watch?
You don’t need a case for the Apple Watch, but it’s recommended that you buy one. Apple doesn’t provide a case with the product, and plenty of owners certainly go about their lives without buying one. Since the case can prolong the lifetime of your product, it’s an affordable and worthwhile purchase.
Q: How do you change Apple Watch cases?
You can change your Apple Watch cases by clipping the case onto the bevel of your watch. (It’s generally far less complicated than switching on a new band!) Some products require other approaches however, and you can expect the instructions on whichever case you buy to guide the way.
Q: How do you measure case size for the Apple watch?
You can measure the case size for the Apple watch with a ruler, though most cases advertise what model they fit. A 45mm or 41mm case should be suitable for the latest Apple Watch Series 7, depending on which size you have. For older generations such as the Series 3, a 42mm or 38mm will do the trick. And for the SE, look out for a 42mm or 40mm case. Here’s the sticking point: lots of cases are compatible with different generations; for instance, Caseology’s Nero will fit a Series 4, 5, 6, 7 and SE in the small or large screen sizes. Double check before you buy.
Q: How do you put a case on the Apple Watch?
You put a case on the Apple Watch by clipping the case onto the bevel of your watch. (It’s generally far less complicated than switching on a new band!) Some products are different, but you can expect the instructions that come with whichever case you buy to guide the way.
Q: What is the difference between Apple Watch cases?
Apple Watch cases have many differences, including size, material and design. Some cases are minimalist and suitable for casual wear, while others are supremely durable and protect your watch through rigorous wear.
With an Apple Watch case to protect the expensive tech you wear everyday, you’ve already gone above and beyond most owners. For a great budget pick check out the HANKN Apple Watch Series Case. If you’re looking for a two-in-one case and band the Spigen Rugged Armor Pro is a great choice. But in the end the Caseology Nero Apple Watch Case is our pick for best overall case because it’s a generalist that pairs a minimal and widely approachable design with durable daily protection.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.