The 12 Best Waterproof Phone Cases of 2023 | by Travel + Leisure


Though many smartphones are waterproof these days, it’s always a good idea to have additional protection — particularly if you’re planning on spending some time on a boat or at the beach. 

There are different types of waterproof cases, from spacious pouches to hard protection for specific devices. The former usually come with a lanyard or strap, which makes them easier to carry, but the latter is better for taking photographs in wet environments. In addition to style, you should carefully consider the level of waterproofing you’ll need. If you want to take your phone in the water, for example, keep an eye on the IP rating, a measurement of how well a case protects against liquid.

Our favorite option is the LifeProof FRĒ Waterproof Case because it’s an all-around durable hard case, and it’s made from 60 percent recycled plastic.

Our Top PicksBest Overall:LifeProof Waterproof Case at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Budget:JOTO Universal Pouch at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Floating:Pelican Waterproof Floating Phone Pouch at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Large Capacity:Syncwire Waterproof Pouch Bag at AmazonJump to ReviewBest Lanyard:Syncwire Store Waterproof Phone Pouch at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Underwater Photography:Catalyst Waterproof Case at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Samsungs:Ghostek Waterproof Case at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Pixels:Nineasy Google Pixel 6 Waterproof Case at AmazonJump to ReviewBest for Camping:Nite Ize Waterproof Phone Case at REIJump to ReviewBest for Shower Use:Urroy Waterproof Shower Phone Holder at AmazonJump to Review

Best Overall

LifeProof FRĒ SERIES Waterproof Case for iPhone 13


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s made with 60 percent recycled plastic.

What to Consider

It’s currently only made for iPhones.

You’ve probably heard of the brand Otterbox — it’s one of the biggest names in phone protection, well regarded for its drop protection. LifeProof is one of its branches, and it’s focused on making not only drop-proof cases, but also waterproof, dirt-proof, and snow-proof ones that can handle whatever life throws your way. The FRĒ case has been part of the LifeProof family since 2008, and since then, the team has continually refined the product to be as slim as possible without decreasing its protection levels.

As for its waterproof capabilities, it can be fully submerged in water up to 6.6 feet (2 meters) deep for up to an hour. It’s touchscreen-compatible, so you can actually use your phone underwater, and it has a clear flat panel over the cameras so you can take photos underwater.

We do have to ding the LifeProof FRĒ case for only being compatible with iPhones, but we’re giving it back a point because it’s made from 60 percent recycled plastic that’s been removed from the ocean. There’s also a version of this case that’s compatible with MagSafe chargers, which we’re absolutely on board with, but it only exists for a few iPhone models. This specific case, however, has broad iPhone compatibility, which is why it’s our top pick.

Price at time of publish: $90

The Details: Apple iPhone | 6.6 feet drop protection

Best Budget

JOTO Universal Waterproof Phone Pouch



View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s waterproof to 100 feet deep.

What to Consider

It’s not always easy to photograph through a plastic pouch.

For a simple, effective waterproof case that gets the job done at an affordable price, you can’t beat this phone pouch — it’s waterproof to a depth of 100 feet, so you can even use it while snorkeling and potentially even scuba diving. As its name indicates, this is essentially a small bag with clear plastic paneling on both the front and the back to allow touchscreen and camera access. (Pro tip for shooting photos through the plastic: keep the pouch as flat as possible over the camera lens to get the clearest picture.) Because it’s a pouch rather than a hard case, it’s compatible with all phones less than 6.69 inches in diagonal diameter. It comes with a detachable lanyard to help you secure it to your body.

Price at time of publish: $15

The Details: Universal | Not drop protected | IPX8

Best Floating

Pelican Marine Series Waterproof Floating Phone Pouch/Case


View On AmazonView On Case-mate.comView On TargetWhy We Love It

It has a clear panel over your phone’s camera lenses.

What to Consider

The flotation device makes it a little bulky.

While waterproof cases are great for protecting your phone against water, they typically do nothing for keeping your phone afloat — good luck if you drop your phone overboard. Luckily, this waterproof pouch by Pelican (yes, the brand known for its heavy-duty cases for gear like professional cameras) has air cushions that will prevent your phone from sinking. Naturally, that doesn’t make it great for snorkeling, but it does make it great for boating. The case is waterproof to a depth of 100 feet, though, if you do feel like bringing it to the sea floor. There’s also a detachable lanyard to keep it tethered to you. You can touch your screen through the pouch, and you can even photograph through it, thanks to the clear window positioned over your phone’s camera lenses.

Price at time of publish: $25

The Details: Universal | Not drop protected | IPX8

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Best Large Capacity

Syncwire Waterproof Pouch Bag (2-Pack)


View On AmazonView On Syncwire.comWhy We Love It

This is a hands-free option.

What to Consider

You can’t take photos through the bag.

Want to keep your phone, wallet, and keys dry? Or perhaps your passport, a portable battery, or your AirPods? Then you’ll want to go for something with extra space like this fanny pack, which is waterproof up to 6.6 feet (two meters). You can wear it around your waist with the belt buckle or sling it across your body — in either case, this is a perfect hands-free option. (While lanyard pouches are also hands-free, they tend to get in the way more often as they can swing around your body.) Impressively, you can even activate your phone’s touchscreen through the plastic for quick activities like checking the time or a text message. But don’t expect to take photos — the pouch has a frosted look that works fine with a screen, but not so much with a camera. Note that this product only comes in packs of two.

Price at time of publish: $24

The Details: Universal | Not drop protected | IP68

Best Lanyard

Syncwire Store Waterproof Phone Pouch (2-Pack)


View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Syncwire.comWhy We Love It

It’s universal, so it fits most phones.

What to Consider

It only comes as a pack of two.

If you do prefer a lanyard to a fanny pack, this is the option for you. The major pro to using a lanyard waterproof pouch versus a hard case is that it’s universal, meaning you don’t have to get a specific product to match your phone. This bag can hold any phone with a diagonal diameter up to 7 inches — and protect it in waters up to 100 feet deep. It’s completely compatible with touchscreens and cameras, so feel free to bring it into the ocean or the pool with you if you want to snap some photos underwater, but do note that the quality could be a little lessened when photographing through the plastic. Interestingly, this pouch is only sold in packs of two, but that just means you can use the second to hold other items, like a money clip or a hotel room key.

Price at time of publish: $18

The Details: Universal | Not drop protected | IPX8

Best for Underwater Photography

Catalyst Waterproof iPhone 13 Case


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It’s a hard case that can be brought to a depth of 33 feet.

What to Consider

It’s pretty expensive, and it’s iPhone-only.

While we’d generally suggest using something like a GoPro for underwater video and photography, this case has us reconsidering that recommendation. For hard cases, this one has a pretty impressive waterproofing depth: 33 feet (10 meters). That’s plenty of space for snorkelers to capture what’s going on around or below them. Given that it’s a hard case rather than a pouch, photography and videography is a breeze — you won’t have to hold the soft plastic flat to take a clear photograph. If you do decide to take this case out for a spin while snorkeling, we do recommend that you use the attached wrist strap, lest you drop your phone. The one downside to this case is that it only exists for the iPhone right now.

Price at time of publish: $90

The Details: Apple iPhone | 6.6 feet drop protected

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Best for Samsungs

Ghostek Galaxy S21 Ultra Nautical Waterproof Case


View On AmazonView On WalmartView On Ghostek.comWhy We Love It

It’s compatible with wireless charging.

What to Consider

It can only be used up to one hour underwater.

While many waterproof hard cases are made for iPhones and iPhones alone, this one covers a wide range of Samsung devices (but still make sure you purchase the specific one that corresponds to your phone model). This case is able to be submerged to a depth of up to 20 feet for an hour, making it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and perhaps even some short, shallow dives. And because it’s drop-proof up to 12 feet and compatible with wireless charging, it’s actually a great case for everyday use, even when you’re not underwater. Plus, we love that you can buy accessories like a belt clip for convenient hands-free storage.

Price at time of publish: $50

The Details: Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPhone, Google Pixel | 12 feet drop protected

Best for Pixels

Nineasy Google Pixel 6 Waterproof Case


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It supports wireless charging.

What to Consider

It can only be used up to 6.6 feet deep.

We’ll admit, Pixels are sometimes left out of the pack when it comes to waterproof phone cases. But not to worry, this one will get the job done. This slim hard case fits Pixel phones to a T, though you’ll need to make sure you buy the one that corresponds with your phone model. It doesn’t have the greatest depth for its waterproofing — it can be submerged in water up to 6.6 feet deep for an hour — but that still could suffice for swimming or snorkeling, provided you aren’t doing much diving. It’s transparent (and scratch-proof) on both sides, with the front even able to read your fingerprint to unlock your phone. 

Price at time of publish: $18

The Details: Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, Apple iPhone | IP68

Best for Camping

Nite Ize RunOff Waterproof Phone Case

Nite Ize RunOff Waterproof Phone Case.


View On REIWhy We Love It

It’s durable and large enough to hold your phone plus other emergency items.

What to Consider

It should only be fully submerged for up to 30 minutes.

When you’re camping, you want to make sure that your phone is protected, but you also want to have easy access to other important items like your wallet and keys. This bag is slim, but still large enough to hold your valuables, and it comes with a lanyard so you can wear this as a money belt or necklace. Since it’s made with thermoplastic polyurethane and RF-welded seams, you can be sure that if you drop this phone into water whether you’re fishing or crossing a stream, all of your items will be completely protected.

Price at time of publish: $40

The Details: Universal | IP67

Best for Shower Use

Urroy Waterproof Shower Phone Holder

Waterproof Shower Phone Holder.


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It securely sticks to your shower wall or glass door without sliding.

What to Consider

You have to remove your regular case to fit your phone inside, which may become annoying if you’re using this daily.

Listen to music, podcasts, or even your favorite show while in the shower with this 100 percent waterproof phone holder. With 360-degree rotation and a weight capacity of 4.5 pounds, this case can hold just about any smart phone to use your favorite apps stress-free. The screen is even anti-fog so you can watch shows or text without any distractions. This kit comes with three different adhesive holders, so you can attach the case to various surfaces in your house for easy use.

Price at time of publish: $17

The Details: Universal

Best for Snorkeling

SeaLife Underwater Smartphone Scuba Case


View On AmazonWhy We Love It

It can be used for both snorkeling and scuba diving up to 130 feet.

What to Consider

This case is an investment and may not be practical for infrequent use.

It can be hard to capture the beauty you experience while snorkeling at your favorite destination. Even the clearest water can sometimes appear murky when you try to take a video or snap a quick pic. What’s worse is when your underwater camera or phone case’s pressure sensor kicks in and stops recording altogether. This waterproof phone case is not only safe to use up to 40 meters of depth, but also features a removable underwater color correction filter so the bright, vivid colors you see while snorkeling translate when you go to play-back your videos. It’s also great for taking those fun family photos in the ocean without worrying about ruining your smartphone.

Price at time of publish: $349

The Details: Androids and Apple iPhone 7 and up

Best for Apple Watches

Catalyst 330ft Waterproof Case for Apple Watch


View On AmazonView On Catalystcase.comWhy We Love It

It’s waterproof up to 165 feet and can even be used while scuba diving.

What to Consider

You may not need a waterproof case for your Apple Watch at all.

All Apple Watches are water-resistant and Apple Watch Series 2 and later are waterproof for swimming and other shallow-water activities, but only the Apple Watch Ultra is waterproof up to 130 feet. This case allows you to go deeper still, to an astounding 165 feet of worry-free use. Even if you don’t plan to use this for diving purposes, the impact-resistant and scratch-proof case is made of polycarbonate with a light silicone so your Apple Watch will be protected from most drops and shocks. You can also charge your watch and use all of its buttons without any issue while it’s in the case.

Price at time of publish: $57

The Details: Apple Watches | 6.6 feet drop protection | IP68

Tips for Buying a Waterproof Phone Case

Understand IP ratings

IP stands for “ingress protection,” and it’s a measure of a case’s solid and liquid protection (i.e., dust and water) levels issued by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). It comprises two numbers: the first relates to solids and the second relates to liquids. In both cases, the lower the number, the lower the protection. When it comes to waterproofing, the ratings of one through four indicate that the case is sufficient against drips and splashes, five and six indicate that it’s good against water jets, and seven and eight indicate it can protect your device from immersion in water. A rating of seven means the case can handle immersion up to 3 feet, 3 inches deep (1 meter) for a limited period of time, while a rating of eight means it’s designed for immersion deeper than 3 feet, three 3 inches (but check with the manufacturer to see exactly how long the case is waterproof at those depths, because there usually is a time limit). Note that not all products have an IP rating — manufacturers must submit their products to the IEC for testing in order to receive the rating.

Test your case before going swimming

While all of these cases are listed as waterproof, not all waterproof phone cases offer the same protection. Some will only protect your phone from rain or quick drops in the water, but others will protect your phone for long periods of time. Before you commit to going swimming, especially in deep waters, be sure to test out your case to make sure that you wont suffer any leaks.

Think about buoyancy and depth

Even in shallow water, it can be stressful to drop your phone. Consider a waterproof phone case that offers buoyancy so that if it’s dropped, it will float right back up or stay on the surface altogether. If you plan to use your waterproof phone case to take your phone snorkeling or diving, on the other hand, you don’t want a case that will float because it may affect your own buoyancy and become awkward to hold.

For those who intend to bring their waterproof carrying case swimming, you should also make sure the case doesn’t have a pressure sensor or has a very deep pressure sensor so it doesn’t turn your phone off at a certain depth.

Consider screen accessibility

Some waterproof cases and pouches are not touch-sensitive, so you won’t be able to use your smartphone through them. If you plan on using your phone in wet conditions, make sure that the case is touch-sensitive.

Consider camera accessibility

If you want to take photos with your phone while it’s in its waterproof case, you need to ensure that there’s a clear panel over the camera lenses. For the highest photo quality, it’s best to have a solid panel, as flexible plastic often decreases image clarity.

Frequently Asked QuestionsWhy do I need a waterproof phone case if my phone is already waterproof?

Many smartphones from the last few years are waterproof. That said, most manufacturers do not advise swimming or showering with your smartphone — the waterproofing is more of a safeguard against splashes or accidentally dropping your phone into water. If you plan on taking your phone in water, cases provide additional protection, especially against corrosive saltwater or chlorine.

How much does a good waterproof phone case cost, approximately?

Waterproof phone cases range greatly in price. Generally speaking, waterproof pouches cost anywhere from $8 to $30, while hard cases can cost anywhere from $30 to over $100.

How do you carry your phone case while swimming?

If you’re swimming with your phone, you may not want to carry it in your hand as it may be uncomfortable and more likely to drop. Instead, consider a waterproof phone case that has a lanyard or belt strap so you can attach your phone to you without losing it.

Why Trust Travel + Leisure

For this article, Stefanie Waldek and Taylor Fox read dozens of customer reviews and incorporated their own experiences with waterproof phone cases. Waldek dropped her non-waterproof phone in the pool once and has been paranoid ever since, doubly so after a fellow passenger on her Antarctica cruise dropped theirs over the edge of a Zodiac. Fox is a PADI-certified diver who is always on the look out for the best way to capture her experiences under water.

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