There are lots of different designs and phone case styles to choose from, especially if you have a more popular device like an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S device — however it may be harder to find cases for certain phones, particularly cheaper devices. Read on for our wrap-up of some of the best phone cases on the market.
Do I need a phone case?
Not everyone wants or needs a phone case, while others might find it a must-have accessory. If you’re very active or have a very active job, such as working in construction, having a phone case can ensure your device is protected from damage, and some might even have functionality such as a clip to keep it from falling from your pocket. For others, a phone case with a wallet feature might be more useful, while others just want something to make their phone look nice.
Assess whether you need a phone case for durability, practicality or purely for aesthetics to help determine if you need a phone case at all, and if so, which type you want.
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The best durable or rugged phone cases
Whether you’re prone to dropping your device, or want to ensure your phone is well-protected, there is a big market for durable cases that protect your phone from damage.
Here are some durable phone cases — also referred to as rugged cases — currently on the market.
Otterbox Defender phone case
- Multi-layer design
- Up to 4x as many drops as military standard
- Holster clip which doubles as a kickstand
- Wireless compatible
- Rather expensive at around $99 AUD
- Could add a lot of bulk to your device
- Rather plain-looking case
The ultimate in protection and practicality, the Otterbox Defender case includes port protection, raised edges to protect the screen and camera bump, along with significant drop protection and multi-layer defence and wireless charging compatibility. This case is priced around $99 AUD.
UAG Pathfinder phone case
- Slim design
- 4.8m drop protection
- Featherlight construction
- Oversized buttons for easier use
- Design a bit bland
- Might be hard to find the right size for your phone
- Brand not as widely available as Otterbox
Includes three layers of protection in a slim-yet-sturdy case with up to 4.8m drop protection and oversized buttons for easy use. It’s wireless charging compatible and includes a raised screen surround. Priced around $50 – $60 AUD.
The best practical phone cases
If you like your phone case with a little functionality, there are plenty of options on the market. Whether it’s a holster clip for keeping your phone secure, a built-in kickstand so you can watch videos hands-free, or with wallet functionality, there are plenty of options available.
Here are a couple of practical phone cases currently available on the market.
EFM Monaco Wallet phone case
- Includes three card slots
- RFID protection
- Drop tested up to 6m
- Available for premium Apple and Samsung devices
- Rather plain design
- Doesn’t include any kickstand functionality that other wallet-style cases do
If you like the wallet-style phone cases, the EFM Monaco Wallet D30 case is available for a range of premium iPhone and Samsung phones. It includes three slots for your cards with RFID protection, is drop tested up to six metres, is also wireless charge compatible, and is injected with antimicrobial treatment to kill 99.99% of microbes. Prices vary between device compatibility, around $49 AUD and up to $100 AUD.
Bellroy 3 Card phone case
- Simple and minimalist design with colour options
- Can hold up to three cards
- Microfibre lining to keep cards from damage
- Only available for iPhone
- Rather expensive
- Cards are not separated
Combining functionality with minimalism, the Bellroy 3 Card Leather Phone Case features a hidden magnetic closure that hides up to three cards in the microfibre-lined niche. The magnetic closure could also double as a kickstand. Prices vary between iPhone models, with iPhone 14 series cases around $119 AUD.
The best clear phone cases
If you prefer to show off your phone’s back with a clear case, there are plenty of options on the market. Some are fairly lightweight and slim, while others might include a bit of extra protection or functionality.
Here are some clear phone cases currently on the market.
Otterbox Symmetry phone case
- Made from over 50% recycled plastic
- Includes drop protection and raised edges for screen and camera protection
- Thin design
- A little pricier than other clear cases on the market
- Need to pay extra for the version with MagSafe integration
While it might not be as full on in the protection space as Otterbox’s phone cases usually are, the Symmetry Case in clear still includes drop protection with 3x as many drops as military standard. The case features raised edges for screen and camera bump protection, has antimicrobial properties and it’s made of over 50% recycled plastic. It’s available for a range of phone models (and includes other options such as glitter), and is priced at around $69.95 AUD.
EFM Alta Case Armour with D30 Crystalex phone case
- Uses one of the toughest clear materials available
- Drop tested up to 3.6m
- Reasonably well priced for the added drop protection
- Only available for a small selection of phone models
- Pricier than other clear cases on the market if you don’t need the drop protection
EFM has a range of clear phone cases, including a smoke-style clear case, but its D30 version with Crystalex offers not only a clear case, but one made from the world’s most protective transparent material. It also features an ultra-slim design, has been drop tested up to 3.6m and has been injected with an antimicrobial treatment that is meant to kill up to 99.99% of microbes. It’s available for a range of phone models with prices around $49 AUD, although prices may vary between phone models.
The best pretty phone cases
Phone cases don’t have to be boring. If you like to inject some colour, glitter or just general prettiness into your life, choosing a phone case with a nice design, colour or feature can make all the difference, especially if the phone itself doesn’t have the most interesting back design or colour.
Here is a selection of phone cases if you’re looking for something better looking than a plain case.
Case Mate Rifle Paper Co phone cases
- Pretty to look at with a range of floral designs
- Made of clear material so your phone’s back colour peeks through
- Includes drop protection up to 3m
- May be difficult to track down all designs and phone model versions in Australia
- Not a wide range of compatible devices
A brand known for its pretty floral designs, Rifle Paper Co designs are featured on a range of products including stationary and tech accessories, with brand Case Mate producing the phone and tech accessories. If you can’t get enough of florals and want to pretty up your phone, there’s a range of different designs to choose from with premium Samsung and iPhone options to choose from. Prices can vary between cases for different phone models and from different retailers, from around the $50-$70 AUD mark and up.
Kate Spade phone cases
- Selection of different styles and designs available
- Price point not too steep for well-known fashion brand
- Standard hardshell cases include shock-resistant bumper
- Limited selection of compatible devices (even Samsung users might have limited options)
- Prices vary between designs
- Folio-style cases are rather expensive
Fashion house Kate Spade is another brand that also produces phone cases, with designs available for a range of premium phones. In addition to standard cases, there are also folio/wallet style cases and options with card pouches on the back. Phone cases vary in price between designs, with options around the $70 AUD price point and up.
Compare mobile phones
If you’re looking for a new smartphone, you can either buy your device outright or on a plan. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all offer a wide range of smartphones on a plan, with popular devices from Apple, Samsung, Google, OPPO and more. The below table features a range of plans for popular iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and Google Pixel phones. Switch between the tabs to compare different devices. You can use our phone plan comparison tool to compare a wider range of mobile phones.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Samsung Galaxy S22 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB iPhone 14 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
The following table shows a selection of 24-month 128GB Google Pixel 7 plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest and then by data allowance, largest to smallest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.
Phone case brands
Most phone brands will produce their own phone cases. This can be useful if you’re buying your phone direct from the brand and you just want something that will fit your device and that you’ll have at the same time as your new phone.
In addition to the phone brands, there are plenty of other brands that make phone accessories, including cases. There are also some websites where artists will contribute their art to be featured on a phone case, while some well known designer, lifestyle and accessory brands might also produce phone cases.
Some well known phone case brands include:
- Kate Spade
What to look for in a phone case
As we’ve already covered in this guide, not all phone cases are created equal. While there are plenty of brands and case types on the market, everyone will have different needs. Choosing a phone case also depends heavily on what phone you have, as not all phone brands and models will have cases available.
There are several things you might want to consider before buying a phone case.
For some people, finding a phone case that reflects their personal style is the most important part to choosing a phone case. You might prefer to look for a plain or clear case if you want the phone’s backing to show through.
Others might prefer to look for a case that doesn’t add too much bulkiness and therefore might choose to look for a slimmer phone case. Some cases might also be designed with better grip or with anti-slip materials.
Anyone prone to dropping their phone or working in environments where their phone might get dirty, might prefer to look into a more durable phone case, sometimes called ‘rugged’ phone cases.
There are cases out there specifically designed to withstand drops from great heights, protect the phone’s ports from getting dusty, and much more. If you’re regularly in a situation where you’re at risk of dropping or damaging your phone, looking for a case with good durability and protection might be your first point of research.
In addition to how a phone looks and its durability, there are also cases out there with added functionality. Some cases might include clips or holsters so you can secure your phone to your belt/pocket/etc.
Other cases might include some wallet functionality, such as card slots in a folio-style design, or a rear pocket that can hold cards, such as a travel card or credit card. There are also some phone cases that include a kickstand so you can use your phone hands-free, which is especially useful if you like to watch videos without holding your phone.
Phone cases can vary greatly in price. A simple jelly case could be as cheap as $10 or so, while a designer brand case, or one with additional durability or functionality, can set you back over $100. If you’re after a cheap case to add a little bit of scratch and drop protection or just a little bit more grip, you might need to set some realistic expectations on the design or any additional features.
Consider your needs and be willing to compromise
When you’re choosing a phone case, your decision could be based on one or more of the above criteria. However, it’s not often that a phone case will tick all the boxes. While you might want a phone case in a certain colour or with a certain design, if you need a more durable case, you might need to compromise on how the phone case looks. Likewise, if additional functionality is important to you, such as a folio/wallet-style case, you might not get the same durability as a hard phone case offers. Keep in mind that some cheaper phones might not have many — if any — choices for phone cases. For that reason, some brands include a clear jelly case in the box with the phone, which might be your only option.