Most people make it their mission to keep their phones dry. After all, rice is meant to be eaten, not used as a device-drying desiccant. But now that summer is here, what if you want to take your smartphone with you on all your socially distanced aquatic adventures? Luckily, there’s a (waterproof) case for that. From a universal waterproof phone pouch to underwater housings for your iPhone or Android, you’re sure to find something that fits your vacation needs — whether snapping pics under the sea or scrolling through Instagram on the beach.
My Phone Is Water-Resistant. Is That Good Enough?
Do Waterproof Phone Cases Really Work?
Ingress Protection (IP) Ratings
There Is No IP Rating. Should I Worry?
Test, Test, and Test Again
Top 8 Waterproof Cell Phone Cases for 2020
Best Waterproof Phone Pouch
Best Universal Waterproof Phone Case
Best Overall Waterproof Case for iPhones
Best Waterproof Phone Case on a Budget
Best Floating Waterproof Phone Case for Boating and Kayaking
Best Waterproof Phone Case for Snorkeling, Water Parks, or the Beach
Best Universal Waterproof Phone Case for Underwater Photography
Best Waterproof iPhone Case for Underwater Photography
Final Reminders for Waterproof Cell Phone Cases
Phone Still Got Wet? GadgetGone to the Rescue
In a word, no. Once upon a time, a few rogue drops of water — or heaven forbid, a dunk in the dreaded toilet — would have cell phone owners everywhere running for the minute rice. Now, as water-resistance ratings improve with each new iPhone and Android iteration, you might find yourself tempted to take your phone out kayaking or to the pool unprotected.
But, just because your iPhone 11 Pro Max is water-resistant for up to 30 minutes down to a maximum of 13 feet underwater doesn’t mean that you should run headlong into the ocean with it for a carefree snorkeling photo safari. Nothing is ever failproof. Better to be safe and spring for a waterproof phone case for an extra layer of protection than sorry with water damage.
Yes, when used properly. However, there are limits.
For extra reassurance, keep an eye out for products with an Ingress Protection (IP) rating. These double-digit codes designate the product’s ability to shield against solid objects, including dust, and liquids. As a rule, the higher the number, the better the security. For example, several of the waterproof cell phone cases we suggest come with an IP rating of IP68. The 6 means that the case is completely dust-tight, while the 8 signifies that the case can be submerged deeper than 3.28 feet (1 meter).
You will also notice that some of our recommended cases have a rating of IPX8 — don’t stress. That doesn’t mean that the case isn’t dust resistant, just simply that it wasn’t specifically tested for its resistance to solids. Regarding the waterproof rating, the exact depth and time at which a case can be safely submerged and still provide protection are determined by the manufacturer. So, don’t forget to pay attention to the specifics when shopping around. Additionally, IP ratings are tested using freshwater, so saltwater may affect the effectiveness of the product.
If you’re worried that any old manufacturer on Amazon can just slap an impressive IP rating on their product, don’t be. For an IP rating to be awarded, a product must go through rigorous testing by an independent, certified company.
Not necessarily. It simply means that the product hasn’t undergone these specific tests or possibly went with a different type of certification. If that’s the case, a quick glance at customer testimonials in the comments section is a good place to start.
Many companies will also put their money where their mouths are by providing customer satisfaction warranties, from money-back guarantees to offers to pay for any water damage.
No matter the reviews or ratings, we always recommend that you take your new waterproof cell phone case on a test drive before using it on your phone. Use a piece of paper (often included with your case) in place of your phone and submerge it to test for water resistance. If you detect any droplets, we suggest sending the case back for a replacement. And if your case is meant to be floatable, don’t forget to test that too.
IP Rating: IPX8 down to 100 feet/30 meters
Phone Model Compatibility: Universal — Fits any phone up to 6.9” diagonally; may need to remove your existing case
With over 33,700 ratings and 4.5 stars on Amazon, this waterproof cell phone pouch will keep most devices protected whether by the pool or on the beach. As this is a dry bag, you should also have extra space for cash, credit cards, and a key or two (depending on the size of your phone). An included lanyard keeps your device close at hand while a secure locking mechanism keeps your phone bone dry. Unfortunately, taking photos while using the case can be a bit tedious due to decreased touchscreen functionality — especially if you take your phone with you into the water — and functions like Face ID may stop working. Just adjust your phone’s settings so other external buttons like the volume button can act as the shutter. And once your phone is in the case, keep it there until you get somewhere dry to avoid condensation and fog inside the bag.
IP Rating: n/a — Certified waterproof down to 100 feet/30 meters
Phone Model Compatibility: Universal — Fits any phone up to 6.3” long; for bigger phones, there is also a plus-sized version that fits phones up to 7.2” diagonally
Boasting 30% stronger seams, clear PVC windows on both sides, easy-to-open-and-close levers, and 5-year replacement policy, this waterproof phone pouch will keep your phone dry no matter the model. To make photography easy, simply squeeze the sides of the pouch before closing the latches. The resulting air pocket helps maintain touchpad functionality and provides a bit of floatation. Not happy with the case? Just return it, no questions asked, to receive a replacement or your money back for up to five years.
IP Rating: IP68 down to 6.5 feet/2 meters for 1 hour
Phone Model Compatibility: iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XX, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR
Not only waterproof but shockproof from up to 6.5 feet, this lightweight case is the ideal iPhone companion for any activities near the water. A clear, scratch-resistant front cover, transparent back camera lens protector, and precisely placed buttons make taking photos and videos a breeze. Be sure to take off any existing screen protector beforehand to ensure optimal functioning of the touchscreen.
IP Rating: IP68 down to 65.5 feet/20 meters
Phone Model Compatibility: Universal — Fits any phone up to 5.5” long
Planning a family staycation to the local water park? This pack of four waterproof cell phone cases is for you. Featuring a double layer of protection with both swivel locks and a zipper, clear PVC on both sides, a lanyard, and an assortment of bright colors, these cases are sure to keep your family’s devices dry and easy-to-spot. Plus, there’s a 12-month warranty to cover you if you need a replacement.
IP Rating: IPX8 down to 100 feet/30 meters
Phone Model Compatibility: Universal — Fits any phone up to 5.5” long; for bigger phones or bulky cases, choose the extra-large option
Perfect for boating, kayaking, or any other on-the-water activity, this dry bag incorporates a ring of built-in foam padding to keep your phone floating if it goes overboard. A variety of colors also makes for easy visibility. While most waterproof cell phone cases have one a single-layer of plastic, each side of the CaliCase provides additional protection with a double layer of PVC. Not satisfied? Get your money back within the first 30 days or replace it with the lifetime warranty.
IP Rating: IPX8 down to 100 feet/30 meters
Phone Model Compatibility: Universal — Fits any phone up to 5.7” long
Wanting to go for a run on the beach or keep your phone close at hand while getting up close and personal with underwater life? This is the waterproof cell phone case for you. With clear, scratch-resistant TPU panels on the front and back, a waterproof audio jack, a built-in 3.5mm audio cable, and an armband, the case keeps you connected and your belongings dry and close-at-hand.
IP Rating: n/a — Waterproof tested down to 49 feet/15 meters for 30 minutes
Phone Model Compatibility: Universal — Fits any phone up to 7” diagonally
A scratch-resistant polycarbonate shell and high-visibility orange accents make this rugged underwater housing the perfect companion for a brief snorkeling excursion. The case’s ergonomic grip, external shutter button, tripod socket, and wrist lanyard make capturing under-the-sea moments simple. If you’re not happy with your purchase during the first 30 days, feel free to return it for a refund or replacement.
IP Rating: n/a — Waterproof down to 50 feet/15 meters
Phone Model Compatibility: iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max
Take underwater photos and videos with ease with this waterproof iPhone case from ProShot. Have a screen protector? No problem. Want to connect the case to your GoPro mount for hands-free filming? This case is compatible with all of them, or you can choose from ProShot’s extendable selfie stick or chest mount harness. Plus, just download the company’s free app, ProShotCase, to make photography a snap. And while the price may be steeper than the other options on our list, they can’t compare to ProShot’s incredible 12-month iPhone Protection Guarantee. Case broken? No worries, they’ll send you a new one. Damaged iPhone due to a defective case? Consider it replaced or reimbursed.
Ready to get out on the water? Here are a few simple things to keep in mind before frolicking in the waves with your smartphone:
- Don’t just take the product at its word — test out a case’s water-resistance and floatability from the safety of home with a piece of paper before using it for the real thing.
- Make spotting your device easy, either on land or underwater, by choosing a brightly colored case.
- Don’t expect your touchpad to work perfectly underwater. Water pressure can disrupt functionality, so set up alternative functions beforehand (like turning the volume button into a shutter) to avoid struggles later. Screen protectors don’t help the situation either, so consider taking yours off before using your case.
- Nothing is failproof. Even with water-resistant phones and waterproof cases, accidents can happen. Err on the side of caution when entering the water with a device in hand. Pay attention to the IP rating and time and depth specifications for your particular case and use it accordingly. And double-check your cell phone insurance coverage before opting to take your phone in the water as some plans don’t cover water damage.
Even with careful planning and the best of intentions, your phone ended up with water damage. Now what? If you don’t have cell phone insurance, consider selling your phone to GadgetGone. We will put cash in your pocket in as little as two business days, making that phone replacement purchase a little easier to swallow.