With the latest iPad Pro models starting at $799, an Apple tablet is no small investment. Even the most basic version costs over $300 for a new device. Given those sorts of prices, protecting your investment is vital, especially when you’re on the move.
The best iPad case for you depends on several factors including your travel needs, how you use your device, and your style preferences. A durable iPad case is highly desirable for anyone who takes their tablet outside the house, whether that’s on daily commutes or overseas adventures.
We pulled together our top picks for iPad cases in 2021 based on their overall value, protection, waterproofing, and any extras they include.
What to Look For in an iPad Case
Choosing the best iPad case boils down to personal use and preference. Consider how you typically use your iPad or how you plan to use it in the future.
Where do you plan on taking it? Who else will use it? How much protection do you need? Do you need a separate keyboard? Will the whole family be using it, including young children?
If you only use your iPad case at home or work, you likely don’t need a case that’s drop-proof to ten feet. You may not want a larger, bulkier waterproof case either. That said, if you’re prone to spills and fluke accidents, a durable case like this may be exactly what you’re after.
When choosing an iPad case for long-term travel, consider its suitability for outdoor adventures and rough treatment, but don’t forget the extra size and weight that goes with it. If you’re looking for something kid-friendly, factors like drop protection become even more important than usual.
There’s a surprising amount to consider, which is why we’ve put together this guide to the best iPad cases for a range of different uses.
Best iPad Case Overall: Zugo Case
Zugo Case sells a few different models of attractive, well-designed iPad cases that offer protection, style, and several useful features you don’t always find elsewhere.
All of the cases are drop-proof to five feet, which is all you really need for indoor use at home or the office. If you do plan on taking your iPad on more dangerous adventures, though, you’re going to want a more durable case. See our recommendations below for protective iPad cases and waterproof iPad cases.
As well as being our top overall pick, these are also the best iPad cases with a pencil holder. They all come with a protective elastic stylus pocket on the back that can hold an Apple Pencil, and the newest models also have an Apple Pencil charger on the side that works while your iPad is fully covered.
Zugo Case also makes an elastic Apple Pencil stylus pocket that you can stick anywhere else if you happen to prefer a different style of iPad case.
The case is adjustable to eight different angles, and the magnetic kickstand is strong enough to attach your iPad to a fridge if that’s something you’d like to do. Despite having such a wide range of features, the case still remains lightweight with a clean, professional look.
Cases are available on Amazon for all recent iPad models, including:
Best iPad Case for Protection: SupCase UB Pro
SupCase‘s well-priced iPad case focuses on durability, and includes useful safety features without being as bulky as some of the competition. It’s not the most attractive case we’ve ever seen, but what it lacks in style, it makes up for in protection.
The SupCase UB Pro is a multi-layered shock-resistant case, with a built-in screen protector that guards against scratches without reducing the sensitivity of the touchscreen.
The combination of a polycarbonate hard shell and flexible TPU lining helps protect against accidental bumps and drops, and it supports recent iPad features like wireless charging and the Apple Pencil’s magnetic attachment.
If your iPad is prone to jumping out of your hands or you plan to take it with you traveling, pick up this case to help keep your investment safe.
Available from SupCase for all recent models, including:
Cases for some older models are also available, as well as for several other brands of tablet. You can browse the full range here.
Best Waterproof iPad Cases
Reliable waterproof iPad cases are tough to come by. Many cases have mixed reviews when it comes to actually keeping the water out, and most brands unfortunately only build a waterproof case for a few of the current iPad sizes.
Note too that despite the marketing material, no iPad case lets you keep your device submerged indefinitely or at great depths! Water-resistant? Yes. Truly waterproof? Not so much.
Best Budget Waterproof Case for iPad: Shellbox
The Shellbox is a good option if you’re on a budget and plan to use your iPad around water. It’s the best low-cost waterproof case for the iPad mini and a few other models, rated to at least IP68 for dust and water ingress. At a minimum, it should handle being submerged for up to an hour at 3.3 feet/1m.
One meter isn’t super deep, so we don’t recommend jumping in a pool or the ocean even with a case like this. The waterproofing is designed for unexpected accidents such as spills, pool splashes, or getting caught in the rain. Resist the urge to use your iPad for fish identification on your next snorkeling trip!
In addition to helping keep your iPad safe from water damage, the Shellbox can withstand a 6.6 foot/2m drop. Its built-in screen cover keeps the display safe from scratches without affecting the ability to type, slide, or scroll.
If you’re prone to these mishaps or have young children who will use the iPad, a waterproof case like this will definitely come in handy. If not, you’re likely better off choosing one of the SupCase or Zugo options (above) instead.
Available on Amazon for the following models:
Best Waterproof Case for iPads: Catalyst
Catalyst has been in the waterproof case business a long time, and it shows. The company makes IP68-rated cases for all recent iPad models, including the iPad Pro. They’re waterproof up to 6.6 feet/2m, and drop-proof up to four feet, with a rubber bumper around the outside for shock protection.
Those protection specs are about as good as you’ll find, but despite the extra bulk of the case, your iPad’s speaker quality won’t be affected. You can’t charge the Apple pencil when your iPad is in the Catalyst case, but TouchID still works fine through the sensitive screen protector, and all of the ports remain accessible behind waterproof stoppers.
The cases are transparent front and back, and come with a removable stand for propping up as needed. Fast to take on and off, the cases have four lanyard attachment points so you can wear your tablet around your neck if you’re using it on the move.
A waterproof case is ideal for taking photos around a pool or at the beach, and Catalyst says you can use these for taking underwater shots as well. We’d still recommend not submerging your iPad in water for too long if you can avoid it, though, even with a high-end case like this. If you’re going to use it in the pool, staying above the surface is safer!
Instead, use the waterproofing to protect against accidents, let you safely use your expensive tablet at the beach or beside the pool, and help avoid the destruction toddlers and young children leave in their wake.
Available from Amazon for most recent models:
Best iPad Keyboard Case: Chesona
Chesona designed an iPad case that offers both protection and a keyboard for easier typing. The detachable Bluetooth keyboard has its own built-in rechargeable battery, so it doesn’t drain power from the tablet. The case also has a secure pencil slot for the Apple Pencil, and supports the pencil’s charging mode.
The Chesona keyboard case is adjustable for use in three different modes: typing, reading, and viewing. It’s made with thin artificial (polyurethane) leather, so if aesthetics matter to you, your iPad is protected without looking bulky or made of plastic.
You can travel with both the keyboard and the tablet inside the case at the same time, but you may want to place a microfiber cloth between them to ensure the keyboard doesn’t scratch your screen.
Available on Amazon for these models:
Best iPad Case for Kids: Gear4 Orlando
All of the cases we’ve mentioned above are designed primarily for adults, but if you’re like many parents, your kids are using your iPad at least as often as you are.
If that’s true for you as well or the kids have got their own iPad that you’d prefer they didn’t break, take a look at Gear4’s Orlando cases. Designed specifically with children in mind, they use D3O technology to protect against drops of up to six feet. Falling from the table or sofa onto the floor shouldn’t pose a problem!
Available in a couple of fun colors, the outside of the cases are made from thick EVA foam that’s free from formaldehyde and other nasties, and have an anti-microbial coating to help keep bacteria at bay.
All of the buttons and ports remain easily accessible, and there’s a fancy carry handle on the back that makes the iPad easier for little hands to carry. The handle can also be used as a stand to prop the iPad up, or wrapped around a vehicle headrest so the kids can watch a show during a long drive.
It’s a smart design, that when coupled with the extra protection and attractive colors make the Orlando our top pick for an iPad case for kids. The only real downside is that at this stage it’s only available for recent 10.2″ iPad models: no word yet on availability for other versions.
Main image via Tyler Franta (man holding iPad in case), all product images via Amazon except Orlando case via Gear4