Top 25 tough iPhone cases

If you're looking for a rugged case that will keep your 3GS protected and will help it survive a drop unscathed, check out our list of highly protective 3GS iPhone cases.

David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
  • Maggie Award for Best Regularly Featured Web Column/Consumer
David Carnoy
2 min read

Note: If you own an iPhone 4 or 4S for, please go to Top 20 tough cases for iPhone 4 and 4S. This article features iPhone 3GS cases.

How you choose to protect--or not protect--your iPhone is a matter of personal choice. Sure, plenty of people like to leave their iPhone naked, reasoning that any protective cover diminishes its sleekness. But the majority of iPhone owners realize it's probably a good idea to give your precious device some degree of armor, particularly if you don't like the idea of seeing your iPhone's lovely finish dinged and scratched up over time.

Going rugged isn't always pretty.
But there's protection from cosmetic damage and then there's protection from real damage. I'm talking drops or someone accidentally sitting on your phone (maybe even you) and cracking the screen.

If that's the kind of heavy-duty shielding you're looking for, this is the list for you. Now, we can't guarantee all these cases will protect your iPhone--and particularly its screen--in the event it gets dropped or has a large object fall on it, but at least they give it a better chance of surviving unscathed.

While we tried to pick tough, protective cases that look good and don't make your iPhone too bulky, we should point out that a few of the cases have more extreme designs that aren't intended for everyday use. We should also note that some of the more rugged cases can be a bit of a chore to remove and aren't friendly toward iPod docks. And finally, before slipping your iPhone into any of these case, be sure to wipe your iPhone off carefully because having any bigger dirt particles wedged between your case and the back of your iPhone or the chrome trim can lead to scratches.

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Top 25 tough iPhone cases (photos)

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Note: The top 25 is listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking. If you don't agree with our choices or feel we missed some, please submit a comment, and we'll consider making changes in our next update of the list.

More: Top 20 tough cases for iPhone 4 and 4S