Best rugged and armor cases for the iPhone SE

If you're looking for the best rugged and armor cases for the iPhone SE, you've come to the right place!

The iPhone SE, coming with the same exterior design as the iPhone 5S, is compatible with all of the rugged and armor cases designed for Apple's 2014 flagship phone. However, many case manufacturers have updated their rugged and armor cases to new designs and others have significantly lowered their prices. This is why a collection of the best rugged and armor cases for the iPhone SE goes beyond three-year-old products.

As always, feel free to add your own suggestions to our list by heading over to the comment section below. Furthermore, if you've owned any of the rugged and armor iPhone SE cases that we're going to recommend, share your individual experience with the community

OtterBox Defender Series 


  • Good drop protection
  • Color Option Variety


  • Dust resistance issues
  • Bulky

The OtterBox Defender Series is, in many ways, a standard for rugged cases.

Protecting your phone are three layers: a hard polycarbonate shell, a shock-absorbing rubbery outer slipcover, as well as a built-in screen projector. The port covers are designed to keep dust and debris from getting inside the handset. However, do note that not all cables are compatible. Another nice touch is that the case also comes with an optional belt-clip holster that doubles as a kickstand. A variety of color options are available.

According to multiple user reports, one notable problem with this case is that dust is likely to make its way between the Touch ID-enabled home button and the screen protector.

Spigen Heavy Duty Extreme Case

Buy here for $16.99 - 18.99


  • Good drop protection
  • Compatible with most cables
  • Slimmer than most rugged cases


  • No screen protector
  • Plastic outer shell scratches easily

This one classic iPhone 5/5s case that is worth its salt even three years later. Spigen's Heavy Duty Extreme case is one of the best rugged/armor iPhone SE cases that you can get your hands on.

The inner layer is made out of a shock-absorbing TPU material while the outer shell is made out of a hard polycarbonate. The Spigen Heavy Duty Extreme case features a raised lip that protects the screen, large cutouts which should fit most cables out there, and is military-grade drop-tested.

Griffin Survival All-Terrain 


  • Extreme protectionVariety of modern designsSoft rubber outer layer offers good grip


  • Call quality issuesNot all color options offer Touch ID compatibility

Those looking to combine some modern designs with extreme armor protection for the iPhone SE should check out the Griffin Survival All-Terrain series.

In the protection department, the Griffin Survival All-Terrain cases offer military-grade 810F-rated drop protection as well as dust and splash resistance. This is made possible thanks to a combination of three factors: a shatter-resistant hard polycarbonate frame, an outer layer of shock-absorbing and grip-friendly silicone, as well as an integrated screen protector. It will take some effort to break an iPhone SE protected by one of these cases, but the disadvantage is an added degree of bulkiness.

Note that the Griffin Survival All-Terrain Case is not waterproof. Instead, it is splash-resistant up to 200 mm/hr for 1 hour.

Supacase Unicorn Beetle


  • Relatively slim
  • TPU bumper


  • Occasional alignment issues

The Supacase Unicorn Beetle is another top quality rugged case for the iPhone SE. This one is a two-piece combination: a front casing with a built-in screen protector is paired with a dual-layer (hard PC outer layer / shock absorbing TPU inner layer) back cover. The latter also features a TPU bumper on the outside.

Although the Supacase Unicorn Beetle offers durable protection, it should be noted that the case is also slimmer than most of the rugged and armor cases that we've listed here. Flaps protect the ports against dust and debris and the case also comes with a grill for the built-in speaker. The package also includes an optional belt clip.

Speck CandyShell Card


  • Can store cards
  • Interesting build material choice


  • No screen protector
  • Minimal drop protection

Next up on our list is the Speck CandyShell Card iPhone SE case, a rugged case that also doubles as a wallet. Up to three cards can be stored in the dedicated slot and a thumb release system allows for quick access to the cards.

As far as the protection goes, a glossy hard outer shell offers impact protection while a shock-absorbing rubbery inner lining extends to the edges of the screen. This is an interesting combination, as the glossy back allows users to easily insert and remove their phone from their pockets while the edges of the screen (which are raised to protect against scratches) allow for better grip when the phone is placed face down.

Moshi iGlaze Armour Premium Aluminum


  • Metallic design
  • Slim 


  • Minimal drop protection
  • Reports of poor build quality

While we find that the rugged and armor iPhone SE cases that we've recommended so far all have a certain degree of appeal, there's no denying that they kind of hinder the sleek design (although rather old) design of the iPhone SE. As such, we're now going to talk about a case that's made out of aluminum.

The iGlaze Armour comes with a unique metallic finish that both protects the handset and complements its design. This one doesn't come with a built-in screen protector, offering a protective raised lip instead. Unfortunately, users report that the build quality suffers on some units, so proceed with caution.

Related phones

iPhone SE
  • Display 4.0 inches 1136 x 640 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 1.2 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A9 APL0898 2GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1624 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x


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