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



17. 48Chevy

Posts: 76; Member since: Jul 23, 2014

Griffin Survival All-Terrain series: beware that not all colors or patterns allow enough room around the display to easily use the swipe up, pull down notifications and moving applications to another window features as well as Touch ID. You can tell which models by the photos that show an older version of iOS. It can be done, just takes a bit of determination if you have larger fingers. I like them very much as they are seriously tough.

4. Subie

Posts: 2476; Member since: Aug 01, 2015

I like the looks of the Spigen case!

1. Amroze

Posts: 597; Member since: Jul 04, 2016

None of them are nice looking.

2. kiko007

Posts: 7526; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

*Reads title* we know why don't we?

3. Amroze

Posts: 597; Member since: Jul 04, 2016

I know it's for rugged use, but I've seen few nice slim looking ones.

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7692; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It could be the iPhone 5 or 5S cases as well, since they are the same size. It still doesn't change the fact that it's a tiny excuse of a phone made for women.

6. AlikMalix unregistered

Explain to me how it is made for women?

7. Amroze

Posts: 597; Member since: Jul 04, 2016

Barbie grew up and purchased an iPhone. The doll that has tried nearly every career and (arguably) been emblematic of the female ideal for decades has truly morphed into a modern woman. Computer Engineer Barbie, voted into the profession by her audience online, may inspire a generation of girls to a high-paying field that is dominated by men. What’s more, she may also inspire girls to a Smartphone already loved by women. Here you are Apple fanboy.

8. Amroze

Posts: 597; Member since: Jul 04, 2016

IPhone is chic, stylish, smart and a status symbol. If these words seem to suggest a female sensibility, you are perceptive indeed. I believe the model that Mac is building on the the iconic Bang & Oulesen. That line of esoteric audio gear looks to sleek and functional, rather than gutsy hi tech. There is no doubt in my mind that Uncle Steve was covering all bases in esthetically aiming his device at both men and women. Women tend to like elegant and easy to operate gear. Men often gyrate toward oversized (big is better) bells and whistles tech stuff. There you have it!

9. sgodsell

Posts: 7692; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

That 4" non HD display is too small, that's why you see the majority of women still using them. I hardly see guys using them nowadays. What really kills me is years ago other OEMs created devices almost the same size as the iPhone 5/5S/SE that had larger higher resolution displays, like the Moto G to name an example. So why can't Apple make an iPhone SE that has even a HD display in roughly the same form factor. Apple is about brand name and profits, and is definitely not bringing anything new and innovative to the table. IPhone SE is proof of that.

10. AlikMalix unregistered

I still don't see any explanation that iPhone 5/5s/SE are made for women. At some point iPhone had the biggest screen to any device - does that mean that all phones with smaller screen or same size are all phones made for women. I still have my 5s and the phone feels so much more comfortable to use and hold than any device I know!!!! And if I knew that Apple would release a device faster than anything out there the same size as 5s and Apple Pay - I would have waited!!! Call me a girly man - I dare you!!! @sgudsell, do you know that no one except those that have a grudge against iPhones and its users care about the difference of iPhone 5s resolution and anything android can throw at them? They might see the difference when you put them next to each other - but it makes absolutely no difference on user experience...!!! The only reason why you guys keep brining that shot up is because you got nothing also to argue with. Get it thru your head - people don't give a shit about anything above 300ppi.

11. sgodsell

Posts: 7692; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

When the iPhone 5/5S came out. At no point ever in time where they considered large phones. Maybe for the first iPhone in 2007, but after that one, then in no point in time were any iPhone considered large, except the iPhone plus series. Btw that's great for you that you consider your tiny little iPhone 5S comfortable, and the best to hold in your hand. For most people that I have seen, it is definitely women or maybe some kids that I see use that tiny phone. Most men with iPhones don't carry or use in public anymore the iPhone 5/5S/SE. This is what I have witnessed with my own eyes. When Apple released the iPhone 6/6+, then Apple saw a major growth spurt as soon as those phones were released. Btw if you I knew you, or you were in my circle of friends, I would have no problem telling you that you have a tiny phone, and only girls use that phone nowadays. I certainly don't go out of my way to tell everyone I see with a iPhone 5/5S/SE that they have a tiny excuse of a phone. But if I bumped into someone I didn't know, and we got into a conversation about phones, then I wouldn't have a problem telling whomever that their phone is tiny and I only see women carrying them nowadays. The one here that sounds hurt or has a grudge is you. As far as the 300dpi displays. Maybe you can't see a difference, but I definitely can see a difference between QHD, Full HD, HD, and non HD displays. Please, then tell everyone here why Apple went with a full HD display with a density of 401 dpi on the iPhone plus series of phones if no one can see a difference? Oh, and while your at it, why most people can actually see a difference in the displays that even have over 500 dpi if no one gives a s**t about anything above 300dpi?

12. yyzamin

Posts: 383; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

It's pretty obvious you feeling pretty but hurt hence you have seen an Apple article about cases and had to write a comment how they are a phone made for women. I guess Android is made for men? I don't understand your point.

14. yyzamin

Posts: 383; Member since: Aug 26, 2015


15. AlikMalix unregistered

Download some reading comprehension. I clearly said you can tell the difference. I also CLEARLY said it makes no difference on usability. You android worshippers always twist my words. I bet if you had a device with 300-350 ppi your experience any device would be the same. In contrary the higher resolution screens only tax resourses and is blamed for lag and battery drain. There's so few cont et outthere that will take advantage of that resolution you'll upgrade your devices twice by the time there's at least a reason for the need.

16. AlikMalix unregistered

So wait a minute!!! In your make belief world where android is king, Anything that's made compact - is made for women? I have power tools that are compact - because it makes my job easier, using a smaller phone is easier, your devices are specifically designed to be as compact as possible for mobility - and you're saying iPhone 5 is for women? Wtf? Stove was right and still right when he said that - 4" is the best for one hand use - that hasn't changed!!! For everyday tasks I would still loved to use my old 5s. I have a 6s as a daily and guess what I bought that because they was the smallest new iOS device available when I was ready to upgrade. It is a logical choice... And the SE or the 5S is still a fast, capable device. You have some weird issues telling people what they should own... Do you walk around telling people that thier car or house that they bought is "a wrong color" or wrong "size"? What is you damn problem?

13. yyzamin

Posts: 383; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

Have a look at "sgodsell" profile he admits to owning a Samsung Galaxy Discover with a 3.5inch display @ 166ppi

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