Here are the best cases for your 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Completely updated and overhauled on 1/31/17 with Serenity's favorite picks.

While the iPad is a gorgeous piece of hardware, let's be real: Protecting it is something of a necessity given its hefty replacement price tag and easily-breakable glass screen. A great case can do just that — and give you some added functionality, too.

Whether you're looking to simply protect your iPad, add storage space for your Pencil, or add a hardware keyboard to the mix, here are our favorite cases for the 9.7-inch iPad Pro.

Note: We haven't included sleeves or bags in this roundup — keep an eye out for those in a future article!

Apple Silicone Case and Smart Keyboard

iPad Pro 9.7-inch Smart Keyboard

While it seems to me like Apple almost always gets first round draft pick in these best roundups, it's for a good reason: The company knows the iPad Pro better than any third-party accessory manufacturer, and if you want the nicest fit and smoothest keyboard experience, it's hard to go wrong with the Silicone Case and Smart Keyboard combination.

The Cases come in a variety of color-matched hues to protect the rear of your device, while the Smart Connector-enabled Smart Keyboard protects your glass screen in its closed state; unfurl it, and you'll get a one-angle view stand with full-featured hardware keyboard. Typing on fabric-based keys does take some getting used to — especially if your fingertips are extra-sensitive about those sorts of things — but the keyboard's overall experience more than makes up for the initial adjustment period.

One note for artists: Apple currently doesn't include an Apple Pencil loop on its Silicone Case, so you'll need to accessorize your Pencil if you want to keep it with this case combination.

Silicone Case - See at Apple

Smart Keyboard - See at Apple

Poetic iPad Pro case

If you're just looking for a simple silicone case to protect your iPad and give you a place to store your Apple Pencil, Poetic's 9.7-inch case offers great corner protection along with a double silicone loop to store your stylus. It also leaves the Smart Connector exposed so that you can combine this case with Apple's Smart Keyboard whenever you have need for it. While not the most stylish case around, it still offers five different colors to spice up your iPad's look — though you won't find any color-matched "rose gold" option for this case.

See at Amazon

Pad and Quill's Oxford Leather iPad Pro Case

Want to protect your iPad Pro with shades of the "college professor" look? Pad and Quill's Oxford case clothes your iPad in a Whiskey or Chesnut-colored leather book, bound with a moleskins-style elastic loop. Unlike some of P&Q's other offerings, there's no tray here — just high-strength 3M adhesive (removable, of course).

Because no self-respecting professor would be caught without a writing implement, the Oxford case offers both a leather loop for the Apple Pencil stylus and full compatibility with Apple's Smart Keyboard. There's also a small interior pocket on the inside of the case, which you can use to store important documents or a cord, or slip your hand in it for easy balancing while using it out and about.

See at Pad and Quill

Dodocase iPad Pro Two-Tone Case

If Pad and Quill's bookish offerings aren't to your taste, rival bindery company Dodocase has a beautiful two-tone book-bound case for your iPad's protective needs. Unlike Dodocase's past bamboo-built offerings, the Two-Tone case uses a black plastic polymer enclosure to firmly secure your iPad inside its bookish shell, and built-in magnets along the front cover to trigger the iPad's sleep/wake.

If you draw, the Dodocase also offers an elastic loop for your Apple Pencil, though keyboard aficionados will have to pop the iPad out of the case if they plan to use a Smart Keyboard or other Smart Connector accessory.

See at Dodocase

Logitech Create Keyboard Case

If you're looking for the ultimate Smart Connector keyboard case and Apple Pencil storage solution, Logitech Create's case provides a rugged yet compact option for 9.7-inch iPad Pro users. The case has been redesigned from its 12.9-inch shell to provide the iPad with a lighter back cover, a hidden elastic loop along its interior spine to store the Apple Pencil, and an angled drawing surface when the screen is placed on top of the keyboard.

While heavier than some of the other options, it's been my favorite keyboard and case combination for the iPad Pro since its release; if you need an all-in-one solution, this is the case you want.

See at Amazon

Otterbox Defender Dustproof Case

Taking your iPad Pro on the road? Otterbox's Defender series is widely considered the gold standard for protective iPhone and iPad casings, and for good reason — the company makes top-tier enclosures that keep your iPad accessibile without compromising its safety. Its 9.7-inch iPad Pro case is no different: It leaves cutouts for the rear and front cameras, the iPad's iconic Apple logo, and Home button, but encases the entire device in a three-layer plastic protective case and screen protector to prevent dust or dirt from creeping in.

See at Amazon

Lifeproof Nüüd Waterproof Case

If you need waterproofing protection for your iPad Pro, Otterbox subsidiary Lifeproof has the case to do it: The company's Nüüd waterproof shell is submersible up to 6 feet for around an hour, and also claims resistance dirt, snow, and unavoidable drops. Like the Otterbox case, Nüüd offers heavy-duty protection on the iPad Pro's corners and sides, with full port protection.

The major difference comes in the design of the device's screen and rear coverings: The case provides a super-thin transparent covering for both the rear backing and screen, allowing you to see your iPad's original coloration and use the Apple Pencil and touch gestures without compromising your device to water, dirt, or snow.

See at Lifeproof

Speck iGuy iPad Pro Case

Need a goofy-but-rugged case for kids or a classroom setting? Speck's iGuy case encloses your iPad Pro in a Teletubbies-style body with squishy-but-firm foam arms and feet. If you care about such things, there's no place to store an Apple Pencil or use the iPad's Smart Connector, nor is the device completely dust or waterproof; still, it can serve as a great protective option for slightly older kids who have no death wish for their electronics (or Teletubby-style cases).

See at Amazon

Your favorite iPad Pro case?

Using a case you love that I haven't highlighted here? We want to hear about it in the comments and the forums! Drop me a note below.

Discuss 9.7-inch iPad Pro cases in the forums