What are the best low-cost alternatives to Otterbox for the iPad mini?

Otterbox is one of the go-to names for protective cases if you're looking for one to fit your iPhone or iPad mini. However, they're not cheap, and let's face it, after you've already spent a whack of money on your Apple device, you probably don't really want to spend a bunch more on a case.

We're here to help you out with that. Here are our favorite lower-cost Otterbox alternatives for the iPad mini.

Photive Hard Shell Case

Photive Hard Shell case

At less than $15, the Photive Hard Shell Case gives your first, second, and third-generation iPad mini similar protection to Otterbox without the Otterbox price. People who've bought it give it high marks for durability and protection.

The Photive Hard Shell Case consists of two layers: an inner rubbery shell that conforms to the shape of the iPad mini, and a hard polycarbonate outer shell that fits over the top. The inner shell shields the iPad mini from shocks while the outer shell keeps it safe from impact. It also has a raised lip to protect your screen from getting scratched up.

If you want Otterbox-like protection for less, the Photive Hard Shell Case is a great option.

See at Amazon

XtremeMac Tuffwrap Play

XtremeMac Tuffwrap Play

While it looks like something suited for children — and, indeed, it would work well as a children's case — the XtremeMac Tuffwrap Play for first, second, or third-generation is designed with gamers in mind. People who've bought it swear by its protective qualities and its comfort.

The XtremeMac Tuffwrap Play is composed of a flexible ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) that has some give while remaining resistant to stress cracks. In addition to absorbing impacts, it is grippy, which makes it comfortable to hold for long periods of time. You also have the option of standing it up to watch movies, read, or play games.

At about $10, the XtremeMac Tuffwrap Play is a great choice if you are a gamer or are looking for a protective case for your child.

See at Amazon

UAG Composite case

UAG Composite case

If you're looking for a lightweight case for the first, second, and third-generation iPad mini that offers protection similar to Otterbox but without the Otterbox bulk or price, check out the UAG Composite case.

The UAG Composite case has a hard, armored outer shell and a soft inner core that shields your iPad mini from scratches, dings, and drops. It has a raised lip so that your iPad mini's screen is protected, too. In addition to being protective, it maintains a slim profile and doesn't add a lot of weight or bulk.

Its oversized rubbery buttons makes it easy to access the volume, sleep/wake, and Lock switch on your iPad mini, so you don't have to worry that it will interfere in any way. Oh, and it costs less than $25.

See at Amazon

Spigen Tough Armor

Spigen Tough Armor case

The Spigen Tough Armor case is exactly what you see on the tin: it's a protective case for the iPad mini that has received rave reviews from people who own it for its durability, how well it works, and its slim fit.

The Spigen Tough Armor case is made from webbed thermo-plastic-urethane (TPU) with an air-cushioned interior for protection from dings and drops. It is also slim-fitting, so if you want to preserve the slim lines of your iPad mini, this will do it for you.

One thing we should note is that although the labeling for it says iPad mini 3, it will work with the original iPad mini and iPad mini 2, as well.

If you want Otterbox-like protection for less than $20, and if you want to maintain the elegant lines of your iPad mini, this might be the case for you.

See at Amazon

Speck CandyShell case

Speck CandyShell case

The Speck CandyShell case is well-loved by people who own it because it offers excellent protection for the iPad mini for less than $20.

It has a hard outer shell that shields your iPad mini from getting smashed if you drop it, and it has a shock-absorbing soft inner shell. This two-layer composition ensures that no matter what happens, it's protected. Well, almost anything. If you drop your iPad mini in the toilet, you're on your own!

It also has a raised bezel that wraps around the screen, so that even if you choose not to use a screen protector, there is some protection there from scratches.

If you're looking for a case that's as protective as Otterbox but doesn't cost a mint, then the Speck CandyShell case should be on your list.

See at Amazon

Your favorites?

Didn't see your favorite tough case for iPad mini on our list? Let us know which one you use and why it meets the Otterbox-level standard of protection.