Best Heavy Duty Cases for iPhone 11 Pro Max for iMore 2020
Thanks to ever-improving materials and manufacturing techniques, heavy-duty iPhone cases no longer have to be bulky. Case in point is our favorite iPhone 11 Pro Max case in this category, the UAG Pathfinder. Rugged, yet lightweight, this case meets military drop-test standards despite having a smaller footprint than other cases. We've included other cases on this list that are worth considering, depending on your situation.
- Best Overall: UAG Pathfinder
- Runner Up: UAG Monarch
- Best Value: Spigen Tough Armor
- Best Traditional: Otterbox Defender Screenless
- Best Wallet: Spigen Slim Armor CS
- Best Leather: Nomad Rugged Folio
Best Overall: UAG Pathfinder
The Pathfinder series is where UAG got its start. The case, which is available in multiple colors, offers rugged, lightweight protection without the bulk. It's this combination that makes it our pick for the best heavy-duty case for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Featuring a hard outer shell and soft core, the Pathfinder provides 360-degree protection 24/7.
Despite these positives, the Pathfinder offers half the drop protection of the UAG Monarch, although it still meets military standards providing increased shock protection. If you don't care about extra bulk and don't mind paying extra, consider the UAG Monarch. Otherwise, check out the UAG Pathfinder.
- Includes a hard outer shell, soft impact resistant core
- 360-degree protection
- Less protection than UAG Monarch
Military drop protection without extra bulk makes this our top choice.
Runner Up: UAG Monarch
Made with premium materials to offer durable five-layer construction, the Monarch Series is the best UAG has to offer in terms of iPhone protection. It's a little bit bulkier than its counterpart, the UAG Pathfinder, which is why it's this year's runner-up, not best overall. Offered in black, crimson, and carbon fiber, the case provides two times the military drop-test standards (MIL-STD 810G 516.6) through the use of a soft impact-resistant core and traction grip.
With top-grain leather and alloy metal hardware, the Monarch Series is ruggedly beautiful. Still, it might prove too bulky for some. Despite this, it supports wireless charging. It's also one of the more expensive iPhone cases around.
- Five-layer protection
- 2X military drop-test standards
- Compatible with wireless charging
2X the protection
The UAG Monarch remains a popular choice for whoever wants a heavy-duty case.
Best Value: Spigen Tough Armor
The Spigen Tough Armor proves you don't need to spend a lot of hard-earned cash to protect your iPhone. Through a combination of TPU and polycarbonate, this case also offers certified MIL-STD 810G-516.6 protection and Air Cushion Technology for anti-shock protection. The built-in kickstand features raised lips that protect both the screen and camera. Still, on previous models, we found the kickstand lacked enough durability over the long-term.
Despite this, the Tough Armor is an excellent case for those on a budget. It's available in black, gunmetal, rose gold, and satin silver.
- Certified protection
- Multiple color choices
- Includes kickstand
- Wobbly kickstand, unfortunately
Protection for much less than other solutions.
Best Traditional: Otterbox Defender Screenless
The Otterbox Defender offers multi-layer defense plus port covers to keep out dirt and dust. With direct screen access, a non-slip grip, and an included holster, it's a great choice regardless of the adventure. Still, it's one of the most expensive iPhone 11 Pro Max cases around and tends to be on the larger size. You'll need to decide whether you're okay with that bulk.
- Included holster
- Good grip
- Multi-layer protection
- Likely too bulky for some
This isn't a flashy choice. Nonetheless, it gets the job done.
Best Wallet: Spigen Slim Armor CS
If you need to store some bank cards in your iPhone 11 Pro Max case, go with the Spigen Slim Armor CS. Lightweight and economical, the case features a TPU interior and polycarbonate exterior. Priced low, the iPhone case is nonetheless only available in three colors, black, gunmetal, and rose gold.
- Room for two bank cards
- Good price
- Shock-absorbing TPU and polycarbonate
- Limited color selection
Leave the wallet at home
Here's a simple iPhone case that offers proper protection and a slot for your cards.
Best Leather: Nomad Rugged Folio
Leather cases aren't necessarily the strongest ones around, although we like this one from Nomad. Built with a high-grade polycarbonate body and bonded to a raised TPE bumper, Rugged Folio offers protection for your screen while preventing damage from drops at all angles. Offering six-foot drop protection, the Rugged Folio for the iPhone 11 Pro Max features Horween Leather that creates a patina over time. Inside you'll find enough slots for some cash and up to three bank cards.
The biggest downside to buying this case: it's entirely subjective on whether it should be defined as "heavy-duty." We believe it is because of its protection claims. Others may not.
- Develops a rugged patina
- 6-foot drop protection
- Three card slots and one cash slot
- Not everyone will consider this a heavy-duty case
What's not to love when you have leather, room for your money and cards, and protection!
There are many options for your iPhone 11 Pro Max. Heavy-duty protection doesn't necessarily mean buying an old-school bulky case. Our top choice, UAG Pathfinder doesn't take up a lot of space. Despite this, it still offers fantastic protection for much less than you might imagine.
Available in various colors, the UAG Pathfinder features a hard outer shell and soft core to provide 360-degree protection. Other cases offer better drop protection than this item. However, for most folks, we feel the lightweight, durable combination works best. Happy shopping!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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