If you have butterfingers like I do or work in an environment that can be hazardous to your phone, you might be looking for an iPhone XR heavy-duty case. Personally, I prefer a regular iPhone XR case over the bulk of a rugged case in my day-to-day life. But if I'm doing something more adventurous than usual, or I've used up my AppleCare+ incidents, you can bet I would slap on an iPhone XR heavy-duty case.
Protective and grippy
I particularly like the glittery styles, but it does come in other more sedate colors as well. Speck's cases offer serious (10-foot drop) protection without a ton of bulk. The Grip series has the non-slip grippy strips embedded in the case to prevent drops in the first place. This is a great thinner protective option.
This tough case meets military drop-test standards from up to four feet. The look is masculine and cool, and yet the case weighs surprisingly little. The case doesn't get in the way of any of the phone's functionality. My husband is crazy about this case.
This is the tank-type case that comes to mind when you say heavy-duty. It comes in a variety of color combinations. Though this particular model doesn't come with a built-in screen protector, you can still use a separate glass screen protector. It is far superior in touchscreen functionality anyway. The OtterBox Defender comes with a belt holster that doubles as a kickstand for video viewing.
This bargain case lets you see your gorgeous phone right through it. Two layers, including hard PC and soft TPU, offer plenty of protection. Choose from several colors and patterns.
Mous is an exciting new company funded on Indiegogo to produce highly protective yet sleek cases. The cases are crafted from a high-impact material, AiroShock™, which "contains tiny air pockets and cross-linking polymer chains that work like springs." The Walnut case is shown here, but Mous Limitless 2.0 cases come in several other fun materials such as shell, leather, and bamboo.
Sonix brand cases are carried at a high-end department store, but you can get it for less at Amazon. You even get a glass screen protector included. The price varies quite a bit, depending on the design you choose. This is both an attractive and a protective case; it's military drop tested to 6.6 feet.
Price + Protection
My son bought an earlier model of this case for his first iPhone, and he won't buy any other. Considering that his phone survived his rough-and-tumble teen years, I get that. He also has a limited budget, and Spigen's cases won't break the bank. This case is military drop tested and has a flip-out kickstand for video viewing. Choose from several colorways.
This translucent case lets your iPhone shine through. While the variety of colors isn't what it used to be when the iPhone XR was new, you can score a bargain on this once-pricey case. This case is wireless-charging compatible.
Heavy-duty doesn't have to mean utilitarian. This sumptuous American Horween Leather and polycarbonate case offers more than stunning good looks. It also gives you six-foot drop protection.
Leave the wallet at home and carry all of your essentials in the Smartish Folio Wallet case. It holds up to four cards plus cash, and it doubles as a kickstand for watching videos. It wraps up securely with the elastic band. My daughter had this on a previous phone and loved it so much that she re-purchased it for her XR. Choose from two colors: Rosé All Day, as shown, or Black Tie Affair.
Who says heavy-duty has to be boring? Velvet Caviar offers tons of Instagram-worthy styles, from holographic marble to animal prints. Stay on-trend while protecting your iPhone from drops of up to 8 feet. You can even get a matching grip ring for extra security.
Grip and stand
This ultra-protective case has a ring grip built right in. It's helpful for taking photos and just getting a better grip on your phone. The grip also acts as a stand, which is perfect for watching videos. Bonus: two tempered glass screen protectors are included. Choose from several color options.
Which iPhone XR heavy duty case should you buy?
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Regardless of your case budget, there is a protective case on this list for everyone. So how do you do choose? Keep in mind that the bulkier the case, the more protective it's likely to be. You'll need to balance your need for protection with your desire for a lighter case.
When I'm going to be in a situation where I know a drop might be more likely, such as on vacation where I'm taking my phone out of my pocket frequently for photo opportunities, I'm most likely to put a Speck Presidio Grip on my iPhone. I prefer a slimmer design, and this one is fairly slim while still offering some serious protection. It doesn't hurt that it comes in such attractive colors. For me, this is a step up in protection from my usual slim cases.
If protection matters above all else, I'd go old school: the OtterBox Defender. It's almost like putting two cases on your phone, a hard inner shell for solid protection and a softer outer shell for a bit of give in case of drops. The holster is removable, so you can use it or not. Thank goodness this model doesn't come with the built-in screen protector; those often interfere with touchscreens. Since this case is screenless, you can use any iPhone XR screen protector you like, one that doesn't decrease the functionality of your phone. Price-wise it sits about in the middle; what you're paying for isn't style or looks; it's heavy-duty protection.
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Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at CNET. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, AppAdvice, WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.