Catalyst Waterproof Case vs. LifeProof FRĒ: Which should you buy?

Catalyst (Image credit: Catalyst)

If all you're looking for is protection, primarily against water, dust, or mud, get the Catalyst Waterproof case. It's rated to withstand a dip into the water of up to 10 meters, vs. the 2 meters the Lifeproof FRĒ offers. If you like having options — such as colors — Lifeproof gives you that option, and for the most part, its buttons are less mushy than its Catalyst counterpart.

Here's the breakdown

Both of these cases are pretty similar with the main differences being price, style, and waterproof rating. The Catalyst Waterproof is more expensive, but with that upfront cost comes the best waterproof rating you can find and a slimmer case than its Lifeproof counterpart.

The Lifeproof FRĒ gives you more options when it comes to color, and Lifeproof has additional accessories that you can also buy that works with its Lifeproof FRĒ case. Your upfront cost for the case will be lower than the Catalyst, but you are only getting up to 2 meters (or 6.6 feet) of waterproofing.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Catalyst Waterproof CaseLifeproof FRĒ
Water resistanceUp to 10 meters (33 ft.)Up to 2 meters (6.6 ft.)
Impact resistanceUp to two meters (6.6 ft.)Up to two meters (6.6 ft.)
Lightning port coveredYesYes
Color optionsBlackBlack, Gray, Blue, Purple, Green

The bottom line when comparing the Catalyst Waterproof Case and the Lifeproof FRĒ is the Catalyst has the stronger water-resistance and is slimmer, whereas the Lifeproof case has more personalization options and is cheaper. We highly recommend the Catalyst case for the better all-around experience and the most protection, but if you absolutely must have a more stylish option, the Lifeproof case will get the job done.

Both cases give you great protection from damage, dust, and other particulates, and both come with a 1-year manufacturer's warranty, so if it leaks when you test the case in water (which you should always do before you put your phone inside), you'll be able to get another case no problem.

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.