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Best iPhone SE (2020) rugged cases 2022
Best iPhone SE (2020) rugged cases 2022

Source: MOUS

iPhone SE (2020) rugged cases

There is no magic case that can guarantee that your iPhone SE won’t sustain damage if it falls. However, you can mitigate potential damage by keeping a good quality, heavy-duty, rugged case on your iPhone at all times. A good case is an investment that can save you money on repairs. I’m a big fan of the OtterBox Otter + Pop Symmetry Series case. Not only is it a protective case, but the built-in PopSocket on the back provides extra grip to prevent falls in the first place. Here are our favorite iPhone SE (2020) rugged cases.

Best Overall: OtterBox iPhone SE Otter + Pop Symmetry Series

OtterBox Otter + Pop iPhone caseSource: Karen Freeman/iMore

Trusted case maker OtterBox and popular grip maker PopSocket collaborated to create the Otter + Pop case. This particular one is the OtterBox Otter + Symmetry Series case, one of OtterBox’s slimmer but still heavy-duty cases and one of my personal favorite cases. Usually, PopSockets are stuck on the back of a case or phone with adhesive, but the Otter + Pop case has the PopSocket built right on.

In case you’re unaware, PopSockets help you get a firm, balanced grip on your phone, can be used as a kickstand for watching videos, and fold flat when not in use. If you don’t like the PopSocket it comes with, it can be twisted off and replaced with any others you purchase, so you can change up the look of your case. The case is compatible with PopSockets PopTops, Car Vent Mount, and PopSockets Multi-Surface Mount (all sold separately). Wireless charging sometimes works, though you’ll probably have better luck if you remove the PopSocket. This is a two-layer case; the outer cover is soft and absorbs impact. The inner layer is a hard shell designed to deflect shock. The case comes in a handful of colors, and the selection of PopSocket designs is huge.


  • Trusted OtterBox protection without excess bulk
  • Built-in PopSocket grip
  • Lots of PopSockets and other accessories available


  • Wireless charging is iffy
  • Expensive

Best Overall

iPhone SE iPhone SE Otter + Pop Symmetry Series

OtterBox iPhone SE Otter + Pop Symmetry Series

Protective grip

OtterBox and PopSocket had a baby, and this is it! You’ll get a rugged, protective case with a handy PopSocket for extra grip.

Best Value: Spigen Tough Armor

Spigen Tough Armor iPhone SE 2020 in Red Source: Spigen

Spigen offers good quality cases at reasonable prices, and the Spigen Tough Armor iPhone case is no exception. The polycarbonate and TPU Tough Armor case is tough yet relatively slim, adding just a tenth of an inch in thickness to your iPhone SE. The screen and camera cutouts have pronounced edges around them, so no matter which way you set down your iPhone, glass never touches the surface. There’s also a built-in kickstand so you can watch videos comfortably on your iPhone. Certified military standard (MIL-STD 810G-516.6) protection and Air Cushion Technology means you’re less likely to sustain damage if you drop your phone. You can even charge wirelessly with this case on. An earlier version of this case got my son through high school with his iPhone intact. Choose from black, gunmetal, navy blue, or red.


  • Military-grade protection
  • Built-in kickstand
  • Wireless charging compatible
  • Well-priced


  • Not a lot of color choices
  • Design is a bit blocky

Best Value

Spigen Tough Armor Designed for Apple iPhone SE 2020 Case

Spigen Tough Armor – various colors

iPhone armor

Protect your iPhone with some military-grade standards without breaking the bank, thanks to Spigen.

Best Eco-Friendly Case: LifeProof WĀKE

Lifeproof Wake iPhone 11 Pro CaseSource: LifeProof

The LifeProof WĀKE iPhone case has a wavy, ocean-inspired design and is eco-friendly. It’s made out of salvaged fishing gear and over 85% ocean-based recycled plastic. With every purchase, LifeProof donates a dollar to one of their water-conscious nonprofit partners. Through LifeProof’s LifeCycle program, you can mail back your used WĀKE case, and LifeProof will recycle it into raw materials and create something new.

It’s also just a good case. Since this case has a drop-proof rating up to 2 meters (about six feet), you’re sure to have that peace of mind. My son-in-law only purchases LifeProof cases, ever since his iPhone survived a two-story fall in one. Despite this protection, it still maintains a slim form factor and wireless charging compatibility. Choose from three colors: black, Down Under (green/orange), and Neptune (blue/green.)


  • Solid drop protection
  • Made from over 85% ocean-based recycled plastic
  • Wireless charging compatible
  • One dollar from each purchase goes to environmental non-profit
  • Recyclable (through LifeProof)

Best Eco-Friendly Case

LifeProof WĀKE iPhone SE Case

LifeProof WĀKE

Clean up the ocean

This protective case from LifeProof is 85% ocean-based recycled plastic. You can also send it back when you’re done with it.

Coolest Case: MOUS Limitless 2.0 Protective Case

MOUS Limitless 2.0 Protective Case for iPhone SESource: MOUS

The MOUS Limitless 2.0 iPhone case is my son’s current favorite case; he insisted I include it on this list. Like all heavy-duty cases, this one has a raised lip around the screen’s edge for face-down protection. MOUS takes it a step further: the corners are raised even higher for extra protection that doesn’t get in the way when you’re using the phone.

Though the case maintains a slim profile, the impact-absorbing AiroShock technology provides serious drop protection. A screen protector is included with purchase. Connect the case seamlessly to MOUS accessories such as car mounts and a card wallet with built-in magnetic technology. Wireless charging works with the case on. All MOUS products come with a lifetime warranty. Choose from several different real materials on the back such as aramid fibre, bamboo, black leather, shell, and walnut.


  • Impact-absorbing technology
  • Raised corners for extra face-down protection
  • Screen protector included
  • Wireless charging compatible
  • Magnetic technology built-in


MOUS Limitless 2.0 Protective Case for iPhone SE

MOUS Limitless 2.0 Protective Case

Best-looking case

This ultra-cool and ultra-protective case is made with real materials such as wood, bamboo, leather, or shell.

Best Translucent Case: UAG Plasma Series

UAG Plasma Series Rugged Translucent iPhone caseSource: Karen Freeman/iMore

Urban Armor Gear, or UAG, is known for rugged adventure-ready cases. The UAG Plasma Series iPhone case is translucent, so you can see your gorgeous iPhone right through it. The honeycomb-textured case has an armor shell and an impact-resistant soft core, yet it surprised me to feel how light it was in my hand. Scratch-resistant skid pads and screen surround keep the case looking sharp. Wireless charging works just fine right through the feather-light case. The impact-resistant corners give extra protection to vulnerable corners. The Plasma Series case meets military drop-test standards (MIL STD 810G 516.6), and it’s my husband’s favorite case.


  • Meets military drop-test standards
  • Lightweight but protective
  • Wireless charging compatible
  • Translucent
  • Impact-resistant corners


  • Industrial look
  • Doesn’t come with screen protector

Best Translucent Case

UAG Plasma Series iPhone SE Rugged Translucent Case

UAG Plasma Series


Take this lightweight but tough translucent case from UAG and put it on your iPhone for your next great adventure.

Best Grip: Speck Presidio Grip

Speck Presidio Grip iPhone caseSource: Christine Chan/iMore

The Speck Presidio Grip is a hard plastic case with raised rubber ridges for a no-slip grip. It feels great and quite secure in my hand. The dual-layer case offers 10-foot drop protection, yet the case is still pretty slim. You don’t need to remove the case when charging wirelessly because the case is Qi charging compatible. The raised bezel protects your iPhone’s screen. The scratch-resistant case comes in several fun colorways. All Speck cases carry a lifetime warranty.


  • Raised rubber ridges add grippiness
  • Dual-layer protective but slim case
  • 10-foot drop protection
  • Wireless charging compatible
  • Lifetime warranty

Best Grip

Speck Presidio Grip iPhone SE 2020

Speck Presidio Grip – various colors

Hold on

The best drop protection is not dropping at all, and this case’s rubber ridges offer extra grip.

The best and most protective iPhone SE (2020) rugged cases

Note that the iPhone SE (2020) is the same size and shape as the iPhone SE (2022), iPhone 8, and iPhone 7, so cases are interchangeable between models. A good iPhone SE case can help protect your phone in case of drops.

When looking for a rugged case, be sure to look for raised edges around the iPhone screen and camera. You also want a case that’s thick and solid enough to withstand drops. Many of the great rugged cases have air pockets, double layers, and other advanced technology to disperse shocks in case of falls. Also, look for reinforced corners because corner drops are often the most damaging. Avoid smooth, slippery cases; good grip is important to prevent falls in the first place. I’d also recommend adding an iPhone SE screen protector since the screen is usually the first thing to break in a fall.

I prefer to use a iPhone SE thin case, but if and when I use up my AppleCare+ incidents, you can bet I’ll be slapping on a rugged case and keeping it on for the duration of my iPhone’s life. The OtterBox Otter + Pop Symmetry Series case is a personal favorite because I love the built-in PopSocket for a more secure grip and for watching videos.

Credits — The person that worked on this guide

Author: Karen Freeman

Karen S. Freeman is a teacher, writer, and family woman. She loves to travel, play with tech stuff, drink coffee, discover amazing new restaurants, and experience new things.

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Best iPhone SE (2020) rugged cases 2022

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