Framesira/Shutterstock.com

Happy Holidays! This article is part of our Holiday 2021 Gift Guide where you can find the best-of-the-best recommendations from How-To Geek, LifeSavvy, and Review Geek to help you pick the perfect gift for everyone on your list!

What to Look for in an iPhone 13 Case in 2021

When you buy a beautiful modern smartphone like the iPhone 13, it almost seems a shame to cover it in a case. However, you can still choose a case that accentuates your device while improving your experience and protecting your investment.

There are a variety of cases designed for different purposes. There’s no one-size-fits-all case, which means it’s essential to choose a case that focuses on your specific needs.

If you want to protect your phone from dings and scratches, but aren’t particularly concerned about the shock from dropping it, then a silicone cover is likely the best option. Thin silicone cases can be a great way to prevent minor cosmetic damage without adding much weight or thickness to the smartphone.

The opposite of these thin, silicone cases are ruggedization cases. Most of them, especially those that offer drop protection, tend to be bulky. That’s the tradeoff for additional protection, but if you work outside or in extreme work environments, it’s what you need.

Clear cases, whether made from soft silicone or rigid plastics, are a great way to show off the look of your phone. In our experience, though, hard clear cases are more prone to accumulating visible scratches unless treated with an anti-scratch coating, and they are also prone to yellowing. If you don’t mind buying a new clear case every once and a while, though, they’re a good option.

For the iPhone 13 in particular, you should pay special attention to whether a case supports MagSafe accessories or charging. A MagSafe case allows the MagSafe connection to work without interference and firm grip from the magnets. While you may get MagSafe to work with cases that don’t say they are compatible, you can’t trust that it will work properly.

Another vital feature to look for in any phone case is a raised lip. Whether you have a screen protector or not, most screen damage can be avoided if you use a case that prevents the screen from touching the floor. On the other hand, a raised lip can get in the way when you’re swiping over the edge of the screen, so it’s something to consider if that may agitate you.

As for the design and aesthetics, that’s entirely up to you. However, keep in mind that a grippy texture on your case can help prevent it from slipping and dropping!

With all that in mind, here are our iPhone 13 case recommendations.

Note: The cases below only fit the standard iPhone 13 model. They will not fit the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Best iPhone 13 Case Overall: Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe

Apple Silicone case one green and blue background
Apple

Pros

  • High-quality grippy silicone exterior
  • Microfiber interior
  • Precise, magnet-aligned fit
  • MagSafe Compatible
  • Great complementary color selection

Cons

  • Silicone cases provide minimal drop protection

While this isn’t the Apple Silicon everyone’s talking about, there’s still much to love about the standard Apple Silicone case for the iPhone 13.

Apple’s Silicone case is simplistic, adds little bulk to the phone, comes in a reasonable number of colors, and is fully compatible with MagSafe accessories. While Apple’s case won’t save your iPhone 13 from a severe drop, it should do a great job at preventing scratches and dents.

There’s also plenty of little Apple details to justify the slightly premium price, compared to most third-party silicon cases you’ll find online. Apart from high-quality silicone, the inside of the case is lined with microfiber, and magnets snap the case into perfect alignment.

With such a well-rounded set of features and quality, it’s easy to recommend the Apple Silicone Case as the right choice for most people.

Best iPhone 13 Case Overall

Apple Silicone Case with MagSafe for iPhone 13

This silicone case from Apple is a premium product with great attention to detail and compatibility with Apple's MagSafe accessories.

Best Budget iPhone 13 Case: Spigen Liquid Air Armor

spigen iphone case on orange and pink background
Spigen

Pros

  • Very thin for a cover that includes air-pocket drop protection
  • Grippy surface
  • Very inexpensive
  • Raised lips to protect screen and cameras

Cons

  • Utilitarian design

The iPhone 13 isn’t a cheap smartphone, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on a case to protect it. Spigen’s Liquid Air Armor case manages to offer an attractive case that includes drop protection technology in the form of air cushions.

It has a grippy exterior and raised lips for the screen and camera. Color options are limited, and the design won’t appeal to everyone, but at this price, you’re getting much more than you’d expect out of this case.

Best Budget iPhone 13 Case

Spigen Liquid Air Armor

The Spigen Air Armor case is friendly to both your wallet and your shiny new iPhone 13. It's sensibly designed and offers excellent shock protection at this price.

Best MagSafe iPhone 13 Case: Apple Clear Case with MagSafe

apple clear magsafe case on dark grey background
Apple

Pros

  • Full MagSafe compatibility
  • Shows off your phone beautifully

Cons

  • Clear cases can be harder to keep clean

The Apple Silicone Case is a great all-around choice, but it does hide the phone itself. There’s also the fact that many people prefer a hard case rather than a soft, rubbery one. For those that prefer hard cases, the Apple Clear Case with MagSafe will be the preferable product.

Apple has given this case an anti-scratch coating, which helps with a common issue clear cases have where scratches are too noticeable. Just as with the Silicone Case, you get magnets that help align the phone properly with the MagSafe charger, as well.

If you want the next best thing to leaving a case off your phone but also want the helpful MagSafe magnets, this case is the one to buy.

Best MagSafe iPhone 13 Case

Apple Clear Case with MagSafe for iPhone 13

It's clear that this case from Apple offers the best visual treatment of your phone while working with MagSafe accessories, with a premium look and feel.

Best Wallet iPhone 13 Case: Smartish iPhone 13 Wallet Case

Smartish case on light grey background
Smartish

Pros

  • Very clever credit card grip and slide mechanism
  • No annoying flip-open design
  • Grippy and nicely textured
  • Not as bulky as you'd expect
  • Air pockets in the corners for drop protection

Cons

  • No MagSafe or wireless charging

Despite the brand name, you’d be more than “smartish” to consider this Smartish iPhone 13 Wallet Case if you want to stop carrying a wallet.

This case has enough room for three credit cards (or credit card size items) and a bit of paper cash. If that’s all you typically carry in your wallet, this makes for a pocket or purse space-saver. The push-pull system to get your cards out is better than trying to pull a credit card from a particularly tight-pocketed wallet, too.

The Smartish case also offers a protective camera and screen lip, while integrating air cushions in the corners. On the downside, though, you can’t use MagSafe because the wallet contents are between the back of the phone and the thing you want to attach.

If that isn’t a concern, though, you can keep everything in one place with Smartish’s wallet case.

Best Wallet iPhone 13 Case

Smartish iPhone 13 Wallet Case

With a clever card extraction design, air cushion drop protection, room for a bit of cash, and no annoying flip cover, this is probably the best wallet case you can buy for an iPhone 13.

Best Rugged iPhone 13 Case: OtterBox Defender Series

Otterbox Defender case on yellow background
Otterbox

Pros

  • Raised edges to protect your screen in a face drop
  • A claimed four times the military drop-test standard

Cons

  • Screen protector sold separately
  • Somewhat bulky

Otterbox is the biggest name in rugged phones cases, so it should be no surprise that they’ve taken the spot in our rugged iPhone 13 case category. That said, it’s not the name that makes this case so appealing.

The Otterbox Defender Series Case has a multilayer shell with raised lips to protect your camera and screen. It also has a flap to stop water, dust, and dirt from getting into the Lightning port. The Defender comes with a holster that works as a belt clip and a kickstand. In short, this is a case an outdoors working professional will appreciate.

This case does not support MagSafe, and it doesn’t come with a built-in screen protector. However, OtterBox has stated that its screen protectors are compatible with the Defender series of cases. Other than that, the only real downside is that this protection comes with significant extra bulk—if you don’t need extreme protection, you may want to look elsewhere.

Best Rugged iPhone 13 Case

OtterBox Defender Series SCREENLESS Edition Case for iPhone 13

The Otterbox Defender case offers serious protection from almost every type of damage you can imagine happening to your iPhone 13. However, peace of mind comes at the expense of a slim phone.

Best Clear iPhone 13 Case: OtterBox Symmetry Clear Series

otterbox symmetry case hitting ground
Otterbox

Pros

  • Clear but still ruggedized
  • MagSafe charging compatible
  • Maintains a thin profile despite additional protection

Cons

  • MagSafe charging will work, but the puck won't actually stick on magnetically

So we think the Apple Clear Case is the best MagSafe case, but it’s not the best clear case. Simply put, MagSafe isn’t an essential feature for everyone. The MagSafe clear case is incredibly cool, but it’s an excellent MagSafe case that happens to be clear, not the other way around.

If you’re specifically looking for a clear case and don’t care about MagSafe, we think the OtterBox Symmetry Clear Series is the better choice.

Clear yet thoroughly ruggedized, the Symmetry feels like a best of both worlds option. Although you can’t use MagSafe accessories with it, you can still charge it using a MagSafe puck—it just won’t stick to the back magnetically. This also means that other wireless chargers should work. It’s rugged, it’s clear, and it makes your iPhone look good.

Best Clear iPhone 13 Case

Phone Case for Symmetry Clear for iPhone 13

The Symmetry Clear Case is rugged, but thanks to its clear color, it doesn't look bulky and lets your iPhone 13's design shine through. MagSafe charging will work, even if it won't stick to the phone.

Best Thin iPhone 13 Case: Totallee Thin iPhone 13 Case

Totallee iphone case on blue and purple background
Totallee

Pros

  • Very thin at 0.02 inches
  • Raised lip for camera protection

Cons

  • Protection from minor drops at best, this case is mainly to protect from dings and scratches

It’s not just Apple that decides to compete for the title of the thinnest case with their products. Totallee claims their Thin iPhone 13 Case is the thinnest you can buy. We tried to find another with a smaller claimed thickness, but Totallee has the thinnest case on offer.

This 0.02-inch iPhone 13 case still manages to have a raised bezel around the camera to protect it, but that doesn’t extend to the screen itself. Totallee says a screen protector is recommended, which implies that this case doesn’t offer screen protection. It’s also advertised to handle “minor” drops, but with so little material to cushion the fall, the iPhone 13 itself will be taking the shock.

What a thin case like this will do for you is preserve the cosmetic integrity of your iPhone’s body. Scratches, dings, and dents should be averted, and if you’re confident you won’t drop your phone, then this impossibly thin cover is the best deal.

Best Thin iPhone 13 Case

Totallee Thin iPhone 13 Case

Totallee's case is really thin. At 0.02 inches you'd barely notice the case was there. Just don't expect much protection beyond minor scratches and dents.

Best Leather iPhone 13 Case: Apple Leather Case with MagSafe

Apple Leather Case on pink background
Apple

Pros

  • Real leather
  • Good color options
  • Very reasonable price
  • Promises perfect fit thanks to magnetic alignment

Cons

  • Very minimalist finish and design
  • Some users may want rugged leather with a more raw look

Even our best synthetic materials don’t stack up against leather. If you’re okay with an animal product, look no further than Apple’s Leather Case with MagSafe if you’re looking for a premium iPhone 13 protective case.

It’s only a little more expensive than the silicone case, which feels like a genuine bargain considering it will probably last longer than the iPhone itself. Of course, the leather case will weather over time and start to patina. It’s part of the charm that leather fans come to expect!

The Apple leather case is fully MagSafe compatible and has the same internal magnets that align the phone perfectly in the case.  Finally, nothing will protect your phone from scratches, bumps, and dents like leather will.

Best Leather iPhone 13 Case

Apple Leather Case with MagSafe

Apple's leather iPhone 13 case is beautiful and blends traditional materials with modern technologies. If you're a leather fan, this is the best case for your new iPhone.

The Best iPhones of 2021

Best iPhone Overall
iPhone 13
Get the Smaller Version
iPhone 13 mini
Best Budget iPhone
iPhone SE
Budget iPhone with Face ID
iPhone 11
Best Premium iPhone
iPhone 13 Pro
Best iPhone Camera
iPhone 13 Pro Max
Best Battery Life
iPhone 13 Pro Max
Battery Case for iPhone 13
LVFAN 4800mAh Battery Case for iPhone 13/13 Pro
Profile Photo for Sydney Butler Sydney Butler
Sydney Butler has over 20 years of experience as a freelance PC technician and system builder. He's worked for more than a decade in user education and spends his time explaining technology to professional, educational, and mainstream audiences. His interests include VR, PC, Mac, gaming, 3D printing, consumer electronics, the web, and privacy. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Research Psychology with a focus on Cyberpsychology in particular.
Read Full Bio »

The above article may contain affiliate links, which help support How-To Geek.