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Best Rugged iPhone 5 Cases

Updated on February 11, 2015

The Best Rugged and Heavy Duty iPhone 5 Cases

While some people may be okay with a basic plastic case or bumper for their iPhone, some people need heavy-duty protection to keep their iPhone working. Whether you work outdoors in elements or have a tendency to drop your phone on hard surfaces, having a protective, heavy duty case creates peace of mind that whatever abuse you put your phone through, it can take it.

On this page we'll highlight some of the best heavy duty iPhone 5 case makers from Lifeproof, Otterbox, Griffin and Gumdrop, as well as some waterproof iPhone 5 cases for those who need to keep their phones from getting wet.

While cases like Lifeproof and Otterbox can be pricier than other cases, there are tons of resources out there to help you get discounts and coupons for these products. Here's an excellent resource for Lifeproof coupons:

You can find many more rugged iPhone 5 case reviews here:

Image: Blue Otterbox Commuter Case Available on Amazon

Lifeproof iPhone 5 case
Lifeproof iPhone 5 case

Lifeproof iPhone 5 "Fre" Case

As you may already know, LIfeproof is one of the leading case makers because their phone cases are water-proof, snow-proof, shock-proof and dirt-proof. This means you can drop it off a building, take pictures while snorkeling underwater, go skiing, and go camping without worrying about your phone. And the new case is pretty. It adds only 1.5mm to the whole iPhone 5 frame, and weighs under an ounce. You still have access to all the major buttons, which is a big plus. One problem with rugged cases is that they tend to cover the speaker. LIfeproof promises that not only isn't the case, but they also have a 'speaker enhancement system' that probably amplifies the iphone 5's speakers. All in all it's a great case that doesn't add very bulk at all to your sleek iPhone 5.

Lifeproof Fre iPhone 5 Case - $79.99

Free Shipping to USA and Europe

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Otterbox Defender Series iPhone 5 Case Reviews:

Best iPhone 5 Cases Review:

"For someone who works outdoors, or generally puts their phone through the wringer, the Otterbox is the definition of protection."

9 to 5 Mac Review:

"We recommend the Otterbox Defender for iPhone 5 for those seeking one of the top consumer-priced pieces of iPhone 5 protection on the market."

2. Gumdrop Drop Tech Series iPhone 5 Case

Apple iPhone 5 iPhone 5s Drop Tech Black Gumdrop Cases Silicone Rugged Shock Absorbing Protective Dual Layer Cover Case
Apple iPhone 5 iPhone 5s Drop Tech Black Gumdrop Cases Silicone Rugged Shock Absorbing Protective Dual Layer Cover Case
Gumdrop cases are incredibly similar to Otterbox and both are the titans of the protective smartphone case maker world. Gumdrop also comes with port covers to protect against dust as well as its own screen protector. The main difference between the Otterbox Defender and Gumdrop is size. The Defender is even larger and heavier than the Droptech. The reinforced corners of Gumdrop's cases are designed specifically to protect against, you guessed it, dropping. If you're looking for protection against the elements, then Defender is the better way to go.

3. Otterbox Commuter Series iPhone 5 Case

OtterBox COMMUTER SERIES Case for iPhone SE (1st gen - 2016) and iPhone 5/5s - Retail Packaging - BLACK
OtterBox COMMUTER SERIES Case for iPhone SE (1st gen - 2016) and iPhone 5/5s - Retail Packaging - BLACK
Whereas the Defender will protect you against pretty much anything you can throw at it, it adds a fair bit of heft to your case. The Otterbox Commuter is a more streamlined version, sacrificing some heavy duty impact resistance for a more minimalistic look. But be forewarned: this is by no means a 'sleek' case, it's still an Otterbox that nearly doubles the thickness of your iPhone 5. LIke the name "commuter" implies, the case is designed more for city dwellers who want to know their phone will be okay if they drop it on the sidewalk or train. If you have a tendency to drop things, or just want peace of mind without having a gigantic case, the Commuter case is the way to go.

Reviews for Otterbox Commuter iPhone 5 Case:

From MobileTechReview:

"The OtterBox Commuter Series case combines the best of two worlds: rugged protection and slim and light enough to be pocketable."

From Best iPhone 5 Cases:

"It's a good protective case, without the protective overkill of the Defender Series. Perfect for the city commuter who wants a case that will keep their phone safe and sound no matter what."

Reviews for Griffin Survivor Case:

iLounge Review:

"Survivor is the only [case] that promises military grade protection from wind, rain, sand, dust, and vibrations on top of shocks and falls."

Case-Mate Tough Video Review:

This video review from the Chris Voss show gives you a good sense of what the Case-Mate Tough looks and feels like.

Waterproof iPhone 5 Cases

Even though these cases are heavy duty, most of them (including the Otterbox Defender) are not waterproof. Lifeproof's iPhone 5 case is, but those are cases are in limited supply at the moment. If you want a case so you can take your phone with you on a boat, stand-up paddleboard or other water activities, these cases have you covered.


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