Best cases for iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

The new iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Max have arrived and so have a multitude of cases to protect them. As always, when the new iPhones arrive every year, I’ve put together a list of my favorite cases, with a focus on cases that are relatively slim but offer strong protection. A few budget cases are included, but since this is supposed to be more of a best-of-the-best list, most of my picks tend to cost more than the typical generic case you’ll find on Amazon for $20 or less. Also, since the iPhone 11 comes in a variety of colors people may want to show off, I’ve included a number of cases that are translucent. 

As new cases arrive, I’ll be updating the round-up with new picks.

Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. 

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If you’re looking for a clear case, you can’t go wrong with Speck’s Stay Clear case that resists discoloration (yes, cheap clear cases can turn yellow), provides 13-foot drop protection and includes Microban antimicrobial product protection. List price: $40. It’s available in versions for the iPhone 11iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

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Otterbox is making its superprotective Defender series case for all the iPhone 11 models, but most people want something slimmer. The Symmetry series is a good mix of sleek and protective. Multiple color options are available, including Symmetry Clear as well as the Symmetry Plus Pop case that integrates a PopSockets PopGrip. Prices range from $50 to $60 (they should go down over time). 

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Zagg recently bought top British casemaker Gear4 and is seeking to further build out its brand in the US. In terms of style and protection, Gear4’s cases are right there with Otterbox and Speck, all of them lined with the company’s D3O shock-absorbing material. My favorites include the translucent Picadilly and Crystal Palace cases, as well as the Battersea. They range in price from $35 to $50.

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Speck’s Presidio Pro comes in a variety of colors and has a soft-to-the-touch finish that’s equipped with Microban antimicrobial technology. It’s drop-tested to 13 feet (about 4m) and is a great all-around case that’s highly protective without being bulky.  

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Lifeproof, now owned by Otterbox, isn’t in the business of making waterproof cases anymore (it only has one case that’s waterproof, the Fre), but it still makes very nice protective cases, including the Next and Slam, as well as the new Flip Series that adds a slip out wallet element that turns in to a kickstand. I personally like the Slam best. It costs $40 and comes in a variety of colors and designs.

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Moshi has always made attractive cases for iPhones, and its Overture (folio), iGlaze, Vitros and Altra (lanyard included) cases are available for the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. The Overture is actually a two-in-one case in that you put your iPhone in a slimmer shell case that then magnetically adheres to the cover that has slots for storing credit cards and cash. The cases range from $25 to $50. 

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Truth be told, I wasn’t a fan of earlier Pelican cases, which were very protective but just a little too bulky (and ugly). But its latest batch includes two that I like: the Traveler (pictured, left) and Rogue (at right) that has soft rubber bubbled pattern. The “clear” version of the Rogue glows in the dark. 

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Speck’s Presidio Grip Series comes to the iPhone 11. It’s one of the more popular phone cases and still one of the best, although the ribs of the case can wear down over time. Available in multiple color options for $40.

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Nomad makes a line of nice leather cases that come in brown or black. I personally like its new Rugged case, which features water-resistant leather.  It’s rated for 6-foot (2m) drop protection. The case runs $50, while the folio version, which has a flap that covers the screen, costs $70.

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Case-Mate makes a variety of color cases, some of which have glittery, snowglobe effects (my favorite is the new Waterfall Confetti case pictured on the right). Despite their fun, eye-catching designs, they’re also well built and protective. Prices range from $30 to $40.

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Silk brings its line of affordable, simple, slim cases and wallet cases to the iPhone 11 under the new brand name of Smartish. The Smartish Walletslayer case sells for $15 and holds three credit cards plus cash.

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X-Doria’s Defense series cases come in a wide variety of styles and cost a little less than competing premium cases from Gear4, Speck and Otterbox. I personally like the Defense Clear Series (pictured, second from right), which is a good match for the standard iPhone 11. It’s $25 and is available with a black or white trim. 

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Razer, which makes laptops and gaming accessories (among other products), brings its line of “gaming” cases to the iPhone 11, and they’re pretty nice. The cases have something called Thermaphene-Based Heat Dissipation that “redirects trapped heat through a thermally conductive lining adjacent to vented airflow channels to significantly improve cooling compared to traditional cases.” It’s a bit of a gimmick, but it seems to help a little when you’re playing graphically intensive games for long periods. The cases start at $30 and come in a Pro and Slim versions. I preferred the more protective Pro, which costs $40.

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I’ve always been a fan of Tech21’s Evo Check ($40) cases for previous iPhones and they’re available for the new iPhone 11 in a few different translucent color options (they’re the pink and smokey black cases in the photo above). Tech21 is also offering the slightly thinner but more colorful Studio series cases, which costs $10 less. 

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Grip2U cases feature a swappable grip band that helps you hold onto your iPhone more securely. I prefer the more protective Boost case, which also gives you an integrated flip-out kickstand. The clear Boost case is pictured but it also comes in black and white. Additional grip bands can be purchased to customize the case’s look. 

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Tech21’s Evo Wallet is a well-designed folio case that features a screen cover with a magnetic latch and a slot on the inside for storing a couple of credit cards and a little bit of cash. It also converts into a stand for watching videos and is drop-tested to 12 feet (3.6 meters), so it’s pretty tough. 

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Casetify’s cases are known for their eye-catching designs (that are stuck onto the back of a clear case). They’re relatively slim, sleek-looking cases that offer decent protection and come in a variety of design patterns, with some definite appeal to teenagers. 

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If you want full protection for your iPhone’s screen, a folio case is the way to go. Made from recycled plastic, Gear4’s Oxford Eco folio is lightweight and slim and also converts into a viewing stand for watching videos on your iPhone. Price: $50.

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Giffin’s Survivor Series used to be one of the more popular tough cases. Its slimmed down over the years but is still pretty tough and comes in versions with a clear back. Price: $25.

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Incipio has a bunch of new cases for the iPhone 11 line. I like the new Areolite Extreme, which comes in clear, sea blue and black and has the company’s FortiCore ribbing to help with drop protection. 

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Like Lifeproof, Catalyst made a name for itself making waterproof cases but now focuses on selling its Impact Protection Case, which is drop-tested to 9.9 feet, has a see-through back and slim design. 

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Otterbox’s swanky folio case, the Strada, returns for the iPhone 11 line. It’s available in brown and black for $70 and does a nice job of fully protecting your phone. The only small strike against it is that it doesn’t convert into a viewing stand for watching videos. It’s probably best suited to the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but it’s good for anyone who wants additional screen protection for any iPhone 11 model.

Originally published earlier this week. Updated with new cases.

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David Carnoy

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