The iPad’s extreme portability is simultaneously glaringly obvious and overlooked in favor of its flashier tech wonders. The take-it-anywhere-ness of the iPad is also perhaps its biggest downside: since it’s small enough and shaped just so, it can slip into a briefcase, a drawer, a seat pocket; it can be displayed on a kitchen counter, a lap, on the lawn. We treat our tablets like we would treat the things they replace, the books, magazines and notebooks that can be tossed about without eliciting concern.
But the damn things sure cost more than cheap paperbacks. They’re beautiful, true, truly modern pieces of art, but not at all hardy; Steve Jobs thought brushed metal finishes looked great dented and worn, but he could just pluck a free iWhatever off the showroom floor on a whim. We say it’s a wise choice to wrap your iTool. Here are the 30 best iPad case options — leather, wool, propped, or otherwise — to keep your tablet ticking and looking good.
MORE GREAT TECH: Best iPad Mini Cases | 5 Best All-In-One Desktops | 5 Best Rugged Hard Drives | 5 Best iPhone 5 Battery Cases
Not the Harley or the whip kind — the luxe kind
Spigen Leinwand Series Leather iPad Case
Available in tan, reddish brown and black, this analog to Apple’s own Smart Cover auto-sleeps the screen and folds to form an incline while also protecting the back of the iPad.
BUY NOW: $76
Urban Cow Handmade Leather iPad Case
Claiming a snug fit and with a useful inside pocket, Urban Cow’s case would look appropriate slung in a saddle bag out on the open range.
BUY NOW: $95
Sena Ultraslim Leather Sleeve with SmartCover
They aren’t kidding with the “ultraslim” moniker. This suit is tighter than Halle Berry’s Catwoman costume, but still leaves room for some smart cover spooning. It’s also available in a wide array of colors.
BUY NOW: $60
HomemadeLeather Top Grain Leather Multifunctional Portfolio iPad Case
Featuring pockets galore for documents, devices, business cards and writing implements, this portfolio is ready for a classy multitasker who works on the go.
BUY NOW: $109
Clare Vivier Leather iPad Sleeve
Leather meets colorful stripes — making your tablet seem fast no matter how many apps are bogging it down.
BUY NOW: $150
DODOcase Scholar iPad Case
The pairing of a bamboo tray and leather book-like design create an erudite, library-worthy ensemble.
BUY NOW: $90
Lotuff Zipper iPad Pouch
Designed to be carried solo or tucked into a tote, this clutch is zippered for easy access and will hold a few documents — if you’re inclined to go analog.
BUY NOW: $175
WOOL & FELT
Show your softer side
HardGraft Tilt iPad Case
As per usual with HardGraft, this cover and stand combo is crafty and strikingly attractive; it’s also somewhat reminiscent of a gentleman’s tent roll.
BUY NOW: ~$147
Mujjo iPad Sleeve
The white or tan vegetable tanned leather on this Dutch-made sleeve stands out from the crowd, and the sustainable materials mean you can leave your guilt at home. (There’s probably an app for that, anyhow.)
BUY NOW: $50
Nedrelow iPad SLEEVE
Ultra simple yet endlessly charming, the normal iPad version of this sleeve is just as much of a steal as its smaller, mini relative.
BUY NOW: $40
Willow and Company “Baroque” iPad Case
Well-placed leather accents and a snap closure set this iPad case apart. An available carrying strap is a handy boon to anyone whose hands are perpetually full.
BUY NOW: $54
Felt and Leather iPad Sleeve by Charbonize
If you’re really into snap closures (and dark minimalism), here’s another handcrafted option.
BUY NOW: $99
Whether you have the original revolutionary iPad, the slimmer iPad 2, or the high-resolution third iPad, we’ve rounded up our favorite cases that fit them all. We have chosen our favorite iPad cases from the many that we’ve seen, and our list has something for everybody, whether you’re a cash-strapped minimalist or want your iPad to be wrapped in luxurious leather. Take your pick from the list below and give your iPad, iPad 2, or third-generation iPad the extra protection and style it deserves.
Also check out our picks for the Best iPad accessories.
This article was originally written by Kelly Montgomery in Dec. 2011. It has been updated with contributions by other writers since.
LifeProof nüüd ($100)
If you want to be able to take your iPad anywhere with you and never fear for its safety, then this Lifeproof case is a good investment. You’ve got protection against dirt, water, snow, and shock. There’s a sound enhancement system, built in buttons for all the functions, and the touchscreen remains fully functional with the case on. Considering the level of protection on offer, it’s also relatively slim and lightweight.
Protex iPad Cover ($40)
For people who use an iPad in the workplace, this cover could be ideal. The basic idea is to make it easy and comfortable to hold the iPad in portrait or landscape view, with just one hand. There’s an x-shaped elastic strap on the back to slip your hand through. The actual case is TPU and it offers protection from bumps and shocks. There’s also a raised bevel on the front to protect the screen. It’s ideal for presentations and you have full access to all the iPad’s features.
SlateShield Case ($55)
You get to cover a few bases with the SlateShield. It offers basic protection from bumps; it has a kickstand that allows you to angle the iPad for viewing or typing; and it has a loop that you can slide your hand into. The difference with this design is that the loop is on a 360 degree pivot, so you can get the exact angle you want, or just spin your iPad like an old Wild West gunslinger.
Spigen Leather Folio S Plus Case ($92)
At $92, you’ll expect real quality, and you won’t be disappointed. This leather folio case from Spigen looks gorgeous in an understated way. It has a premium, genuine leather finish with suede on the inside. You’ll also find a couple of options for angling your iPad and a magnetic sleep/wake function built-in. It has all the cutouts you need, including a hole for the camera, and it’s hand-finished for that premium feel
Ballistic Tough Jacket Series Case ($70)
If you’re on the move a lot and you want to be able to throw your iPad in a bag without having to worry about bumps and knocks then this rugged case from Ballistic brings you the protection you need. There is an inner silicone layer for shock absorption, a tough polycarbonate shell, and then an outer layer of shock absorbent polymer. The corners have been thickened for extra protection where you need it the most and the removable cover that protects the screen can double up as a kickstand for watching movies.
BoxWave iPad AluArmor Jacket ($40)
Don’t like the idea of covering up the iPad’s design aesthetic? Maybe a matching case in aircraft grade anodized aluminum might tempt you. A thin layer of foam in the interior protects the iPad and it’s surrounded by a stylish aluminum jacket in black or silver. There’s a dual hinge design so the magnetic cover can fold back to support two viewing angles. There’s also a latch to keep it securely closed. Opening and closing the cover auto wakes the iPad or sends it to sleep.
SwitchEasy Nude for iPad ($30)
A lot of people are frustrated by the fact that most cases cover up Apple’s design; after all it’s one of the attractions of buying an iPad in the first place. With the SwitchEasy Nude case you won’t add much bulk and the coverage is minimal. The case is only 1.8mm thick and crafted from tough polycarbonate. It comes in various colors, but the ultra-clear version is best for people who want to be able to enjoy the iPad design. It comes with a screen guard and optional plugs for your ports.
Speck FitFolio for iPad ($40)
This is a smart folio style case from Speck which offers the right blend of protection, functionality, and decoration. There is a polycarbonate shell and a magnetic fold around cover that comes in various materials including leather. The inside of the cover is micro-suede and the magnets keep it snugly closed and enable the sleep/wake function on the iPad. Fold the cover back and you’ve got four different viewing angles to choose from. It comes in a huge array of different colors and patterns.
Moshi iGlaze VersaCover ($60)
The iPad is such a great device for consuming content that it makes sense to get a protective cover that can also double up as a stand for reading or watching movies. Moshi’s iGlaze with VersaCover protects the back of the device and features a magnetic, textured front cover which can be folded to act as a stand for portrait or landscape mode. It is slim and stylish, and offers three stand positions which Moshi has dubbed movie angle, reading angle, and typing angle. The magnets also support the iPad’s auto-wake and sleep feature. Check out our hands-on video with the Moshi iGlaze VersaCover to see it in action. (This product is built for the third iPad.)
Seidio Active with Multi-Purpose Cover ($60)
A dual layer case (for iPad 2 or third-gen) that can stand up to a busy lifestyle could just save your iPad from disaster. The Seidio Active case is made of an easy-grip polymer which is shock absorbent, but also has a hard skeleton to protect the corners and sides of your device. It looks good and offers great protection without adding too much bulk. The multi-purpose cover protects the screen and doubles up as a stand, which offers a variety of viewing angles in portrait or landscape mode.
Griffin AirStrap ($50)
This is a fairly simple molded frame case with a minimal profile. The focus is on making your iPad 3 more comfortable to hold. To that end, you have contoured grips around the edges and a neoprene strap on the back. Slip your hand through the strap and your iPad is snugly secured, which is ideal for a busy commute on the subway. Be warned, the strap is tight so it may not be comfortable for anyone with big hands. A bonus with this case is that all your ports and controls are accessible.
Killspencer iPad Case ($190)
This luxurious leather case (for your iPad OR iPad 2) by Killspencer has plenty of pockets for a little extra storage and sleek black ninja styling that definitely suits our fancy. The case has a handy removable shoulder strap and also features a fabric-lined neoprene interior and water-resistant zippers. The case is also available in the brand’s signature waxed canvas.
Michael by Michael Kors Faux Leather iPad Case ($128)
For those who like a luxurious look paired with a simple design, we like the classic aesthetic of this case from Michael Kors. The envelope-style clutch case comes in red, camel, or black faux-leather and has a gold-plate logo as well as a two-snap closure. There aren’t any extra bells or whistles hear, but we like the classy look that this case offers.
Incase Book Jacket Select ($60)
We like this case, specifically designed for the iPad 2, for its simple sleek design and helpful functionality. The portfolio-style case features a an elastic band to secure the case, suede lining, and bumpers to prop your ‘pad up at three different angles for viewing or typing. The case also includes a precision-cut camera hole so that you can keep snapping away.
Rustic Case iPad 2 Case ($50)
For something that’s simple but adds a little bit of coziness to your shiny, high-tech toy, this option from Rustic Case is the perfect compromise. Handcrafted in New England from wool and natural leather, the simple sleeve-style case offers great protection and will fit your iPad 2 with or without a smart cover.
Grove iPad 2 Case ($139+)
This clever case for the iPad 2 is made from beautiful bamboo and includes an integrated leather smart cover that can be used as a stand and can also be engraved in a variety of fun and artistic designs. The precision-cut wood perfectly holds your ‘pad and the smooth suede inside cover will help keep your screen scratch-free. Choose a plain cover, an artist design, or custom-design your own.
THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT, the world of Apple peripherals is saturated with hundreds of protective cases and covers. From slim ones to rugged ones and leather ones to vinyl ones, there's an iPad case for everyone, with keyboard docks for the business user, built-in stands for the entertainment junkie, and those that are a bit of both.
But that doesn't mean it's easy to hunt down which iPad case is the best for the type of user you are. Sifting through endless search results on Amazon is a chore in itself, and one that no-one really wants to endure. And when you do decide to buy one, it can turn out that they aren't what you expected them to be.
Over the past few weeks, we've tested heaps of cases and covers that fit Apple's iPad 2 up to the most recent iPad with Retina Display to find which ones are best suited to various individual needs. Whether you're an avid explorer keen on taking your iPad on adventures with you, or you prefer something to help out with office work, we've tested which cases are best for how you use your iPad.
The case for the stylish: Snugg's Ultrathin
Snugg's Ultrathin case is all about aesthetics. Having a simple and sleek design, the high end finish is ideal for those who care most about style. But it's not lacking in substance, as its satin black brushed-metal effect cover is reminiscent of Apple's Smartcover, which not only protects the screen from scratches but can be folded as a stand to offer different viewing angles depending on use.
Inside there's a soft felt material that gives a nice touch to the overall finish, and there are holes in all the right places to allow access to the charging port, headphone socket and the camera. Its minimalistic and slick appearance is sure to complement those image conscious iPad users among us, while offering a lightweight build and a magnetic cover for all around protection, costing £35.
The case for the minimalist: Gear4's Thin Ice
Something that often repels iPad users when it comes to protecting their device with a case is that most will drastically change the tablet's overall appearance, weight and size. A case that looks to eliminate that concern is Gear4's Thin Ice snap-on cover. Its transparent hard plastic construction and minimal coverage area means that it won't change the thickness or weight of the iPad. It's also very discreet when viewing the iPad from the front, while covering the corners so it manages to protect the tablet from hard knocks.
Costing around £25, you don't feel like you're getting much for your money, but it's by far the most slim-line and minimal case out there, so worth every penny if you don't want to disturb the shimmering facade of your beloved Apple tablet.
The case for the accident prone: Otterbox's Defender
The defender case by Otterbox is a protective fortress, formed from four parts for three-layer defence. Though we found it can take a good few minutes to lock your iPad into, it's a perfect companion for the accident-prone user's pricey tablet.
There are two hard plastic covers that come together in the first layer, offering screen protection. The second layer adds a rubber enclosure covering all buttons and ports, followed by a third hard plastic cover, which adds extra support for knocks on the iPad's corners and has a built-in kick stand so that it can be propped up for watching movies or working at a desk without the need to remove it. That's a good thing, as we'd probably not find the time.
The Otterbox Defender means even the most clumsy people will find it hard to damage their iPad. At £50, it's a worthy investment for those butter fingered among us who would have to fork out much more to replace the iPad's screen if it were to slip out of their grasp onto a hard surface, for example.
The case for the part-time professional: Belkin's Yourtype Folio and keyboard
Not everyone who uses an iPad for business purposes will want to spend all their days writing documents, and that's why we think that Belkin's Yourtype Folio with a Bluetooth keyboard is a great hybrid iPad cover, offering good looks and premium construction for those that like to balance work and play.
With built-in ridges for multiple viewing angles, it's good for those who use the iPad for entertainment such as movie watching, but more importantly it features a Bluetooth powered keyboard that sits inside the case. In our tests we found it offers a brilliant typing experience due to decent key travel and spacing between keys. Our favourite aspect of the keyboard is that it is attached by Velcro so it can be ripped off in seconds when work has got the better of you and watching a good film is in order.
At around £70, it's one of the most expensive cases on our list, but it's probably one of the most high end in terms of finish. Since it includes a Bluetooth keyboard the high price seems reasonable, considering its all-around usefulness.
The case for the female professional: Logitech's Ultrathin keyboard cover
Not only is Logitech's Ultrathin Keyboard Cover perfect for the female professional because it arrives in a girly pink flavour, but with its skinny iPad-sized profile, it also manages to squeeze into the thinnest of handbags.
It might be one of the priciest cases on our list at £80, but we've been testing it for a few weeks and we're pretty impressed with the keyboard's performance. Not only does it look great - boasting an aluminum case and colourful keys - its tactile buttons make it great for clipping onto an iPad for working on the go. The iPad clips easily and securely into the keyboard, which can be attached like a standard magnetic cover when it's not in use.
We haven't had to charge it yet, either. The Bluetooth keyboard turns itself off when it hasn't been used for a while, preserving its battery for the next time you need to take notes on the go. That said, it's easy enough to recharge via its microUSB port.
The case for the adventurous: Griffin's Survivor
Those of us who like to mix nature and technology might want to have a go with Griffin's Survivor case, which is appropriately named for its ability to withstand the environments encountered by any hardcore adventurer.
Explorers and extreme travellers of all types will enjoy its hard-wearing construction that can withstand shocks and drops from six feet, protection against wind-blown rain at speeds of 200 miles per hour, and sealed ports that keep out sand and dust. And you can take our word for it, as we tested it in the office, replacing a rugby ball with the iPad embraced by the Survivor case and kicking it around the office - it made it through that safe and sound.
It's also got a built-in kick stand for viewing movies. Though we wouldn't advise watching a film at the top of Snowdon, it might be more appropriate for film viewing in a tent after a long day of terrain-traipsing.
At just £22, you're turning your iPad into a rugged tablet. The Survivor case might not be the most stylish looking case out there, but who cares when it means you can play Angry Birds in a blizzard?
The case for the executive: Maroo's Pango
This protective leather case is perfect for all business types, offering a high-end professional portfolio look.
Maroo says its name is adapted from the word "Maru", which means "sheltered by power and authority" in New Zealand and "circle of perfection" in Japanese. We'd have to agree, as it does offer both protection and business-class style. On the inside there are pockets and pouches galore, making room for presentation documents and business cards so it's ideal for those with a busy schedule who often find themselves running between important business meetings.
Maroo's Pango is not just about looks, however. Professional as it might appear, it's also efficiently padded and features hard plastic corner protectors that not only keep the iPad in place but protect it from bashes and bumps.
At £50, we found Maroo's Pango a fitting accessory for those who wear a suit every day.
The case for mobile gaming fanatics: Gear4's Angry Birds hard cover
Angry Birds took the world by storm just over three years ago when it landed on Apple's iTunes store in December 2009. Since then, it has mustered millions of hardcore fans, many of whom love to play it on the larger screen of the iPad. It's only right, then, that those mobile gaming enthusiasts can protect their gaming devices with a case themed on their favourite video game.
This Angry Birds themed snap-on cover made with a hard plastic by Gear4 features full access to all ports, and clips on and off in a second. Better still, it adds very little additional weight or bulk to the iPad, meaning hours of game playing won't be hindered by a chunky case. It's also made so that Apple's smartcover can be used in conjunction with it, ensuring that those Angry Birds fans who have already invested in Apple's screen protector won't have wasted their dosh.
For just a tenner, the fun gaming-fanatic iPad case will protect the iPad's corners from short drops and its silver finish paint job from scratches, all while featuring one on those pesky green pigs, guaranteed to out-stare onlookers as you fire off furious fowl.
The case for the movie buff: Incipio's flagship Folio
Incipio's flagship Folio case is a well built, sturdy case that is all about offering the best viewing angles. Suited to any movie buff of any height or age, the Folio offers eight different viewing modes via its built-in kickstand so there'll be no neck straining during movie watching.
Made from carbon fibre with brushed aluminium hinges, the Folio not only feels well built, ensuring that your iPad will remain well protected, but it also looks the part as well, as on the inside there's a micro suede lining that gives it a high-end feel.
At around £50, the Folio offers good viewing angles for movie watching on the iPad, so we think it's great for movie buffs who also want to keep their tablet safe from knocks and drops.
The case to keep the kids quiet: Griffin's Cinemaseat
Griffin's Cinemaseat for the iPad is aimed towards those buying with the family in mind.
Transforming the iPad into an entertainment system on wheels, the Cinemaseat case features an adjustable Velcro strap fitted on the back so it can be attached to the back of a car seat or even coach sheet, and watched by whoever is seated behind it. It's an ideal way to keep the kids from repeatedly asking, "Are we there yet?". Kids can play games or watch movies - anything but complain that they're bored.
The case also features a small mesh pocket in the back so earphones and charge cables can be stashed away and safe from getting lost. The Cinemaseat's velcro strap retained a strong grasp throughout our tests, which we think is important when kids are around.
The Cinemaseat retails for around £30 and is made from a soft touch leather-like material on the front and a sponge-like fabric on the back. So if it happens to drop off the seat, it will protect your Apple tablet from hard knocks. You'll just have to make sure that the kids don't throw it out the car window.
Check out our roundup of the best iPhone 5 covers and cases. µ
We like this case because not only does it do a great job keeping your iPad 2 safe and stylish, but it also gives you some room to write your thoughts on actual paper. The portfolio-style case has a snap closure and opens to your iPad on one side and a handy notebook (and a few pockets) on the other. It’s a perfect case for those who like to doodle or find that writing notes on paper creates a better link to the mind. The case comes in fabric or leather models.
Nau Pad Stash ($75)
This wool case has professional and stylish written all over it, even with the cozy recycled wool felt material. Sleek lines keep this case looking good, with a portfolio-style design, the case opens up to a perfect holder for your iPad as well as pockets designed for your passport, credit or business cards, and even for your SIM card. The front cover also folds back to act as a viewing stand.
Logitech Keyboard Case ($100)
This case was designed with the business-conscious iPad 2 owner in mind. It’s half Bluetooth keyboard and half case, all in a sleek and slim package. Pop your iPad 2 into place and you’ve got protection for your screen (not so much for the back), but take your iPad out, place it in the tray of the keyboard and you’ve got an easy-to-use workstation at your fingertips. The keyboard pairs seamlessly and makes typing out long emails a breeze.
Incase Snap Case ($35)
This case is for the minimalist iPad lover or those who are fans of the new Apple Smart Cover for the iPad 2. The clear hard plastic case snaps on, just like many iPhone cases, to provide protection for your ‘pad. This case gives you direct access to all the features of your iPad and works in conjunction with the Smart Cover to provide protection for the front screen and the pack of your device. A version is available for the original iPad as well as the iPad 2.
Valextra Horizontal or Vertical iPad Case ($440)
When it comes to luxury iPad cases, we’ve seen quite a few that go over the line of luxe and verge into gaudy territory. This case by Valextra (available in either horizontal or vertical formats) has an expensive look, feel, and price tag, but keeps things classic and classy with a simple design crafted in high-end Italian leather. The case opens portfolio-style and has one inner pocket for papers or other essentials.