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Best Rugged Smartphone Cases

image for jacoblund / Getty Images
jacoblund / Getty Images

Deciding which smartphone you want, the iPhone X or Galaxy S9, can be a difficult choice, but selecting a shatter-resistant case doesn't have to be. Buying one of these phones is an investment, so a case that can't withstand a few bumps or a drop won't cut it.

No matter where you work – at a desk, on the road or jumping out of planes – we've made selecting a case easy for you. Here is our list six of the most rugged cases on the market that can handle it all.

We're not saying you should wrap your phone in a bulletproof vest to keep it safe, but why pass up the option? Made from Kevlar-brand fibers – the same material used in bulletproof body armor – the Pelican Shield Case shrouds your phone in five layers of protection that exceed military testing standards. It also designed with reinforced corners and a shock-absorbing interior shell. Available in black, the Pelican Shield costs $38.94 and is available for the iPhone X.

When you drop your mortgage payment, err, your phone (and you will), you want assurance that it won't shatter into a million pieces. With the Element Case Black Ops edition, you can push those dark thoughts aside. Made with aircraft-grade aluminum and a reinforced polycarbonate subframe, this case is made for battle. The Black Ops is shockingly thin and lightweight, but it can withstand drops from up to 6 feet. The case is available in black, costs $129.95 and is available for the iPhone 7+ and 8+.

You expect a case to protect your phone, but one that protects you as well is a nice bonus. The Brink alara does just that. The case provides certified drop protection based on military specifications (6-foot drops) and reduces cellphone radiation exposure by up to 67 percent. It also has a built-in antenna to keep your signal strong while you're on the move. The Brink alara is available in black and is $26.44 for the Galaxy S9 and $39.95 for the Galaxy S9+ and iPhone 8/8+.

No one has time to remove their phone from the case every time it needs to be charged. Luckily, you can avoid this step with the Urban Armor Gear Pathfinder case. It allows you to power up your device right on the dock without taking it out of the case. It's also really light and meets military drop-test standards. The Pathfinder is available in nine colors for the Galaxy S9. For the iPhone 8, the case is available in graphite.

Sometimes, the classics are best. OtterBox is renowned for its virtually indestructible phone cases protection, and its OtterBox Defender Screenless Edition continues that legacy. With four layers of protection and drop+ protection, the Defender is designed to keep every inch of your phone secure. The case also includes a belt clip to holster your phone to your pants or bag and port covers to keep dust out of the jacks. The defender comes in five colors, including black, marathoner (gray), stormy peaks (purple and black), purple nebula, big sur (teal) and coral dot (pink polka dot). It costs $49.99 for the iPhone X.

Built for handling more than just bumps and bruises, the Ballistic Tough Jacket is ready for anything. The case has four layers of protection built into the case and comes with a removable screen protector. It is capable of withstanding drops of up to 7 feet onto concrete. The Tough Jacket features port protectors to keep dirt out of your jacks and includes a belt clip that swivels 180 degrees. The case is available in black for $19.89 for the iPhone 6/6s/7/8.

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