Top waterproof iPhone 5 and iPhone 4/4S cases

Looking for some watertight protection for the summer pool and beach season? Check out these waterproof iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5 cases.

Waterproof smartphone cases used to be bulky, ungainly contraptions, but they've been trimming down lately.

That said, building a truly waterproof case is not easy (a waterproof case is defined as one that can be fully submerged underwater for at least 30 minutes). Often there are tradeoffs in creating a waterproof design, the biggest of which usually involves access to the headphone jack on your phone. They also tend to be pricey, usually costing more than $50.

In boiling down the best of what's currently out there, I tried to provide a good mix of well-designed cases with a few more-affordable options that are a step up from a Ziplock bag.

  • Concord Keystone Eco Slim for iPhone 5

Concord Keystone's been making tough iPhone cases, including a waterproof model, for a while. But the Eco Slim is a less bulky solution than its previous Eco case for iPhone 4/4S. Its one big downside is that you can't access the headphone port, so you'll have to use a Bluetooth headphone if you want to listen to music while using it. Available in multiple colors.

Price: $49.99 

See pricing for Concord Keystone Eco Slim for iPhone 5 from

  • DriSuit Endurance
As its name implies, the DriSuit Endurance is like a dry suit for your iPhone. Its unique feature is that it has a Fluidic Touchscreen Membrane, which "contains a nontoxic liquid that allows for all functions and applications above or below the surface of the water." Normally, touch screens don't work underwater, though you can use the volume button to snap pictures underwater. The Endurance is available in both iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5 versions.

Price: $69.99 

See more info for DriSuit Endurance case.

  • Grace Digital Eco Pod

The Grace Digital Eco Pod is pretty bulky, but it's designed to hold a variety of smartphones and other devices so it's more of a universal case (it also stores credit cards and keys). It's available in an orange version as well.

Price: $39.99

See pricing for Grace Digital Eco Pod case from

  • Frieq Universal Waterproof case

Several Ziploc-type contraptions are available for fairly affordable prices if you want to temporarily store your iPhone -- or another smartphone -- in a waterproof pouch (yes, your touch screen will work through the plastic front window). This model is sold under a couple of different generic brand names but the Frieq is well-priced at $10.

The Incipio Atlas, which comes in multiple colors, offers a relatively trim design for a waterproof case. I like how it looks and that you can open the bottom of the case and remove the plug from the headphone jack when you need to listen to music. But if you want the case to be waterproof, you will have to seal off the jack. One other small gripe: I wasn't in love with the plasticky feel of the case -- it's definitely a tough case, but the Lifeproof case has a better feel to it. That said, Incipio does offer a limited warranty against water damage. You can check it out here.

Price: $65

See pricing for Incipio Atlas case from

  • Griffin Survivor Waterproof

Griffin's Survivor case has been a popular tough case over the years, and now Griffin has upped the ante with a waterproof model for the iPhone 5. It has a fairly trim design, but like with a lot of these cases, a majority of headphone plugs won't fit into the recessed headphone jack on the case.

Price: $69.99

See pricing for Griffin Survivor Waterproof case from

  • Joy Factory aXtion Pro

Joy Factory's aXtion case isn't available yet to U.S. customers, but I played around with it at the CES trade show in Las Vegas last Janaury, and it seemed like a fairly slick waterproof case for the iPhone 5, so I'm including it in the roundup for folks to check out. The company's step-down $49.99 aXtion Go case, which is water-resistant but not waterproof, is due to ship in July, so hopefully the aXtion Pro will be available soon. 

Lifeproof, the fast-growing San Diego company that was recently acquired by OtterBox, was a pioneer in the waterproof case arena with its highly rated waterproof/shockproof case for the iPhone 4/4S. That model's still for sale and has undergone some small tweaks over the course of its lifespan. The company's Fre case for the iPhone 5 is a bit trimmer than the Lifeproof for the iPhone 4/4S. But because the iPhone 5 is longer than the iPhone 4S (and the case is, too, obviously), it ends up weighing the same. 

While there are some other small design improvements, the biggest change is the translucent plastic window on the back that allows you to show off the Apple logo. And while you can access the headphone jack, many headphone plugs won't fit into the jack, so you'll have to use an included dongle (it's easy to lose).

The Lifeproof is still my favorite waterproof case, although it's not perfect. You should be aware that there are plenty Lifeproof knock-off cases floating around and they should be avoided (many look a lot of like a real Lifeproof case, but they end up not being waterproof).

Note: Lifeproof also makes a number of accessories that are designed to work with its cases. These include armbands, bike and helmet mounts, and a flotation accessory.

Price: $80

See pricing for Lifeproof Fre case from

  • Mophie Outride

Mophie is known for its battery extender cases, but it also makes the Outride, an action-sports waterproof case for the iPhone 4/4S that has a built-in wide angle lens. An Outride for the iPhone 5 is scheduled to be released in July. 

It's worth noting that the headphone jack is sealed in and the flash for the camera is blocked by the lens.

Price: $115

See pricing for Mophie Outride case from

  • Optrix XD5 case

The Optrix XD5 is another action-sports case that's designed to turn your iPhone into a GoPro-type video camera (it has a built-in wide-angle lens). A previous version is available for the iPhone 4/4S for less money.

Price: $129.99

See pricing for Optrix XD5 case from

  • OtterBox Armor Series

The Defender Series used to be OtterBox's toughest case, but now the waterproof Armor Series, which comes in three different colors, is the company's toughest. I like the slimmer design of Lifeproof's waterproof case better, but the Armor is a beast of a case and you can access the headphone jack without using a special dongle. That said, I didn't entirely trust the seal on the little door that covers the headphone jack. But OtterBox says the case is rated to be underwater as far down as 6.6 feet for up to 30 minutes.

While Armor case lists for $99.99, you can find it online for around $75, which is about what the Lifeproof costs (Note: OtterBox recently bought Lifeproof, but for now both brands will coexist). A version of the case is also available for the iPhone 4/4S.

Price: Around $75

See pricing for Otterbox Armor Series case from

  • Seido Obex for iPhone 5

The Seido Obex is a very solid entry in the waterproof case arena, with a fairly trim design and attractively rugged styling. You get adequate access to the headphone jack and charging port, and the case is MIL-STD-810G tested to withstand drops of 4 feet. Oh, and there's a little window on back (like the Lifeproof) that lets you show off the Apple logo. Of course, some people couldn't care less about that. 
There still aren't a ton of great waterproof options, but ever since the Lifeproof cases became so popular, plenty of competitors have jumped into the ring. If you think "I missed" any or have used any of the cases in the roundup, feel free to post a comment.
Data source: Cnet (By David Carnoy)

Top waterproof iPhone 5 and iPhone 4/4S cases Top waterproof iPhone 5 and iPhone 4/4S cases Reviewed by Yahaya Lamtalssi on Sunday, June 02, 2013 Rating: 5


  1. WOW!!!! What a post!!! I am impressed to read this post & also it has some nice collection of waterproof cases. I have got some more collection waterproof cases here

  2. All of these cases would be great for my phone. It will be hard to pick one. My largest area of need right now is more battery longevity. My phone seems to die every night right before I get home. This would be such a huge convenience.

  3. If you're looking for a stylish case that feels nice in your hand and adds some grip, the Apple Leather Case is a great option. I love how easy it is to remove and put back on, which makes it a great option for anyone who switches cases often or prefers to only use cases when they have to (like me). Combo Cases is your choise !

  4. Choose the best waterproof bag for your phone and other important things so that when it rain so hard you will not be afraid that your things might get wet.


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