- From the 8th-generation iPad to the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple sells several different iPad models.
- The cases below are the best when it comes to protection, utility, and style.
- Whether you want a rugged case, a super slim sleeve, or a keyboard attachment, there's an iPad case for you in our guide.
Just like any other computer, protecting your iPad is important. Whether you're looking for heavy-duty protection or just want a thin cover to prevent smudges, there's a case to fit your needs.
The number of iPad models has grown a lot over the years, so you'll want to pick a case that's made for your iPad. Currently, Apple sells the following iPad models:
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro
- 11- inch iPad Pro
- 7.9-inch iPad Mini
- 10.9-inch iPad Air (4th generation)
- 10.2-inch iPad (8th generation)
Each iPad is a bit different, so you'll want to make sure you choose a case specifically designed for the model you're using. Even iPads that are very similar in design, like the 11-inch iPad Pro and fourth generation iPad Air, differ when it comes to their specific dimensions.
The two goals of any iPad case should be protection and function. A case should protect the iPad from scratches, dents, dirt, and other damage while also adding some utility, like providing a way to prop it up for watching video or offering a keyboard for typing.
The best general use iPad cases provide a mix of both while keeping the tablet thin and light.
We've been covering tech products and testing iPad cases for nearly a decade. In that time, we've seen a lot of great designs and others that aren't worth your time.
We've rounded up some of the best iPad cases you can buy in 2021 based on testing and research.
Here are the best iPad cases:
- Best iPad cases overall: ESR iPad Cases
- Best protective iPad cases: OtterBox iPad Cases
- Best iPad cases from Apple: Apple iPad Cases
- Best iPad keyboard cases: Logitech iPad Keyboard Cases
- Best iPad cases for watching video: Speck Balance Folio iPad Cases
- Best leather iPad cases: Pad & Quill iPad Cases
- Best iPad cases for the Apple Pencil: Soke iPad Cases
Updated on 1/19/21 by Lisa Eadicicco. Updated language for some cases based on new iPad models, and adjusted pricing for choices in the "what else we considered" section. We look forward to testing new iPad cases for all the new iPads models throughout 2021.
The best iPad cases overall
ESR iPad cases offer a fantastic mix of protection and function while remaining affordable.
Pros: Affordable price, variety of styles and models, great mix of functionality and protection
Cons: Quality doesn't match cases from Apple and other more expensive brands
I've used several ESR cases over the years on different iPad models, and each has done what I needed it to do: protect my iPad.
The materials hold up well enough over time and don't feel too cheap either. The rubber-like TPU plastic probably won't prevent a dent if you drop the iPad from higher than a few feet, but it has protected it from minor dings when I've bumped it on a door handle in the past.
ESR cases aren't the most expensive or fancy iPad cases, but you won't feel embarrassed putting your iPad in them either. They're simple, utilitarian cases that protect the iPad from the hazards of daily use.
ESR's Rebound Slim Smart Case is the one I recommend for most people because it's affordable and offers protection from scuffs and scrapes. It has a scratch-resistant, transparent back cover and a three-fold front flap so you can prop your iPad up at multiple angles for watching movies or joining conference calls.
Flip the case around and the shallow angle is perfect for typing on the iPad. The case has a cutout for the second-generation Apple Pencil so you can attach it to the side of the tablet and charge it without removing the case.
There are Rebound Slim cases to fit all the different iPad models, but ESR also makes other case variants like the Yippee Trifold or the Urban Premium Folio that should match your needs if the Rebound Slim doesn't.
The best iPad cases for protection
OtterBox's iPad cases protect the tablet more than your average case without adding a ton of bulk.
Pros: Complete protection, shock absorbent, lifetime warranty
Cons: Expensive, limited color options
OtterBox gained its reputation for protecting Apple devices, and its iPad cases are the best for people who want stronger drop protection for their tablet. Whether you want the extra sturdy Defender Series cases or something that looks a bit nicer like the Symmetry Series, OtterBox likely has an iPad case for you.
All of the company's cases have also been drop tested and are backed by OtterBox's lifetime warranty. You can get cases for all of the current iPad models. The Defender cases are extra protective, but a bit bland looking. However, if you want top-notch drop protection, they're a good choice.
The Symmetry Series cases are nicer looking, and many of them are folio style cases that include a front cover for your iPad.
For the iPad Pro models, we like the Symmetry 360 cases because they completely surround the tablet in sturdy plastic and other scratch-resistant materials to protect it from every angle.
When you open the front cover, the iPad Pro auto-wakes and when you shut it, it goes to sleep. The case can be used to prop up the tablet in various positions for viewing or typing. The clear back is nice because it allows you to show off your selected iPad Pro color instead of hiding it.
The case has a locking strap for a secure closure, and it guarantees the front magnetic flap cover stays in place at all times. This is helpful for keeping the iPad protected when you need to quickly shove it into a bag. If you do have an Apple Pencil attached to the side of the iPad for charging and storage, the locking strap will cover the Pencil and keep it secured as well.
If you're looking for a case that will guard against minor and major bumps, there's very little downside to the OtterBox Symmetry Series 360. The case comes in light gray, dark gray, and burgundy colors depending on the model.
Even though OtterBox cases are made to be tough, I appreciate that they still have an attractive design, meaning you don't have to choose between looks and protection.
The best iPad keyboard cases
Logitech's iPad keyboard cases are backlit, so you can see what you're typing in low-light, and they're more affordable than Apple's keyboard cases.
Pros: Backlit, function keys, native trackpad support on some cases, great typing experience, more affordable than Apple's keyboard cases
Cons: Thicker and heavier than some other keyboard cases
Logitech is well known for making great computing accessories like keyboards and computer mice. Its iPad keyboard cases offer just as good of a typing experience as many of the company's full-size keyboards.
For those with a newer iPad (7th or 8th generation) or previous generations of the iPad Air (3rd generation) or iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Logitech's new Combo Touch Keyboard Case provides a keyboard and trackpad using the iPad's smart connector, so you don't have to mess around with Bluetooth or batteries.
The new Apple Magic Keyboard only works with iPad Pro models and the fourth-generation iPad Air. So for those with an iPad or older iPad Air, this new Logitech case is a great option.
If your iPad works with it, Logitech's Combo Touch is a great pick because it has a backlit keyboard with function keys, an integrated trackpad for mouse support, and it uses Apple's smart connector for easy pairing, data transfer, and power.
The case is made of two separate parts that can be used together or apart. That way, you can detach the keyboard when you don't need it and your iPad will still have a protective case on the back.
Having a backlit keyboard with a built-in trackpad will run you $149, but that price looks affordable compared to the $299 starting price of the Apple Magic Keyboard.
For the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Logitech has a Slim Folio Case with Integrated Keyboard that starts at $119. It also features backlit keys for use in the dark. Instead of a seamless experience, however, this case still requires pairing with Bluetooth and you'll have to charge the keyboard's battery every few months.
The best iPad case for watching video
Multiple viewing angles and a flat foundation make Speck's Balance Folio a near-perfect case for watching video in bed, on the couch, or on a table.
Pros: Multiple viewing angles, flat surface works on uneven locations, complete protection
Cons: Thicker case
Most people use their iPads to watch video, so why not choose a case that makes viewing video even easier?
Speck's Balance Folio is a great choice for binge watchers because of its one-piece, flat foundation.
There's a version of this case for most of Apple's iPad models, including the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (fourth generation), the 11-inch iPad Pro, the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, the iPad Air (3rd and 4th generation), the iPad (7th and 8th generation).
The case offers 4-foot drop protection, a 1-year warranty, and a 30-day guarantee, so if you're not happy with it or something goes wrong, you can send it back.
The folio case wraps around the iPad and the front cover can be used to prop the iPad up for video viewing. It's stable enough to set on your lap, a table, or most other surfaces.
Speck's Balance Folio can even overcome uneven surfaces to provide a stable foundation for the tablet, whereas Apple's folio case doesn't work as well on a lap or a soft surface like a bed.
The case offers several viewing angles, which is key for movie watching. The multiple positions are also great for video calls and can help you stay in frame no matter where the iPad is propped up.
For added protection, the case has molded cutouts for the iPad's buttons, connectors, and ports. The main downside to these cutouts is that they may limit you to thinner cables and adapters because ones with wider connectors won't fit. The Balance Folio is also thicker than other folio cases, but not so much that it should dissuade you from considering it.
If the folio isn't for you, Speck has a lot of other cases that are simple, protective, and colorful.
The best leather iPad cases
Pad & Quill's leather iPad cases are as protective and functional as they are beautiful.
Pros: Crafted from single piece of American leather, can prop up for video viewing, has a 25-year warranty
Cons: Camera obstructed when closed, not the best drop protection
Pad & Quill has been making iPad cases since the first model launched and the company has been refining its case-making process since. All of its artisan-made leather cases are classy, beautiful, and well made. The company makes a few different case styles, including the Oxford Leather folio and a few cases that work with Apple's keyboard cases.
You can get the Oxford Leather case for most iPad models, and it comes in Whiskey and Chestnut finishes. Each case is crafted from a single piece of full-grain bridle leather. The folio-style case uses an elastic band to keep it closed and it really gives off the feel of a Moleskine notebook.
To attach the case to your iPad, you'll use Pad & Quill's special "3M locking adhesive." You can remove and reattach the iPad multiple times without leaving any residue behind on your device. The company also sells versions of this case that attach to your iPad magnetically.
You can use the case to prop up your iPad for video viewing or use with a Bluetooth keyboard. The case also accommodates the Apple Pencil 2 and it has an interior pocket to carry a few papers or other documents.
When you open the folio, the iPad automatically wakes up, and when you close it, the screen turns off. The Pad & Quill case features edge protection with edges that rise just above the screen to protect it from drops and scratches. Pad & Quill also offers a 25-year warranty and 30-day "Money-Back Promise" so you can return it if you're not satisfied with it.
The Oxford Leather case does have some downsides. For one, the back camera is obstructed by the elastic strap when you have it closed, and the case does add some bulk. It's not the most protective against drops, either.
The best iPad cases from Apple
Apple's own iPad cases come in many forms, including keyboard cases, and strike a compelling balance between protection and minimalism.
Pros: Well made, designed to fit perfectly, attractive designs, auto-wake and sleep features, keyboard case connects seamlessly to iPad
Cons: Expensive, limited colors for each season, no backlit keys on the non-magic keyboards, expensive
Although Apple iPad cases are often expensive and cost more than most of the other options in our guide, they are still excellent. If you want a case that has a perfect fit and sleek look, you can't go wrong with one of these. Whether you want a basic folio or a keyboard case, Apple has an option.
The most popular version of Apple's iPad cases are its Smart Folio cases. The folio wraps around the entire iPad to cover the front and the back from scratches. It utilizes magnets on the front and back to keep the case securely in place, but can be removed at a moment's notice with a little extra force.
Unfortunately, Apple's Smart Folio lacks complete protection, so for the price, you're still not completely covered. The bottom and side remain exposed so your iPad won't escape dents if it's dropped on a hard surface. You'll want to select Apple's option if you don't need a heavy-duty case, but prefer the minimal cover to keep food, dirt, and random objects from messing up the tablet.
Apple's Smart Folio Keyboard case works with its iPad Pro models and fourth generation iPad Air, while the Smart Keyboard case works with the iPad Air (3rd generation), older 10.5-inch iPad Pro, and standard iPad (7th and 8th generation). Both are stellar keyboard options, even though they're very expensive — ranging from $159 to $179 in price.
What does that price get you? The best in class wrap-around case that attaches with magnets for a slim and sleek design. The keys are completely covered in fabric so there's no way for food or liquid to seep underneath and create problems typing.
Probably the biggest feature is that the keyboard case doesn't require any pairing or charging. It connects through the contacts on the iPad and transmits data and power. As soon as the iPad is opened into the typing position it's active and ready to go and as soon as it's folded, it's deactivated and won't register unwanted key presses.
Of course, the newer Magic Keyboard for the 11-inch iPad Pad Pro costs $299, making all of these other Apple keyboards seem much more affordable. However, it may be worth its high price because of its features. It offers a great keyboard and trackpad, but its unique hinge that doesn't fold completely back ultimately makes it less of a case than the Keyboard Folio and more of a keyboard stand.
The best iPad cases for the Pencil
Soke's fully enclosed, rubberized iPad cases have a special spot to keep the Apple Pencil close, charged, and ready to go.
Pros: Great for Apple Pencil users, rubberized back, covered completely, inexpensive
Cons: Not the best drop protection or the nicest design
Soke's iPad cases come with a special Apple Pencil holder, making them a great option for anyone who also has the stylus. The cases have a dedicated slot for the Pencil that keeps it secure, protected, and easily accessible.
The case covers the iPad completely and has a rubberized back to keep the metal free of scratches. Soke sells versions of this case for most iPads in Apple's lineup, including the iPad (8th generation) and iPad Air (4th generation).
On the version of the case that's for the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil is held on the right side where the charging magnet sits so it can still charge. The front, including the Apple Pencil slot, is covered by a folding top flap that sticks in place, thanks to the front magnets.
While other cases leave an opening for the Pencil on the side of the case, we like this case because the Pencil is fully enclosed inside so it won't be knocked off easily when you're pulling it in and out of a backpack or another bag.
The case can also be propped up at a shallow angle that is ideal for drawing. When it's in this orientation, you can put the Apple Pencil in the provided hole so that the Pencil stands upright and accessible for drawing or notetaking.
The case is fairly affordable, with the most expensive Luxury case for the 2020 12.9-inch iPad Pro costing $32.99, but it should still be fairly protective against scratches, minor dings, and other marks. The materials won't be as premium as more expensive cases, and the drop protection isn't as strong, but it's a reasonably protective case for the price.
What else we considered
The selection of iPad cases is vast and there are plenty of great options available. Beyond our top picks, these considerations didn't quite make the list, but they may work well for some iPad owners.
- Urban Armor Gear Cases ($19.95 to $89.95): Urban Armor Gear makes sturdy, durable cases for rugged environments, but we prefer the more varied designs offered by Otterbox.
- Moshi Cases ($29.95 to $79.95): Moshi makes beautifully designed tech accessories, but they are expensive. The Versa, an origami-like case is really neat because you can fold it quickly to prop up your iPad. However, some people have reported that the folds can also prevent the case from fully closing. Others have said quality has decreased over the years.
- Incipio Cases ($34.99 to $89.99): If you like very simple cases that are fairly affordable, Incipio is a great place to shop. They can be a bit plain and there aren't a ton of options, but they're still a great choice.
- Zagg Keyboard Cases ($19.99 to $129.99): Zagg's keyboard cases are really great, though they are expensive, and we think Logitech's perform better.
- Native Union Stow Sleeve ($59.95): A sleeve or carrying case is great for added protection when you're taking your iPad on the go. They're not cases, but the Stow Sleeve is well made and can accommodate an Apple keyboard, Pencil, and a few pieces of paper.
- ZUGU Alpha Case ($59.99 to $69.99): There's a lot going for the ZUGU Alpha case, including its multiple viewing angles, pencil holder, and beefy exterior. Comparatively, though, it is more expensive and the aesthetics may not appeal to everyone.
- Casetify Cases ($72): If you want a fun, colorful iPad case that you can even customize with your favorite photo, you may want to check out Casetify's cases. They are expensive, but the leather construction, fun design, and interior pockets may make them worth it to some people.
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