Each new generation of the Apple Watch has been more durable and hardy than the last. However, that doesn’t mean they’re impervious to damage. Not all Apple Watches are rugged like the Apple Watch Ultra, so enough force (which doesn’t need to be much) can still leave a ding. Even knowing this, Apple doesn’t make and sell cases for its smartwatches like it does for its iPhones, making it difficult to find the best Apple Watch cases around.
Many third-party manufacturers create cases for your Watch 7, both for the smaller 41mm version or the larger 45mm one. Not even the best Apple Watch case will make your Watch 7 indestructible, or even completely prevent damage to the screen, but getting one is still a good idea if you want to provide some extra protection to your Watch without adding much bulk.
We’ve tried out every item listed below and we will continue to add more to our best Apple Watch case list as we test more top Watch Series 7 cases.
Read more: Best Apple Watch Deals
Made from 85% recycled ocean plastic, the Lifeproof Case for Apple Watch 7 easily slips over your Watch’s bezel and lives up to its “form-fitting” billing. It comes in four colors that play well with Apple’s various band colors (Lifeproof also sells eco-friendly Apple Watch bands).
Available in black or green, Element’s Special Ops Watch Band integrates a case and band in the same accessory. It’s got a military vibe and seems durable, offering “double-reinforced” construction and good screen protection with an option to put a band over the middle of the Watch’s screen. That said, it’s lighter than it looks and comfortable to wear.
I had to watch an instructional video from Element to figure out how to get my Watch 7 into the case, but it’s a straightforward process once you see how it’s done. I actually dropped my watch on the pavement (face down on the screen) as I was trying to put the band around my wrist. I’m happy to report my watch survived and was undamaged so the case definitely works.
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My colleague Jared DiPane bought this affordable band-and-case combo, which is available in multiple colors for less than $10. He reports: “The Kaihand Apple Watch band with a built-in bumper case offers great protection for the edges and front of my Apple Watch while also giving it a unique style. I’ve always been a G-Shock fan and this gives me some of that style to combine with the smarts of my Apple Watch.”
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Catalyst has long made attractively designed rugged cases for the iPhone and its Active Defense Vibe band with an integrated case offers decent protection in a slim design. It’s easy to get your Watch in and out of the case and the band is well-designed and comfortable to wear.
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Spigen’s Rugged Armor case offers more protection than its Ultra Hybrid case. It wraps partially around the bottom of your Watch 7 but allows for wireless charging. It’s easy to slip in and out of the case but you do have to take your band off to get it in the case.
Spigen also makes the Rugged Armor Pro that integrates a watch band for $7 more but is otherwise similar.
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The Spigen Ultra Hybrid is a slim, translucent cover for your Watch 7. It’s not super protective but will prevent your bezel from getting scratched up.
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