There’s no doubt that the iPhone SE 2020 is one of the best bargains the phone world has to offer. But no matter how cheap it is, you’ll still need one of the best iPhone SE cases to keep it safe. The phone may be a mere $399, but you still get to enjoy all the perks of the powerful A13 Bionic processor, second only to the A14 Bionic, plus water resistance, wireless charging, a 12-megapixel camera, and all sorts of other fancy features.
So you’re getting a lot for your money, and it’s wise to keep it all protected from everything the world can throw at it. Accessory makers everywhere have a huge range of iPhone SE 2020 cases to keep everything safe, and that means there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re happy with cheap TPU, something with a bit more protection, or want a classier look with a leather finish, here are the best iPhone SE cases you can buy right now.
What are the best iPhone SE 2020 cases?
There’s no single best iPhone SE case, simply because each user is going to be looking for something different. That said, some cases rise to the forefront as good all-around options for most people. Whether you’re more interested in ruggedness and protection, or keeping things in line with your own aesthetic tastes.
Better still you don’t even need to go out and buy a dedicated iPhone SE case, because it shares the exact same dimensions of the iPhone 8 (and the iPhone 7 before that), So you can use the same old cases that fit those devices on Apple’s latest budget iPhone. In fact, many case makers are merely reselling their old models with a new label as a result of this. Still, this is great news for customers, because it means you can save some cash by opting for an older iPhone case that’s already been discounted after sitting on the shelves for a few years.
The best iPhone SE 2020 cases right now
Apple offers two cases for the iPhone SE: A silicone case, which costs $35, and the leather option you see here, which costs $10 more. Apple’s silicone cases always look nice when you get them, though they’re also prone to wearing down very fast, with the soft-touch outer layer becoming gradually stickier over time before chipping off in frequently-touched areas. That was my experience when I had the same case for my iPhone 7 a few years back, and a cursory browsing of Reddit demonstrates I wasn’t not alone.
For that reason, we’d much rather recommend Apple’s leather case, which is more durable than the silicone version, and looks and feels better, too. For the iPhone SE, the official leather case comes in Black, Midnight Blue and Red, with aluminum-accented buttons over the volume and power keys color matched to the leather, and an embossed Apple logo on the back that looks super classy. And at $45, it’s actually reasonably priced as far as leather cases go, making this one of the best iPhone SE cases for a mix of style and substance.
This one may seem like cheating, but iPhone 8 cases do indeed fit the iPhone SE, because both models share exactly the same dimensions. That means we can revisit one of our popular selections for the iPhone 8 — Tech21’s Pure Clear — which grants 6.6 feet of drop protection to Apple’s handsets for almost no added bulk beyond a no-frills TPU case.
Tech21’s design sense really shines on the Pure Clear, which melds translucent air pocket-lined sides with a totally transparent back, for a very sleek and minimalist look. That plastic back can be susceptible to scratches, mind you, but you’re unlikely to notice them unless you look closely. The Pure Clear normally costs around $30, which isn’t the cheapest out there, though Tech21’s cases tend to be pretty high quality — making this one of the more affordable options the company offers.
Speck has long been a trusted purveyor of solid yet fun-looking cases, and the company’s latest Presidio Pro line is no different. The Presidio Pro is on the thicker side in terms of cases on this list, but that thickness contributes to an impressive 10 feet of drop protection — ensuring your iPhone SE will be safe, snug and secure should your handset take a tumble and land on its corners or back.
The Presidio Pro has also been treated with an anti-microbial finish, which is certainly relevant in this era of diligent hand-washing. It comes in four rather subdued colors, with tasteful two-tone accents as you’ve come to expect from Speck — though you’ll pay a bit of a premium for that attention to detail.
If you want the last word in durability for your iPhone SE, look no further than OtterBox’s popular Defender Pro. This case is truly as rugged as they come, with a dual-layer design that combines a rubber insert with a very thick polycarbonate outer shell, as well as a built-in screen protector, a cover for the Lightning port and fully-concealed buttons. It’s even been coated in a material that repels germs.
Of course, you tend to pay a fair bit for all this protection — as much as $50 in some cases. But OtterBox’s Defender series is among the most protective of cases you can buy for any phone, and if you’re in a line of work where you’re concerned about keeping your investment safe, this is one of the best iPhone SE cases you can buy.
A good wallet case is hard to come by, but Spigen has struck a nice balance with its Slim Armor CS case. This is basically Spigen’s Liquid Air case, but a bit thicker with a hard plastic shell and compartment for up to two credit cards. If you haven’t fully turned to Apple Pay yet, or perhaps if you have and only need to carry your ID or a keycard, the Slim Armor CS is a good solution.
Spigen’s cases always fit well, with precise cutouts, clicky buttons and the company’s trademark Air Cushion corners that are designed to absorb drops, despite adding minimal heft to the device. Normally costing $35, this is one of the pricier options Spigen offers — though Amazon has it for just $18 at the time of this writing, making for a good deal on one of the most useful iPhone SE cases out there.
Once known as the Silk Base Grip, this case from Smartish has long been a personal favorite. I have a Kung Fu Grip on my iPhone 11 Pro, and I love it. The texture of the sides feels super grippy, ensuring fewer drops; the buttons are very clickable; and the overall fit and finish is of a very high quality, which is impressive considering this case costs just $12.
It’s sturdy, too. Air pocket corners ensure that if your iPhone SE does take a tumble, it’ll have the best chance of surviving. And while it’s not the most slender case in the world, it doesn’t add as much heft as some bulkier options on this list — making it a good middle ground for users who want the peace of mind of protection, but not at the expense of design and pocketability. We just wish Smartish offered it in more colors.
Earlier this year, Incipio introduced its Organicore line of 100% compostable cases derived from plants. It wasn’t the first accessory make to produce such a case, with Pela having made a name for itself delivering a similar pitch. However, it is the best we’ve found.
Incipio’s Organicore line feels sturdy, with a pleasing texture to the touch that is soft, but not slippery or greasy. We also love the colors Incipio has settled upon, especially Deep Pine Green and Oatmeal Beige, which are speckled with neutral tones to convey a very fashionable earthy aesthetic. On the flip side, you will have to spend a lot for that kindness to the environment. The Organicore iPhone SE case can cost as much as $40, which is just $5 less than Apple’s leather case.
Moment is a company that produces a line of camera lenses for popular smartphones, including Apple’s iPhones. They also sell cases that allow you to quickly clip on or remove such lenses, which is handy. But truthfully, even if you don’t see yourself using a Moment lens — or, perhaps, not yet — their cases are gorgeous in their own right.
Moment’s Thin Case designed for the new iPhone SE may not have the same partial wood design as some cases the company offers for Apple’s other flagships, but it’s still a looker, thanks to a pattern of diagonally-etched lines across most of the backside. The only downside to this case is that it is a bit expensive, though we suppose that’s the peace of mind you pay for so that your pricey camera lens doesn’t fall off your new iPhone and shatter the perfect photo op.
Those who look for cheap yet well-made cases know Spigen very well. Spigen prides itself on offering excellent-feeling cases that typically cost a fraction of the price of what some other accessory makers charge, and its Thin Fit case for iPhone SE is a fine example of that.
The Thin Fit is a very simple hard plastic case, that leaves the iPhone SE’s buttons, top and bottom exposed. Because it’s more of a shell than a soft cushion, it’s not likely to protect your iPhone much in the case of a drop. But some users prefer just having a very minimal protective layer wrapping around their handset to protect it from dings, scratches and scrapes, and the Thin Fit is suited well for that purpose. It’s also very affordable, and like all Spigen products, regularly sees discounts on Amazon.
If it’s the absolute thinnest case you want, look no further than Totallee. This is a company renowned for offering the most slender cases around, at just 0.3 millimeters thick. That might seem too thin to actually be useful, yet Totallee’s fans are typically looking for surface-layer protection alone, to keep their phone safe against scratches without sacrificing Apple’s industrial design. This case achieves that.
Totallee’s Thin Case comes in three colors: Frosted Clear, Frosted Black and Transparent. The last of the three is a bit thicker, at 0.5 millimeters, and has a glossier, more traditional TPU finish. So long as you’re less concerned about drop protection, and can spare the rather steep $30+ price tag — which seems like a lot for a little, we’ll admit — this could be the minimalist iPhone SE case you’ve been looking for.