The 9 Best iPad Cases of 2021

Protect your iPad with these top durable, stylish and budget cases

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The Rundown
"The soft TPU back has crack-proof edges and is easy to grip, and it’s flexible enough to easily put on and take off."
"It can fold into a stand to hold your iPad in two different orientations: upright for video viewing, or horizontal for drawing."
"The TPU exterior protects the screen from scratches and fingerprints and provides some much-needed grip."
"With a hard plastic exterior and a slim profile, this case is perfect for people who need to take their tablet everywhere."
"The case has three layers: a hard plastic inner shell, a silicone outer shell that protects against drops, and a screen protector."
"It opens to reveal a full keyboard and a folding stand that props up your iPad screen for comfortable viewing while you type."
"The anti-slip surface and built-in handle provide a secure grip even in little hands."
"The multi-pocket design has a sleeve for your device and a combination of elastic straps and mesh pockets."
"Made from genuine leather, this case will age like any other fine leather accessory."

The best iPad cases should be versatile and durable, keeping your costly slate protected when you travel and commute. Whether you take your iPad to work or class everyday, hand it off to your kids, or simply use it for entertainment, a good case can keep your device safe and even make it easier to use.

The cases on this list consider a wide variety of needs. Some provide baseline protection at a wallet-friendly price—great for anyone who keeps their iPad at home or in a bag when they’re traveling. More rugged options can protect against drops and spills if you take your iPad on the go. We’ve included kid-friendly cases that are easy to hold, cases with built-in keyboards, and a few with extra storage for your stylus or even a charging cord. 

Before buying a case, confirm which iPad model you have and make sure the case is compatible.

Best Overall: ESR Rebound Slim Smart Case

ESR Rebound Slim Smart Case
What We Like
  • Auto sleep/wake cover

  • Two stand modes

  • Very slim profile

What We Don't Like
  • No drop protection

  • Not very sturdy in vertical stand mode

The ESR Rebound is our top pick for a few reasons. The first is its ultra slim design. If you want to protect your iPad from scratches and bumps without adding any bulk, this kind of case can keep your device a bit safer while maintaining that super streamlined aesthetic. 

The soft TPU back has crack-proof edges and is easy to grip, and it’s flexible enough to easily put on and take off. The magnetic cover protects your screen and automatically puts your iPad to sleep when it’s closed. Plus, the cover can fold into a stand—prop up the device vertically for video viewing or angle it horizontally for comfortable typing and stylus use. This case is designed for the 10.2-inch iPad (7th and 8th Generation).

Compatibility: 10.2-inch iPad (8th Generation, 7th Generation) | Material: Composite | Water Resistant: No | Design: Folding kickstand | Screen Protector: Yes

Best Slim: Fintie SlimShell

What We Like
  • Storage for Apple Pencil

  • Very slim profile

  • Two stand modes

What We Don't Like
  • Not very sturdy in vertical stand mode

  • Pencil holder doesn't fit other styluses

The Fintie SlimShell case is a similar TPU protective cover with an added bonus: it has a built-in compartment for your Apple Pencil. Unlike other iPad cases that use an elastic band to hold a stylus, the Fintie SlimShell has a slot right next to the screen that’s more secure and even has space for your USB adapter. The only downside is that it’s built specifically for the Apple Pencil, so if your stylus is made by a different brand it may not fit. 

This TPU cover is super slim and comfortable to hold, offering moderate protection against bumps and scratches. The cover has a microfiber lining to protect the screen and magnets built in to automatically put your device to sleep when it’s closed. It can also be folded into a stand to hold your iPad in two different orientations: upright for video viewing, or at a slight horizontal angle for drawing. Reviewers have noted that the stand is a bit tippy in the vertical orientation, so that’s something to keep in mind if you need those viewing angles.  

The Fintie SlimShell is designed for the 10.2-inch iPad (7th and 8th Generation). It’s available in multiple colors and patterns, including marble, galaxy print, a Van Gogh painting, and one that looks like a composition notebook.

Compatibility: 10.2-inch iPad (8th Generation, 7th Generation) | Material: TPU | Water Resistant: No | Design: Folding kickstand, built-in pencil holder | Screen Protector: Yes

Best Cover: Apple Smart Cover

What We Like
  • Elegant design

  • Auto sleep/wake cover

  • Two stand modes

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't protect the back of the device

The Apple Smart Cover has the most streamlined design on this list and is an elegant solution if you just want to protect your iPad screen without adding any bulk to your device. The Smart Cover is just that: a cover for the front screen. It attaches to the edge of the device with a magnet and can be flipped around the back like a notebook cover when you’re using your iPad. The TPU exterior protects the screen from scratches and fingerprints and provides some much-needed grip. Built-in magnets automatically put the iPad to sleep when the cover is closed. 

The Apple Smart Cover also can be folded into a triangular stand that props up the iPad vertically or at a low horizontal angle for typing. The main downside is that this cover does not protect the back of the device, though several reviewers said it can be paired with more protective cases. It’s available in black, white, dark green, dark blue, and salmon pink, and is designed to fit the 10.5-inch iPad (7th and 8th Generation), iPad Air (3rd Generation), or iPad Pro.

Compatibility: iPad (8th Generation, 7th Generation), iPad Air (3rd Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro | Material: TPU | Water Resistant: No | Design: Folding kickstand, front cover only | Screen Protector: Yes

Best Rugged: Urban Armor Gear Metropolis Folio Case

What We Like
  • Drop protection

  • Slim profile

  • Built-in stylus holder

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Tactical aesthetic is not for everyone

If protection is your top priority, the Metropolis case from Urban Armor Gear (UAG) is a great option. This brand is known for making tough-as-nails cases for all kinds of electronics, and their iPad case is no different. With a hard plastic exterior and a slim profile, this case is both lightweight and durable, perfect for people who need to take their tablet everywhere and don’t always have a bag to carry it in. The case doubles as an adjustable stand and even has a clip on the side to hold a stylus securely in place. 

Unlike other cases that only provide superficial protection from surface scratches, the UAG Metropolis case is impact resistant and can protect your iPad from drops up to 4 feet. The plastic is also resistant to stains and smudges and has just enough texture to give you a good grip on your device. For a slightly higher price, you can get a version of the Metropolis case that has an elastic hand strap on the back. It fits 10.2-inch iPads (7th and 8th Generation).

Compatibility: 10.2-inch iPad (8th Generation, 7th Generation) | Material: Polycarbonate, TPU | Water Resistant: Yes | Design: Adjustable, detachable kickstand; built-in pencil holder | Screen Protector: Yes

Best Multi-Layer: Fansong Case for iPad

What We Like
  • Sturdy kickstand

  • Built-in hand strap

  • Removable shoulder strap

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Screen protector doesn't always sit flat

This durable case from Fansong is a great option for people who frequently travel with their iPad or want some additional protection for their device. The case has three layers: a hard plastic inner shell, a silicone outer shell that protects against drops, and a transparent screen protector that goes over the front of the iPad. It also has a built-in rotatable hand strap and a removable shoulder strap, so there are several different ways to carry it. 

The extra impact protection also makes this case a good choice for kids. If they like to use the iPad in the car, you can hang the shoulder strap around the headrest for instant entertainment in the back seat. If you’re watching videos at home, the kickstand on the back of the case provides a stable stand for vertical viewing.

Compatibility: 10.2-inch iPad (8th Generation, 7th Generation) | Material: Polycarbonate, silicone | Water Resistant: No | Design: Rotatable kickstand, built-in pencil holder, removable shoulder strap | Screen Protector: Yes

Best Keyboard: Apple Smart Keyboard

What We Like
  • Keyboard doubles as a cover

  • Slim profile

  • Automatically pairs to your iPad

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't protect the back of the device

  • No backlighting

The Apple Smart Keyboard is an ultra-slim keyboard and stand combination that effortlessly attaches to your iPad and doubles as a screen cover. It isn’t technically a case—there is no protection for the back of your device—but it’s certainly multifunctional. When closed, the Smart Keyboard is extremely low profile and looks like a typical iPad screen cover. It opens to reveal a full keyboard and a folding stand that props up your iPad screen for comfortable viewing while you type.

The Smart Keyboard seamlessly connects to the side of the iPad via the Smart Connector, a set of three little dots on the side of the device. This connection is different from typical Bluetooth because it’s instantaneous and directly transfers both data and power between the tablet and the keyboard. The result is a more responsive keyboard that doesn’t need to be manually “paired” with your iPad and won’t unexpectedly run out of battery. It’s designed for the 10.2-inch iPad (7th and 8th Generation), iPad Air (3rd Generation), and 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Compatibility: 10.2-inch iPad (8th Generation, 7th Generation), iPad Air (3rd Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro | Material: Polyurethane | Water Resistant: No | Design: Full-size keyboard with folding stand, front cover only | Screen Protector: Yes

Best for Kids: Fintie Kiddie Case

What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Good drop protection

  • Kid-friendly design

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Difficult to get on and off

If you have young children who use an iPad for entertainment or virtual learning, then you’ll want to invest in an iPad case that provides an extra level of protection. This kid-friendly case from Fintie is made from thick EVA foam, a lightweight material that provides an excellent level of shock protection for your fragile tablet. It includes cutouts for all of the iPad’s buttons and ports, and has a slightly raised edge on the front to protect the screen from scratches if the device is placed facedown.

The anti-slip surface and built-in handle provide a secure grip even in little hands. The handle is rotatable and doubles as a stand, allowing little ones to keep the device propped up while watching movies or FaceTiming with family. This case is available in seven colors and fits the 10.2-inch iPad (7th and 8th generations), the iPad Air 3, and the 10.5-in iPad Pro.

Compatibility: 10.2-inch iPad (8th Generation, 7th Generation), iPad Air (3rd Generation), 10.5-inch iPad Pro | Material: Ethylene vinyl acetate | Water Resistant: No | Design: Convertible stand that can become top handle | Screen Protector: No

Best Portfolio: tomtoc Portfolio Case

What We Like
  • Storage compartments for cords

  • Hardshell design

What We Don't Like
  • Large for iPad case

  • No shoulder strap

The tomtoc Portfolio Case is a zippered organizer and iPad case for people who need to carry more than just their tablet. The multi-pocket design has a sleeve for your device and a combination of elastic straps and mesh pockets for whatever else you need to bring along. Throw in a pair of headphones, your power cord, a keyboard, a notebook, and even your wallet if you want to turn this case into your new everyday carry.

The Portfolio Case has sturdy zippers around three sides and a hard-shell design that offers drop protection up to 4 feet. The exterior is water-repellent and has a built-in carrying strap for easy transport. 

If you’re looking for a solid carrying case to keep all your iPad accessories in one place, the tomtoc Portfolio Case is hard to beat. It’s available in a variety of colors and prints and fits most iPad models up to 10.9 inches.

Compatibility: Tablets measuring between 10 and 11 inches | Material: Ethylene vinyl acetate | Water Resistant: Yes | Design: Padfolio with elasticized compartments and side handle | Screen Protector: No

Best Style: Twelve South BookBook for iPad

What We Like
  • Creative design

  • Doubles as a stand

  • Interior stylus holder

What We Don't Like
  • Blocks the back camera

  • Expensive

The BookBook from Twelve South is one of the most stylish options out there for your iPad. Made from genuine leather, this case will age like any other fine leather accessory, becoming softer and uniquely patinaed with time. It has a close-fitting sleeve on the inside that the tablet slides into, and a rigid exterior case for extra protection. There is a small elastic band on the inside of the case that can hold an Apple Pencil. As an added bonus, the BookBook doubles as a stand. You can tilt the iPad inside the case to prop it up vertically for display mode or at a horizontal angle for typing.

This case really does look like a book, but that unfortunately comes with a downside—there are no cutouts for your iPad’s back camera. You can still access all the other ports and buttons when the case is unzipped, but you have to physically remove the tablet from the interior sleeve to take a picture. 

Compatibility: 10.5-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air | Material: Leather, microfiber | Water Resistant: No | Design: Portfolio with integrated kickstand and built-in pencil holder | Screen Protector: Yes

Final Verdict

Our favorite iPad case is the budget-friendly ESR Rebound Slim Case (view on Amazon). It’s durable, low-profile, and protects your device from everyday bumps and scratches. Our other top recommendation is the Fintie SlimShell (view on Amazon), which doubles as a tablet stand and includes a compartment for your Apple Pencil.

About Our Trusted Experts

Emmeline Kaser is an experienced product researcher and reviewer in the field of consumer tech. She is a former editor for Lifewire’s product testing and recommendation round-ups.

FAQs

Which cases are compatible with your iPad?
iPads are available in different models and generations. Models include the iPad, iPad Air, iPad Pro, and iPad mini. The generation refers to the year your particular iPad was released and how many versions came before it. It’s important to know both the model and generation of your iPad before you buy a case because it affects how big the case is and where the cutouts are for hardware features such as cameras and volume controls. You can find out this information by going to your iPad’s Settings app and looking under General > About. 

Can you use an iPad case with a keyboard?
This depends on the kind of keyboard you’re using. The Apple Smart Keyboard needs to be physically connected to your iPad to work, so if you have one of these, you need to look for a case that is Smart Keyboard compatible. These cases usually have a piece along the side that can be removed and the Smart Keyboard attached. If you have a Bluetooth keyboard—one that does not need to be physically attached to your tablet—then you should be able to use it with any kind of case.

What is the auto sleep/wake feature and how does it work?
Many iPad cases that include a screen cover advertise an automatic sleep and wake feature. This means that your tablet immediately goes to sleep when you close the cover and wakes up when you open it, as if you’d pressed the button on the top of the iPad. These covers have magnets in them that trigger the tablet’s sleep sensor, telling it to sleep when the magnet touches the screen and wake up when the magnet is removed. These covers might save you a little battery, but they’re also a convenient way to keep the cover closed when you’re not using the device.

What to Look for in an iPad Case

Compatibility

Today’s crop of iPads come in different sizes: The iPad Pro comes in 12.9-inch, 11-inch, and 10.5-inch models; the iPad measures 9.7 inches; and the iPad mini 4 measures 7.9 inches. This can cause a bit of confusion when buying an iPad case, but above all, make sure it fits.

Design

Most iPad cases feature a kickstand that allows you to prop up the iPad in a variety of orientations, but design goes beyond that. Do you want pockets to store cables or documents? Do you need a hook to attach a stylus? Look for relevant features like these when scoping out the design. Also, make sure the case doesn’t cover up ports you may need to access!

Protection

If your main reason for buying an iPad case is to protect your device from inevitable bumps and bruises, look for one that has a soft microfiber interior to preserve the display, as well as solid corner coverage, which is where you'll likely find the most dents. As opposed to phone cases, some of the most protective iPad cases won’t add inconvenient bulk.

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