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 ergonomic design lets you keep a firm grip on your iPad while providing protection from everyday bumps and scratches.
A lightweight case that meets military drop-test standards to protect your iPad in some of the most demanding environments.
An ultra-minimalist cover that will protect your iPad screen without adding any bulk.
Protects your iPad from scratches and minor drops, and even includes a slot to securely store your Apple Pencil.
A really versatile case that lets you carry, hold, and prop up your iPad in almost any way you can imagine.
The most minimalist yet versatile keyboard case you can get for the iPad.
The anti-slip surface and built-in handle provide a secure grip even in little hands.
An ideal choice for busy professionals who need to carry around more than just an iPad.
A gorgeous, handcrafted leather case that's designed to protect your iPad and look great while doing it.

Apple’s iPads may look great on their own, but unfortunately, they’re also as fragile as they are sleek. To ensure your iPad stays in pristine condition, you need one of the best iPad cases to protect your investment against the bumps and bruises of everyday life. 

There’s more to a good iPad case than just protection, however. The best iPad cases also offer features to make your iPad experience even better. For example, most cases let you easily prop up your iPad to watch movies, type and draw, or just keep in touch with family and friends on Zoom and FaceTime. Some cases even provide different ways to hold your iPad, letting you use it on the go without fear of dropping it. 

The best iPad cases are for anybody who wants to both protect their iPad and get more out of it. Everybody’s needs are a bit different, of course, so we’ve rounded up the best options for a wide range of situations. 

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

When it comes to cases, most iPad users just need something simple that provides reasonable, everyday protection at an affordable price. This is where the ESR Rebound comes in, proving you don’t need to spend a lot to protect your iPad.

Rebound features a soft, TPU back cover with crack-resistant edges that pairs with a hard polyurethane front cover. The result is a nice, ergonomic design letting you keep a firm grip on your iPad when you’re carrying it, while also providing protection from minor drops, bumps, and scratches. 

Building on Apple’s own Smart Cover design, the trifold front includes sleep/wake magnets for your iPad, and also wraps around the back to fold into a triangular stand. This allows you to either prop it upright for watching your movies or YouTube videos, or lay it down into a flatter 20-degree angle suitable for typing and drawing.

The flexible material on the back also makes it effortless to remove when you prefer to use your iPad case-less. It’s available for the 10.2-inch iPad models in five different colors. 

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

Best Rugged: Urban Armor Gear Metropolis Folio Case

Urban Armor Gear Metropolis Folio Case for iPad
What We Like
  • Drop protection

  • Apple Smart Cover/Keyboard compatible

  • Built-in stylus holder

What We Don't Like
  • Tactical aesthetic is not for everyone

Urban Armor Gear has a reputation for making protective cases that are both stylish and rugged, and the Metropolis Folio is no exception. This case will protect your iPad in some of the most demanding environments without looking clunky or adding unnecessary bulk. 

Made from composite materials, the Metropolis is surprisingly lightweight, considering that it meets military drop-test standards. It claims to handle 26 drops from a 4-foot height with no damage. The detachable front folio cover also doubles as a stand, and includes a strap that holds the cover securely closed and keeps your Apple Pencil in place. 

A durable and grippy exterior also means it won’t slip out of your hands while you’re using it on the go, even in wet conditions, thanks to the water-resistant tactile grip material. Yet it’s also friction-free enough to effortlessly slip in and out of your bag. As an added bonus, you can also swap out the front cover for Apple’s Smart Cover or Smart Keyboard, giving you the best of two worlds. 

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 Cover: Apple Smart Cover

Apple Smart Cover for iPad
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

  • A bit pricey

It may not be a “case” per se, but it’s hard to beat Apple’s Smart Cover if you’re looking for something ultra-minimalist that will protect your screen without adding bulk. While it doesn’t offer any protection on the back, most ultra-slim cases don’t offer much more than scratch protection, which isn’t really a problem if you carry your iPad in a bag. 

What the Smart Cover does offer, however, is elegant protection for the front screen that keeps it covered and smudge-free, plus built-in magnets that will put your iPad to sleep when you close it, and wake it back up when you open the cover. It can also be easily paired with any number of affordable rear shell cases for those times you want some extra protection around the back. 

Since the cover magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad, it’s completely effortless to remove and get out of the way or pop back on when you’re ready to hit the road. Other magnets hidden in convenient places allow the cover to fold around behind the iPad to be used as a triangular stand to prop it up for watching videos, or lay it down at a 20-degree angle for drawing or typing on the screen.

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 Slim: Fintie SlimShell

Fintie Slimshell iPad Case
What We Like
  • Storage for Apple Pencil

  • Very slim profile

  • Two stand modes

What We Don't Like
  • No drop protection

  • Not very sturdy in vertical stand mode

Fintie’s SlimShell is a solid option for anybody looking for a slim and affordable case to protect against everyday bumps and scratches. It’s a one-piece wraparound case with front and back protection and even a slot to securely store your Apple Pencil without leaving it dangling off on the side. 

The soft, exterior TPU shell protects your iPad from scratches as well as minor drops and impacts, while a microfiber lining on the inside protects it from scratches. Magnets in the front cover automatically trigger the sleep and wake functions on the iPad, and it folds around the back to convert into a stand, either for watching videos or typing directly on the touchscreen. 

It also clips on and off the iPad easily enough that you can simply take it off when you’re at home and want to use the iPad naked, yet easily snap it right back on when you need it.

In a world of mono colored cases, Fintie offers SlimShell in a refreshing selection of unique artistic designs and patterns, including marble, a galaxy print, a Van Gogh painting, and 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 Multi-Use: Fansong Case for iPad

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

Fansong’s iPad case is one of the most versatile options we’ve seen for the iPad user who is always on the go. Not only does it provide solid protection, but it also offers a wealth of ways to hold it, carry it, and prop it up. This means you’ll never be stuck trying to figure out the best way to work with your iPad in just about any given situation. 

A silicone outer shell protects against drops, with a second hard inner shell offering an extra layer of protection. Around the back, a 360-degree rotatable hand strap lets you hold the iPad in any orientation so you can tap away on your screen without fear of dropping it.

Behind the hand strap you’ll also find a rotatable kickstand for setting it up at any angle, whether that’s participating in FaceTime or Zoom calls or simply watching the latest shows on Netflix or YouTube. 

As if that’s not enough, there’s even a removable shoulder strap included, so you can tote your iPad around without needing to put it into a separate bag. The strap can be attached to carry the iPad in either a traditional laptop bag style, or vertically like a messenger bag. There’s also a slot on the back for storing your Apple Pencil, and it includes a screen protector for the front. 

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

Apple Smart Keyboard for iPad
What We Like
  • Keyboard doubles as a cover

  • Ultra-slim profile

  • Automatically pairs with your iPad

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

  • No backlighting

Although you can pair your iPad with just about any third-party Bluetooth keyboard, Apple’s Smart Keyboard features an elegant design that seamlessly pairs up with your iPad and adds very little bulk. It’s the most minimalist yet versatile keyboard case you can get for the iPad. 

Like Apple’s Smart Cover, the Smart Keyboard isn’t technically a case, since it doesn’t offer any protection for the rear of your iPad. Instead, it attaches magnetically to the side of your iPad, docking up with Apple’s Smart Connector—those three dots on the side of the traditional iPad models.

This physical connection means you don’t have to worry about the hassles of Bluetooth pairing or dealing with batteries. Attach the Smart Keyboard, and it just works, without the problems of lag, unresponsive keys, or missed keystrokes that many cheaper Bluetooth keyboards suffer. 

The Smart Keyboard also has magnets in all the right places. It folds over the front of the iPad when not in use, both protecting the screen and putting the iPad to sleep. When you want to type, it folds underneath to create a stand behind the iPad, using minimal space for the keyboard and keeping your fingers within easy reach of the touch screen.

Best of all, when you don’t want a keyboard in front of you, the magnetically attached cover can be easily removed, or simply wrapped around the back of your iPad to keep it out of the way. 

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 Kids Case

Fintie Kids Case for iPad
What We Like
  • Lightweight

  • Good drop protection

  • Kid-friendly design

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

  • Difficult to get on and off

The iPad may be a great educational tool for kids, but it’s also really fragile, so if you plan on letting your youngster toddle around with an iPad, you’ll want a case that’s both highly protective and easy for them to hold on to. This is where Fintie’s Kids Case comes in, with rugged protection and an easy-grip carrying handle.

Thick but lightweight EVA foam provides an excellent level of shock protection, along with a raised edge on the front to protect the screen from scratches and drops. This is the same foam you’ll find in high-end sneakers, and it’s also BPA-free. 

The carrying handle is large and wide enough to allow young kids to easily grab onto it, and it also converts into a stand for propping the iPad upright to watch videos, FaceTime with family, or even just play games. The case is also available in seven fun 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

"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." — Emmeline Kaser, Tech Writer

Best Portfolio: tomtoc Portfolio Case

tomtoc Portfolio Case for iPad
What We Like
  • Storage compartments for cords

  • Hardshell design

  • Fits most iPads

What We Don't Like
  • Large for iPad case

  • No shoulder strap

Tomtoc’s portfolio case is an ideal choice for busy professionals on the go who need to carry around more than just an iPad, but don’t want to lug around a full briefcase or shoulder bag. It’s zippered organizer is similar to many common notepad portfolios, but designed with your iPad in mind. 

In addition to a protective pocket for your iPad, there’s also space for USB cables, earbuds, and other small accessories. Four elastic straps let you secure larger items, while a mesh bag provides storage for other small gadgets and cables. There’s also a card slot for credit cards or business cards, and even a place for a small, A5-sized notebook. 

The exterior of the portfolio features a patented groove design that makes it comfortable to securely grip when you’re carrying it, and there’s also a convenient wristband to make sure you don’t drop it when you’re on the go.

An EVA hard shell provides drop protection of up to 4 feet, while water-repellent fabric and quality YKK zippers ensure everything remains protected and accessible inside. The iPad pocket is also large enough to accommodate Apple’s Smart Keyboard or other slim cover or shell cases. Best of all, it can hold any standard-sized iPad model, from the 10.2-inch iPad to the 11-inch iPad Pro.

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

Twelve South Book Book case for iPad (2nd Gen)
What We Like
  • Creative design

  • Doubles as a stand

  • Interior stylus holder

What We Don't Like
  • Pricey

Twelve South’s BookBook is one of the most unique and stylish folio cases you can put on your iPad. This gorgeous, handcrafted leather case is designed to protect your iPad and look great while doing it, and it’s guaranteed to be a conversation starter. 

The classic vintage book design of the BookBook also ages well, with a natural patina that will make it look even classier as time goes by. It’s one of the few cases you can buy that will actually look better after it’s been up through some everyday wear and tear. 

But there’s a lot more to BookBook than just its looks. A soft microfibre interior protects the iPad on the front and back, and it also offers multiple display mode angles inside to let you prop up your iPad for typing directly on the screen or watching movies. There is also a slot inside to hold your Apple Pencil. When you’re done, just lay it back down, fold the case closed, and zip it up, and your iPad is safely stored against the elements and everyday bumps. 

Compatibility: 11-inch iPad Pro, iPad Air (4th Generation) | Material: Leather, microfiber | Water Resistant: No | Design: Portfolio with integrated kickstand and built-in pencil holder | Screen Protector: Yes

Final Verdict

Most iPad owners can’t go wrong with the ESR Rebound Slim Case (view at Amazon), which offers reasonable protection at a price that’s hard to argue with. If you’re looking for something more rugged, however, Urban Armor Gear’s Metropolis Folio (view at Best Buy) will help to keep your iPad safe in even the most challenging environments. 

About Our Trusted Experts

Jesse Hollington is a tech journalist with over 10 years of experience writing about technology, with an especially strong expertise in all things iPhone and iPad. Jesse previously served as Editor-in-Chief for iLounge, authored books on the iPod and iTunes, and has published product reviews, editorials, and how-to articles on Forbes, Yahoo, The Independent, and iDropNews.

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 the size and thickness of the case 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. Thanks to the popularity of Apple's Smart Cover and Smart Keyboard, these cases aren't too hard to find—they generally just leave the Smart Connector edge exposed so you can attach the Smart Keyboard or Smart Cover. 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—although of course you'll have to carry it around separately.

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 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

Apple's iPad lineup has significantly expanded from its humble beginnings as a single model, and today you'll find various models in a wide range of models and sizes. The iPad Pro is currently offered in large 12.9-inch and 11-inch versions, while the newest fourth-generation iPad Air has adopted a similar design. Apple's entry-level iPad still features a more traditional design with a home button and a 10.2-inch screen. You may also still find older iPad Pro and iPad Air models with 10.5-inch and 9.7-inch screens. Don't just look at the screen size, however, as the thickness also varies between different models. Always make sure the case you're purchasing specifically lists compatibility with your iPad model.

Design

Almost all iPad cases can be used as a stand to prop up your iPad, but make sure they allow the angles and orientations you're looking for; many work great in landscape, but can be awkward if you want to use your iPad in portrait orientation for things like FaceTime calls. Also consider whether you want a slot for your Apple Pencil or pockets to store additional cables or documents. If you plan to use your iPad on the go, you also may want to look for a case with a strap or handle on the back so you can hold it securely while you're working with it.

Protection

Since the primary reason for buying an iPad case is usually to protect your iPad, you'll want to make sure that your choice can handle whatever you plan to put your iPad through. If you normally carry it in a laptop or messenger bag, you may be fine with just a cover, but if you want to tote it around by itself or be able to toss it into a backpack, you'll need something more rugged to protect it from dents, scratches, and potential drops.

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