No stranger to the perils of saltwater on phones, Jayne Toyne looks at 12 of the best and tested waterproof phone cases, suitable for iPhone and Android models.

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There’s a moment I’m sure we can all identify, when we first googled “best waterproof phone case” which was roughly 60 seconds after our phone was dunked without one. There’s no drying these things out with a tub of rice on a radiator if salt water gets into the electronic wizardry.

My uh-o moment came shortly after a particularly sporty tack as I soloed out of the Solent one day in 2014 and my beloved smart device, perched on a high shelf, on charge, flew off and landed in just 10mm of salty water on the cabin sole. It was game over, never to be revived.

Since then, I’ve been on a mission to make sure my phones are always protected, almost to the point of obsession and have personally used most of the cases I’ve listed here.

Most manufacturers state that their phones are waterproof these days, but don’t be fooled, they absolutely do not like salt water. But we’ve come a long way since the old Ziplock sandwich bag method.

The waterproof case you choose should fit the purpose, whether you’re an offshore sailor, a paddleboarder, dinghy racer or simply enjoy being outside whatever the weather. You might have several devices for a variety of circumstances.

From flexible pouches (which can fit over your whole phone, case and all) to everyday cases to dive housings, we’ve hand-picked a selection of products that promise to keep our smartphones safe and dry while we use them to navigate, photograph wildlife and download the latest GRIB file or when we fancy a wild swim and can’t miss that video call with Aunty Beryl.

These can be short lived consumable items that should be recycled at end of life, so we’ve given them an eco rating to help you decide what fits your conscience as well as your phone.

12 of the best waterproof phone cases available right now

Ghostek waterproof phone case

Ghostek waterproof phone case – suitable for everyday use – click here to shop now

TESTED – Ghostek

Editor’s choice – Best everyday waterproof phone case

A very smart everyday solution for those who like to always keep a waterproof case on their phone and for those who are on and around water most of the time.

It can be used for swimming as well as general drop and knock protection, to 3.6m. It feels slim for a waterproof case and has a handy lanyard attachment.

They say it can be submersed for up to an hour at 6 meters, but I wouldn’t trust this for diving. Though if you do drop it in the marina and you’re prepared to go for a swim, it’s likely to come up dry.

Cost: £37.00

Specs

Charge while in case: Yes
Responsive touch screen: Good
Headphone access: Yes on some models
Waterproof: Yes (1hr@6m)
Generic or specific model fit: Specific to Android and Apple models
Sound quality: Excellent
Eco rating: 2/5 (rubber, thermoplastic, polycarbonate are harder to recycle)
Lifespan: 5+ years (lifetime warranty)

For: Excellent for everyday use, can charge phone with case on, access for contactless charging.
Against: Limited choice of colours, limited phone models catered for.
Overall rating: 4/5

Buy it now on Ghostek.com

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Lanhiem waterproof phone case

Lanhiem waterproof phone case – suitable for everyday use – click here to shop now

TESTED – Lanhiem

Highly recommended – Best Budget Buy

A lower cost and slightly lower spec version than the Ghostek, this case comes recommended by a dinghy racing friend who works for the RNLI boat building and maintenance team.

This case has taken some abuse as it is in use daily, on site, repeatedly dropped and we’re reliably told that if you get a splash of epoxy on it, it wipes off easily.

We don’t recommend going diving with it, but stuff it inside your buoyancy jacket and if you go for an unplanned swim during a regatta, you won’t be worried about being able to call your friends afterwards.

Cost: £21.99

Specs

Charge while in case: Yes
Responsive touch screen: Good
Headphone access: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (1hr@2m)
Generic or specific model fit: Specific to Android and Apple models
Sound quality: Very good
Eco rating: 3/5 (mixed material including TPU)
Lifespan: 1 year

For: Does what it promises for a budget friendly price, can charge with case on.
Against: Not particularly stylish, fingerprint recognition membrane wears out quickly.
Overall rating: 3/5

Buy it now on Amazon

fre waterproof phone case

Fre waterproof phone case – suitable for everyday use – click here to shop now

ECO SELECTION – FRĒ FOR iPHONE SE (2nd gen) and iPHONE 8/7

This is a stylish eco option if you are an iPhone user. It’s made from 35% Ocean-based plastic and 25% recycled plastic. This is a premium priced everyday waterproof phone protector.

Much like the other day to day waterproof covers, this one has modest waterproofing, so we don’t advise taking it freediving with you, but it should withstand a prolonged dunking and will be quite happy to oblige your dolphin filming epics whilst taking a wave to the head. Just remember to wear a tether. Oh, and keep a tight grip on this as it doesn’t come with a lanyard attachment.

Cost: £69.99

Specs

Charge while in case: Yes
Responsive touch screen: Good
Headphone access: N/A
Waterproof: Yes (1hr@2m)
Generic or specific model fit: Selected iPhone models
Sound quality: Excellent
Eco rating: 4/5
Lifespan: 5+

For: Stylish looking and eco-friendly using recycled materials.
Against: Currently only for iPhones, expensive, no lanyard.

Overall rating: 4/5

Buy it now on Lifeproof.co.uk

4smart waterproof phone case

4smart waterproof phone case – suitable for everyday use – click here to shop now

TESTED – 4Smart iPhone Waterproof Phone Case

Available from a high street chandlery, this waterproof smart phone case offers a somewhat unique additional option of adhesive mounts that allow you to connect it to a range of compatible mounts for a variety of purposes around your boat and beyond.

It’s 100% waterproof as most daily-use cases of this type are though it’s submersion rating is the lowest of our choices at just 30 minutes for 2 meters.

The range of compatible phones is small, though this may be updated in store and the website may need to catch up. The touch screen remains fully functional whilst in the case and you can charge your phone whilst it remains in the case.

Cost: £29.95

Specs

Charge while in case: Yes
Responsive touch screen: Good
Headphone access: Yes
Waterproof: Yes (30mins@2m)
Generic or specific model fit:  iPhone, 5/5S/5SE/6/6S/7/6 Plus/6S Plus/7 Plus and Samsung S7 and S8
Sound quality: Excellent
Eco rating: 2/5 polycarbonate is hard to recycle
Lifespan: 1 year +

For: A moderately good waterproof phone case available, has optional adhesive mounts for use around the boat, from a known high street chandlery.
Against: Available for very limited choice of phone models.

Overall rating: 2/5

Buy it now on Force 4 Chandlery

Musto water resistant phone wallet

Musto water resistant phone wallet – suitable for occasional use – click here to shop now

TESTED – Musto Evolution waterproof smartphone case

Don’t let the name fool you, this is a water-resistant pouch that will fit a multitude of smart phones, but not the largest on the market. Typically for a Musto item, this pouch looks smart and nicely designed and its brighter colour makes it easy to fish out of a kit bag in a dark cabin.

You won’t want to go swimming with this, but if your plan is to stuff it inside your foulies then you’ll be happy that this has a softer roll-top closure rather than the hard plastic clip of some rivals. It might also allow you to leave on a slim silicon case to help with bump protection, but only if you have a smaller smartphone.

Cost: £18.00

Specs

Charge while in case: No, unless wireless charging
Space inside for silicon bumper case: Possibly with smaller phones
Responsive touch screen: Moderate
Headphone access: No
Waterproof: No, water-resistant
Generic or specific model fit: 19 x 14cm (7.5” x 5.5” external dimension, phone must be 6” or less to fit)
Sound quality: Moderate
Eco rating: 2/5 Surface: 100% Nylon; Backing: 100% TPU
Lifespan: 2+ years estimated

For: A very budget friendly option, easy to carry in your kit bag.
Against: Quite a small fit so you won’t get larger smartphones in this, mixed materials makes this hard to recycle at the end of its life.
Overall rating: 2/5

Buy it now on Musto.com

Overboard waterproof phone wallet

Overboard waterproof phone wallet – suitable for occasional use – click here to shop now

TESTED – Overboard waterproof phone case

Editor’s choice: Best flexible waterproof phone wallet for a tethered-on versatile view screen

I’ve used the same overboard case for the past 7 years for my small tablet as a repeater for AIS on night watch. These things can take a pretty good beating with waves landing on them and all sorts of hot and cold conditions thrown at them whilst being stuffed in various crevices in the cockpit.

I use a larger tablet case so that I can fit in a spare battery pack to keep my device charged up. As a waterproof phone case, they’re just as good, minus the extra padding you’ll get with the tablet cases.

If you can squeeze in a silicon case then do it. The waterproof clamp on these is very reassuring. Just give them a rinse every now and again to wash off the salt residue in the slides.

Cost: £19.99 (S) or £21.99 (L)

Specs

Charge while in case: No, unless wireless charging
Space inside for silicon bumper case: Possible with some slim cases
Responsive touch screen: Moderate
Headphone access: No
Waterproof: Yes (1hr@6m)
Generic or specific model fit: Large 17cm x 9cm (6.7“ x 3.5“) Small 15cmx7.5cm ( 6“ x 2.95“)
Sound quality: Moderate
Eco rating: 4/5 TPU relatively easy to recycle
Lifespan: 5+ (5 year warranty)

For: Versatile and very sturdy piece of kit that will last years.
Against: Tendency to fog a little in rapid temperature changes.
Overall rating: 5/5

Buy it now on over-board.co.uk

Aquapac waterproof phone wallet

Aquapac waterproof phone wallet – suitable for occasional use – click here to shop now

TESTED: Aquapac

Aquapac is the name we all know and associate with waterproof protective cases. You can operate your phone and camera through the flexible pouch easily enough.

Your phone might move about within the case, if so, you might be able to fit an additional slim battery pack in there to give you longer times between opening the pouch to charge your phone.

The lanyard and aquaclip give an added feeling of security as you can tether your device securely. Beware of slight fogging inside the case when the temperature changes rapidly.

Cost: £22.95

Specs

Charge while in case: No, unless wireless charging
Space inside for silicon bumper case: Yes, this is a generously sized wallet
Responsive touch screen: Moderate
Headphone access: No
Waterproof: Yes (1hr @ 5m)
Generic or specific model fit: generous sizing fits most phones
Sound quality: Good
Eco rating: 4/5 TPU Thermoplastic polyurethane is recyclable
Lifespan: 5+ (5 year guarantee)

For: A simple case that will fit a multitude of devices, easy to carry in a kit bag, sturdy clip and lanyard.
Against: Prone to fogging inside, no bump protection.
Overall rating: 4/5

Buy it now on marinesuperstore.com

Shellbox waterproof phone case

Shellbox waterproof phone case – suitable for sub aqua activity – click here to shop now

TESTED – Shellbox

Editors choice – Best waterproof phone case for snorkelling

This feels like a tonka toy when first using it with its chunky closure clips and big plastic housing, but it’s a very good budget dive case for a multitude of phones, as it has a sprung loaded mount internally to fit almost any smart phone.

I bought one of these to zoom call a friend’s son in the UK during lockdown while I was stuck in the Azores. We had a brilliant time spotting marine life together in the shallow clear water. With a Bluetooth headset you can carry on a normal conversation, but don’t try talking/listening through the case, you’ll hear nothing.

Functionality of the phone is somewhat limited once inside it, so make sure it’s set correctly before you jump in. It comes with a sturdy lanyard and a small lever to help prize open the reassuringly sealed shut case after use.

Cost: £35.99

Specs

Charge while in case: No
Space inside for silicon bumper case: No
Responsive touch screen: Moderate out of water. Not usable underwater
Headphone access: No
Waterproof: Yes (1hr@15m)
Generic or specific model fit: fits (almost) anything with universal fit
Sound quality: Poor. Use Bluetooth headset
Eco rating: 4/5 (PET, it’s very easy to recycle this plastic after use)
Lifespan: 3+ (12 month guarantee)

For: Good sturdy handhold with lanyard, fits a multitude of phones, go snorkelling with confidence.
Against: Very specific use, can’t be used for general phone calling without a headset.
Overall rating: 5/5

Buy it now on Amazon

sealife waterproof phone case

Sealife waterproof phone case – suitable for scuba diving – click here to shop now

PREMIUM SELECTION – Sealife Sport Diver

Ok, this dive case is very niche with a price tag to match but for those of you who absolutely love to scuba dive or free dive on a regular basis and want to take your mobile phone with you as a recording device then this is your weapon of choice if you want to spend the thick end of £300 for your pleasure.

It’s powered with additional AAA batteries to give up to 50 hours of shooting time and you’re safe to record down to 40 metres. You’ll be needing some extra lighting at that depth, and they make those too as an optional attachment.

Cost: £279

Specs

Charge while in case? Additional power from AAA batteries for the screen
Space inside for silicon bumper case: No
Responsive touch screen: N/A
Headphone access:N/A
Waterproof: Yes to 40m
Generic or specific model fit: fits variety of phone sizes due to universal internal fitting
Sound quality: N/A
Eco rating: 3/5 (needs disassembly for recycling)
Lifespan: 5+ years

For: Freedom to travel light and scuba with your phone.
Against: Did you see the price of it?
Overall rating: 4/5

Buy it now on mikesdivestore.com

decathlon - waterproof phone case

Decathlon waterproof phone case – suitable for all weather sporting activity – click here to shop now

TESTED – Decathlon Triban 900 L waterproof (bike) smartphone holder

For the clip-on navigator who likes to use a bit of navionics/savvy navvy while they helm or to use their phone attached to the binnacle. This is designed for cyclists, but it works for us sailors too. Protects from bumps and weather falling from the sky.

Not submersible/waterproof though, so buyer beware. The sturdy holder with screw clamp will ensure a good grip on any suitable sized pole or binnacle tubing. (to fit 2 to 3.5cm (7/8” to 1/2.5”) Max phone dimensions: 15.5cm x 8cm x 0.8cm (6.2” x 3.1” x 3/8”) Also available in a smaller version

Cost: £19.99

Specs

Ability to charge while in case: No
Space inside for silicon bumper case: No
Responsive touch screen: Moderate
Headphone access: No
Waterproof: Weather resistant, not submersible
Generic or specific model fit: Two sizes available
Sound quality: Moderate. Use a Bluetooth headset for best call quality.
Eco rating: 3/5 ((mixed materials, some recyclable, some not easily) Main fabric 54% Thermoplastic Polyurethane, 24% Polyamide 6, 15% Rubber – Synthetic, 7% Steel ))
Lifespan: 3+ years (estimated)

For: Really useful to have the quick release to attach this to a binnacle, will fit most smart phones except the very largest.
Against: One trick pony, no ability to charge on the go, mixed materials are much harder to recycle at end of life.
Overall rating: 2/5

Buy it now on Decathlon

Armpocket waterproof phone case

Armpocket waterproof phone case – suitable for all weather sporting activity – click here to shop now

TESTED – Arm Pocket Waterproof Armband

This 100% waterproof armband combines a waterproof pouch with a wearable solution. It has additional pocket space inside the pouch for a key, a bank card or some cash. You could wear this to surf, paddleboard, go dinghy sailing or maybe like me you have a large mast compression support pole that would fit this type of holder perfectly.

This has a similar closure to the decathlon bike mount water resistant holder, though this one can be submerged for up to 3 hours in shallow water, which is perfectly suitable for someone who plays wet and wild out on the water. Strap Length: Medium fits upper arm, 25cm-38cm (10”- 15″) large fits 33cm-45cm (13” – 18”)

Cost: £35.99

Specs

Charge while in case: no
Space inside for silicon bumper case: no
Responsive touch screen: Good
Headphone access: No
Waterproof: Yes (3hrs @ 1.2m)
Generic or specific model fit:  up to 14.5cm (5.75”)
Sound quality: Moderate, use a Bluetooth headset ideally
Eco rating: 2/5 (mixed materials are difficult to separate for recycling)
Lifespan: 2 + years

For: A handy way to carry your phone while paddleboarding, easy to strap the case to poles and rails, carry other items within internal pocket.
Against: No camera access, bulky to carry on an arm, the top roll down plastic clip can be uncomfortable.
Overall rating: 3/5

Buy it now on armpocket-armband.co.uk

Red Original waterproof phone case

Red Original waterproof phone case – suitable for all weather sporting activity – click here to shop now

Red Original Waterproof Dry Pouch

For the paddleboarder or wet and wild tender transfer, this waterproof red paddle pouch will keep more than just your phone dry. It has an easy-attach Velcro strap system which secures to bungee cord on your paddleboard or to your tender’s seat or other strong point.

It is foam padded internally to give superior knock protection and it’s submersible thanks to a YKK aquaseal zip. Personally, I’d be teaming this up with an additional waterproof case around my phone, because what about that moment you want to take that incredible photograph of a comedy seal that pops up nearby? This a great way to carry your belongings safely but beware of taking them out while you’re still on the water.

Cost: £64.95

Specs

Charge while in case: Yes if you have a portable battery pack
Space inside for silicon bumper case:  Yes
Responsive touch screen: N/A
Headphone access: No
Waterproof: Yes (aquaseal zip – briefly submersible)
Generic or specific model fit: will fit any phone and lots more besides
Sound quality: N/A
Eco rating: 1/5 (mixed materials difficult to separate)
Lifespan: 5+

For: A versatile waterproof carry case to carry more than just a phone.
Against: You need to remove your phone to use it unless you use a Bluetooth headset.
Overall rating: 3/5

Buy it now on red-equipment.co.uk

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated boating page for more marine products.