The Galaxy S23 is here! But that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of your Galaxy S22 or the Galaxy S21. Now more than ever you’ll want to protect it with a good case. Because the Galaxy S21 comes in three sizes, you’ll need to make sure that you’re getting a case designed for your specific model. The S21 Ultra boasts a 6.8-inch screen and the heaviest build — making cases with integrated kickstands a good option for this big boy. The S21 Plus is smaller at 6.7 inches, while the S21 is even smaller at 6.2 inches. No matter what model you’ve got, we’ve rounded up all the best S21, S21 and S21 Ultra case options available to show you what is out there to protect your investment.
Note that some of the recommendations for these Galaxy S21 series cases are based on my experience using nearly identical models with preceding Galaxy smartphones, as well as iPhones. Where multiple products are shown, the price listed is the starting price for the line. Make sure that you’re buying the case and tempered glass that matches the specific model of your S21 — Ultra, Plus or standard.
Leading case maker Speck brings a selection of protective case options to the Galaxy S21, including (from left to right in picture above) the Presidio Perfect-Clear, Presidio Perfect-Mist, Presidio Perfect-Clear Ombre, and Presidio2 Grip. They also have cases for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Galaxy Z Flip models, the Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy S7, S8, S9 and S10..
If you’re looking for a cheap clear case for your new Galaxy S21, Spigen’s Ultra Hybrid is a good value. I like the Ultra Hybrid S (on left in photo), which has an integrated kickstand.
Available in brown or black, Samsung’s leather case offers a hardened protective layer around the cameras while delivering a nice leather feel the rest of the way around. Leather doesn’t affect wireless charging or anything, so you can pop this on your phone and have it feel great without sacrificing anything. The soft leather case doesn’t add bulk to the phone and has good shock absorption.
Samsung’s Clear Standing Cover isn’t anything fancy but it’s a protective clear case that has an integrated kickstand. You can prop your phone up horizontally or vertically using the kickstand, which seems sturdy (it’s larger than Spigen’s integrated kickstand). I regularly use this case.
I’ve become a recent fan of Clckr’s cases, which feature a built-in stand and grip strap that folds out and clicks into place on the back of your phone. Clckr sells just the stand-strap accessory to stick on the back of your phone or on a case, but the case with the integrated stand accessory is better. The selection for the S21 is currently pretty limited (there’s only a clear version S21 and S21 Plus, not the S21 Ultra), but perhaps the options will expand over time.
The company’s super protective Defender series case is available for all the Galaxy S21 models, but most people want something less bulky. I like the Symmetry series cases — they’re slim with beveled edges, making them a good mix of sleek and protective. That said, I’ve come to like the more protective Commuter Series better, thanks to the grips it has on the back and sides, as well as having raised edges on the front that should help protect your screen. The raised bezel acts as a screen protector to keep your screen scratch-free and the camera module gets the same treatment.
Sometimes you need more than an average case, and while there are plenty which claim “ruggedness” there are only a few willing to back that claim up. ArmadilloTek’s Vanguard series is MIL STD 810G rated, which means it can survive drops of up to 20 foot thanks to its multilayer design and gives great camera lens protection. Even with those layers in between the phone and the charger, one of which includes a pull-out stand, this case still supports wireless charging.
British case-maker Gear4, now owned by Zagg, makes cases that are right there with OtterBox and Speck. They’re all lined with the company’s D3O shock-absorbing material and feature beveled edges to protect your phone. Shown here from left to right are the Havana (10-foot drop protection), Denali (16-foot drop protection), Crystal Palace (13-foot drop protection) and Copenhagen (13-foot drop protection). All use some recycled plastic in their construction, but the Copenhagen, made out of 52% plant-based material, is the most eco-friendly.
Particularly with the two larger models of the Galaxy S21, I find that having an integrated kickstand is a nice feature and the ESR kickstand case is about as affordable as you get.
Cyrill is a sub-brand of Spigen and like Spigen, its cases generally sell for less than $20. Cyrill doesn’t have quite the same selection for the Galaxy S21 as it does for the iPhone 12, but it has some protective clear cases with floral designs (pictured on right), as well as the Brick Matte Finish Bumper case, which has a soft-to-the-touch finish (pictured on left). It has a raised frame on the back that provides some extra protection for the camera lenses. The corners of the case have a raised lip as well.
Some people like to have full-screen protection, so they go with a folio case that covers the screen. The Strada Via is a new folio case from Otterbox that has a soft-to-the-touch finish and stays closed thanks to a set of magnets. It’s also got a slot for storing a credit card or two. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that it doesn’t convert into a kickstand for video viewing.
For the Galaxy S21, UK-based Mous makes its Clarity Lite clear case with anti-yellowing tech as well as its Limitless 3.0 case, which comes in a few different eye-catching styles (Aramid Fiber is shown on left). They’re all lined with the AiroShock material that the company says delivers excellent protection in a slim design. They do seem durable and all include a lifetime warranty.
Lifeproof’s Wake case is made out of recycled ocean plastic. It’s attractively designed but I wouldn’t call it super tough — it isn’t enclosed at the bottom and has 6-foot drop protection. (Note that some cases on this list have higher drop-protection ratings.)