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The best iPad cases in September 2021: protect your tablet

Best iPad cases
(Image credit: ProCase)

One of the best iPad cases is an absolute must-have if you've just treated yourself to an Apple tablet. Even if you're the sort of person who's super careful with their tech and never bothers to buy a phone case, an iPad case is still a necessity.

It's not about the protection – although that's always a bonus if you're not always super careful with your tech – but more about the whole iPad experience. A naked iPad may look lovely but it's just a bit too smooth and shiny for its own good; it doesn't feel quite as secure in your hand as it does with a quality case, and if you're using it on the sofa you're likely to get it sliding down your lap if you don't have one hand on it.

The other massive advantage of a case is that it makes your iPad just that little bit more useful; almost all cases double as a stand, giving you just the right angle for typing or for propping your iPad up for watching movies or making video calls. And if you need that bit more you can also get cases with built-in keyboards, turning your iPad into a full productivity machine.

We've gathered together a selection of the best iPad cases for most instances, from cheap and cheerful covers to high-end models with premium features. And if you haven't equipped yourself with an iPad yet, check out our guides to the best iPad deals and best Apple deals. Got an iPad and want more from it? Check out our guide to the best iPad keyboards or our list of the best iPad stands

The best iPad cases in 2021

Best iPad cases: Apple Smart Folio

(Image credit: Apple)

01. Apple Smart Folio

The best case for iPad Air 4 (and other models)

Specifications
Materials: : Polyurethane
Colours: : Black, Cyprus Green, Deep Navy, Electric Orange, Mallard Green, Pink Citrus, White
Weight: : 180g
Reasons to buy
+Fits perfectly+Feels and looks great
Reasons to avoid
-No edge protection-Expensive

We've been using an Apple Smart Folio with a 2020 iPad Air for about four months, and while it's far from cheap – especially considering it's made from polyurethane rather than leather – it's an impressive piece of kit. It packs some powerful magnets that hold it in place beautifully (we were a little cynical about how well they would work but nope, once it's fitted it won't budge), it feels lovely to the touch and it's ideal for propping your iPad up on your desk or table in either orientation. The lack of edge protection might be a concern for some, but if you're not in the habit of throwing your iPad around then you'll find this is top of the best iPad cases.

Best iPad cases: JETech Case

(Image credit: JETech)

02. JETech Case

The best cheap iPad case

Specifications
Materials: : PU, PC, Microfibre
Colours: Black, Blue, Green, Light Purple, Matcha Green, Misty Blue, Navy, Pink, Purple, Red, Rose Gold, Yellow
Weight: : 125g
Reasons to buy
+Cheap and cheerful+Does the job
Reasons to avoid
-Feels a bit flimsy-Not the best protection

The JETech case looks pretty much the same as Apple's official iPad covering, but it's a lot cheaper, and definitely one of the best iPad cases if you're trying to save money. It doesn't feel as nice or as well-made as the Apple case – it's definitely a lot more plastic in feel and we wouldn't count on it lasting for years – but it does the job in so much as it'll give your iPad a bit of protection, work as a stand and wake it up and put it to sleep when you open or close the cover. Comes in a bigger choice of colours, too!

Best iPad cases: Casemade Leather Case

(Image credit: Casemade)

03. Casemade Leather Case

The best case for iPad Pro

Specifications
Materials: Leather
Colours: Black, Tan
Weight: 500g
Reasons to buy
+Premium leather build+Fits nicely+All the right features
Reasons to avoid
-Leather could be thicker

We were disappointed that Apple don't make a leather iPad case but we got over it. However if the most important feature you're looking for in the best iPad cases is an all-leather build, you need to take a look at the Casemade. Available for pretty much every recent size of iPad, iPad Air and iPad Pro (no iPad Mini version though), it's a gorgeous-looking case made of high quality cowhide, designed to fit your iPad snugly and securely. It allows easy access to all your iPad's external features, and doubles up as a stand either for typing or watching video, and it provides a full sleep/wake function.

Best iPad cases: OtterBox Defender

(Image credit: Apple)

04. OtterBox Defender

One of the best iPad 8 cases for extra protection

Specifications
Materials: Polycarbonate, Synthetic Rubber, Polyester
Colours: Black
Weight: Not stated
Reasons to buy
+Tough and rugged+Handy port covers+Available for most iPads
Reasons to avoid
-Adds a lot of bulk

Are you a little clumsy with your tech? If you're forever dealing with cracked screens and dented casing then you probably want something a little more substantial than most of the best iPad cases with which to sheathe your beloved tablet, and the OtterBox Defender should do the job for you. It's a rugged but low-profile case that provides three layers of protection, including a solid inner shell and a tough outer slipcover, and it'll happily withstand drops, bumps and shocks. It also features port covers to keep out dust and dirt, and naturally it'll work as a stand as well.

Best iPad cases: Apple Smart Keyboard Folio

(Image credit: Apple)

05. Apple Smart Keyboard Folio

One of the best iPad Pro cases with keyboard

Specifications
Materials: Not stated
Colours: Black
Weight: 310g
Reasons to buy
+Full-size keyboard+Great fit
Reasons to avoid
-No trackpad-Quite expensive

Apple's Smart Keyboard Folio is the ideal choice if you're after one of the best iPad cases that also helps you to get work done. Like the Smart Folio it attaches magnetically and provides decent enough protection, but the main feature here is the full-size keyboard that instantly turns your iPad into a much more productive device. It's available for the 3rd gen iPad Pro 11-inch and 2020 iPad Air, and in a heftier version suitable for the 5th gen iPad Pro 12.9-inch, and while there are cheaper iPad cases with keyboard to be had (such as Logitech's Folio Touch), the Apple option feels just right to us.

Best iPad cases: ZUGU iPad Air 2020 Case

(Image credit: ZUGU)

06. ZUGU iPad Air 2020 Case

One of the best iPad Air cases with Pencil holder

Specifications
Materials: Microfibre, Synthetic Leather, Polycarbonate
Colours: Black
Weight: 500g
Reasons to buy
+Two Pencil holders+Drop protection+10 viewing angles
Reasons to avoid
-Premium price

For many creatives the big question when they're checking out the best iPad cases is likely to be: can I still attach my Apple Pencil? (Almost certainly followed up with: and will it still charge?) With the ZUGU case you're doubly covered; it features a recessed holder on the spine for storing and charging your Pencil, and there's also another holder on the back for holding it when it doesn't need a charge. This premium case for the 2020 iPad Air (it's also available in Pro sizes) gives you drop protection up to five feet, and it also provides 10 magnetically-secured viewing angles when you're using it as a stand.

Best iPad cases: Catalyst Waterproof iPad Case

(Image credit: Catalyst)

07. Catalyst Waterproof iPad Case

The best iPad case for complete protection from the elements

Specifications
Materials: Not stated
Colours: Stealth Black, Red
Weight: 400g
Reasons to buy
+IP68 waterproofing+Drop protection+Screen protector included
Reasons to avoid
-Limited Pencil compatibility

If the OtterBox Defender above isn't quite doing it for you in terms of protection and you demand waterproofing on top of everything else, your best bet is the Catalyst waterproof case. Almost as expensive as the Apple Smart Keyboard Folio, with this one the benefits are drop protection up to four feet and IP68 waterproofing, which means your iPad should survive in up to two metres of water. It's easy to fit and comes with its own screen protector; bear in mind though that if you use a Pencil it won't pair or charge through this case, so it's one you'll probably want to keep handy for when you're taking your iPad out and about.

Best iPad cases: ProCase iPad Mini Case

(Image credit: ProCase)

08. ProCase Case with Cover for iPad Mini

A great little case for your iPad Mini

Specifications
Materials: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
Colours: Black, Grey, Red, Navy, Teal
Weight: 156g
Reasons to buy
+Great price+Slimline and protective+Two viewing angles
Reasons to avoid
-Feels a little basic

Quite a few of the cases featured here overlook the iPad Mini, but if that's your preferred size and you need something to give it some protection without bulking it out too much, we reckon the ProCase will see you right. It's made of ABS material that'll help your Mini stand up to bumps, scratches and shocks as well giving it a lovely tactile texture. Like most of the best iPad cases it attaches magnetically and provides full wake/sleep features, and it also gives you dual standing positions so that you have two viewing angles to choose from when you're using the ProCase as a stand.

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Jim McCauley

Jim McCauley is a writer, cat-wrangler and occasional street performer who's written for a multitude of publications over the past quarter of a century, including Creative Bloq, T3, PC Gamer and a whole load of long-dead print magazines.