Buyer's Guide to iPad Cases

The sleek design of the iPad makes you want to show it off, but it’s still vulnerable to scratches and scuffs. Here’s a rundown of cases you can use to protect your device.

Shopping tips

There are hundreds of third-party iPad case and bags on the market, each specifically made for either the original iPad or the iPad 2. Here are a few things to look for when shopping for iPad protection.

First, keep in mind that the original iPad and the iPad 2 have slightly different shapes, so a case or bag made for one may not fit the other.

When shopping for a form-fitting case, make sure it doesn’t block the iPad's bottom-mounted speaker and dock-connector port; top-mounted headphone jack and microphone; front and back cameras (for the iPad 2); and buttons and switches.

And if you're shopping for a bag, and you see one that claims to be perfect for both iPads and netbooks, be suspicious.

Smart Cover

Apple’s in-house protector for the iPad 2 can’t really be called a case—as its name implies, the Smart Cover (polyurethane, $39; leather, $69) is really just a cover, and one that protects only the iPad 2’s screen at that. But oh, what a clever cover it is, containing a slew of neatly arranged magnets that let the Smart cover’s hinge attach, perfectly oriented, to the edge of the iPad; adhere to the iPad’s screen; and automatically sleep and wake the iPad when you close and open the cover, respectively.

Griffin Technology Standle

Shells and silicone skins such as the Griffin Technology Standle generally cover the back and sides of your iPad, but not the screen, offering moderate protection while letting you use the iPad in its case. These cases range from thin, polycarbonate coverings to soft-silicone skins to polycarbonate-and-rubber protection to chunky, molded-grip gaming jackets. A shell or skin made for the original iPad won’t fit the iPad 2, and vice versa.

Incase Perforated Snap Case

The Incase Perforated Snap Case for the iPad or Ipad 2 is another option.

Marware Microshell iPad 2 case

As is the Marware Microshell iPad 2 case.

Be.ez LA Robe Allure

Sleeve cases protect your iPad inside another bag, such as a backpack, briefcase, or messenger bag. Some are simple slide-in designs, while others zip closed or sport a flap closure for added security. Most fit both the iPad 2 and the original iPad. One option is the Be.ez LA Robe Allure.

Belkin Pleat Sleeve

Another is the Belkin Pleat Sleeve for iPad.

Sena Cases Executive Sleeve

Some users may opt to go with Sena Cases' Executive Sleeve for the iPad.

STM Jacket iPad

Others may choose STM's Jacket iPad.

Targus Crave Slipcase

Waterfield Designs iPad Smart Case

Two other options are Waterfield Designs' iPad Smart Case.

Waterfield Designs iPad Slip Case

And Waterfield Designs' iPad Slip Case.

Portenzo Notebook-Style case

Folio-style cases such as the Portenzo Notebook-Style case offer all-over protection for your iPad, but flip open for easy access to the iPad's screen without requiring you to remove the tablet from the case. If you’re looking for stylish protection, this is it. A folio case made for the original iPad won’t fit the iPad 2, and vice versa.

RadTech STM Skinny

There's also the RadTech STM Skinny.

Cygnett Lavish Folio Case

And two products from Cygnett. The first is the Lavish Folio Case.

Cygnett Lavish Book-style case

The second is the Lavish Book-style case.

Cocoon Harlem iPad/Netbook Sling

A bag lets you carry your iPad along with your other gear, and you can use it to tote your daily stuff even when you aren’t carrying your iPad with you. Bags generally fit both generations of iPad. One option is the Cocoon Harlem iPad/Netbook Sling.

Timbuk2 Freestyle Netbook Messenger

The Timbuk2 Freestyle Netbook Messenger is another excellent choice.

Tom Bihn Ristretto

A third option is the Tom Bihn Ristretto for iPad.

Incase Travel Kit Plus

Sometimes you want to carry more than just your iPad, but you don’t want a bulky bag or backpack. A carrying pack such as the Incase Travel Kit Plus protects your iPad but also accommodates cables, a charger, and even a standalone Bluetooth keyboard. Most carrying packs will accommodate an iPad 2 or the original iPad.

WaterField Designs iPad Wallet

There is also the WaterField Designs iPad Wallet.

WaterField Designs iPad Travel Express

And another product from WaterField Designs, the iPad Travel Express.

BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber

Body films protect the sides and backside of your iPad from scratches and scuffs
 without adding bulk — they’re simply a
thin layer of super-protective material that
adheres directly to the iPad. Most types can be removed without leaving behind sticky residue. Some also include a screen film (see the next section). Although the BodyGuardz Armor Carbon Fiber and other models listed here are for the iPad 2, each is also available in a version for the original iPad.

BodyGuardz Clear Skins

Another body film from BodyGuardz is the Clear Skins.

Moshi iVisor

Screen films are designed to protect the 
iPad’s screen from scratches without affecting touchscreen performance; a few also aim to reduce screen glare. Unfortunately, many of these films are difficult to apply, and some actually make glare and fingerprints worse. If you’re patient and have a steady hand, try the Moshi iVisor.