Editor's note: The Galaxy S22 has been around for most of 2022 and the Galaxy S23 is right around the corner, rumored for early 2023. If you have a Galaxy S21, it might be coming time to consider an upgrade.
With one of the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases installed on your phone, you'll keep your Galaxy S21 looking as fresh as when you first brought it home. But you don't have to opt for some boring leather holster or a simple clear case — there are plenty of different and unique styles to choose from.
The Galaxy S21, although since replaced by the Galaxy S22, is an excellent Android phone. But that won't stop it from suffering heavy damage if you drop it, which is where cases can come in. Plus, a few cases will give you more than just protection, like slots for cash and cards or a kickstand.
If you haven't bought an S21 yet but can't make up your mind up on which model to get, here's our Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S21 face-off to help you, and our best Galaxy S21 Ultra cases guide if you opt for the larger phone.
Best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases
Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
OtterBox is one of the best-known names in phone cases for a reason. The Defender Series Pro case features an outer polycarbonate shell wrapped around a soft foam insert to keep your phone safe from falls. OtterBox says this model of case is rated for four times as many drops as the military standard, and its design is raised in all the right places to deflect damage to your screen or camera.
In addition to the soft core liner and polycarbonate shell, the OtterBox Defender Series comes with a holster, which can be used as a kickstand and can be clipped to a belt. Add in the fact that the Defender is one of the few products on this list that has a lifetime warranty, and it's easy to understand why it's the top of the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases list.
Samsung's LED Wallet Cover for the Galaxy S21 is the ideal option from our best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases picks for anyone on the go. The added protection of a cover gives the S21’s 6.2-inch display considerably more protection than just using a screen protector alone. The case also has a pocket inside that can fit one card, which is perfect for a transit pass or debit card.
The coolest feature of this case is the LED display on the front. Of course, it allows you to check the time quickly without having to turn your phone screen on, but that's just the beginning. The cover is touch-sensitive, so you can answer calls as well as add custom icons and functions to it. Unlike many of the other best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases, the Samsung LED Wallet Cover doesn't just protect your phone; it extends its functionality.
Most cases are either thick and multi-layered for maximum protection or thinner for aesthetic purposes. The Case-Mate Pelican Voyager is among the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases becase it brings the best of both worlds. The Pelican Voyager provides a thick, four-layer outer edge but has a thinner transparent back that allows users to continue to admire their phone's design.
In addition to protecting your phone from drops, the Pelican Voyager helps keep your Samsung Galaxy S21 germ-free with a Micropel antimicrobial coating. Rounding out its feature set is a holster with a belt clip that can be used as a kickstand.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Rugged Protective Case is the most heavy-duty case that Samsung makes. The design meets military-grade standards for drop-testing but still manages to be thin and sleek-looking. An alloy-like look on the case’s back gives a bit of sophistication, making it a durable but well-rounded member of the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases.
Samsung includes a novel kickstand with its Rugged Protective case. In fact, there are two kickstands — one for using the phone in the portrait and one for landscape. You can detach them, so that if too much pressure is placed on the phone, they’ll simply disconnect, instead of breaking off permanently.
The Spigen Tough Armor case for the Samsung Galaxy S21 is an excellent alternative to the more expensive best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases. The Tough Armor case features an inner cover made of multiple layers of impact foam, which is fitted with a polycarbonate outer shell.
The Tough Armor also features a kickstand, which is sturdy enough to allow users to watch hours of video anywhere they go. Like other Spigen cases, the Tough Armor version for the S21 also features some of the best buttons you’ll find on a phone case. Nothing ruins the feeling of getting a new case worse than mushy, unresponsive buttons, which thankfully isn't a worry here.
There are plenty of cases that feature a raised edge to protect your Samsung Galaxy S21 from a drop. However, we've only found one that features a cover to protect the phone's four lenses from a head-on hit. The Nillkin CamShield features a sliding lid that completely covers the camera, which offers much better protection to that one section of the device than any of the other best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases we've covered.
Other than the camera cover, the Nillkin CamShield is an average slim protective case. However, it's the only product that matters for those who need extra shielding for their cameras.
Phone cases aren't always as aesthetically pleasing they could be. But that’s not something you’ll need to worry about with the Caseology Parallax. This case has a double-layered bumper and a flexible body that offers a unique patterned look.
The Parallax comes in the standard black and gray we're used to, but it also can be purchased in a pastel purple and pink. These softer hues help this case stand out from the pack, making it the the most stylish of the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases.
Totallee is the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases pick for those who want their phones to feel like they're not using a case at all. Totallee's super thin cases come in two varieties. The matte black model is 0.02 inches thin, which is about as thick as a fingernail. This model is good for added protection but doesn't have the drop resistance that thicker cases do.
Fortunately, for those who want a super-thin case only with more shock absorption, Totallee's transparent cases are a bit thicker than the matte black at 0.03 inches. These two products aren't for the clumsier crowd, but they're perfect for those that want to use their phone as near to bare as possible while still getting excellent scratch protection.
A case doesn't have to be expensive to be good. The Ringke Air has a low price at $9, but its thin, transparent design makes it a great budget option among the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases. Ringke’s Galaxy S21 case features a no-frills design that does its job, which is all you need sometimes.
The Ringke Air is made of flexible Thermoplastic Polyurethane and features decent drop protection for the price. This case isn't going to match the resilience of the OtterBox or the thinness of the Totallee, but it's affordable and keeps your phone from getting scratched.
Add a luxurious feel to your S21 with this official Samsung leather case. It adds only a minimal amount of extra thickness while adding a soft, smudge-resistant layer to the back and sides. It surrounds the camera bump too, giving extra protection to the most important part of the phone's back.
The only downside is that Samsung recommends removing this case if you use the Wireless PowerShare reverse wireless charging feature. Plus you may find that the $50 asking price is too much compared to the cheaper, non-leather options we've already covered.
If you're particularly nervous about your S21 taking a sudden trip towards the ground, the Ringke Onyx case may be what you need to quell your worrying. The TPU case provides protection for all sides, including the phone's buttons, and also the display with raised bezels around the corners. However it's the coarsely-textured back that sets this case apart, making it harder for you to accidentally drop the phone in the first place.
Ringke also has two sets of holes bored through the corners of the case. These are there in case you want to add a hand strap or lanyard to your phone, making it even more secure than before.
Mous' Limitless 3.0 case comes in several kinds of finish, but we particularly like the look of this walnut version. As well as a tough back, the case features a raised lip around all sides, so you can put your phone screen-down with a much smaller risk of scratches too.
Limitless means this case is compatible with Mous' various magnetic accessories, including mounts and wallets, which gives your Galaxy phone new abilities. Another unique ability is the internal SIM card and tool holder, which will let you easily swap between SIMs when travelling, for example.
How to choose the best Samsung Galaxy S21 case for you
Choosing the best Samsung Galaxy S21 case means selecting the right model, material, and grade of protection. You don't need to spend an arm and a leg on your case if that isn't anything that's important to you, but you do want to try to keep your phone safe from the hazards of the outside world.
You'll want to choose the material, case thickness, and even coloring for a product that works for you. Maybe you don't want to feel a case on your phone at all. There's a case for that. If you need something with an oleophobic outer shell because you tend to work more with greasy food or in an industry that tends to get near oils, there's a case for you as well.
As we said from the outset, pricing isn't indicative of quality when it comes to the best Samsung Galaxy S21 cases. You can find some truly fantastic cases when you least expect them. Don't worry about price and notoriety so much as what you want to use your potential case for, and start your search there. You might find a wealth of different options that not only work for you, but blow the others you’ve used in the past away.
Just make sure that you’re shopping for a Galaxy S21 case. Samsung’s flagships come in three sizes, and cases built for the 6.7-inch Galaxy S21 Plus or 6.8-inch Galaxy S21 Ultra aren’t going to fit your 6.2-inch S21 and its smaller screen.