Finding the best iPhone XS Max case for your needs: we put dozens to the test
Apple's iPhone XS Max has a new larger size, which means many who pick one up will be looking for new case options. We've scoured the internet to find over 50 cases from over 20 of the best case purveyors to help you find one that best suits you.
With so many options, we couldn't include them all in this written post, so check out our hands on video as we show off all the cases in glorious HD.
Pad & Quill
Few companies have such a strong history of using premium materials in their products as Pad & Quill. This holds true for their latest cases as well. Our favorite was their Bella Fino Leather iPhone XS Max folio-style case.
The one we rock has the Chocolate hue of exterior leather and Deep Sea Blue on the inside. Because of the added size found on the iPhone XS Max, Pad & Quill is able to add four card slots to the left along with a cash pocket and a clear ID window.
As far as the iPhone portion goes, the phone can be snapped into a thin shell-style case, or the case can be removed and the iPhone can be mounted directly within the folio with removable 3M adhesive. We preferred the minimalist style of putting the phone in naked rather than in the shell.
Where to buy: Pad & Quill's Bella Fino Folio for the iPhone XS Max is currently on sale for $80.95 with exclusive coupon code INSIDER.
If you want something to set you apart, Kerf's fantastic wood cases are a great option to consider. Coming in several different woods including bulletwood, spalted beech, paduk, African mahogany, and more. The model we use is the walnut.
Each case is handmade and has many small touches, including moving wood buttons for the volume and side buttons. Inside is a velvety soft suede lining.
Where to buy: Kerf's iPhone XS Max wood cases start at $79 and can be ordered from Kerf directly. Shoppers can also save 10% with promo code PS10.
RhinoShield's offerings are comprised of two main case styles. The full coverage snap-on soft shells, and the modifiable Mod NX.
Their frames are what we really love, as you can choose the color of the bumper, the buttons, and the edge/back panel. This kind of modular system is rarely seen on cases because of the level of detail that has to go into all the parts, while still being protective. That is what is so impressive because all RhinoShield's cases can withstand drops of up to 11 feet.
Each of the Mod NX cases can have different colored buttons, different bumpers, and different backs. They could be used purely as a bumper with an open back, or they can ditch the rim and use a backplate for more protection.
Where to buy: RhinoShield's Mod NX cases for the iPhone XS Max can be ordered in a variety of colors on Amazon for $34.99 with free shipping.
Sena is leather purveyor, who has a fantastic simple leather case for the latest iPhones.
This black, pebbled leather case is minimalistic and wonderful. The oft-ignored interior has a racing-inspired design in the microfiber that we loved. They've also taken a cue from Apple using metal buttons on the sides, rather than the hard-to-discern leather imprints others employ.
All cases use premium Horween leather out of Chicago that develops a rich patina the more you use it.
Both the Rugged Folio and Rugged Case have been around awhile but they got some new upgrades for the new devices. The Rugged Folio is thinner, with a more flexible cover. The Rugged Case is also substantially thinner, which makes a huge difference when in use.
The Rugged Tri-Folio is all new, offering a great integrated solution for those with huge wallets. There are so many pockets and card slots to handle cash, cards, and more. We love that you can hold so much while keeping the back of the phone open for wireless charging.
Where to buy: Nomad's Rugged Case for the iPhone XS Max retails for $44.95, while the Rugged Folio sells for $59.95. The all-new Rugged Tri-Folio wallet case costs $79.95, with all three options available from Nomad directly.
Spigen is a prolific case maker, putting out countless designs and styles to appeal to a wide variety of users. Our favorites for the iPhone XS Max include the Ultra Hybrid, Liquid Crystal, and the Liquid Air.
Ultra Hybrid has a clear back with a rubberized bumper surrounding the edges as well as camera bump. The border is a matte black which offers some great contrast with the rest of the phone. Liquid Crystal and Liquid Air are both minimalist cases. Liquid Crystal is a simple all-clear case with some flexibility and Liquid Air offers a thin case with a textured pattern on the back.
Another popular option is the Tough Armor case that integrates a kickstand into the body.
Where to buy: Spigen's iPhone XS Max cases can be purchased through Amazon at a discount off retail. The Ultra Hybrid is currently selling for $11.99 and up, depending on color selected, while the Liquid Crystal is up to 20% off with prices as low as $11.99. The Liquid Air sells for slightly more, at $12.99, while the Tough Armor case with a kickstand can be purchased for as low as $16.99.
There are a few wood cases out there, see Kerf and Pad & Quill above for example. Toast is different by optionally adding designs into the wooden skin that attaches with genuine 3M adhesive.
Saying we were pessimistic about these skins is an understatement, but after quickly affixing this to our XS Max, we loved it. There is so much detail, all of which is laser cut. The designs are super intricate and look even better in person.
The skin even is perforated to go around all the corners of the phone as well, with optional covers for the front edge, buttons, and camera cutout. We neglected the front rim, but did like using the coves for the camera and buttons.
Our cover was walnut with a series of chevrons embedded within it that we got to design ourselves. For some designs, there is also a metal component to add an additional design element.
Where to buy: Toast's wooden cases for the iPhone XS Max start at $34 with the front panel available for an additional $10. Optional designs range from $5 to $10, with the entire lineup available directly from Toast.
Clear cases are clearly popular this year, most likely to highlight the wonderful glass and metal nature of the new iPhones, including the stylish gold color.
Tech 21's clear case can withstand drops from up to 10 feet and has internal ribs along the sides to aid shock absorption.
Where to buy: Retailing for $$39.95, the Clear Case for the iPhone XS Max can be ordered from tech21 directly.
Incase too has a clear case, but we fell more in love with the Coque textured snap case.
This two-tone case has a soft-touch matte finish on the bottom and a unique fabric on the top.
Each of the buttons is denoted by subtle markings on the outside which frankly can be a bit tough to feel, but keeps the design simple.
Where to buy: The Textured Snap Case sells for $39.95 at Incase.
Leather cases are popular, which makes Burkley a go-to for all-leather cases.
They have several designs, especially when it comes to wallet cases. They have ones that open horizontally on the back as well as vertically depending on your preference.
If you don't like the wallet cases, they have a snap-on case with a TPU exterior, textured leather on the back with color matched suede on the inside.
Our favorite case though was their simple leather shell. It has a burnished leather look we love that even has leather on the insider. Most cases go with a cheaper suede or microfiber, but Burkley went all leather. Plus, it is already broken in so you don't have to wait for it to start looking distressed.
Silk has a very simple and affordable wallet-style case for the XS Max that is entirely made of a rubber-like material. Even the tension device that keeps the cards from falling out.
They come in more vivid colors which is a nice changeup from the usual medley of browns and blacks.
Where to buy: Silk's Wallet Slayer Vol. 1 case for the iPhone XS Max is available on Amazon in a variety of colors and patterns, with prices starting at $14.99. Users can even customize the design for $24.99 for a personalized feel.
Jumping into the Incipio cases, there are once more many options, colors, and styles.
The Esquire Series utilizes an almost denim-like fabric to wrap the case which has a classy, handsome look to it. Octane Pure has a tough, clear, solid back but mixes it up with a colorful bumper around the edges. Lastly, the Designer Series is a clear case with some beautiful prints on the back. This one looks particularly good on the gold iPhone XS Max.
Where to buy: Incipio's Esquire Series for the iPhone XS Max sells for $34.99 on Amazon, with the Octane Pure retailing for $29.99. The Desert Dahlia case from Incipio's Design Series is available on Amazon for $24.99 as well, with free shipping.
One can't put together a case roundup without OtterBox being in the mix. This old standby has slimmed up their cases over the years, much to the joy of their customers.
Commuter has the smallest footprint (though not the thinnest) while still offering lots of protection. It also uses a two-material design with a hard shell case on top of the soft silicone shell. Pursuit ups the ante by covering the speaker ports as well as the Lightning port. They've also used that added protection to route the audio from the lower speaker towards you, rather than away.
Defender Pro is the most rugged of the series, with the bulkiest design that really does add the most protection. With the Pro version, a holster/belt clip is included for carrying while out on a job site and covering the screen.
Totallee makes astonishingly thin cases that feel more like a skin than a real case. They may not necessarily protect everything when you drop your phone, but it adds some protection along the back and edges, prevents scratches, adds a lip to the camera module, and the texture provides additional grip.
We had the black model, but there are clear, frosted, and colored ones to choose from.
Where to buy: Amazon has Totallee's iPhone XS Max cases on sale for $27.97 in your choice of six colors.
Casetify has another clear shell, this time with a rugged and grippable black bumper around the edge of the phone.
There is also a ring of lettering around the camera module showing off the brands name.
Where to buy: Casetify's clear grip case for the iPhone XS Max can be ordered from Casetify directly for $40 with free shipping.
From X-Doria, we checked out the Defense Shield. This stunning case has a solid clear back with a vivid red metal frame around the edge.
It is on the high-end of protective cases, capable of protecting against 10 feet of impact.
Like Otterbox, the audio on the bottom is routed forward, though it doesn't have as much of a chin.
Pitaka may look like a simple skin-style case, but it is so much more. It is actually an exceptionally rigid case made of aramid fiber, similar to carbon fiber. It is extremely sturdy and thin when attached. There is a slight ridge around the camera module to add protection when set down.
What sets Pitaka apart is the integrated magnetic plate that allows it to attach to any of the magnetic mounts out there on the market. Of course, Pitaka has their own magnetic mounts to go with it.
Unlike others that have an integrated metal plate, this case also works with wireless chargers.
Where to buy: The Pitaka Magcase retails for $49.99 at Amazon.com with free shipping.
UAG's Monarch series of cases is their flagship line of iPhone cases. It uses a series of layers of premium materials for great protection and an eye-catching appearance. On our crimson red case, there is top grain leather, metal alloy, a proprietary rubber-like material all cradling your phone.
There are less flashy versions of the Monarch with black and silver, but we were partial to the red.
If you are looking for less expensive versions of the Monarch series, there are similar UAG cases that keep a familiar appearance without all of the premium materials.
Where to buy: Retailing for $59.95, the Monarch series is available in your choice of three colors at Amazon.com.
Alto uses fine Italian leather in their products, be it wallets, Apple Watch bands, or their cases.
They come in some vivid colors that we rarely see with leather cases such as coral, lime, and caramel.
For the XS and XS Max line of cases, Alto is bringing back some of their fabric cases — another popular trend this year.
These cases are usually split between the denim top and a leather bottom portion.
Three different styles of cases are available — a standard shell case, the metro case with a slot of a couple cards, and the Anello case that has anchor points to attach a strap.
LifeProof, another old standby, has a few options for the new iPhones. Notably, the Slam and Next cases, which are a bit similar in their design.
Both cases completely seal in your phone, requiring a "key" that is included in the box or perhaps a nickel to open. This helps keep out dust, snow, and other debris.
They each have a clear back and tinted sides, though the Slam has the stylish patterns printed on them.
Lastly, bringing up the tail end of our roundup is Just Mobile. Their Tenc Air is a clear case unlike the others because of more built-in protection including the air cushion anti-shock corners. It also won't yellow over time like the cheap ones.
To pair with it, they've also introduced Xkin 3D screen protector that truly goes edge-to-edge on the curved displays of the iPhone XS Max. It is made of several layers including tempered glass and anti-stain coatings.