Best Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra cases 2021

July 19th, 2021
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Best Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra cases 2021

If you're looking for a case for your Galaxy S21, here's an assortment of our top picks.

The Galaxy S21 comes in three sizes and the case you pick may be partially determined by the S21 model you have. The flagship S21 Ultra, which has a 6.8-inch screen, is the heaviest of the bunch and isn't a phone you necessarily want to hold in your hand all the time, which is why I like using a case with an integrated kickstand, so I can prop it up. The same might be said for the smaller S21 Plus (6.7-inch screen) and the standard S21 (6.2 inches), neither of which are compact. But everybody has their own opinions about phone cases and everyone has different needs, which is why my picks for the best Samsung Galaxy S21 series cases come in a variety of styles, from slimmer models to more rugged cases to folio wallet cases.
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 that matches the specific model of your S21 (Ultra, Plus or standard).
I regularly update this roundup with new picks as more candidates arrive. 

Tough but relatively slim S21 case


Leading case maker Speck brings a selection of cases 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. 

All the new models have very good drop protection (13 to 16 feet, depending on the model) as well as Speck's Microban antimicrobial protection. The cases start at $40 in various color options, but Speck is currently offering 30% off your first order sitewide.


If you're looking for a cheap clear case for your new Galaxy S21, Spigen's Ultra Hybrid is a good value at around $12 to $15, depending on the version you get. I like the Ultra Hybrid S (on left in photo), which has an integrated kickstand.

No drop rating is listed for the case, but it feels like Spigen's transparent cases offer reasonable protection. If you want a tough case with stronger protection, Spigen's Tough Armor case (on right in photo) is an option for $18 to $19 and also has an integrated kickstand. Note that a lot of these cheaper clear cases have a habit of turning yellow and degrading over time, which makes them less translucent. But they're cheap enough that you probably won't mind shelling out for a replacement if and when that happens.


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 nice without sacrificing anything. 


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 cases aren't rugged but they're protective enough, with raised edges to protect the screen. The ones I've used with other phones have held up well over time. 

With the stand clicked in place, you can use your device hands-free in either portrait or landscape mode. Note that you can wirelessly charge your phone with this case on, though you have to be more careful about placing it in the right spot on a wireless charging pad for it to work. The new models have antimicrobial protection.


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.


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. 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.

Prices range from $30 to $50 for the top-end Denali, which is the Gear4 case I probably like best.


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 at around $15, the same price as Spigen's Neo Hybrid S.

David Carnoy/CNET

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 are raised 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.


X-Doria has brought its Raptic Shield case to the Galaxy S21 series. Available in a few color options, it costs less than competing premium cases from Speck and OtterBox and has 10-foot drop protection, as well as an antimicrobial treatment. I'm personally fond of X-Doria's Raptic Air case (13-foot drop protection), but that model isn't available for the Galaxy S21 models. 

David Carnoy/CNET

For the Galaxy S21, UK-based Mous makes its Clarity Lite ($55) clear case with anti-yellowing tech as well as its Limitless 3.0 case ($60), 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.

Mous' Limitless 3.0 cases are compatible with the company's Limitless 3.0 accessories. That includes a wallet that magnetically adheres to the back of the phone case and a few mounts, one of which is an air-vent mount for your car. 

It's also worth noting that the Limitless 3.0 cases are the only ones I've seen that have a SIM-card storage slot on the inside of the smartphone case for international travelers in the habit of SIM-swapping.

Mous gives 10% off on first orders through its website. We expect we'll see these cases on Amazon in the near future, perhaps with better pricing.

David Carnoy/CNET

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.) Lifeproof offers $15 off your first order on its website. 

More phone advice

Galaxy S22 vs. Galaxy S21: The newest rumors about Samsung's next flagship

The Galaxy S22 may not come until January 2022. Here's everything we know about the rumored specs for Samsung's new flagship so far, and how they compare to the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra.

Alexandra Garrett headshot
- 07:45

The Samsung Galaxy S22 could offer faster charging times than the Galaxy S21 (shown above).

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S21 came out less than a year ago and, although its successor isn't due until 2022, speculation is ramping up for the Galaxy S22. The latest rumor about Samsung's new flagship says that the Galaxy S22 could have faster charging time than the Galaxy S21. Leaker FrontTron on Twitter said that 65W charging support is in the testing phase for Rainbow RGB, a rumored codename for the S22 series. New foldable phones are also on their way soon; you can check out more about Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked Event on Aug. 11 here

Although the exact launch date for the Galaxy S22 is still unclear, Pulse New Korea speculates that the new phone lineup could be arriving in January. The Galaxy S21 was revealed in January 2021, a change from the phone maker's previous timeline for the Galaxy S Series, which usually gets unveiled in February. 

Samsung's Galaxy S21 series features three phones, the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. (Here are the CNET Galaxy S21 review and Galaxy S21 Ultra review.) The Galaxy S22 series is rumored to mirror the three-phone lineup with a standard, Plus and Ultra model, if leaks around the phones' screen sizes are to be believed. 

Read more: Galaxy S22 rumors: What we expect to see from Samsung's next flagship

Here are the rumors we've heard about the Galaxy S22 specs, so far, and how they stack up to the Galaxy S21. Just note that none of the Galaxy S22 specs have been confirmed by Samsung. We'll keep this story updated as we hear more.

If you're curious about the earlier Galaxy S series smartphones, here's how the Galaxy S21 compares to Galaxy S20 and the best Android phones you can buy in 2021. 

Read more: How the new Galaxy A series compares to Samsung's other phones: S21 and S20 FE

Watch this: Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. Note 20 Ultra

Cost: Galaxy S22 and S21 should have a similar price point

We haven't heard any credible rumors yet about the price of the upcoming Galaxy S22 lineup, but we anticipate that Samsung may keep prices fairly consistent from last year's flagship. The South Korean electronics giant slashed the price of its Galaxy S21 handset by $200 compared with the previous year's flagship, the Galaxy S20, and we'd be surprised if Samsung were to dramatically increase the price this year. The Galaxy S21 ranges in price from $799 to $1,379 depending on the model.

Here's the Galaxy S21's US pricing, for reference.


128 GB 256 GB 512 GB
Galaxy S21 $799 $849 N/A
Galaxy S21 Plus $999 $1,049 N/A
Galaxy S21 Ultra $1,199 $1,249 $1,379

Design: Galaxy S22 will be thinner than the S21, with a smaller display

The Galaxy S22 lineup could be slightly smaller and thinner than the S21, according to leaker Mauri QHD. 

The Galaxy S22 is speculated to come in three sizes: 6.06, 6.55 and 6.81 inches. In comparison, the standard Galaxy S21 is 6.2 inches, the S21 Plus is 6.7 inches and the S21 Ultra is 6.8 inches.

Mauri QHD also theorizes the thinner design may result in a smaller battery for the Galaxy S22. The Galaxy S21 houses a 4,000- to 4,500-mAh battery. The anticipated shrinkage of the Galaxy S22 is abnormal when looking at Samsung's previous phone models. The South Korean electronics giant's S series has been steadily growing in size over time from the Galaxy S10 (149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm) to the Galaxy S20 (151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm) and then Galaxy S21 (151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm). 


A render of the the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra shows the phone's possible size. It may be a little smaller than its older sibling, the Galaxy S21. 

Technizo Concept in collaboration with LetsGoDigital

Camera: Galaxy S22 will get the camera upgrades the S21 missed

After keeping the camera options stagnant for the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21, Samsung may upgrade its camera selection for the Galaxy S22. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is rumored to come with a 200MP main camera. If the speculation proves to be true, this would be the highest pixel count available for a Samsung phone. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a 108MP wide-angle camera, in comparison. 

The camera gossip comes after a teaser tweet shared by Samsung Exynos, the electronic company's division for chipmaking, in March flaunting a 200MP phone camera. The upgrade could be coming as a result of a potential partnership with Olympus.

Leaker Ice Universe, however, speculates the upcoming Galaxy S22 Ultra could feature a more polished version of Samsung's third-generation 108MP camera sensor (ISOCELL HM3).

The rumored 200MP main camera from Samsung would significantly outperform the main snapper on Apple's iPhone 12 (at least on a specs sheet) which comes equipped with a 12MP wide and ultrawide camera. Google's Pixel 5 does slightly better than Apple on the camera front with a 12.2MP standard and 16MP ultrawide, but still doesn't hold a candle to Samsung's rumored 200MPs.

Read more: Best camera phones for 2021

The Galaxy S22 Ultra may also have an under-display selfie camera, but rumors regarding this feature currently contradict each other. Some speculate that Samsung has filed a patent for a punch hole camera with a sub-display, while others claim the hidden front camera won't be a part of the upcoming Galaxy S22 because the camera quality isn't high enough.

The camera selection for the upcoming Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus may not be that exciting, as the models are speculated to have a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 12MP telephoto with a 3x zoom. The regular and plus models of both the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 featured a 12MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 64MP telephoto, in comparison.

Read more: Galaxy S21 Ultra camera tricks


The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra could sport a 200-megapixel camera, as shown in this render.

Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital

Processor: Will the Galaxy S22 come with a Snapdragon 895 chip?

The Galaxy S22 could be getting a speed boost. Leaker Ice Universe speculates the new flagship phone could be equipped with an improved Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 895. In comparison, the Galaxy S21 comes equipped with the Snapdragon 888.

The rumor comes after Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon 888 Plus in January. Ice Universe also speculates Samsung could be the company to manufacture the new smartphone processor. 

Read more: Best gaming phones for 2021

The bump in processing power is rumored to be paired with a boost in graphics. The Galaxy S22 could come with an AMD GPU as a result of a partnership between Samsung and the chip giant. 

The Galaxy S22 may also come with an active fan mode to cool down the phone during gaming or other times of intensive usage, according to Dutch blog LetsGoDigital.