Phone Skin vs Case: What’s the Difference?

Phone cases

As phones get more stylish, they’re also getting more fragile. An all-glass model looks fantastic, but a single fall could put an end to it.

With that in mind, you’d be wise to use some phone protection. Which product should you choose? With sleeves and holsters going out of fashion, your best bets are cases and skins. Both come in a wide variety of styles, textures, and colors.

The phone skin vs. case debate is an interesting one. If you’re not sure which one to get, here are some factors that can influence your decision.


Even at first glance, it’s clear that cases provide better protection than skins do. TPU plastic, rubber, and other substances can deal with both the impact shock and everyday scratches. If you’re particularly clumsy, something like an OtterBox case is the perfect solution.

By comparison, phone skins are little more than vinyl decals. If you drop your device onto a hard surface, phone skin won’t do much to absorb the damage. That said, skins do offer scratch resistance, and you can use them to hide small cuts and cracks.


These days, the go-to phone design includes slippery glass on both sides of the device. A case makes the grip feel smoother, and many models also offer well-placed handholds. Keep in mind that materials like premium leather aren’t as good at shock absorption.

Most skins use vinyl, which tends to be relatively grippy. Another benefit they provide is that they add next to no thickness to your device. Regardless of which brand you opt for, a good skin will match your phone’s design to a tee.


When it comes to durability, phone cases have a slight edge. We put our phones through their paces regularly, so every case is thoroughly tested for durability. Even if your case does break, a replacement should be very affordable.

Skins are affordable as well, which is good as you’re more likely to need a replacement. As high-quality a material as vinyl is, it’ll never be as durable as a rubberized case. Most skins are prone to tearing and may take permanent damage from falls.


On the style front, cases and skins are on equal footing. With so many skin and case makers out there, you’re bound to find something to your liking. Anything goes, from emblazoning a picture of a cute cat to bringing some sparkle with a glitter case.

Even if you’re looking for something understated, you have plenty of options. Both cases and skins come in all kinds of materials, shapes, and finishes. Of course, colorful phone cases remain as popular as ever, so there’s no reason not to get creative.

Choosing a Phone Skin vs. Case

Unsurprisingly, the phone skin vs. case debate comes down to taste and priorities. If you want the best possible protection, go for a phone case. If you aren’t as worried about fall damage, skins are a good option as well—especially if you see a model you like.

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