Types of Materials Used in Phone Cases

Author Melissa Hau

In the market for a new phone case? We hope you’ve thought about the level of protection you not only deserve but also need to keep your smartphone’s chassis and gorgeous glass touchscreen safe from harm. There are so many different types of cases and covers available on the market today, making it difficult, if not impossible, to decide which case is right for your lifestyle. Luckily, we know a thing or two about the types of materials used in phone cases and can explain the differences between them. In this article, we explore the pros and cons of several materials used to make the majority of smartphone cases.

Polycarbonate (PC)

When it comes to reliable impact resistance, polycarbonate is a material you want on your side. This amorphous thermoplastic is used throughout a number of industries in the manufacturing of various products, including glass lenses, bulletproof windows, compact discs, automotive parts, and medical devices, just to name a few. In fact, you have probably already used a product made of polycarbonate today, without even realizing it.

Advantages: Polycarbonate comes with a long list of benefits, especially when it comes to smartphone protection. PC phone cases are not only durable and strong but also flexible, weatherable, and affordable. Plus, polycarbonate phone cases are typically customizable or they are already available in a wide variety of vibrant colors and creative designs.

Disadvantages: Although polycarbonate is prized for its high impact resistance, PC phone cases are not entirely scratch-resistant. For this reason, polycarbonate phone cases are typically coated with a scratch-resistant layer to provide additional protection. Some PC phone cases may come with a more flexible material, such as silicone or TPU, for optimal shock absorption and better grip, minimizing the risk of your smartphone slipping through your fingertips.

Silicone

Whenever you think of silicone, you probably think of synthetic rubber, which is partially true. Silicone, also known as polysiloxanes, is polymer group of synthetic compounds made up of repeating units of siloxane. Have we lost you yet? Hope not! Those repeating units are actually a chain of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms, typically joined with carbon, hydrogen, and sometimes other elements. In fact, silicone is an element found in sand, which happens to be one of the most abundant elements in the world. Silicone is used to manufacture keypads, ice trays, and much more.

Advantages: Silicone is such a flexible material that it can absorb shock unlike any other phone case material. Unlike other rubbers, too, silicone holds up exceptionally well in cold environments, sometimes as low as -75°F (-60°C). What’s more, its soft, grippy texture makes silicone smartphone cases less likely to slip or fall from your hands.

Disadvantages: Despite being one of the most readily available materials, silicone comes at a slightly higher premium than other phone case materials. One reason why the cost of silicone is relatively high in comparison to other materials is that the process of converting sand into silicone is expensive. Plus, silicone is not as readily used throughout a wide range of industries, so the economies of scale are low. However, the desirable features of silicone are easily justifiable.

Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU)

Not the typical take on plastic thermoplastic polyurethane is a highly versatile class of elastomers consisting of linear segmented block copolymers composed of both hard and soft segments. With a long list of properties, not limited to elasticity or resistance to abrasion, grease, and oil, TPU phone cases offer an excellent level of protection for any smartphone. Polyurethane is used in the production of many items, including car seats, furniture, and packaging materials.

Advantages: Available in either hard or soft form, thermoplastic can be easily molded into a variety of shapes. TPU smartphone cases are not only affordable but exceptionally strong, sometimes withstanding impact better than rubbers.

Disadvantages: Despite its long list of benefits, thermoplastic polyurethane has hygroscopic tendencies that may make it susceptible to water absorption in certain conditions. Although soft TPU phone cases are generally more durable than rubber cases, they sometimes require an additional cushioning material or hard shell to ensure that they don’t break.


Finding the right phone case for your treasured device can be tricky. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of phone case materials out there that can help you safeguard your investment and prolong the life of your device. Now that you know more about the types of materials used in phone cases, you have the competitive edge when it’s time to choose.

We might just have the perfect solution for you.

At SUPCASE, our engineers have thoughtfully designed and expertly engineered phone cases using nothing but the best materials. We have taken into account everything that your phone goes through on a daily and irregular basis. No accidental bumps, drops, or falls will come between you and your smartphone when you have one of our phone cases. We offer an extensive selection of smartphone cases for Amazon, Apple, Google, Huawei, Samsung, and other top smartphone models. Best of all, our phone cases are affordably priced!

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