How We Tested
My name is Jean Levasseur, and I’m a stay-at-home dad to my 5-year-old twin boys. When I’m not wrangling them, I teach writing part-time at a local university, and work as a freelance product reviewer for Reviewed focusing on tools and technology.
Our focus in the testing revolved around two questions: can my kids actually use the tablets in these cases, and how well will each of these cases stand up to everyday abuse?
We started by looking for some of the best-selling and best-rated cases online. Each one had greater than a four-star rating, nearly all of them with thousands of verified user reviews that we checked for authenticity. We also chose a blend of target ages to test in order to find out if the ones made for kids were really better for kids (spoiler alert: they were).
In our actual testing, we designed a series of tasks to mimic regular use. First, we had to actually install our iPad into each case, and made a note of how difficult that was to do. None of them were major feats, but a few certainly would have been beyond the capability of younger children.
Then we sat down and used the tablet in each case for a while. I played some games, browsed the internet, watched some videos on YouTube, and took some pictures. While I was using the tablet, I made sure to use all of the external buttons—power, volume, and home—as well as plugging in the charger, and took note of any cases that hindered any of those base functions.
Once I was comfortable with each case, I called my kids in and let them each play one of their games for fifteen or twenty minutes. We also put the tablets into both theirs and my backpacks, and practiced carrying each one around the house.
After the core usage tests were done, we started on the “destructive” tests. First, I stabbed the protected areas of each case with a pair of scissors multiple times, looking to see if the scissors could penetrate any part of the case. From there, I smeared peanut butter on each one, waited a few minutes, and then tried to clean it off—because we all know there is no end to the stickiness that children can get into. Finally, I removed each tablet from the case, again making note of how difficult it was to actually get it out.
For the final round of testing, we selected our top two for the big one—the drop tests. The goal wasn’t to push the tablet until it broke, but to verify that a tablet would survive a typical fall unscathed. We performed multiple drops with each case from a height of about a foot, making sure that it landed both on the edge and flat on its back.
What You Should Know About iPad Cases For Kids
Like everything else in parenting, no two iPad cases are alike. They all have their own features and focus areas, and you want to make sure that you know what you’re looking for before you buy.
How Should my iPad Case Fit?
First thing’s first: not all iPad cases fit all iPads. Make sure that the case you’re ordering is made for your iPad. There is a difference between an iPad Air, an iPad 7, and an iPad Pro, and the cases aren’t necessarily cross-compatible, even if the product listing says that it is. So double- and triple-check that you have the case you need before you click that Buy button.
Integrated Screen Protectors
Next up: a screen protector. Though some people may not realize it, not all cases come with integrated screen protection. Which is fine—there are a wide variety of inexpensive screen protectors that you can find. And the best part about one of those third-party protectors is if something happens to them, you can just get a new one. The protectors built into the case aren’t necessarily replaceable. If they get damaged, you’ll need to replace the whole case..
That said, if you choose to go with a third-party screen protector, there is a small gap where something damaging could still get to your iPad. They also may not work well together, and the case may cause the screen protector to peel up prematurely. So before you buy, make sure you have thought about whether you want an integrated screen protector or not.
Handles Are Perfect for Those On-The-Go
The next item to consider is a handle. For most adult users, handles aren’t terribly important—tablets fit easily in backpacks and larger purses, and aren’t that hard to carry around even without a bag. However, if you anticipate having to carry your iPad by hand for long periods of time, or you’re buying for a child who might be on the move with their tablet, a handle is something to seriously consider. After testing, handles on my kids’ cases are a must-have, which I hadn’t thought would be the case beforehand.
Consider What Kind of Accessories You Want
Then, there are the accessories. We looked at cases with shoulder straps, hand straps, stylus holders, stands, and easy integration with other components like keyboards or covers. A lot of those features are cool, but you have to really consider whether they are actually worth paying extra for.
Do you actually ever use the Apple Pencil with your iPad? Are you planning to get a keyboard? Is a shoulder strap something you can ever imagine using? Having the right features can be invaluable—but paying extra for features you won’t ever use is just a waste. So consider your typical uses and pick up a case that matches that.
Choose a Trusted Manufacturer
Finally, there’s the manufacturer to consider. There’s something to be said for buying from an established manufacturer, like Otterbox, but big brands often charge a premium. There are loads of cheaper options made overseas for every device, including the iPad. Often, these cheap “white label” products are made by a different company and then bought by the resellers you see on Amazon, which is why two seemingly different companies can sell you the exact same case.
For example, our top pick—the Ledniceker iPad Case—is identical to another very popular case we tested, the BMOUO Kids iPad Case (available at Amazon). They performed exactly the same; we opted to feature the Ledniceker because it has a longer track record of reviews from (near as we can tell) real people. The main hangup with buying products like this is the brands can vanish if it turns out the product is a lemon. For most electronics, we would stay away, but for something as simple as an iPad case we think it’s OK since our tests show this is still a high-quality product.
Other iPad Cases We Tested
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Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.