While there are plenty of waterproof smartphones on the market today, the fine folks at Apple have yet to make an iPhone that can withstand being submerged underwater. This major design flaw means that there are dozens of companies that specialize in protective, waterproof cases for your iPhone. But with so many waterproof iPhone cases to choose from, finding a case that fits your lifestyle and your budget can be tough. Two leading brands that make waterproof iPhone cases are LifeProof and Hitcase. These two waterproof iPhone cases both offer solid protection, but they have slightly different features. If you are in the market for a waterproof iPhone case, read on to see how these two cases stack up. Our list will focus on waterproof case models for the iPhone 6, but we’ll also talk about the pros and cons of the LifeProof and Hitcase models that fit older iPhones.
Want to make sure you’re buying the best waterproof iPhone case? You may also want to read our guide to the best waterproof iPhone cases, which includes info on waterproof cases for the iPhone 4s and newer. You should also read up on iPhone 6 waterproof cases in our posts about the best waterproof iPhone 6 cases and best new waterproof iPhone 6 cases.
1. LifeProof WaterProof iPhone Case vs. Hitcase WaterProof iPhone Case: Price
If you’re going to buy a waterproof iPhone case, you probably already know that you’ll have to spend at least $80 for a premium case. Waterproof cases are almost always more expensive than non-waterproof iPhone cases, but a waterproof case is still cheaper than having to replace a water-damaged device.
LifeProof’s lineup for the iPhone 6 currently includes three case models. The Fre ($79.99) is the cheapest, and has a built-in screen protector. Then there’s the Nuud ($89.99), which is waterproof, but doesn’t have a clunky screen protector. You can actually touch your phone’s screen underwater with this case, which is kind of cool. Lastly, there’s the Fre Power ($129.99), a LifeProof case that’s both waterproof and provides additional power to your device via a built-in battery. If you’re an iPhone 6 Plus user, you can get a Nuud iPhone 6 Plus case for $99.99.
With a little searching online, you should be able to turn up LifeProof cases for older iPhone models, and often at a discount off the original list price. On Amazon, we’ve seen the LifeProof case for 4/4s for $26.99, the iPhone 5 version for $59.75, the iPhone 5s version for $40.15 and up, or the Phone 5c case for $46.79. Do note that some older iPhone models don’t have the same variety of LifeProof cases as you’ll find for the iPhone 6. For example, some older iPhone models don’t have a compatible LifeProof Nuud or LifeProof battery case option.
As of this writing, Hitcase offers two options for iPhone 6 owners. There’s the Hitcase HC18300 PRO case for iPhone 6 ($99.99), as well as the Hitcase PRO+ Action Pack HC18500 for iPhone 6 ($149.99). The Action Pack includes the PRO case, plus some cool extras like a Superwide Lens, a “ShootR” pole, and two mounts. In terms of older iPhone models, Hitcase waterproof cases are also available for the iPhone 5s/5c/5. The nice thing about Hitcase is that lenses you purchases for your iPhone 5 case will also work with your iPhone 6 case.
2. LifeProof WaterProof iPhone Case vs. Hitcase WaterProof iPhone Case: Specs
When it comes to protecting your iPhone, there are two case specs that are important to consider. The first is drop rating, with some cases on the market being advertised as military drop test approved, or rated to survive a drop from a given distance onto a concrete surface.
The other spec you’ll want to note is the IP rating, which measures the ability of a case to withstand dust (and other solids, like sand) and water. The IP rating is usually expressed as “IPXY”, with the “X” representing the rating for solids, and the “Y” value representing the rating for liquids. The rating system runs from 0-6 for solids, and 0-8 for liquids. The higher the number, the better the protection. For example, a case rated at IP68 would be totally protected against dust, and able to be submerged in one meter 1 of water. You can see a full breakdown of IP ratings and their meanings in this chart. Some iPhone cases will clearly list the IP rating, while others will just provide a description of the case’s abilities.
All of LifeProof’s iPhone 6 cases are waterproof, and can be submerged to 6.6 feet. They are dirt proof, snow proof and drop proof (meeting 6.6 feet military drop test standards). All of LifeProof’s cases are factory tested to ensure a leak-free fit, though LifeProof doesn’t give explicit info about their testing process. The cases from LifeProof are IP68 rated, designed to withstand circulating talcum powder for 8 hours, and immersion in water for up to an hour at depths of 6.6 feet.
Hitcase’s offerings are a bit more water-resistant, with the ability to go as deep as 33 feet (but only for a recommended 30 minutes). The waterproof iPhone cases from Hitcase are shockproof from drops of six feet or less. Hitcase states that all of their products are tested at 20psi (46 feet) for 20 minutes before shipping.
3. LifeProof WaterProof iPhone Case vs. Hitcase WaterProof iPhone Case: Camera & Photography Features
For many people, the appeal of using a waterproof iPhone case is all about taking photos underwater or in wet conditions. Hitcase products are a little more photography-focused, but both LifeProof and Hitcase waterproof iPhone cases have their merits when it comes to taking cool photos.
LifeProof cases offer an anti-reflective optical-glass camera lens, which will help you take more life-like photos with your iPhone. All ports and controls can be easily accessed with the case on, and you can use the touchscreen and TouchID with the case on as well. If you want to take simple photos with your iPhone’s native apps and lens, the LifeProof case may be sufficient for your needs.
That beings said, if you want to take things to the next level, you may be interested in the Hitcase’s enhanced photo tools. The base level Hitcase offering comes with a wide angle lens, but additional photography accessories like selfie sticks, different lenses, and various mounts are also available. To be fair, LifeProof also has a varied selection of mounts, but Hitcase feels a little more photography-focused overall.
4. LifeProof WaterProof iPhone Case vs. Hitcase WaterProof iPhone Case: Special Features
Looking for a case with special features? Each case has something unique to recommend it, and sometimes your choice between two cases comes down to one key feature. We’ve already highlighted Hitcase’s ability to go deeper and offer unique lens options. In addition, Hitcase is notable for their integration with the Vidometer iPhone app. If you want to check how fast or how much altitude you had when you captured footage on your device, Hitcase’s app is a natural pairing with a Hitcase protective case. Hitcase is also proud of their ShockWave audio seal, which they claim provides two times greater clarity and improved sound for both phone calls and recording video.
But don’t count out LifeProof. Some LifeProof iPhone cases are cheaper than Hitcase’s basic offerings, and the one model that is more expensive than a Hitcase offers a built-in battery, which justifies the cost. If your want a case that’s both waterproof and packing extra battery life, LifeProof is worth a hard look. We also like that there’s a case out there that keeps your touchscreen bare, but still provides fully waterproof protection. LifeProof is also nice option for people who want a lot of variety in terms of case color options.
5. LifeProof WaterProof iPhone Case vs. Hitcase WaterProof iPhone Case: Final Thoughts
There’s one last number to consider before you buy a new case: the length of the warranty period. LifeProof offers a one-year warranty, while Hitcase only backs their products for six months. Both companies offer user-friendly return experiences.
Both cases are backed by warranties, and both offer a panoply of cool mounts and accessories to experiment with. If you’re looking for a waterproof case that is slightly less expensive, or a waterproof case that has a bonus battery, one of the LifeProof cases is probably right for you. However, if you want a waterproof case that has enhanced photography potential, and can also dive deeper, Hitcase is the waterproof iPhone case brand you should focus on.