Some of us keep our iPad Pros in our offices or cushioned living rooms. Others stick them in an iPad Pro 12.9 case and take them out everywhere— to the beach, to the cabin, to the research grounds or to the front lines. An iPad is a powerful tool for productivity on the go. It’s also a fragile glass and aluminum device that can easily scratch, dent, or shatter. If you want to have it with you when the going gets tough, you’re going to have to give it some protection. Even better, total protection.
What are the best heavy-duty iPad Pro cover cases out there in 2023? You have some good options. Our favorite is the Zugu case, which combines total protection with a slim line, professional form factor you can take anywhere. Other options include the Spigen Tough Armor Pro Case, the Otterbox Defender Case, and the UAG Metropolis.
Zugu cases have gained a name among iPad aficionados for quality and protection that just works. They aren’t the prettiest cases you can get. If you’re into aesthetics and typically surround yourself with cashmere and suede, you may prefer an iPad Pro 12.9 leather case from Pad & Quill or Black Brook. But if you’re more utility minded and want something sturdy that does what promises and looks professional while it does so, you could hardly do better than getting a Zugu.
Some favorite features of the Zugu iPad cases include:
You may love the other features of the Zugu case, but the reason you’re buying this is the rugged protection. If you drop your iPad, knowing your device won’t ever meet the floor makes for some real peace of mind. Instead, the impact will be absorbed by a sturdy bumper, and the rugged TPU + PC shell will make it almost bounce.
If robust protection is the reason you bought your iPad Pro 12.9 magnetic stand, the flexible stand may be the reason you fall in love with it for everyday use. Even if you never take your iPad out of the cushioned living room, having an adjustable stand at the ready is a pretty good reason to keep that case on at all times. And if you have ten different angles, you know you’ll always be able to set it up just as you prefer.
There are more times than one you’ll want to mount your iPad— but buying a iPad mount after you’ve already spent on your case is not anyone’s idea of fun. One fun feature of the Zugu case is the strong magnets that allow it to auto-mount on any metal surface. Want to cook up something new and exciting, following an iPad video tutorial and recipe? Stick it up there on the refrigerator— it won’t slide down.
Not all of us live in temperate climates. If you live on the warmer half of the world, you may find it an uphill race to keep your devices running cool. Removing your iPad’s cover on a hot day is not ideal. Instead, use a cover which is just as cool as going coverless— a cover with well engineered air flow vents that allow your iPad to continue to self regulate its temperature. The way the Zugu works, your iPad might actually be cooler with the case on than without — it keeps it off potentially warming surfaces, and helps the air get to it whatever.
The Spigen case looks its part: tough, bulky, ready for anything. It might not be the best case to take into the office, but it will definitely fit right in at the gym or raceway.
Favorite features of the Spine Tough Armor case include:
This iPad Pro 12.9 case with pencil holder, like the Zugu case, supports all Apple Pencil functions. That means you can charge your pencil without taking off the case, and you can also stow away your pencil safely when it is not in use. Since the second generation pencil charges gracefully when it’s tucked in against the device, this built-in feature makes it easy to both use and charge your pencil.
The kickstand on the Spigen tough armor case looks like a kickstand, kind of like what you’d expect to see on the back of a picture frame on granny’s nightstand. But it’s oh so much more sturdy than that. When the kickstand is up, your iPad is in a great position for hands free viewing, and it’s as
The Spigen advertises ‘air cushion technology’, which works through a dual layer case. Essentially, what this means is that there’s a bit of space between the two layers of the Spigen case, so you’ve got something to absorb any shocks. This allows the people at Spigen to create a lighter case that still gives you the protection you need.
Here’s another feature you’ll find on most of our total protection case.
The Otterbox Defender is a little bit different than most of the other iPad covers on our list. Rather than provide a magnetic flap that closes and protects the screen when it’s not in use (like the Zugu) or simple raised edges that one hopes will keep the screen from collision (think Spigen), the Otterbox has a built in transparent screen protector that covers your screen all the time. What this means is that your iPad is totally enveloped, all the time. If you’ve been worried about what happens if your iPad takes something screen first when the flap is folded back, this may give you some peace of mind.
Here are a few reasons you might choose the Otterbox Defender:
Shock protection is great. But those of us who have taken our devices out into the field know the curse of dirt-in-the-charging port and dirt-in-the-microphones; dirt and sand and lint getting everywhere you don’t want it and keeping your iPad from functioning as it should. That’s where the Otterbox really shines, with port protection that keeps your iPad clean.
A special feature of the Otterbox is the silver additive they’ve added to their TPU shell. There’s not much silver— not enough to make it shine— but enough, they say, to discourage the growth of nasty microbes. When you don’t know how clean the surfaces you use to lay down your iPad— or who will be sneezing on it next-- this can make for some extra peace of mind.
While the Otterbox doesn’t have the standard flap to protect the display, there is one movable part: a ‘shield stand’. This snap-on piece provides extra protection when it’s functioning as a shield, or can be used as a stand for hands-free viewing when you’re watching a video or typing on your iPad.
Another favorite heavy-duty iPad case is the UAG Metropolis. Like the Zugu, this one comes in several color options . Also like the Zugu, it features a magnetic flap that can be used to cover the screen when you’re not using the iPad, or folded back for a stand when you want to use your iPad hands-free.
What’s special about the UAG Metropolis? Well, here are some key features:
Like the Zugu iPad Pro case, the UAG metropolis case has been tested to confirm to military drop standards. What does this mean? The case, with an iPad in it, has been dropped twenty six times at forty eight inches. After each drop, the iPad was tested, and shown to be free of damage every single time. Since you don’t usually drop your iPad from higher than 48 inches, having a case that has military spec protection should give you some extra peace of mind.
Here’s another take on the air cushion we saw advertised by Spigen— the UAG metropolis case features a honeycomb-type material with hollow cells to provide strength, rigidity and shock protection while keeping the weight down. The total weight of this case is 1.06 pounds.
Unlike the slippery surfaces you might find in some cheapo iPad cases, the UAG metropolis has a textured, tactile surface that is easy to grip. It’s advertised as a proprietary grip material, and is designed especially to make it easier to hold. This could be a lifesaver if you have to handle your iPad under wet or slippery conditions, and makes for a more comfortable experience anytime.Your Apple iPad Case and Total Protection
Maybe there’s no such thing as total protection anywhere. Life never offers us guarantees, and the unexpected can happen anytime. No matter what Apple iPad Pro case you might slip on your device, it could hit something that just isn’t survivable.
But though life doesn’t offer us guarantees, sometimes iPad case companies do. Zugu, for instance. If you get AppleCare+ and your iPad gets broken when it’s in a Zugu case, they’ll foot the repair bill. If you want to be able to take your iPad anywhere, no worries, total protection like that may be the way to go.
Otherwise, if you’re just looking for some pretty good protection, any of these iPadcases will be great choices. Go with one that pulls you in, and have fun adventuring!