OtterBox vs Pelican: Which Is Better?

As useful as smartphones may be on camping and hiking trips, you have to treat them with care because they’re normally extremely fragile.

You can end up losing your connection to the civilized world and having to navigate your terrain without the help of GPS if you drop the phone on a rocky surface.

This article is going to pit OtterBox against Pelican and see which is better. Comparing the properties and features of these two phone case brands will help make it easier to find out which one can provide you with the best protection.

Below you’ll find a detailed comparison of these two phone cases and a verdict of which one is better between the two.

OtterBox vs Pelican: Introduction

What is OtterBox?

OtterBox is mostly known for providing cool screen protectors and phone cases for iPhone and Galaxy smartphones. The company has been operating for more than two decades now and today, it’s known to produce some of the most durable smartphone cases and screen protectors on the market.

The company has recently been focussing on enhancing sustainability. OtterBox has joined forces with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition to provide its customers with recyclable packaging for certain products.

With that said, this article will concentrate on the brand’s heavy-duty and rugged phone case, which comes in three different parts; a polycarbonate holster, synthetic rubber slipcover, and an in-built screen protector.

What Is Pelican?

Pelican makes some of the most robust and sturdiest phone cases in the market right now. You will find a product for almost any Samsung and Apple phone that needs safeguarding. The company’s product page has more than 170k Instagram followers.

You are now probably wondering what makes them so popular, right? Well, this comparison article will try to answer that question and show you why many people love Pelican cases.

For starters, the average Pelican phone case has around a 10-30-year lifespan. Additionally, safety remains a priority in the company’s manufacturing processes and their cases are specifically designed to safeguard what’s inside them.

OtterBox vs Pelican: Design and Functionality


An OtterBox phone case’s visual appearance largely depends on the smartphone and model it was made to protect. Meaning, you’ll have several different options to choose from if you are looking for a case to cover your iPhone 11.

However, unfortunately, you won’t have equally as many options if you’re looking to cover your Moto E6, LG K40, or similar Android smartphone. Anything other than an iPhone has just a handful of different options.

Also, OtterBox phone case features vary widely from model to model. Almost all of the phone cases that are in the same series are manufactured using similar products. OtterBox Defenders are the best for outdoor activities because it provides your phone with a three-layer defense.

The Defender series has some of the best phone cases under the OtterBox brand. They’re especially ideal for the iPhone 7/8/9. The “Big Sur” case has a dark teal color scheme and comes in a polycarbonate outer shell that is bone white with a visible frame around the display screen.

One of the most prominent and best features of the OtterBox Defender is the protection it provides your phone. The inner hardshell cover protects your smartphone from almost anything and the case’s rubber slipcover feels like it can offer some shock absorption and cushioning properties.

You can drop your smartphone several times with this cover on and both the phone and screen will remain unscathed. When it comes to drop protection, even Pelican doesn’t compare to what OtterBox offers its users.

Sadly, though, none of the products under the Defender line are water-resistant, so know that they will not protect your device if you accidentally drop it into a pool of water. Although, the synthetic rubber slipcover and polycarbonate shell keep the phone safe from accidental spillages.

Also ReadWhat Cases Fit iPhone 13? Will iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 Cases Fit?


Pelican cases usually have a very neutral overall appearance because most models are either transparent or black. Customizing Pelican cases is not possible, although the manufacturer does provide this particular service for several other kinds of cases it makes.

Some Pelican manufacturers are made using high-end materials that can comfortably withstand 15-foot falls multiple times. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the exact impact level a phone case can handle largely depends on the model, so you need to look at how durable it is before you purchase it.

Additionally, Pelican’s Marine phone cases are water-resistant but only if you submerge the phone at a depth lower than six and a half feet. On the other hand, cases like the Macro iPhone i1015 seal the smartphone and allow the phone to be operational underwater without risk of damage.

If you’re going to use your iPhone or Android in places where it can accidentally fall into water, then you’ll want to make sure the Pelican case you’re considering is water-resistant.

OtterBox vs Pelican: Device Compatibility


There’s a high chance you will easily find an OtterBox phone case that’s compatible with your handset. You’ll be able to use this kind of case if your phone is made by Apple, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Google, ZTE, Microsoft, Asus, Amazon, OnePlus, Huawei, or T-Mobile.

OtterBox also provides several different collections of phone cases. However, models from the different series can only be used on selected devices.

Symmetry and Defender are the two brands under OtterBox that are compatible with most Samsung and Apple phones and have some of the most popular and best cases under the brand as well.

The case’s ability to protect the phone from impact and impact resistance depends on the model and series of the phone it’s designed to cover.


Smartphone cases made by Pelican are compatible with the iPhone 6 handset and all the other iPhones that come after. A model such as the Ambassador can be used with different iPhone 6s/7/8, while some other models under the brand are specifically designed for certain models.

Pelican’s Voyager line has iPad cases as well, but you’ll need to confirm whether your tab is compatible with the available models since Pelican only makes covers for iPad Air2, Air 10.5/Pro 10.5/Pro 11/Pro 12.9/Mini 7.9, and Mini 4.

The company also has a wide variety of covers for Samsung Galaxy phones. However, keep in mind that the older models of these Android handsets may not be compatible with phone covers from Pelican.

Although you can use Ranger, Adventurer, and Voyager cases on your Galaxy S21 they won’t be compatible with any Galaxy older than the S8 Active.

OtterBox vs Pelican: Key Features


Some OtterBox phone cases don’t come with a screen protector, and you’ll need to buy this accessory separately. The company provides Superior, Advanced, and Standard screen protection solutions that are manufactured using different materials.

However, the Defender series has built-in screen protectors made from heavy-duty plastic material, which means your smartphone will be sealed inside a box. This ultra-thin polycarbonate screen protector helps protect your screen from scratches and cracks.

Standard OtterBox screen protectors are built from polyurethane, while the Superior and Advanced versions are manufactured from tempered glass, aluminosilicate glass, and polyester. You’ll want to consider the most durable options if you want something that can effectively protect your device when outdoors.

OtterBox has thought of almost everything when it comes to its phone cases. No dirt, dust, or moisture will infiltrate the silent mode switch or charging port. Tiny rubber flaps which you can lift often and snap back into place act as port covers. These flaps are part of the case’s outer rubber shell.

It’s worth noting that this brand builds cases that are meant for gaming purposes as well. These products typically have excellent cooling features, antimicrobial properties, and anti-slip grip edge functionality.

The cases are made from incredibly durable materials and are compatible with nearly all the most popular smartphone brands out there. The cases have several different layers and their screen protectors are scratch-resistant.

Many small items like this often come in vacuum-formed plastic packages which you can’t recycle and are normally complex to open. However, OtterBox packages are typically very easy to open and tend to open like a drawer, with no ripping, no cutting, and no headaches involved.

What’s even better, is that you can fully recycle the packaging, which is one of the primary ways the company is looking to be more sustainable. The holster on some of the cases, however, may not be for everyone.

Although, some give you the option of choosing whether to wear the holster or not. It easily pops on and off in the Defender, so if you find it too bulky or you’re just not in the mood for a belt clip, you can remove the holster.

Lastly, all the cases contain a lifetime warranty policy and they are not affected by hard falls.


All cases from Pelican have exceptional shock absorption properties and are specifically designed to withstand multiple hard falls more than once. Some models are water-proof but you’ll have to confirm this for yourself before you buy one.

Unfortunately, unlike OtterBox, phone cases from Pelican are compatible with mostly Samsung and iPhone devices.

In addition to this, even though Pelican makes screen protectors as well, the product selection is limited to a few devices, mainly devices from Apple and Samsung.

The glass screen protectors available only fit Samsung Galaxy and iPhone devices, and it can sometimes even be a little hard to find cases that fit the latest iPhone and Galaxy handsets.

Pelican also makes a wide variety of useful accessories for smart devices and phones, as well as water-resistant pouches that one can use to carry their smartphone and other portable electronics that should be kept away from water.

With that said, one of the most popular series under the Pelican umbrella is the Voyager line. These phone cases typically have an ultra-slim overall design but they’re still not the slimmest options out there, especially when compared to what OtterBox has to offer.

As far as installation of the case is concerned, it’s a pretty simple and straightforward process, but you will need to thumb on the screen protector.

When it comes to drop protection, the company claims its cases are some of the toughest on the market. Their packaging has a “Military Specifications” label written all over but it doesn’t actually tell one how high they can actually drop their device.

Okay, products by Pelican are commonly recognized for how tough they are, but with the Pelican Voyager case, dropping it from heights of three feet and higher will result in it disintegrating. That’s not even chest height sadly. Pelican could do a lot better in this department.

The screen protection of the Voyager, though, is pretty decent with edges that are very high. Some may find it annoyingly high, but that’s all now a matter of individual preference.

It features a plastic screen protector that’s scratch-proof and can withstand key scratches, but the only downside is that you’ll have to thumb it yourself to install it.

Unfortunately, however, many of the phone cases under the Pelican aren’t water-resistant and many of them feature gaping holes and spaces everywhere that’ll allow water to enter the case and make contact with the device.

The Voyager, though, does provide sufficient port protection when it comes to debris and dust because the case has plugs at the bottom that seal the ports.

Another major downside is that If you are using the screen protector that comes with the case, you might have to deal with a little bubbling because of how big the screen protector is.

So, if you want to get a Pelican case, then you might want to strongly consider getting a screen protector from a third party.

However, if you’re okay with what Pelican has to offer, most of their cases come with two screen protectors included in the package. Also if you want to have both quick and easy access to your Samsung or iPhone, then get a holster belt clip for effective and simple storage.

Finally, the Voyager’s belt clip doubles as a stand. It allows users to view their phone in two different positions, and honestly, this may be just one of the best things about this particular belt clip. If you’re someone who likes to use your iPhone to watch a lot of video content, you’ll love this belt holster.

OtterBox vs Pelican: Reliability


All the cases under the OtterBox brand will protect your smartphone from damage caused by a hard fall, although to different degrees. Defender cases are well-known for their robust and bulky overall design that can comfortably handle high-velocity impacts.

Defender cases also have glass screen protectors that are scratch resistant, making them the ideal choice for people who intend to use their phones during outdoor activities. The product maker claims that a case from them should last at least seven years before you’ll need to replace it.

The one major downside about all this is that you’ll have to break the bank a bit to enjoy such levels of protection. However, that shouldn’t worry you too much because the protection levels justify their price tags.


At first glance, phone cases made by Pelican seem to be indestructible seeing as how they’re specifically made to handle more pressure and impact than some military protective equipment.

Sadly, most cases under this brand can only be used on Samsung and Apple smartphones, so if you’ve got a handset manufactured by another brand than the aforementioned ones, then you’ll want to consider focussing your efforts on OtterBox, or other similar brands.

With that said, unlike OtterBox, Pelican cases provide stunning protection performances at a rather reasonable price. Additionally, the company has a lifetime guarantee policy in place for all material defects, meaning you will be able to comfortably use the case for years and years before you’re forced to replace it.

OtterBox vs Pelican: Pros and Cons



  • Compatible with a wide variety of smartphones
  • Can withstand multiple hard drops
  • You can customize some models
  • The maker provides users with a fantastic selection of screen protectors


  • OtterBox phone cases aren’t water-resistant
  • Way pricier than its competition



  • Specifically designed to handle 10 to 15-foot falls
  • Some models are water-resistant
  • Impeccable protection against scratches and dust
  • Excellent shock absorption capability


  • Screen protectors are in limited supply
  • Only an ideal option for Samsung Galaxy and iPhone users

OtterBox vs Pelican: Similarities and Differences

Smartphone CompatibilityApple, Samsung, Motorola, LG, Google, ZTE, Microsoft, Asus, Amazon, OnePlus, Huawei, or T-MobileGoogle, Samsung, LG, iPhone
Impact ResistanceExcellentModerate
MaterialsPolycarbonates and similar materialsKevlar and other durable fibers
WarrantyLifetime warrantyLimited Lifetime warranty

OtterBox vs Pelican: Which is Better?

If you want to get a durable and stylish phone case for either your Android or iPhone that can handle multiple hard falls, then your best bet would be to go the OtterBox route.

However, if you are an iPad or iPhone user that wants to ensure their handset is safe from dust, water, or any other thing that can damage it, then you’ll want to choose Pelican.

With that said, when it comes down to which brand is the better of the two, then that goes to OtterBox, mainly because you can use their cases on a wider variety of smartphones. In addition, they also have a way bigger selection than Pelican does.

About Author

Cassie Riley has a passion for all things marketing and social media. She is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, language, music, writing, and unicorns. Cassie is a lifetime learner, and loves to spend time attending classes, webinars, and summits.