TPU Phone Cases: What Are They & Are They Better Than Silicone?


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TPU Phone Cases

If you have just bought a new iPhone 12, one of your next purchases will probably be a case to stop your $1,000 smartphone from getting damaged when you inevitably fumble it. If you shop around, you will probably see a lot of cases, some of them made from silicon and others made from a material known as TPU.

What is TPU and is it better than the more traditional silicon? Read on to find out.

What Is TPU?

Thermoplastic Polyurethanes (TPU) is a composite of elastic, rubber, and plastic. It uses each of these properties to provide a robust level of protection for your smartphone. It can withstand heavy collisions because it is absorbent but also strong. Because of their properties, TPU cases are the most durable currently available.

What About Silicon?

The other popular material for smartphone cases is silicon, and this is what Apple has thrown more weight behind for the iPhone. Also known for durability, despite being soft and supple, silicon feels like rubber and is excellent because it does not chip or shatter. It is also ideal if you drop a liquid on it as you can wash it.

So, which is Best?

A good way to know the difference between a silicon and a TPU case is the silicon case will be soft and malleable, whereas the TPU will be harder and more rigid. This general rule is also a good indicator of the strengths and weaknesses of each material:

  • Durability — TPU iPhone cases are more durable and will handle heavier drops. If you work in a rugged environment or have your phone out a lot, a TPU case is probably better.
  • Design — Of course design is subjective, but the good news is both silicon and TPU cases come in thousands of different designs across a spectrum of elegant to amazing, transparent to colorful, terrible to excellent.

In terms of general aesthetic and feel, the softness of silicon is admittedly genuinely nice in the hand. It also extends beyond just feeling nice and is generally more grippy and secure than TPU.

  • Pricing — TPU and silicon cases can be ridiculously cheap or very expensive, especially if you buy a silicon case directly from Apple. Although, TPU cases tend to have a higher price ceiling than silicon, which is usually more affordable.

Verdict: It’s a close call and depends on how much durability you want. TPU is ultra-durable so in terms of fulfilling the main remit of a smartphone case (protecting the device), this material is better than silicon.

TPU Cases for iPhone

FlexGear iPhone Case

FlexGear Clear – I am officially a no-case smartphone owner. If I were ever forced to choose a case, I would want something completely transparent. I want to be able to see the smartphone I spent hundreds of dollars on. Something like the FlexGear Clear would do the trick, allowing me to protect my handset but still look at its aesthetic beauty.

Spigen iPhone Case 2

Spigen Rugged Armor – Spigen is one of the leading smartphone case companies and its rugged armor case is affordable and ultra-durable. As the name suggests, this TPU case is sporting a carbon fiber frame that is simple but functional. This is the sort of case that won’t turn heads but if you drop your iPhone 12 you will be thankful you have it!