Update, 1/7/2022: We’ve reviewed our recommendations and are confident these are still the best iPad Air cases you can buy.
The iPad Air isn’t exactly fragile, but it still has one side made almost entirely out of glass. That makes the display the most crucial part to protect, but if you drop your iPad a few times, it’s easy to damage any part of the tablet if you’re unlucky.
That’s why it’s essential to think about how you use your iPad. If it’s mainly an entertainment device that rarely leaves the house, a simple cover for the screen may be all you need. If you take your iPad with you everywhere you go, you’ll want to opt for more protection.
Of course, a good case does a lot more than protect your iPad from accidental damage. Even the more barebones cases we’ve chosen also function as a stand to let your iPad act as a portable TV. Others feature built-in Apple Pencil holders or even keyboards.
Only one case we’ve chosen for this list has a built-in screen protector. That said, you can buy a tempered glass screen protector for any of the other cases for added protection. The last thing anyone wants on their expensive tablet are scratches on the screen, so it’s highly recommended.
Finally, we’ve tried our best to balance between features, protection, and cost, but this is a list of the best, so some cases are more expensive than others. Regardless, you’ll be able to find something to fit your budget below!
Note: The cases below only work with the latest model of the iPad Air. They will not work with the iPad Mini, standard iPad, or either of the iPad Pro models (11-inch or 12.9-inch).
Best iPad Air Case Overall: Apple Smart Folio
- ✓ Easy to attach and remove
- ✓ Available in different colors
- ✓ Different positions let you watch videos or draw with the Apple Pencil
- ✗ Not as much protection as other cases
- ✗ More expensive than other similar cases
If you’re only going to be using your iPad Air at home or the office, and you’re going to have it in a bag the rest of the time, the Apple Smart Folio case is a great option. It doesn’t protect the back or sides of your iPad, but because there’s no rear portion of the case, it’s light, thin, and easy to use.
The Apple Smart Folio uses a magnet on one side to connect to your iPad, so it snaps on and comes off just as easily. Opening and closing the cover automatically puts wakes up your iPad and puts it to sleep, saving your battery power.
The Smart Folio cover also folds up, letting you stand the iPad Air up for watching videos. You can also lie it down horizontally, making writing or drawing with the Apple Pencil easier and more enjoyable.
If you prefer a minimalist look, the Smart Folio for iPad Air is available in black or white color options. For those who prefer a bit more visual flair, it also comes in colorways like Cyprus Green, Mallard Green, Electric Orange, or Deep Navy.
Apple Smart Folio for iPad Air
The Apple Smart Folio for iPad Air is light, slim, stylish, and easy to use. It's not the most protection, but it keeps the screen safe.
Best Budget iPad Air Case: ESR Magnetic Case
- ✓ More protection than cover-only cases
- ✓ Plenty of color options
- ✓ Built-in Apple Pencil holder
- ✗ Not much protection for the sides of your iPad Air
- ✗ Bulkier than Apple's Smart Folio
The first thing you might notice is that there’s an extra clasp on the outside of the case, which holds your Apple Pencil. This case supports magnetic pairing and charging, so you don’t need to remove the Apple Pencil to charge it.
The case attaches to the back of your iPad magnetically, making it easy to attach and remove as needed. While this protects the back of your iPad Air, it leaves the sides exposed, so it’s not as protective as a full TPU case. The cover is a trifold design, like the Smart Folio, and it supports the same two positions as that case.
The ESR Magnetic Case for iPad Air comes in a similar range of colors to Apple’s Smart Folio. Instead of black and white, ESR offers black and gray. You also get Forest Green, Navy Blue, and Rose Gold if you prefer your case with a splash of color.
This isn’t the absolute least expensive case you’ll find, but it’s still very affordable and a great pick considering all the features. Going any cheaper for a case will have you sacrificing quality fast.
ESR Magnetic Case for iPad Air 4
With its various features, the ESR Magnetic Case for iPad Air feels less like a budget case and more like a quality case that doesn't happen to cost much.
Best iPad Air Keyboard Case: Logitech Combo Touch
- ✓ Cheaper than the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Air
- ✓ Backlit keys are great for typing at night
- ✓ Detachable keyboard makes for extra flexibility
- ✗ Limited color options
If you want your iPad Air to double as a laptop, you have several keyboard options, but our favorite is the Logitech Combo Touch iPad Air. It offers many of the same options as the Apple Magic Keyboard for iPad Air, but at a much lower price.
One of the key features of the Logitech Combo Touch Air is that, like the Apple Magic Keyboard, it has backlit keys. If you’re often typing in a dark or dim room and you’re not a touch typist, this can go a long way to make sure that you’re typing accurately.
While Apple’s keyboard has a hard plastic build, Logitech’s offering takes a cue from the Microsoft Surface Pro with a fabric cover on its keyboard. It’s not the same Alcantara fabric as the Surface Pro Keyboard, but it’s still a nice touch that feels especially nice when you’re carrying your iPad around.
The keyboard is detachable, which is something you won’t find on many keyboard cases. This means you don’t have to potentially buy a second case when you don’t need to use the keyboard, while being able to store it.
You don’t have many options when it comes to colors, but the two options you get are nice looking. Oxford gray is the darker of the two, while Sand is grayer than the name suggests but lighter in tone.
Logitech Combo Touch iPad Air
Not only is the Logitech Combo Touch iPad Air cheaper than the Magic Keyboard, but it's got some features you won't even find on Apple's keyboard case.
Best Rugged iPad Air Case: UAG Metropolis
- ✓ MIL-STD testing means it's seriously tough
- ✓ Works with Apple Pencil without removing the case
- ✓ Water resistant
- ✗ Bulky and less sleek-looking than other case
- ✗ On the expensive side
If you want to guarantee that your iPad can withstand everything except a drop from the top of a building, the UAG Metropolis iPad Air is your best bet. This case is thicker and heavier than the other options we’re looking at, but it will take a beating none of the others will.
The UAG Metropolis case combines a hard outer shell with an impact-resistant, softer interior. This combo protects your iPad from accidental dings as well as more considerable impacts like drops.
The case is MIL-STD 810G 516.6 tested and is able to handle 26 drops from four feet high with no damage, according to UAG. It’s water-resistant as well, with a tactile back that makes it easier to hold on to.
The UAG Metropolis iPad Air isn’t compatible with Apple’s Smart Keyboard Folio or Magic Keyboard, meaning you’ll have to remove the case to get any typing done. That said, it does include an Apple Pencil holder and is compatible with the pairing and charging, so you can take notes on the go.
The UAG Metropolis iPad Air is only available in two color options. The black variant is more minimalist, perfect if you want a more subdued look. The Magma finish is a bright red that gives your iPad a flashier, almost gaming PC-inspired look. Both options offer the same level of protection.
UAG Metropolis iPad Air
If you're looking for the most protection you can get, the military-grade UAG Metropolis iPad Air is a perfect choice.
Best iPad Air Case with Apple Pencil Holder: Otterbox Symmetry Series
- ✓ Apple Pencil holder design keeps you from losing it
- ✓ Magic Keyboard attaches without removing the case
- ✓ Protected by Otterbox's lifetime warranty
- ✗ No real color options
The Otterbox Symmetry Series 360 Folio Case is a protective case with a slim fit and more than a few useful features. While other cases we’re looking at include Apple Pencil holders, this one is the best for that use case. But that’s not all Otterbox’s case has got going for it.
The interior of the Symmetry Case is made of microfiber, meaning it’s lightly cleaning and polishing your iPad every time you put it in the case or open and close the folio-style cover.
The case is also clear on the back, showing off the colorway of your iPad Air. On the other side, the tri-fold cover lets you prop your iPad up for catching up on videos or lie it at an angle for drawing or taking notes with the Apple Pencil.
If you’ve got serious typing to do, the Symmetry Series 360 case also lets you attach a Magic Keyboard without needing to remove the case to do so. This gives the case added flexibility and makes it handier to carry around.
In the off chance that this case gets damaged in the line of duty, fear not. The Symmetry Case includes Otterbox’s lifetime warranty, so as long as your incident is covered, you can replace it for free.
Otterbox Symmetry Series 360 Folio Case for iPad Air
If you use your iPad Air to write and draw on the go, you won't find many better options than the Otterbox Symmetry Series 360.
Best iPad Air Leather Case: TORRO Tablet Case
- ✓ Multiple finish/color options
- ✓ Sleek, professional look
- ✓ Elastic band on cover is more reliable than a magnet
- ✗ Barebones when it comes to features
It’s tough to find a genuine leather case for the iPad that still includes valuable features and doesn’t cost too much. The TORRO Tablet Case covers both of those angles, plus it comes in a variety of great-looking colors.
While the exterior is leather, the case uses a silicone-based internal for added impact resistance. To keep the case slightly more rigid, a plate on the rear of the case adds stiffness and extra protection.
Though this isn’t a folding, folio-style case, it still lets you prop your iPad up at three different viewing angles. The steepest angle is helpful with watching videos or using a Bluetooth keyboard, while the flattest angle is better for use with the Apple Pencil.
Instead of magnets to keep the cover shut, TORRO opted for a notebook-style elastic band. This isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it fits the case’s subtle look. Even without the magnet, the case does support the same auto wake and sleep functionality you get in many cases, so you’re not missing out.
Even though it’s leather, the TORRO case comes in four color varieties. There are black, brown, and tan varieties if you’re looking for a more traditional look or a brighter red if you’re looking for your iPad to stand out a little more.
TORRO Tablet Case
If you're looking for the touch of class a leather case brings buy you still want some bells and whistles, the TORRO Tablet Case is the perfect mix of retro and modern.
Best iPad Air Case with a Built-In Screen Protector: SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro
- ✓ Built-in screen protector is removable
- ✓ Tough design keeps your iPad Air protected
- ✓ Variety of color options
- ✗ Kickstand design means the case doesn't support portrait orientation
If you’re looking to protect your screen when you’re using your iPad in addition to when you’re carrying it around, a case with a built-in screen protector is your best option. Many of these have trade-offs that make them hard to recommend, but the SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Series Case is one worth buying.
Many built-in screen protectors make using your iPad more difficult, interfering with gestures and scrolling. The SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro doesn’t have any of these issues, meaning you’ll be able to use your iPad like you already do, but you’ll have more protection.
In addition to the built-in screen protector, this case is pretty tough. The outer case looks nearly as rugged as our pick for the best rugged case, though we wouldn’t count on it offering the same level of drop protection. This outer case also features a kickstand to make propping up your iPad easier to do.
Despite the relatively thick case, the Unicorn Beetle Pro supports wireless charging. You can even still attach an Apple Pencil magnetically, so this case doesn’t stop you from using your favorite iPad accessories.
This case comes in the standard black and white options, as well as some fun colors. Green, blue, rose gold, ruddy red, and slate blue are available.
SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Series Case
The built-in screen protector might be the SUPCASE Unicorn Beetle Pro Series Case's claim to fame, but it's a solid all-around case for your iPad Air.