Plastic vs. Rubber Phone Case: Pros and Cons
If you’re shopping for a new case, two distinct categories probably come to mind: plastic and rubber phone cases.
While these two case materials have some things in common, they each have defining characteristics that can influence whether you choose one over the other.
Keep reading to learn more and see out complete plastic vs. rubber phone case breakdown
5 Key Differences Between a Plastic vs. Rubber Phone Case
Before examining the differences of each case, let’s take a look at each type of case in a little more detail.
Plastic phone cases made of sturdy, hard plastic. That’s not to say that plastic cases are necessarily cheap or uncomfortable to hold, but they tend to be harder and more svelte than our other category: rubber.
Rubber cases are designed with the impact-absorbing properties of rubber in mind—think of the tank-like construction of Otterbox cases—using the material to wrap a phone in a layer of soft, impact-absorbing material.
What does this all mean for your phone case? In this article, we’re going to break down how these differences can make a big difference for you!
Both rubber and plastic phone cases come in a wide variety of forms. Thick, bulky rubber cases are the bread and butter of some case makers, while slim, fashion-forward plastic designs abound elsewhere.
Rubber makes a better shock absorbent phone case than plastic. Of course, a thicker case is better, but a sleek case is better than none at all. Especially if you’re going for a thin case, go for the rubber case.
The winner: Rubber (in a battle of thin cases, rubber is the safer choice)
Both plastic and rubber are extremely hardy materials. That’s why you see them all over in everyday life. Both plastic and rubber, however, are vulnerable to some measure of wear and tear.
Plastic is extremely hard-wearing, especially its TPU and PC variants, but is particularly susceptible to breakdown and discoloring from UV light. Rubber, likewise, is highly durable but can dry out over time, making it brittle and inflexible.
This category is a close match, but we’d give the edge to plastic.
The winner: Plastic
3. Device Protection
Now, this is a tough category in the question of plastic vs. rubber phone case.
We’ve already stated that rubber is a better impact absorber. That’s true, but let’s further explore one particularly useful plastic variety called thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). This type of plastic is quite good at mimicking the properties of rubber. It’s a bit softer and less rigid than polycarbonate (PC).
At SaharaCase, we’ve combined the best features of a few different kinds of plastics to craft a hybrid super-case (part of our signature Protection Kits) that provides both impact protection and firm stability. Rubber-like TPU on the corners. Hard plastic on the back. So, if you’re talking SaharaCase, it’s a plastic world out there.
The winner: Plastic
4. Green Factor
There’s no getting around it: plastic is just not very environmentally friendly.
Some types of rubber take 50 years to decompose. That may sound like a lot until you hear that plastics take upwards of 1,000 years to break down.
Both rubber and plastic release toxic chemicals when burned, so neither is exactly the greenest of materials. However, we assert that ultra-durable, refined cases like ours are relatively good for the environment because they last for so long.
With phones lasting longer and longer these days, thanks to leaner software and the protective benefits of cases, the typical life of a plastic phone case could be years.
The winner: Rubber (but plastic gets some points too!)
Both rubber and plastic cases come in a huge range of colors, patterns, and form factors. However, with all of its varieties, many case makers have become true artists in plastic.
We at SaharaCase love to combine different polymer blends, matte and gloss case finishes, and textures to create interesting and unique designs. While rubber offers some of the same options, its palette just isn’t as varied as plastic.
The winner: Plastic
Don’t limit your phone case options—there are a plethora of phone case materials to choose from. From leather to silicone, the options go on.
Plastic vs. Rubber Phone Case: Which is Better?
The winner in this comparison is plastic!
The protective benefits of TPU, combined with the rigid stability of PC and other varieties, make for a case material meant for the ages. While rubber has its place in the case pantheon, plastic’s versatility and durability put it at the very top of the case material heap.
Don’t just take our word for it! Check out SaharaCase’s extensive line of rubber and plastic phone cases. Or try our all-in-one Protective Kits to reap the best of both phone materials!
Rush over to SaharaCase to find the best phone case for your needs.