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These 6 cheap Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 cases are worth buying

Spigen Air Skin Layout Z Fold
Spigen Air Skin Layout Z Fold (Image credit: Spigen)

After spending almost $2,000 on a Galaxy Z Fold 3, it's completely understandable that you wouldn't want to drop another $60-$100 on the best Galaxy Z Fold 3 cases from high-end brands like OtterBox, Urban Armor Gear, or Incipio. There are plenty of inexpensive cases for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 out there, but once you drop below $30, you start running into quality control issues, poor fits, and awkward designs. After sifting through a mountain of contenders, these are the six best cheap Galaxy Z Fold 3 cases that are more than worthy of covering your shiny, new foldable.

How to spot the good and the bad in the best cheap Galaxy Z Fold 3 cases

Spigen and Ringke were both kind enough to offer wonderfully inexpensive case options, with the Ringke Slim Case looking especially promising. Its anti-slip pads near the hinge help keep it from sliding off while avoiding the garish strips of double-sided tape most hard-shell Z Fold 3 cases use. You also have the option for a clear, matte finish rather than the extra-shiny and extra-smudge-showing crystal clear variant. Spigen's Air Skin brings excellent color-matching, but I do wish they could've kept at least given us the Tough Armor in the $25 to $35 range rather than being a full $50, as the hinge protection could be vital to some.

If you were hoping for heavier-duty protection, I'm afraid you'll have to go to $40 or higher, but VRS has two nice cases around $40. Above that, Spigen, Incipio, and UAG all play around $50 to $70. So while you get what you pay for, it's understandable if that's too much at the moment.

Once you get past what few name-brand cases are available, though, looking for cheap Galaxy Z Fold 3 cases means you'll have to forget brand names entirely and instead focus on product phrasing, case design, and reviews. Here are the ways to help avoid truly cheap cases and instead find inexpensive cases of quality.

  • Check the photos: Does the picture look like it actually fits the phone? Does it look too slim to be true? For most inexpensive cases, all you'll get are renders, not photos of an actual case on an actual phone. This means we're relying on vendors to share accurate renders that correctly show the case's contours, thickness, and fit. Scrutinize the photos.
  • Scrutinize the features: Many of these cases list minimal descriptions or lack in-depth product descriptions, so the language that's there should be viewed with a critical mind. If a case is obviously thick, take claims of wireless charging compatibility with a grain of salt. If a case is thin, don't take durability claims as gospel.
  • Check shipping dates: A lot of cases will look cheap in search results but then either tack on an exorbitant shipping fee or take 3 to 8 weeks to get here because it ships from overseas. Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with global commerce or having things imported. Still, we're experiencing a massive shipping backlog worldwide, so anything with an extended delivery date could take months longer to get through the backups at the Ports of Los Angeles, Portland, Oakland, Sacramento, and Seattle.

Just as it takes time to build up a BS detector on social media, it takes time to develop a dud detector for tech accessories. I've spent the better part of a decade building mine, and I can still get it wrong from time to time when it comes to cases because there are so many variables at work. The best advice is not to rush and not gloss over any details on the page.

If you're looking for an inexpensive way to add grip without adding bulk or dealing with sliding pieces, you might also consider skipping cases altogether, as many Z Fold 3 owners have found skins to be the ideal case

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.