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.
With the Galaxy Z Fold 3's foldable design, fit makes all the difference between a quality case and an accident waiting to happen. Ringke's Slim Case nails the fit, and while it doesn't use a double-sided adhesive like many Z Fold cases, there are non-stick pads along the top and bottom bumpers to help keep it in place.
This slim case comes in over half a dozen colors, ensuring that even if your Z Fold 3 doesn't come in all the fun, vibrant colors of the Z Flip 3, you won't be left out on the technicolor fun. Just remember that this is a hard-shell case, so don't expect any drop protection. However, this model will add some grip and avoid scratches.
Like nothing's there
Most of Spigen's Z Fold 3 cases are double this price tag or even higher, but the Air Skin is a good case for those trying to keep bulk to a minimum. Spigen has perfectly color-matched the two Air Skin models to the Phantom Green and Phantom Black models, giving you the first-party look without a first-party price.
Good feel, better price:
No, it's not genuine leather, but this case adds a more luxurious feel to your Z Fold 3 without breaking the bank. This case does use double-sided tape on both pieces, but be careful when applying them, or they might not stick right.
Precise camera cover
Mos slim cases will only feature an edge around the camera module, but Puroom's case also has two models that will go a step beyond and cover the bump so that as little of your camera module is exposed as possible. While this minty green is a far cry from Phantom Green, sometimes we need a little pop of color.
Carry it all
While a folio case on top of a folding phone would be overkill, this case still gives you a slot for your driver's license or a single credit card without getting too bulky. The card slot also doubles as a stand thanks to the strap attaching it to the case, so you can prop up your Z Fold 3 without spending big bucks on a super-bulky kickstand case.
How to spot the good and the bad in the best cheap Galaxy Z Fold 3 cases
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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
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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.