Whether you're off to a wet and wonderful vacation in some tropical locale or just want to go swimming in a pool, a waterproof pouch is an easy way to protect your phone from electronics' biggest enemy: water. IPX8 cases are widely prevalent and come in many styles, colors, and sizes to accommodate phones both big and small. Since they're usually big enough for a driver's license and some cash, too, they quickly go from unitasker to waterproof mini-purse. Whatever you're looking for in a waterproof pouch, you can probably find it in one of these.
Float to the top
These Mpow pouches are floaters! While not ideal for divers or snorkelers, floating dry bags like these are great for a weekend of fishing or boating. They make sure your phone doesn't sink to the bottom of the river/lake/ocean but stays afloat and is easily retrievable should it go overboard. I use one and you can easily type on your phone while it's housed inside.
These pouches have colored borders; both sides of your phone are fully visible inside the case. The color options here aren't quite as sexy as the Mpow or CaliCase, but they get the job done. The JOTO pouch can fit phones with up to a 6-inch diagonal screen, though for phones on the larger side, you may need to remove their case before you put them in.
One for you, one for me
These pouches can fit virtually any phone that's up to 6.9 inches diagonal in size, are IPX8-certified, and can be submerged in up to 100 feet of water. This set comes with one green and one magenta pouch so you can share with a friend or family member, or swap to match different swim or beachwear. You can even inflate the pouch a bit before sealing to make it float.
Extra room for essentials
With an ample 7-inch size, there's enough room in this pouch to fit a decent-sized phone along with credit cards, room key cards, cash, and other essentials so you can leave your purse or wallet at home. You can take your phone in up to 100 feet of water thanks to the IPX8 certification. There are also two in the pack, including a black and a green option. Made from premium PVC material with a secure lock, they also come with adjustable, detachable lanyards.
CaliCase case is double-layered, floats (except the clear version), comes with a lockable carabiner to keep it strapped to your lanyard/belt/backpack/kayak, and some versions even glow in the dark! The American-made CaliCase comes in a bevy of cool colors.
Important things to note
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A few notes about using a waterproof phone pouch with your Android phone:
- You should always test the seal of your waterproof pouch by putting some tissue paper in it, locking it secure, and then submerging it underwater for at least 30 minutes. Better to discover there's a manufacturing flaw with a test involving some paper than at the beach with your smartphone.
- You can't use a fingerprint scanner through a waterproof pouch. Be prepared to unlock your phone via password or PIN, or use Smart Lock to keep the device unlocked.
- While most newer pouches allow you to use your touchscreen to an extent, it doesn't work well (or at all) while you and your pouch are entirely submerged. If you're going to be taking photos underwater, set your camera to use the volume buttons to take pictures.
- Most waterproof pouches are secured to a lanyard using a "Quick Release" mechanism that will detach the pouch if someone yanks it or it gets caught on something. If you don't want that, get yourself a durable paracord carabiner you can snap onto your belt instead.
Keep the water away from your phone
It used to be common sense to keep your smartphone tucked away while around bodies of water. These days, people need to have their phones on them at all times. And if that includes time spent on a boat or at the beach, then you're going to want a waterproof pouch on hand to prevent any water damage from spoiling your vacation. Even if your phone is rated waterproof, it's still useful to have some added protection anyway via a pouch.
Our top pick is the Mpow two-pack, which is an excellent option for groups or families with teens who need their phone with them at all time. Mpow's products are reliable and easy to use, although you'll want to take care not to stretch or rip the vinyl since that will affect the product's ability to seal properly.
I have used Mpow waterproof pouches on two recent vacations to caribbean resorts and they worked perfectly. I loved that I could take my phone in and out easily when needed (as opposed to with a fitted case) and it was easy to type short messages and take photos.
However, I also love that the Hiearcool universal waterproof pouch has a pretty large interior that can accomodate other items, not just your phone.
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Christine Persaud has been writing about tech since long before the smartphone was even a "thing." When she isn't writing, she's working on her latest fitness program, binging a new TV series, tinkering with tech gadgets she's reviewing, or spending time with family and friends. A self-professed TV nerd, lover of red wine, and passionate home cook, she's immersed in tech in every facet of her life. Follow her at @christineTechCA.