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What's the Difference Between Otterbox Defender , Commuter and Impact Series?

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Update 2018

I originally wrote this article in 2011. SInce then OtterBox has changed and grown dramatically. At the end of the post, I will add some information regarding the new OtterBox Series and info about the company it has acquired. So scroll to the end if you want to see updated information.

Most of the time when I am on Yahoo Answers or any other forum people ask the same question over and over again: The Difference between Defender Series and Commuter Series. I decided to make this post on our blog today and try to explain the difference between the series of Otterbox cases.

OtterBox Series Comparison Chart





Scratch Proof

Scratch Proof

Somewhat Scratch Proof

Dust Proof



Built in Screen



Ratcheting Belt Clip Holster




OtterBox Defender

The Defender series case is the most protection you can ever get from Otterbox. It’s indestructible case for those who do construction, police, fire fighters or any other tough job, where your smart phone or iPod needs a protection. I personally use a defender case even though I don’t do construction, because I like the way it protects. Only the defender comes with a belt clip holster, which can also be used a kickstand to watch movies and only defender has a built in screen protector. The way the defender case is built:

  1. Hard shell skeleton case which sits tightly on your device.
  2. Built in screen protector- the devices screen is fully usable through the clear membrane.
  3. Soft silicone case- wraps the skeleton hard case around.
  4. Silicone plugs for charging port, silent switch, headphone jack, etc.
  5. Belt clip holster- rotating holster will hold your phone securely on your belt. Can also be used as a kickstand.
  6. All the functions are usable through the case: camera, buttons, touch screen, charging port, headphone jack, etc.

For Blackberry phones Defender cases cone with the clear plastic protector for keyboard.
It’s the best case , but for those who say it’s too bulky there is a commuter series.

Please note: The Defender, Commuter, or Impact Series Do Not Provide Protection from Water. Otterbox acquired company called LifeProof, whose lifeproof cases for smartphones are the most popular in the market.

Based on the Poll on this page, Defender Series Is the most preferred case by our readers!

If You Have Kids

OtterBox Defender cases are also the best for those who have kids. Get an Otterbox and let your kids play with your gadget the way they love to play, i mean if they decide to throw your device, because they like doing so, there is nothing to worry about if you have an OtterBox.

Thank You all for reading my hub. If you already own an OtterBox please leave a comment and let us know about your experience.

Defender Drop Test


OtterBox Commuter

Commuter series has the most features of the defender case, but not all. For instance, commuter series don’t have the built in screens and the belt clip holster. Commuter is slimmer case comparing to the defender, but it gives a very good protection. It consists of several layers:
1) soft case – wraps around the device providing a shockproof protection.
2) hard case- goes over the silicone case an makes the soft case stay in place and at the same time prevents the device from cracking if it falls.
3) screen protection installation kit- clear screen guard, cleaning cloth, squeegee, instructions.
4) silicone plugs- covers charging port and the headphone jack. Please note: all the functions are accessible through the case.

Don’t buy just the hard cases ( the ones they sell in the malls). If you drop your phone with the just the hard case on, it will pop open and the device will obviously crack.

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OtterBox Impact Case

Impact Series of cases are the smallest version of Otterbox Cases. Otterbox has the Impact series available for almost all of the smart phones. It's a silicone case, which is a soft rubber cover and its much thicker than any other soft case, that's why it gives more protection to your phone comparing to all other cases.  Impact case has thick corners, which make it shockproof and drop proof case, because of that if you drop the phone with the Impact on it, the corners will bounce back and will not brake the device. The slimmest of OtterBox cases are made for those who want a protection from scraches, drops and dust , but don't like the size of the Defender.  Dont think that it gives as much protection as the defender, but if you don't want the defender, there is no better case than Impact.

Universe Series

This series is something new to the OtterBox family of cases. Very interesting idea, which I believe Otterbox is testing. The protection it provides is in the same range as Commuter Series, so if you need the real protection, you will still need to go with Defender Series.

The Universe Series is a case that allows it's user to add modules that would serve different needs. If you are a business owner, for example, and would like to be able to charge your customers credit card on the go, you could install a card reader onto the case and use it without having to remove the case. You can do many things and the protection is good.

Symmetry Series

This is a one piece case that provides medium protection. Definitely not the heavy duty protection that OtterBox is known for. The case looks nice and doesn't make your phone too big. Because of it's one piece design, it is easier to install and remove your phone from the case.

Statement Series

This series are made for those who want to see the back design of their phone. I remember people complaining that because of their OtterBox case, their iPhone doesn't look nor feels like an IPhone. Statement case is a case that will allow you to showcase your phone while having a protection. The level of protection is similar to Commuter or Symmetry Series.

Strada Series

This is a leather wallet case made by OtterBox. Capitalizing on the brand they have created, OtterBox seems to be making every type of case nowadays. This case doesn't have any extra ordinary capabilities. Many leather wallet cases out there do the same job. Strada Series has a face cover, which keeps your phone protected while in the bag or your pocket, and you can also keep your credit cards in the back of the case.

Conclusion For Update 2016

With all the new Series of Cases, OtterBox's Best Selling Series is still the Defender Series. OtterBox became a brand because of their Defender Cases and I would say they are still the best in the market. With the acquisition of LifeProof, now OtterBox offers the best of the best in the cellphone accessories industry. In my opinion, Defender is still a winner, but as always, your requirements and preferences may be different from mine.

Which Series Do You Like The Most?

Comments - What do You think?

screenprotection on October 15, 2013:

I have an otter box defender and the screen protector has come undone from the rest of the holder (I have a 1 year old and now when moisture gets on the phone it goes in through the crack of the screen protector)

can I use superglue to fix this??

ohcases (author) from New York on December 27, 2012:

Unfortunately Commuter and Impact will not fit in the clip. The belt clip is made for Defender Series Only.

Aziz on April 20, 2012:

Kstacx- If you have a belt clip for the defender case, it will only fit the defender series case only. Otterbox makes clips for Defender cases only. Let me know if I answered your question. Thanks

spierce on April 20, 2012:

i also have a defender and its been thtough some tough times. Its been great protection but now its won't stay in the holster very well.ive lost it in my truck and other places by it just falling out of the clip.looking at other companys to see if there is anything better.I really hate to change its really tough.

kstacx on March 18, 2012:

thanks really cleared some things up. one question still. will the impact and commuter fit in belt clip; say if you have a clip?

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