What Are the Best iPad Cases for Classroom Use? We Put Two Popular Models to the Test

Spills and accidents are part of kindergarten, which is why you need iPad cases that last.

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OtterBox iPad Cases

If you’re lucky enough to have iPads in your classroom, you know the panic when you see one of them fall to the concrete floor or come perilously close to a paint cup. iPads are expensive, and 30 students can be destructive. That’s why when our friends at OtterBox offered to let us test two of their most popular models of cases, we were all for it! We gave two different cases to two of our teacher reviewers—with instructions to really put the cases to the test. Here’s what they had to say.

The OtterBox Defender for 5th and 6th Gen iPad

OtterBox iPad Case Teacher Review: The Defender and UnlimitED

OtterBox’s Defender series includes triple-layer protection: an inner shell, outer cover, and touchscreen protection. A built-in shield stand makes it easy for students to prop up the iPad for horizontal or vertical viewing. 

Janel’s thoughts: I have had a few incidents over the years in which kindergarten students have thrown and broken iPads or simply dropped them and shattered the screen. The Defender seems like it would protect the iPad in these instances. The corners are well covered, which is often the easiest way to crack a screen and the most common mishap in my experience.

A lot of our iPads get minor scratches from contact when they are stacked, charging, or even just carried. The screen protector is very responsive to touch but also protects the iPad from abrasive contact and liquids, food, and other potential messes.

Christina’s thoughts: I appreciated the multiple ways the stand can support the iPad. I also liked how thick the case is as a whole. And we put the Defender to the test right away in my classroom! I observed a student accidentally dropping the iPad, screen first, and the case did a wonderful job protecting the screen. 

Though students were not fully successful in removing the shield stand off the front of the iPad, they were able to adjust the stands independently and place their iPads there to view/interact with. I would recommend the Defender to teacher friends.

UnlimitED for 5th and 6th Gen iPad

OtterBox iPad Case Teacher Review: The Defender and UnlimitED

Otter’s UnlimitED case is specifically designed for K–12 education. It is a slim, lightweight case with an integrated screen protector. The clear back makes it easy to view asset tags and engraving. The UnlimitED case fits most charging slots with the case installed. The built-in stand accommodates landscape viewing.

Janel’s thoughts: I found the UnlimitED to be easy to install without using the directions. The built-in stand is handy, as is the screen protector. The slimmer profile makes this case a better choice for accessories that don’t usually accommodate cases, such as charging carts.

Christina’s thoughts: The auxiliary, power, and microphone port are easily accessible, which will benefit my classroom, as students easily plugged their headphones into their iPads. I like that the rear-facing camera is visible. A few cases I have used in the past have that camera covered with a ‘latch’ my students continuously broke. I enjoy the clear back of the case. Our school has labeled our iPads with bar codes to maintain inventory.

Meet the Reviewers

Janel Griffiths is a library media specialist in Wisconsin. “I use iPads quite frequently with my K–6 students,” she says. “I was eager to try the Otter cases, because iPads without cases don’t tend to last long.”


Christina Hernandez is a kindergarten teacher near Houston, Texas. “I have 13 iPads in my classroom, and students use them daily,” she says. “Any case that we use has to stand up to that level of use.”


We’d love to hear—have you used an OtterBox iPad case in the classroom? Share your experiences in the comments and be sure to check out the entire line of cases available from Otter (for any device you can think of, not just iPads).