Remember when even a tiny splash of water on your cell phone sent you scrambling into the kitchen so you could tear open a box of rice and sink your phone deep into it?
If you have an older phone, you probably still make sure you keep plenty of rice in the pantry. Many new phones are water resistant, and the technology is a marvel. Manufacturers protect the phone’s seams and ports using specialized glue, corrosion-resistant metals, and miniscule rubber gaskets to seal your phone’s many holes. The speakers are a bit trickier. For these, manufacturers use incredibly fine mesh designed around the chemical properties of water, and the physics of how water moves, to keep those water molecules out of your phone. Some ports even switch off automatically when your phone meets water.
Still, anyone who spends time around the water need to protect their phone. A couple of raindrops hitting a phone is one thing, but dropping it into a trout stream is something else. And if you’re fishing or swimming in salt water, salt and minerals can damage your device even if the water doesn’t. And, the times when your phone is most likely to get soaked are also the times you really want to have your phone handy to take photos and connect with family and friends—after catching a nice fish, for example. That makes a good waterproof phone pouch, which allows you to access the phones features, a must-have item.
Here’s what to look for when shopping for the best waterproof phone pouch to keep your phone safe and dry when you’re on or near water.
- Best Waterproof Phone Pouch with a Versatile Lanyard: Stash7 Waterpocket
- Best Floating Waterproof Phone Pouch: Geckobrands Floating Phone Pouch
- Best Waterproof Phone Pouch For Use Underwater: Kona Submariner Phone Pouch
- Best Waterproof Phone Pouch with Secure Closure: Joto Universal Waterproof Pouch
- Best Waterproof Phone Pouch for Touchscreen Use: MPOW Universal Waterproof Pouch
How to Find the Best Waterproof Phone Pouch for You
The best waterproof phone pouch will keep your phone dry when you’re carrying it, be comfortable and convenient to use, and allow you to use the phone’s functions when it’s inside.
Comfort and effectiveness go hand in hand with the quality of the materials used to construct the pouch. Most waterproof pouches are made using heavy-duty polythermal plastics like PVC or TPU (more about these later). The key things to look for here are the pouch’s closure, which may be a heavy-duty zipper or a locking mechanism. It’s also a good idea to make sure the lanyard is comfortable to wear and versatile enough to tie or clip on your person or gear. Designs that use nautical-grade shock cord will withstand damage from abrasion or UV exposure.
Another consideration if you want to take the phone beneath the surface is its maximum immersion depth. This is a measure of just how deep your pouched phone can sink in the water without getting wet or sustaining damage. This generally ranges from 30 feet to 100 feet. It’s important to remember that water isn’t the only hazard to your phone at greater depths. Your phone will also experience pressure as it sinks into the water, and pouches tested to withstand deeper dives will protect against pressure damage to the screen and other components.
In addition to being rugged enough to withstand water and pressure, the best waterproof pouch will let you access your phone’s features while it’s in the pouch. The degree to which you can use the phone depends on the thickness of the material as well as the design of your phone.
How Functional Is the Lanyard?
It’s probably intuitive that you want a waterproof phone bag with a pocket made of high-grade materials, but the lanyard may be easy to overlook. That would be a mistake, because the quality and features of the lanyard are crucial to the pouch’s functionality. After all, that stretch of cordage may be all that stands between you and your phone dropping overboard or into a fast current.
Look for a pouch with a leash that’s rugged enough to stand up to abrasion and UV light, both of which can break down materials over time. A nautical grade shock cord is made from braided nylon and similar to paracord, but with a bit of added stretch. Ideally, the leash will feature high quality spring-loaded clips constructed from a metal alloy that resists corrosion.
If you just want to wear the pouch around your neck, the length of the leash may not make a difference. However, leashes greater than 3 feet in length will give you the option of tying, looping, or clipping the pouch to your body, your gear, or your boat. That’s a particularly useful feature if you want access to the phone while, say, fishing from a kayak and want to take photos.
Best Waterproof Phone Pouch with a Versatile Lanyard: Stash7 Waterpocket
Easy to Wear
The 40 inches of rugged nautical grade shock cord and spring-loaded clips make this pouch’s lanyard a winner. Amazon
This pouch’s closure system relies on a rugged, double-seal zipper paired with a fold-over hook-and-loop fastened flap. The 40-inch leash is constructed with stretchable, nautical grade shock cord that resists both abrasions and UV damage. Combined with alloy spring loaded clips, this lanyard gives you versatility to secure your phone via tying, looping, or clipping to your person, craft, or gear.
Will the Pouch Float Easily?
You’re fishing in a boat far from shore and your phone slips into the water. Even with the best waterproof pouch, how are you going to get that phone back? Many waterproof phone pouches don’t just protect your device against damage from water, they also float, allowing for easy retrieval.
A pouch designed to float will sink only so far then return to the surface after being dropped in the water. Floating phone pouches may be constructed with high-quality PVC or another high-performance material like thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), which is a little more elastic and durable than PVC. It’s important to check the pouch’s dimensions to ensure your phone will fit, since the pouch is optimized to float phones of specific sizes and weights.
Best Floating Waterproof Phone Pouch: Geckobrands Floating Phone Pouch
Clarity is Key
A floating pouch that fits a wide range of phones and has a 7-inch display window. Amazon
This option is waterproof for up to an hour at depths of up to 30 feet, but its major feature is that it’s optimized to float your phone. The pouch fits all phones up to 7.5 inches in length and has a 7-inch clear viewing window so you can easily take photos underwater.
Will the Pouch Protect the Phone at Great Depths?
A major consideration when selecting a waterproof pouch is just how deep you can drop that phone and rely on the pouch functioning properly. Some pouches will float, but that doesn’t mean that the pouch will protect the phone if you bring it snorkeling, spearfishing, or diving. The maximum immersion depth depends on the quality of the materials used to make the pouch. Look for an option constructed with a high-quality thermoplastic polymer like polyvinyl chloride. PVC is probably best known as the material used to make plastic pipes. It’s inexpensive, flexible, and resistant to both shock and slipping.
If you’re just looking for a sleeve that keeps your phone safe in the rain or while wading a steam or pond, deeper immersion depths may seem unnecessary. However, products tested to withstand deeper depths will also perform better under shallower drops or lighter-use circumstances. Look for a waterproof pouch with a maximum immersion depth of at least 30 feet. Products with maximum immersion depths of 50 to 100 feet are ideal if you plan to use the pouch underwater. These depth ratings mean this waterproof cell phone pouch is tested to keep the water out and also protect your phone against the pressure that exists at those depths. That’s an important consideration for keeping your screen intact after a seriously deep trip underwater.
Best Waterproof Phone Pouch For Use Underwater: Kona Submariner Phone Pouch
Water, Dirt-, and Snowproof
This floating pouch can handle depths of up to 100 feet. amazon
This pouch is made with high quality PVC to ensure it stays waterproof in depths up to 100 feet. The material is also slip and shock resistant. When the phone is inserted into the pouch properly, the user can access the phone’s features underwater, including most touchscreen functions. This pouch fits all phones up to 7 inches long and even accommodates phones in cases.
How Does the Pouch Open and Close?
The most vulnerable point of any waterproof phone pouch is its closure. Since you’ll be opening and closing the pouch so you can insert and remove your phone, it’s the place where leaks are most likely to occur. This feature is crucial to keeping your phone dry, so carefully consider a pouch’s closure mechanism.
Many pouches close using a rugged zipper. In order to effectively keep the water out over multiple uses, the zipper should be made of heavy-duty materials. For maximum protection, look for a pouch that pairs a zipper with a secondary closure, such as a fold-over flap. Such a design protects the waterproof seal.
An alternative to a zipper closure is a secure locking mechanism that relies on tabs that snap or slide open and closed for access. The only downside of this closing mechanism is that some users may find it difficult to flip open the tab, especially with cold fingers.
Best Waterproof Phone Pouch with Secure Closure: Joto Universal Waterproof Pouch
Every Color of the Rainbow
This snap lock design is secure, simple and easy to open and close. amazon
This pouch fits all phones up to about 7 inches in length, though some larger phones may need to be removed from protective cases in order to fit. It’s tested to be waterproof at depths up to 100 feet, and uses a secure locking mechanism that snaps open easily.
How Easy Is It to Use Your Phone When It’s Inside the Pouch?
When you’re on the water, you’ll probably use your phone to text, take photos, access information on the web, or email. A good pouch will not only protect your phone, it also won’t compromise your ability to actually use it.
Look for a pouch with a large clear window on both sides, so you can see your full screen and not block the lenses on the back of your phone. Some touchscreen functions will always disable when the phone is inside the pouch—such as fingerprint touchscreen locks—but pouches constructed with ultra-thin materials will keep most other touchscreen functions enabled.
Best Waterproof Phone Pouch for Touchscreen Use: MPOW Universal Waterproof Pouch
This ultra-thin (0.18 mm) transparent material lets you use your touchscreen underwater. Amazon
This pouch combines the best of both worlds with PVC that’s heavy duty, yet ultra-thin (0.18 mm). That combination ensures the pouch protects your phone while still retaining much of your phone’s touchscreen capability. It fits all phones up to 7 inches in length.
Best Waterproof Phone Pouch Brands to Know
Products designed to keep your phone safe when immersed in water are pretty new on the market. Here are a few brands at the forefront of this emerging industry.
Stash Incorporated was founded by Tom Turner and operates out of Salt Lake City, Utah. The company handcrafts each Waterpocket on site and tests their products on the Colorado River. The company also makes shorts with a unique waterproof pocket for storing valuables on the go.
Geckobrands was founded in 2012 with a mission to bring innovation, value, and performance to consumers who love the outdoors. The company also produces backpacks, totes, and coolers, and offers the option for users to customize their products.
Kona is a family business that started in 2014 and primarily focuses on barbecue and grilling tools and accessories. The company’s goal is to offer the hassle-free, expert service of a brick-and mortar-business with the convenience of an online store.
The Lowdown on Finding the Best Waterproof Phone Pouch
Smartphones are expensive, so finding the best waterproof phone pouch for you and your phone is imperative if you spend any time on or near water. These essential smartphone accessories give you peace of mind while simultaneously allowing you to use many of the phone functions. Pay attention to the lanyard on the pouch, the closure mechanism, and the window size. If you want to use the phone underwater, get a case that’s designed specifically to protect a phone at great depths.