The Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus are the best smartphones of the year (so far). They will be the phones by which all others are measured. They have the best specifications you could ask for, amazing cameras, and the beautifully designed front and back for which Samsung is now famous. The phones are a bit on the fragile side though. It’s important to protect them from the harm of daily bumps and drops and scratches. You’ll want to know the best Samsung Galaxy S9 cases and Galaxy S9 Plus cases you can buy to keep your phone safe.
To that end, we have taken an in-depth look at the cases available for the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus. We wanted to feel them out and see how they compared to each other. We tested over 60 cases and we have broken them down to our favorites from each of six different categories. So, without further ado, here are the best Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus cases you can buy.
This Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus case comes in three different varieties — clear, smoke black, and orchid purple. It’s got a nice soft TPU bumper around the edges, with clear polycarbonate for the back plate that gives the back a harder outer layer. It’s sort of a “best of both worlds” situation. The Bixby button on the case is the only textured button, which seemed a little weird, but that seems to be a Ringke thing.
Some of the cases came with a short attachable lanyard in the bag. We would never put our phone on a lanyard, but it’s an option here. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to which cases included a lanyard.
The hard polycarbonate backplate is a fingerprint magnet. Most of our time evaluating and photographing this case involved a soft cloth of some kind. The cutout on the back also dips a little lower than the fingerprint sensor itself. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s a little off-putting. There is a nice lip at the top and bottom which will help protect your phone’s screen in the event of a face first fall. That’s a must for a phone like this.
- Lowest price of the pack
- Easy to get on and off
- Dual protection — soft edges/hard back
- Fingerprint magnet
- Oddly, the Bixby button is textured while the others aren’t
Speck GemShell case
The Speck GemShell Galaxy S9 case comes from a respected name in the case industry. The GemShell case comes in just one color: clear. It’s clearly built with protection in mind. The back and sides are all comprised of the same stiff polycarbonate — seems very shock resistant. The phone slides into the case with a satisfying “thwap.” Once it’s in, you know it’s staying there. That’s where the good news stops.
This case is a study in fingerprints. You’ll spend a lot of time with a cleaning cloth preparing the case and the phone before putting the case on. You have to be very careful not to leave a fingerprint on the inside of the case when putting the phone in, too. You will be cleaning this case — a lot — and you’ll need to take it off to do so. The crazy-stiff bumper, which circles the phone, makes that very hard. The case is also pretty scratch prone, which is probably better than your phone scratching, but still.
The cutouts are all very nice and even. A lot of precision went into this case, which is good. The buttons have the same problem as the bumper — they’re very stiff and hard to push. It has a nice lip on the top and bottom to protect the screen.Overall, the case is just too hard to use, and it costs 3-4 times what other, similar cases cost. It’s just too much for this category.
- Speck is a great name in cases
- Feels very sturdy and durable
- Difficult to put on and take off
- Quite scratch prone
The MNML case is an ultra thin case that comes in three different colors – clear black, frosted white, and matte black. This Samsung Galaxy S9 case is pretty awesome from a bulk standpoint. It’s like a second skin. In fact, it’s so thin the buttons on the sides don’t have covers — just cutouts.
The cutouts are extremely precise. They go right up to the buttons and ports, stopping right at the edge. It’s impressive how close they get. Only official Samsung cases are as accurate. I really love what MNML is doing here — adding some protection to the phone without compromising its size. But the job of a case is two-fold. It needs to look good and protect.
The MNML case will protect your phone from scratches and maybe small dings. If you accidentally put your phone in your pocket with your keys, and the back of the phone is on the key side, you’ll probably be ok. There is no lip around the screen of the phone. The case itself is so thin, we’re not sure how well it would protect your phone from even a short drop. If you need a case to protect from scratches or if you want your phone to be more grippy, this is a good option. If you’re looking for anything more than that, this isn’t a good choice for you.
- Adds zero bulk to your phone
- Cutouts are crazy precise
- Adds good grip to an otherwise slippery phone
- No protection beyond scratching
Slim Bumper Cases
The Ringke Onyx case is a really sharp-looking Galaxy S9 case at a great price point. It was our second favorite case during testing. The back of the case has a dual-textured design, with a brushed metal look and a grippy top and bottom. The lip on the top and bottom of the case overhang to help protect the phone in a face-first fall. The back of the phone has great precision cutouts for the camera, fingerprint sensor, and flash.
The cutouts and the button covers are not perfect. The buttons are a little on the squishy side. We wanted more responsiveness from the buttons on cases. The cutouts on the back have two different bezels and one is steeper than the other. It’s not awful — the steep bezel is necessary to have a piece of case between the camera and the flash, and the shallower bezel is for comfort on the fingerprint sensor. This isn’t too bad, but one runs into the other and looks a little weird.
The case could be grippier on the sides. It’s better than trying to hold a naked S9, but not by much. But the Onyx is also one of the cheapest entries in this category, which makes it that much more appealing. Overall it’s our favorite case in this class.
- Great dual texture look on the back
- Solid protection for this category
- Squishy button covers
- Bezels on the back are a weird look.
Tudia Arch S
The Tudia Arch S is the same Tudia Arch S we looked at in the clear section above, but this one was the navy blue option. This Galaxy S9 case comes in frosted clear, navy blue, black, and grey. It gets a lot right, with a very safe design. The back of the Tudia arch is very plain, with a decorative line across the bottom and a single cutout for the camera, fingerprint sensor, and flash. The button covers are easy to press and very responsive. The sides of the case are textured and give you a good, solid grip on the phone that others in this category lack.
The lip around the edge of the phone is not as pronounced as other cases, which might look a little better, but will also protect less. It’s a compromise to be aware of, but certainly not a deal breaker. Overall, the case feels a little generic, and borderline boring. It’s a phone case, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s the safe choice. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but there’s nothing really outstanding either.
- Grippy texture around the sides
- Slim, not a lot of bulk
- Slightly higher price than other options
- More plain looking than other options
This Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus case falls into the bumper category, though it could have been considered rugged or clear since it’s largely clear. This is a pretty solid case, though the edges are thinner than what you’d normally find on a ruggedized case (hence its inclusion here). The front protects the screen, unlike most other bumper cases. The rest of the case is largely clear, except for a smaller bezel on the front and a larger bezel on the back. Port covers on the bottom protect the headphone jack and charging port, but don’t cover the speaker or microphone. Generally speaking, a case is designed to either keep dust and water out or not. This case seems like it was designed to do both, which is questionable.
Fingerprints abound on the front and back cover, so keep a cleaning cloth handy. Plus, the front screen protector sits on top of the screen rather loosely. You can feel the film press down on the screen. Also, the cutouts for the sensors on the front cut into the bezel resulting in a less attractive look. The cutouts are necessary, to be sure, but the design of the phone interferes with that. It’s almost as if the case was designed first, and they just took a drill to it wherever they needed to. Also the cutout for the camera, fingerprint, and flash is one large square, resulting in more of the back being exposed that is necessary.
This case feels more like a reference design than a final product. A lot of questionable choices were made here, which makes it hard to recommend. It will keep your phone safe in a pocket with keys or change. It just won’t look very good doing it.
- Front covers protects the screen as well
- Clear design allows you to see the phone as well
- Questionable design choices throughout
- Not easy to get on and off
- Hard to keep clean
Slim Shell Cases
Samsung Hyperknit case
In addition to making a great phone, Samsung’s got some great cases for it too. Among its unique designs is the Hyperknit Galaxy S9 case. This type of woven cloth is usually reserved for gym shoes. It turns out it makes a great case material too. Plus your phone will run faster and jump higher — okay maybe not. This case feels great. It’s comfortable to hold and will keep your phone safe from slips and falls.
The buttons are highly responsive and feel great to use. The cutouts on the back are the most precise of all the cases we tried. The case separates the camera, fingerprint sensor, and flash in their own little spaces. It’s the type of precision you would expect from an OEM case, and it’s wonderful to see here.
This protective case only comes in two colors. It can be a little on the tough side to keep clean, due to the material. You have never held a case like this, and it feels great. It’s also surprisingly the least expensive of the bunch, though still over $25 on Amazon.
- Nice look, normally reserved for footwear
- Comfortable to hold
- Cheapest price in the category (though not really cheap)
- Hard to keep clean
- Can get caught on sharp corners/fingernails
Samsung Alcantra case
Another official Samsung Galaxy S9 case — this time made with Alcantra. As such, it’s largely the same the hyperknit case. The cutouts are precise, with the camera, fingerprint sensor, and flash all getting their own ports. The case is a great fit, as one would expect from an OEM case. The buttons work very well with great responsiveness. But the story here is in the material.
Alcantara is the super soft, great-feeling material made famous in the tech sector by Surface keyboards. It’s like feather-soft fabric is stretched over the case. You will spend time petting your phone, even if it’s unconsciously while waiting in line. That luxury comes at a price of nearly $50, which is pretty high.
This would have been one of the best cases we tested, but if hyperknit is tough to keep clean, Alcantra is darn near impossible. Putting your phone into a pocket of anything less than brand new jeans will get it dirty. The nature of the fabric is such that you can’t even brush dirt off. Carry a roll of tape with you to suck the dirt off because that’s the only way this case is staying clean. A little dust here or there won’t kill you, but it lost major points for that in our book.
- Luxurious look and feel
- OEM made, so it’s very precise
- Dirt/dust magnet
- Seriously, this thing is always dirty.
The Skinit Lite case receives the highest marks for look and feel because you can make it look like literally anything you want, even a photo you upload. If you visit the Skinit website, you can customize your Galaxy S9 case to make it look exactly how you want it to took. We went with the Cubs, because the Cubs are the best, but the sky is the limit. In a world where phone cases are expressions of your personality, it doesn’t get more personal than this.
The finished cases are fingerprint magnets though and hard to get off once on. Also, our case started to show a bit of wear around the edges toward the end of our testing. The cutouts are nice, but there are cutouts for the buttons as well, rather than button covers. In our opinion, that takes away from the look of the case, and at around $35, you don’t want anything to take away from the experience. But the idea of getting anything on the back of your phone case sure is attractive, and that alone makes up for the downsides.
- Completely customizable
- Hard plastic shell should do well absorbing shock
- Fingerprints — fingerprints everywhere!
- Hard to take off, if that’s a thing you do
The Ringke wave case is a great combination of protection and style. As the name suggests, the back plate sports a wave design, which is pretty and functional. An inner layer of TPU cushions the phone, while the outer hard shell really protects it. On the front, a nice deep lip protects the phone from face-down falls. the cutout on the back is a single cutout for all three components, but it’s very accurate, as are the cutouts on the bottom.
The dual layer protection offers a lot of protection for considerably less bulk, but this is not the beefiest rugged case you can get. The Otterbox or the Poetic Revolution below might be best for the construction workers or the most rough-and-tumble among us. Slipping this phone in and out of a pocket is not a problem, and the soft-touch TPU on the back provides a great resting place for your fingers. The case is a little slippery on the sides.
It’s a little more expensive than other options, but only by a few dollars. The combination of form and function is perfect here. Overall it’s one of the best cases we reviewed.
- Gorgeous combination of form and function
- Dual layer TPU and polycarbonate provides max protection.
- Not as beefy as most ruggedized cases – there is more protection out there.
- A little slippery to hold on the sides and near the bottom of the phone
Tudia Merge case
As the this Galaxy S9 case’s name suggests, this merges a TPU inner layer and a hard outer shell. This certainly isn’t unique in this category to be sure. Like others, there is more protection to be found out there, but the Tudia Merge offers a good balance between protection and bulk. This case’s hard back covers most of the back, with only the top and bottom sporting the softer TPU material. The merge itself has a nice grippy finish on the back and sides which makes it easier to hold and like prone to slips and falls. The backplate also unfortunately picks up oils from the skin and can get smudgy. With the silver finish on our review unit, we didn’t notice it that much, but it’s there if you look closely.
Overall, the Tudia Merge is the safer choice between it and the Wave. It’s simply a little more “standard” or, in my opinion, boring. Boring isn’t a bad thing — it’s safer and less expensive. It’s also just a little less pretty.
- Dual layer protection is great
- Easy to slip on and off
- Design is a bit boring
- Backplate picks up oils from the skin
CoverOn Arc case
The CoverOn Arc is also a dual-layered soft/hard shell case that checks a lot of boxes from the protection side. It’s bigger and beefier than our previous entries (though not as big as the Otterbox). The hard shell of the case extends all the way up the corners, and offers great fall protection and shock absorption. The sides of the case has a wave pattern which makes the phone really easy to hold and grip. the buttons are also labelled, which you don’t see much.
This Galaxy S9 case lost points mainly because the cutouts on the back interfered with the overall design aesthetic. The camera/fingerprint sensor/flash cutout cuts out of the upper design and looks weird. It was a silly choice. We wish they had just gone with a different design that wouldn’t have to be cut out. The case is thicker, as you would expect from a ruggedized case which is good. But the polycarbonate back piece doesn’t sit in the TPU layer very well, making the back of the phone a little squishy. It doesn’t feel high quality.
Overall, this is probably the most protection you can buy in the somewhere-between-rugged-and-bumper category. It’s probably the most functional case of the three in this list, but it’s far from the most attractive.
- More bulky/durable feeling
- Buttons are labelled, which you don’t see often
- Cutouts interfere with the overall design
- Slippery on the back
CoverOn SecureCard case
This was our favorite Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus case. This wallet case has a nice brushed metal design on the back and sports a card holder. You can get two cards in there, which makes it good for replacing your wallet. The case is dual layered TPU and polycarbonate for great impact and shock absorbance. The buttons are nice and responsive and the cutouts on the back have enough bezel to not interfere with the camera and fingerprint sensor.
It’s very bulky, mostly because of the card holder on the back. It adds a certain amount of heft to the phone while other wallet cases do not. Of course, we can’t say for sure if placing credit cards between a wireless charger and wireless coils in the phone will have longterm negative effects. It probably won’t, but heat might have some detrimental effect long term. Time will tell.
The card slot door also acts as a kickstand for hands free media viewing. This was the only wallet case we tested with any kind of hands-free viewing mechanism. The design is chunky, even thicker than some of the rugged cases we tested, but that didn’t affect carrying it in a pants or jacket pocket. Wonderful job here, and likely the case we’ll keep using going forward.
- Holds two cards
- Nice dual textured design
- Door/kickstand feels flimsy
- Not 100 percent positive it’s designed to hold two cards
- Very thick
Samsung LED Wallet case
Samsung created a neat concept with the LED wallet case. When closed, the time is shown on the cover itself. Additionally, you can customize different notification icons, and even answer the phone by swiping on the cover. This is a wallet case, so there is also room for a card on the inside of the cover. The case itself keeps your phone secure, and covers the screen to provide all-around protection.
The LED was less useful than we anticipated. When you close the case, the LED appears only briefly before fading away. This is how it has to work, but it’s still disappointing. Other notifications show up as they come in, and you can customize what icons show up — you can even create your own icons. The process is a bit micro-managey for our taste, but if that’s something you’re into (if you use Android, you may well be), feel free to dive in. For us, the LED trick is pretty neat, but the novelty wears off quickly.
Only having space for one card is also less-than-ideal. If you really want to replace your wallet, you need at least two cards — ID and a credit card. We understand that the Galaxy S9 has MST and can be used in lieu of your cards in most places, but the key word there is “most.” If you plan to pump gas, or eat at a restaurant, you’ll need a card to give to the server. Not every card reader plays nicely with MST.
Bottom line — the LED wallet case is not as cool as it could be, which is a shame.
- All around protection.
- Cover swiping gestures are cool
- No magnetic closure
- LED novelty wears off quickly
Poetic Nubuck case
Poetic has a neat concept here. I use a minimal wallet that operates along a similar principle. Slide a card into the slot and pull a strap to get the card to pop out. It’s a neat concept that allows Poetic to design a wallet case that holds a card without adding much bulk. Unfortunately, when you pull the card out, there’s no way to get the strap to go back in. Let’s say you just don’t want to carry a card in the wallet for a while; you still need something to push in there to get the strap to go back in. The case comes with a little instruction card, which fits behind a driver’s license, so you could use that, but that’s a workaround, not a solution. Also, the pull tab doesn’t slot back into the back of the case very neatly.
The rest of the case is OK, but not great. The buttons are a little stiff. The band-aid pattern on the back makes the case nice and grippy, and the cloth top half feels almost like Alcantara but stays cleaner. Pulling a card out also blocks the camera, so there’s that.
Overall, these are not the kinds of compromises you want to see in your phone case. There is some value here, if you’re willing to overlook the flaws.
- Neat design
- A wallet case that doesn’t obscure the camera with a flap
- Flawed wallet case is flawed
- Only holds one card
- A wallet case that does obscure the camera with a card.
The CoverOn RingCase is basically a Coveron Arc case but with a ring holder built into the back of it. That means you get all the good and bad points outlined above — great protection, flawed cutouts, grippy sides (though the sides are flat on the RingCase). But there are a couple of differences between the two.
The case is thicker than its Arc counterpart — due to the ring built into the back. The cutouts on the back are slightly larger to account for more bezel being needed. The sides are not as grippy, but that’s because this case is designed to be gripped by the ring. The ring is large enough to slide a finger through – even my fat fingers. Plus the ring can be used as a kickstand for hands-free media viewing. That’s a nice extra, especially since we didn’t see many kickstands on other cases we reviewed.
The ring will determine whether or not you like this case. It’s not really our cup of tea, but in a world of Popsockets, there is a market for these.
- The ring adds a lot of utility, including a kickstand
- Durable build
- Same design issue as the CoverOn Arc
- The ring is needed because of the slippery design
Kerf case (Spalted Maple)
This Samsung Galaxy S9 case is in our specialty category because it’s hand made from wood. Each Kerf case is handmade in Pittsburgh, PA. There’s just something attractive about a phone can be repaired with a belt sander if it gets dinged. It is also a beautiful case. If you’re not sure what Spalted Maple is, this web page has a good description. Basically it’s a coloration that happens when a certain fungus inhabits wood. It’s gorgeous, but very expensive case.
The spalted maple has an especially great texture. The buttons are a little on the squishy side, and while the phone fits securely in the case, it almost feels like it is going to fall out. To be clear: it won’t. We tested it pretty thoroughly, but the initial feeling was unsettling.
More than anything, this case is expensive — north of $100. That’s a really hard sell for a phone case that isn’t absolutely perfect. But, if you have some (read: a lot) extra cash and you want your phone to be a conversation starter, Kerf is a great way to go.
- Lovely wood feel, not often found in mobile tech
- Your phone will stand out
- Natural materials and hand made
- Expensive (more than twice than the next expensive case on this list)
- Buttons are squishy and can get stuck at times.
That’s it for our best Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus cases roundup. Did you like this expanded coverage of cases? Would you like to see more in the future? Did we miss any you would like to see evaluated to see if they can supplant one of our picks? This post will be frequently updated, so let us know down in the comments.
April 24, 2018 at 09:29AM