Lifeproof vs. Otterbox – The Ultimate Guide

Lifeproof and Otterbox were at odds for many years before Otterbox acquired Lifeproof in 2013. These are still among the biggest names in the protective smartphone case industry. Both offer top-quality cases, so the choice between the two is quite difficult.

Lifeproof vs. Otterbox - The Ultimate Guide

In case (pun intended) you are having this dilemma yourself, here’s a rundown of the key differences between the two brands, including their strengths and weaknesses.

If you are paying top dollar for a phone, getting a solid case for it should be common sense. Lifeproof and Otterbox make cases for both Android and iPhone users. Here is a back-to-back comparison of the two.

Lifeproof Fre vs. Otterbox Defender

Lifeproof and Otterbox both have many different models of cases. The most popular ones are the Lifeproof Fre and the Otterbox Defender. Let’s compare their individual features, so you can decide which one fits your smartphone habits better.

Drop Protection

Let’s start with the most important feature of any phone case, its ability to sustain damage from a drop. Otterbox didn’t lie when they named their top case Defender. It is truly thick and resistant. It is said to be fully drop-proof and more rugged than any of its competitors.

On the other hand, Lifeproof Fre has a thin design, but it also has shock protection for falls of up to 7 feet. For a thin case, one must admit that is impressive.

Overall, the Defender is heavier and somewhat safer than Fre when it comes to drop protection.

Lifeproof Otterbox


Waterproofing is one of the main selling points of the Fre phone case. It is designed to protect your phone from water, snow, and any type of moisture. The official statement is that Fre will protect your phone if it is in water up to 2 meters deep, for up to an hour. On top of that, Lifeproof provides a waterproof earplug jack – you can seal it in when you are not using it.

Fre wins in this department because the Defender doesn’t claim to have any form of waterproofing. This is not a big detriment for phones that are already water-resistant, such as the iPhone XS Max and iPhone XS. For these phones, Defender is more than adequate.

The takeaway here is that you want Fre in case your phone is often exposed to water and you’re counting on a case to protect it.

Additional Protection

Although it lacks protection against moisture, Defender works great against scratches, dirt, and dust. There are port covers on it that prevent anything from going in. For example, you won’t have to worry about contaminating the ports with dirt or sweat, and all the crevices on your phone will be protected without blocking entries for your headphones and the charger.

Lifeproof Fre also gives protection against dust and dirt, on top of protection from any type of moisture. Another great thing about it is the slick design that gives you easy access to all of the buttons on your phone.

In terms of installation, Fre comes on top once more. It is very easy to fit, install, and remove it. On the other side, the Defender is harder to install or take off.


In terms of design, both Otterbox and Lifeproof offer nice choices. The Defender is bulkier and has more mass than the Fre, and it has a robust inner shell and a tough outward slipcover. Of course, that blocky look has its charms but it isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Fre is stylish and appealing to the eye, as well as being easier to handle. Also, it has a greater color variation than the Defender. In case you value protection, Defender is the winner, but Fre takes the cake for eye-candy and ease of access.

Lifeproof vs. Otterbox Overall Impressions

It is time to make a verdict taking everything into account. Lifeproof is a subsidiary of Otterbox, and both offer great phone cases. Otterbox Defender focuses on protection from impact, dirt, and falls. It is like encasing your phone in a suit of armor, so it will add weight to it.

Fre is more about slick design and practicality. The edge it has over the Defender lies in waterproofing. Other than that, it boils down to personal preference. In case you want a lighter case, go for Fre. It still has good shock absorption and drop resistance.

Both manufacturers offer other models as well, and they are affordable and bring great value for your money’s worth. Where do you stand on phone cases? Tell us which manufacturer you prefer in the comment section.

2 thoughts on “Lifeproof vs. Otterbox – The Ultimate Guide”

Sherilyn Lundahl says:
Having owned both Otterbox and Lifeproof cases, I like the slim design of the Lifeproof Fre but, the waterproofing ability went away just after one year when the cover for the charging port broke off and I just had to replace the phone that I had in that same Lifeproof fre case because it did not protect my phone from a drop that was far less than a 6 foot drop. So, while I believe that having it in a case is better than no case at all, I am not impressed especially given the cost of these cases.
denise Raymond says:
where can i find an otterbox life proof iphone se case

Comments are closed.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos