iPhone Silicone Case vs. Leather Case: Which Should You Buy?

So you’re thinking of buying one of Apple’s official iPhone cases, but you aren’t sure whether to go with the silicone or leather option. Both are excellent choices, let’s start with that. Despite leather being slightly more expensive, each material brings its own pros and cons to the table. Plus, since neither are exactly cheap.. after all they are coming from Apple, it’s worth comparing the two.

Apple's iPhone cases are great choices, but which material is right for you? | Photo: Apple
Apple’s iPhone cases are great choices, but which material is right for you? | Photo: Apple

That’s precisely what we’ve done here for you. Below you’ll find the differences between the silicone and leather cases. Almost all of these differences apply to the cases for all models of the iPhone, whether you have an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 or any sizes and models in between.

What colors do the cases come in? How do they hold up over time? Are they good for drop protection? Find out here.

Apple iPhone Case Colors

The colors the silicone and leather cases come in is the only variant that changes based on which iPhone you have.

For the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the silicone case comes in pink sand, sea blue, ocean blue, stone, cocoa, white, midnight blue, black and Product Red — nine colors. The leather case comes in sea blue, storm gray, tan, saddle brown, midnight blue, black and Product Red — seven colors. It used to be that silicone came in more neon-esque colors but that’s not the case anymore; both offer premium look and feel. Silicone does come in two more options though.

Photo: Apple
Photo: Apple

The iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus silicone case comes in five colors: antique white, white, midnight blue, charcoal gray, and Product Red. The leather case also comes in five colors: saddle brown, midnight blue, brown, black and Product Red.

Apple only sells a leather case for iPhone SE, which comes in midnight blue, black or Product Red.

Buy Silicone Case for iPhone 7

Buy Silicone Case for iPhone 7 Plus

Buy Leather Case for iPhone 7

Buy Leather Case for iPhone 7 Plus

Silicone vs. Leather Protection

Both the silicone and leather offer pretty much the same protection. These cases are sleek and durable, but don’t expect them to protect the phone from serious drops. They offer mid-range protection. The cases should protect against scratches, day-to-day use, bumps, and minor falls. Both cover all the buttons and have a front lip that raises the screen when face down, but they also leave the bottom of the phone almost entirely exposed. The leather case has the added perk of having aluminum button covers.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr CC
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr CC

The cases should be sufficient for most average iPhone users. If you’re extra clumsy, you might consider purchasing something more rugged like an Otterbox.

Durability Over Time

Both silicone and leather should remain durable and protective, but leather definitely shows its age.

If you don’t want a case that will wear over time, definitely get the silicone. Since Apple makes its premium cases with real, genuine leather, you can expect it to wear and discolor with age. Some people like this effect though as it gives a vintage, more unique look as time passes.

Lighter colors will show that discoloration much more than darker colors, but even the black leather should still get some wear and tear. Both silicone and leather should remain durable and protective, but leather definitely shows its age. Whether that’s a pro or a con is up to your personal taste.

Check out Oliur Rahman’s review of his iPhone 6s leather case after two months to see some of the usage effects.

Pricing

These aren’t cheap iPhone cases by any means.

The silicone cases are $10 cheaper than leather. For iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone 7, the Apple silicone case is $35 while the leather case is $45. For Plus sizes, pay $4 extra, so $39 for silicone and $49 for leather. The iPhone SE leather case is $39 with again no option for silicone.

These aren’t cheap iPhone cases by any means, but the leather in particular is surprisingly not as expensive as one might expect from Apple. If you want a wider array of color options to choose from and a durable look and feel that will last, go with silicone. If you want aluminum button covers, like that premium, aged look, and don’t mind spending an extra 10 bucks, go with leather.

Buy Silicone Case for iPhone 7

Buy Silicone Case for iPhone 7 Plus

Buy Leather Case for iPhone 7

Buy Leather Case for iPhone 7 Plus

Show Comments Hide Comments