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Otterbox Defender Vs. Commuter Cases Comparison

We compare Otterbox Defender and Otterbox Commuter in this guide


Otterbox Defender Vs Commuter

Many people wonder which one to choose between these 2 series from Otterbox. Both have the same features except the belt clip. Ever since Samsung S8 series, Defender doesn’t have the screen protector. So what other things that differentiate your $10 other than belt clip? Does it worth the money? This time we will cover both cases plus and minus sides, usability and more.

While you probably know about Otterbox, did you know that Otterbox offers different types of phone cases that provide various levels of protection and designer appeal? Two of their strongest and most popular cases are the Otterbox Defender and Otterbox Commuter cases.

Otterbox Defender Vs Commuter – The differences

From the title, the defender series is tougher than Commuter. But why? What makes the difference? Both are made from Synthetic rubber and Polycarbonate shell, both block the port covers. And both have Otterbox Certified drop+ Protection.

The main difference is that the defender uses the rubber on the outside and the Commuter on the inside. Why? and does it matter? Defender will protect your device better in our opinion since the outside rubber will directly absorb any shock from impact in any direction. On the other hand, the Commuter will also absorb it the same way, but since the polycarbonate is on the outside, it’s possible to have scratches and crack if you drop it. Don’t get me wrong, but all plastic will meant to break one day or get scratches from sharp objects. This is where Defender come in handy to put the rubber side outside.

Otterbox Defender Vs Commuter – Size

As far as size goes, the Defender is much thicker and longer. It’s a more rugged case, made for heavier phone users who need more protection. The Commuter is the lightweight case of the two, and is also less bulky and invasive. It’s not a space hog and fits more easily into pockets, whether its in your jeans or purse. For example, the Otterbox Commuter for iPhone 6 adds about ¼” inch to your slim device’s profile, the Otterbox Defender will more than double the thickness of your device. But keep in mind, thickness adds protection so you have to weigh your options…no pun intended. Ok, maybe pun intended.

Also read: Apple CarPlay Vs Android Auto

Otterbox Defender Vs Commuter – Screen Protection

No one wants a cracked screen, and both of these Otterbox cases allow you to protect your screen. The Defender comes with screen protection included, as it has a built-in screen protector attached to the case. The Commuter case gives you the option to add tempered glass and is compatible with third-party screen protectors. The Defender case isn’t compatible with third-party screen protectors if you have one you fancy. You can shop our tempered glass screen protectors to add to your Otterbox Commuter case for the ultimate in protection.

Drop Protection

In terms of drop protection, we feel comfortable accidentally dropping our phones with either case. That being said, we’d feel a little safer dropping our phones from a higher distance or on a less forgiving surface with a Defender case since it’s three piece design makes it more capable of absorbing the shock from a drop than the Commuter case.

The three pieces include a hard inner shell case, complete with a thin foam pad on the back of the case to cushion your phone, an outer layer that’s made of synthetic rubber and a built-in screen protector. These three layers give the Defender case more padding all around the edges and more protection for your phone if you have a heavy-duty job or if you just have kids.

The Commuter case has two layers of protection, making it a medium-duty case. It still has similar protective qualities compared to the Defender, but the Commuter has a hard exterior shell and a rubber interior cover, so the materials used are swapped but still offer excellent protection compared to other case brandsOtterbox Commuter Case Layers

Also read: Apple Watch Stainless Steel Vs Titanium: Which should you buy

Port Protection

In the last round of Defender vs Commuter, we look at port protection. And surprisingly, we’ve got a tie because both cases have port protection. It keeps dust, sand and other debris out of your phone’s ports. With each case, you can open or close the port flaps, but these flaps also make your phone incompatible with docking stations. So just remember to remove your case when you need to dock it to jam out to your favorite playlist.

Which one last longer?

Otterbox certified drop protection
In our opinion, the Defender surely defeats Commuter. Both have the same Rubber elasticity & Polycarbonate shell, but if you’re a heavy-duty user or if you have kids around your home play with your devices, Defender is the one you should choose since it have greater impact resistance and less likely to scratch or crack.

Here we list the Pros and Cons for both series:



  • Better Protection
  • Easier to clean (snap the rubber off and wash it)
  • Scratch proof
  • Belt clip that works as stand
  • You can clip your phone anywhere using clip
  • Last Longer
  • Scratch proof (even from sharp objects)
  • Commuter
  • Pocket ready
  • Easy slide in out
  • More variations of colours and styles
  • Easy to install and remove
  • Fit any after market Tempered glass and screen protectors
  • No need to wash the case, just wipe if there’s liquid spill



  • Easier to get dirty (the rubber absorb any dirt from your hand)
  • Harder to install and remove
  • Harder to slide into pocket
  • Cannot install after market tempered glass except Alpha glass


  • Possible to get scratch from direct sharp objects
  • Less lifespan
  • No clip & handle


Both are great in our opinion, have the same durability, drop & scratch proof. But if you’re a heavy duty user, work outdoors, having kids playing with your device & not seeing your phone much, the Defender is the one you must choose. The belt clip also doing a great job work as a stand to watch video with your kids.

If you’re having a dynamic personality, love to change cases, looking at your phone much & colour is the main reason for buying a case, then Commuter is the one for you.

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