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A case will protect the back of your phone from getting scratched in your pocket, or getting dented if it hits the floor, but it won’t keep your smartphone’s screen safe. A study conducted by the research firm IDC found that 95 million phones are damaged each year because of accidental drops, which is why we recommend using a good screen protector.
The best phone screen protectors can act as a buffer between your phone’s display and potential hazards like your house keys, floor, or the pavement outside. They’re thin enough that you shouldn’t notice them too much, but thick enough to actually protect the most fragile part of your phone.
This is one of the few accessories we recommend to every smartphone owner, because it’s better to have a cracked screen protector than having to get your phone fixed.
What Are the Best Phone Screen Protectors?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best smartphone screen protector for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Material: All of the screen protectors we’re recommending are made out of ultra durable glass, which is significantly better at preventing scratches, cracks, and shattering, than plastic.
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Compatibility: Most of the screen protectors in this guide are available for different devices — both iPhone and Android — so it doesn’t matter what smartphone platform you prefer. In some cases the manufacturer has a distinct line for each major smartphone family.
Application: Every screen protector in our guide is adhesive on one side, so you can stick it directly on top of your phone’s display for total coverage. Be sure to clean your screen first, or dust, dirt, or hairs will get stuck underneath the screen protector.
BEST OVERALL: ZAGG InvisibleShield Glass Elite
InvisibleShield says its Glass Elite screen protector is four times stronger than traditional glass, but it’s earned the top spot in our guide because of its anti-microbial properties, which the company says can kill up to 99.99% of bacteria.
This isn’t a coating on top of the protector’s surface; there are actually silver ions embedded in the glass itself, so there’s no way for it to wear off. Smartphone screens are notoriously filthy, so being protected from germs and scratches or cracks is a significant benefit.
The screen protector also blocks some blue light from hitting your eyes thanks to its “VisionGuard+” technology. Some studies have shown prolonged blue light exposure can make it harder to fall asleep, so this is a great feature to have if you like to use your phone in bed. InvisibleShield says that this blue light blocking does not impact the color accuracy of your phone’s display, so photos and videos will still look accurate.
If you want a screen protector that can keep your phone’s display safe, while also helping both your physical and digital hygiene, InvisibleShield’s Glass Elite is the best choice.
InvisibleShield Glass Elite, $49.99+, available at ZAGG
BEST ENTRY-LEVEL PICK: AmFilm Heavy Duty Screen Protector
AmFilm’s Heavy Duty Screen Protector was designed to protect both the front and edges of your phone from getting damaged by an accidental fall.
The company says the glass it uses has a surface hardness of 9H, which means it’s as durable as precious stones like ruby and sapphire. This screen protector’s standout features is its reenforced edges, which amFilm says will absorb the impact of a drop to avoid damaging your phone’s display.
This added layer of protection makes amFilm’s screen protector a little thicker, but you shouldn’t notice a significant difference when using your phone regularly.
AmFilm’s screen protector may not have a lot of flashy extras, but it delivers where it counts: keeping your smartphone’s display free from damage.
AmFilm Heavy Duty Screen Protector, $12.99, available at Amazon
ULTRA THIN: Casetify Tempered Glass Screen Protector
Casetify’s Tempered Glass Screen Protector was specifically designed to follow the exact curves of your smartphone’s display to ensure absolute coverage.
The screen protector has a scratch-resistant surface, which Casetify says won’t impact its color reproduction or responsiveness. The company wanted to make a screen protector you could use without realizing it was even there, which is why it also focused on its thickness.
Casetify’s screen protector is only .33-inches thick, but you can see how well it deflects damage from a knife, drill, stapler, or rubber mallet on the company’s site. It’s impressive for a screen protector to offer this level of protection at this size.
If you’ve avoided screen protectors because of their size, or didn’t want to risk making your phone’s screen worse in any way, Casetify’s Tempered Glass Screen Protector is a good pick.
Caseitfy Tempered Glass Screen Protector, $35, available at Casetify [Save $5.25 with Promo Code ROLLINGSTONE15 at Checkout]
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