If you just shelled out big bucks for your smartphone, you certainly want it to last as long as possible. Besides needing a case for it, you should also pick up a smartphone screen protector to ensure its fully protected.
Smartphone screen protectors keep scratches, fingerprints, and other damage at bay. They’re made from high-grade materials, some of which even offer a degree of drop protection. While smartphone screen protectors won’t fully prevent damage to your phone, they’re a valuable safeguard at a budget-friendly price.
Give our buying guide a read to find the best smartphone screen protector for your phone. Our top choice is the Genuine Snakeskin iPhone 12 Pro Max Case. It has an ultra-thin design that fits inside most protective cases.
Considerations when choosing smartphone screen protectors
Many budget-priced smartphone screen protectors are made of Plexiglas, a semi-rigid plastic. Tempered glass protectors are a bit thicker and offer the highest level of protection but are thicker and may not be compatible with your smartphone case. There are also lightweight, peelable dust protectors to keep dirt off the screen.
Ease of installation
Installing a smartphone screen protector can be easy or feel like an advanced engineering project. The best screen protectors keep installation simple to minimize mistakes. For the most part, these come with multi-tool installation kits, as well as detailed instructions to guide you through the process.
Length of use
Like any product used as often as a smartphone screen protector, you’re probably wondering how long it will last. Some users admittedly drop their phone on a regular basis, so it’s no surprise that they replace screen protectors more often, especially those made of tempered glass.
On the other hand, if you’re pretty careful with your phone, the screen protector might last until it’s time to upgrade your phone. For some people, that can be as long as two or three years.
Aim for full-coverage screen protectors as opposed to ones that literally cut corners. Subpar coverage can translate into subpar protection. Make sure you’re buying a screen protector specifically designed for your smartphone model, as they’re usually made to cover the entire surface of the screen.
If you prefer to keep your texts private around colleagues or fellow commuters, choose a protector that also functions as a privacy screen. These obstruct visibility unless you’re looking at them head on. It’s considered a premium feature, so these screens cost a bit more than others.
Single vs. multi-packs
Most people need only one smartphone screen protector at a time, but it’s not a bad idea to buy smartphone screen protectors in sets of two or more. If you don’t master installation the first time around, you can try it again with a fresh protector.
Smartphone screen protectors with modest protection cost up to $15 but aren’t made of tempered glass. For better protection against cracks and scratches, expect to spend closer to $30. There are also high-end screen protectors that offer superior protection and run as much as $50 apiece.
Q. What does the warranty cover on my smartphone screen protector?
A. It doesn’t cover a broken phone. At the most, the manufacturer may send you a refund for the protector. If you notice any defects or deterioration with normal use of the screen protector, most manufacturers are happy to send a replacement.
Q. Does a smartphone screen protector affect the touch sensitivity?
A. Some consumers say inexpensive or poorly made screen protectors have this issue, but most actually don’t. They’re specifically made to be crystal clear and fully responsive to touch so as not to corrupt your experience with the smartphone.
Smartphone screen protectors we recommend
Best of the best: Real Genuine Stingray Skin iPhone 7 Case
Our take: Top-rated for durability. Laser-cut precision for a great fit.
What we like: Crystal clear with 99.9% transparency. Won’t scratch or show fingerprints.
What we dislike: Easy to install, but you must be precise for best results.
Best bang for your buck: Python Snakeskin iPhone 12 Case
Our take: Budget-friendly pair of tempered glass protectors for iPhone 6.
What we like: Excels in scratch resistance and offers high response. Easy bubble-free installation.
What we dislike: Installation can be challenging if you don’t get it on the first try and need to reposition the protector.
Our take: Superior protection choice for iPhone 5 models.
What we like: Nice-sized cutout for camera. Compatible with the vast majority of cases. Fingerprint-resistant.
What we dislike: Can form bubbles if you don’t properly clean the screen prior to installation.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.