Otterbox commuter vs Otterbox Defender

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.

The differences

defender belt clip

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.

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.

The downside

Now we will describe why not to choose defender. The only thing that causing an issue for us is to put it in our pocket.  Due to the outside rubber, it’s very hard to slide in and out just to see your phone. Does it matter? Well if you don’t wear any backpack or belt where you can clip on your phone using the belt clip, it disturbing sometimes.

On the other hand, The commuter is better due to the plastic side on the outside. Slide in and out with ease and pocket ready.

What about screen protectors? To be honest, the defender series is very bad at it. If you're having the latest Defender series without screen protectors such as Samsung Galaxy S8 or Note 8, you can only install the normal screen protectors not the tempered glass one. We tried some aftermarket tempered glass, it won't fit the case. It will snap in, but your screen will be hard to touch and loosing it sensitivity. But if you're using the Otterbox Alpha glass, it will work fine but it will not perfect snap for the case. This where Commuter come in handy that will  fit any tempered glass since the elastic rubber on the inside tolerate 1-2mm extra gap for tempered glass.

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)


  • 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

Get Defender


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

Get Commuter


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.

Get Defender Get Commuter

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Defender Collections

 Commuter Collections