When you buy a tablet you love you do a lot of things to protect it, the most important is getting the best iPad case, or at least a good cover.

    That’s more than necessary in today’s world where almost all gadgets feature big gorgeous screens that are a delight to use but a nightmare to clean and keep scratch free. No matter how careful you are there’s no way to keep it intact if you don’t get a sleeve, carrying case or protective screen, even if some tablets, like the iPad, have a Gorilla glass layer.

    While an iPad sleeve is good for transport you still need a bag to throw it in. A protective screen is good for the screen but doesn’t do anything to protect the casing of your beloved gadget plus it gets scratched itself and if not applied perfectly it also degrades the image displayed acting like a filter (a bad one in this scenario). A carrying casing is the best iPad case choice when you really like a gadget that accompanies you everywhere and want to preserve it like in the first day ownership.

    We also have a more comprehensive new 2012 iPad 3 cases article you should read

    This post is trying to get to your attention the list of the best cases for iPad with products that are available right now in stores. It’s not a comprehensive list and we’ve definitely haven’t tested them all. We’ll try and present each one of the cases but in the end the choice is yours to make. Almost all models are in a very affordable range and this makes it easier to choose. Don’t stress yourself too much choosing a suited cover for your iPad, but remember that it’s a shame not to get one and ruin your gadget because of just one unlucky incident.

    Targus Versavu – iPad 3iPad 2 model

    If you think you’ve seen this case before don’t worry, it’s been copied by a lot of accessories and cases manufacturers and we’ve also tested one here. So what you get is an agenda case with a back panel that can rotate 360 degrees, hence the name, so you can use the new iPad in landscape or portrait orientation with a few inclination options. Targus’ product is not the slimmest iPad case, but it’s also not the thickest. It’s also pretty rigid, so I’m sure it can withstand a few accidental drops here and there, but don’t mistake it with a rugged model. The interior features a soft and thick microfiber padding, so your Apple tablet should be scratch free when you’ll be putting it for sale next year in order to buy the iPad 4.

    This case is available in Black, Charcoal Gray, Charcoal Gray/Bone White, Charcoal Gray/Calypso Pink.

    In case you want something slimmer, you can get the cheaper Targus Slim Case. It has a limited functionality stand, but it gets the job done for less cash. You can get one from here.

    Targus Versavu

    Targus Versavu

    Belkin Cinema Stripe Folio – iPad 3

    This is my kind of case for the new iPad: it protects the screen, looks all-business, doesn’t cover the screen bezel of the tablet thanks to the Tooled TPU frame. The magnetic closure screen tab keeps the case closed when needed and also wakes the iPad when you open it up. There’s even a multi-angle stand for typing of media watching thanks to the stoppers inside the screen flap. This is not just a good looking case for iPad, but also a highly functional one.

    Belkin Cinema Stripe Folio

    Belkin Cinema Stripe Folio

    Zagg Folio Case + Keyboard + Stand for iPad 3, (iPad 2 model)

    You might remember Zagg from the iPad 1 when they launched the Zaggmate keyboard case (full review here). Now the upgraded model is called Zagg Folio, and it offers three main functions: folio case, keyboard (Bluetooth wireless detachable) and stand. There are plenty of colors and finishes to choose from, starting with a gorgeous carbon fiber look  and ending with good old leather.

    The keyboard can be ordered in Black, Silver or a combination of both. You can get the keyboard alone for about $70, the folio case for only $30 (a terrific real) or both for $100. The keyboard is fitted with a rechargeable battery that is said to last for months between charges. Given the quality of the Zagg accessories (not just for the iPad) I’d say this is one of the best cases you can buy. [read my ZaggFolio review]

    ZaggFolio Keyboard Case

    ZaggFolio Keyboard Case

    Otterbox iPad Defender series – Gen 1, Gen 2iPad 3

    If you want a tough cover to protect your iPad in a serious environment this is the one to get. Otterbox used three layers of tough polycarbonate material to build the Defender series. You know this product is tough by just looking at it. Functionality is very high, as the back of the cover can be used also as a screen protector while you travel. The Otterbox Defender case can also be used as a desk stand in just a few seconds, helping a lot when you want to watch media or type while you’re not at your desk.

    All iPad functions remain accessible when in use, and ports are protected in tough environments by silicone plugs. A snap-off portion of the case ensures you can charge/sync your iPad while it sits inside. Otterbox Defender series is the perfect choice for rough use of the tablet, or if you like a cool looking product.

    Otterbox Defender Series

    Otterbox Defender Series

    Targus Hughes Leather Portfolio Slipcase (works with all three iPads)

    If you want to enter a room in style there’s no better way to do it by wrapping your iPad into the Targus Hughes Leather Portfolio Slipcase. Not only it looks great buy it feels great thanks to the durable oiled tanned premium leather exterior. Targus is so confident with its specially designed slipcase that it offers lifetime warranty. They also say it will protect your iOS tablet from scratches and will secure it during transport thanks to the magnetic secured closure. I have to admit it looks damn sexy and the price is not prohibitive, especially for a vintage iPad cover look.

    Targus Hughes Leather Portfolio Slipcase

    Targus Hughes Leather Portfolio Slipcase

    Marware Eco-Vue – iPad 1iPad 2iPad 3

    This on sleeve/carrying sleeve that just looks great and has the ability to shape shift to a carrying sleeve, desk stand, writing stand and mobile grip when you hold the iPad in hand. The interior is made from microfiber so your iPad is cushioned against drops and is also scratch protected. The Eco-leather used by Marware Eco-Vue will not get PETA angry and is healthier for the environment (RoHS compliant), making it as Eco as the Apple tablet itself. Also you don’t have to pay for it as much as you do for a genuine iPad leather case and you keep all the advantages.

    If you want a slightly tecky case get the Marware CEO Hybrid (tested here by me together with the EcoVue). Both cases offer exceptional value for money, if you ask me.

    Marware CEO Hybrid and Eco-Vue

    Marware CEO Hybrid and Eco-Vue

    Acase Leather Flip Book Jacket/Folio, iPad 2 and new 2012 model

    The Acase Leather Flip Book Jacket/Folio is another great example of multi purpose iPad agenda housing, made from durable leather construction with secure closure to keep your tablet tight during transportation. Once settled, you can use the case as an iPad stand with multiple viewing angles, so that you can adjust the screen to the desired level. The interior features suede lining for scratch protection. Take a look below on how you can use the Acase Leather Flip Book Jacket/Folio to your advantage:

    Acase Leather Flip Book Jacket/Folio

    Acase Leather Flip Book Jacket/Folio

    CaseCrown Vertical Multi Pocket Messenger Bag

    [suited for all three iPads] – If you ask me an iPad messenger bag is the most elegant way to travel with your gadgets. It’s easy to carry, casual looking (thanks to its vertical design) and offers plenty of space within multiple pockets to store all your gadgets and precious belongings. The CaseCrown Vertical Multi Pocket Messenger Bag offers a separate laptop/netbook/tablet slot with excellent padding and secure velcro closure so that the most important piece stays safe. So it’s not just a travel messenger bag for iPad. Other stuff can be carried inside the front, back, interior, side and flap pockets.

    CaseCrown Vertical Multi Pocket Messenger Bag

    CaseCrown Vertical Multi Pocket Messenger Bag

    Mivizu neoprene cover

    Mivizu case neoprene cover

    Mivizu case neoprene cover

    [iPad 2 and new 2012 model compatible] – As with CaseCrown, Mivizu is a type of neoprene sleeve but reinforced to sustain more damage. It also comes in many color combinations: green, blue, pink for the ladies, red, purple and of course black.

    Like any respectable sleeve, Mivizu comes with dual zipper for fast access and external pocket (also with zipper) for storing other accessories and smaller gadgets, not iPad related. An elastic strap holder completes the package and allows you to either carry it by hand or store it in another backpack.

    Protective Carrying bag

    [works with  iPad  1, 2 and new 2012 version] – This protective carrying bag for iPad might be a little more than what you’re looking for as it resembles a laptop bag (with smaller overall dimensions to fit the 9.7 inch screen of the iPad). The interior padded Slip pocket is meant to hold your tablet in place.

    Protective Carrying Case

    Protective Carrying Case

    It allows you to safely transport not only the iPad itself but also other accessories like keyboards, docking stations and such. The outside shell is made from nylon that can protect and guard the Apple tablet from drops, bumps, scrapes and water. Add to this a second compartment that can accommodate smaller gadgets and you get a rugged case for you favorite tablet.

    Bubble sleeve Pink, Green or Black

    Bubble sleeve

    Bubble sleeve

    [iPad 2 and new 2012 model compatible] – Wow, 50 bucks for a sleeve? Yes, but not any kind of sleeve, but one made from EVA-molded, rigid sleeve that provides more secure protection than a neoprene sleeve. It’s basically your average protective case for iPad on steroids. Each side contains shock absorbing rubber bumpers to hold and protect your iPad even from 3-4 feet tall drops on a hard floor.

    Even if it’s tough to get it out unprotected from the Bubble Sleeve, the two zippers allow for fast access when needed. Don’t worry about the pink hue on the picture on the right as you’ll be able to buy on also in Black and Green for the same amount of money.

    Belkin Pleated Sleeve

    Belkin Pleated Sleeve

    Belkin Pleated Sleeve

    [iPad 2  and new iPad 2012 compatible] – Belkin is one of the oldest peripheral manufacturers that has a special line of products designed to go with the Apple lineup. It’s no wonder they also have a protective sleeve for iPad, which is a little more than you are used to thanks to it’s pleated surface that’s meant to protect your tablet in situations of accidental drops plus they provide more cushion when housed inside your backpack.

    The Belkin Pleated Sleeve is meant to carry your iPad plus all your accessories like the charger. The sleeve is made from made of durable neoprene and can be hand-wash with mild soap and water. For business oriented people it’s also available in Black for the same price.

    Protec Soft-Shell Eva Foam

    Protec Soft-Shell Eva Foam Case

    Protec Soft-Shell Eva Foam

    [iPad 2 and 3rd gen compatible] – This is a more advanced case (from construction materials standpoint), and expensive at the same time. It’s a sleeve with secure velcro enclosure, plush velvet interior lining and water resistant ballistic nylon exterior that is also scratch resistant. It’s the perfect heavy duty carrying sleeve and also comes in black if you’re more like the business guy.

    Personally I would have liked to see other color variants but unfortunately that’s not the case, at least for now. As a side note, the Protec Soft-Shell Eva Foam can also accommodate a Kindle DX eBook reader.

    TrendyDigital WaterGuard Waterproof

    TrendyDigital WaterGuard Waterproof Case

    TrendyDigital WaterGuard Waterproof

    [iPad 2 and 3rd gen compatible] – This is definitely something different, the WaterGuard Waterproof Case for iPad from TrendyDigital is not just a carrying bag and protective bag against dust and scratches but also the last line of defense against geek’s worst nightmare: liquids which can be poured by mistake onto his beloved gadgets.

    The way it works is pretty much the same as a self sealing bag: you put your table in and continue using it in environments you wouldn’t normally do. That’s it. Don’t expect to be admired when using one, but expect to be protected in the most unusual moments, so you might still need a carrying sleeve, but it’s the best choice if you plan on using it no matter what your common sense says.

    Even if this product is not particularly beautiful, it’s better to look bad and functional than nice and not working, right?

    Aida Keycase Folio Deluxe – 1st GeniPad 2 and 3

    Aida Keycase Folio Deluxe is a different kind of case for iPad, one that features an intergrated Bluetooth keyboard that makes the difference betweeen trying to type on the virtual keyboard of the iPad and working with large chunks of text you write at the same speed as you do on a hardware keyboard. The cover itself is a bonus and helps with easily carrying the iPad + keyboard combo. Being wireless, you don’t need any cables to maker it work, it charges via an USB cable with ease and takes at least 45 hours to deplete. If you close it to preserve power it will automatically reconnect to the iPad once turned on.

    Now back to the actual product, which si made of leather. It also acts like a stand, helping you set up a proper viewing angle while working. When you travel, a magnetic clasp makes sure the screen cover stays shut and the iPad is held nicely in place. I know that 50 bucks seems a little too much, but considering that you get a carrying case, a stand and a wireless keyboard you’ll see that the added value is worth the price, adding to a nice cover, case and accessory all-round kit.

    Aida Keycase Folio Deluxe

    Aida Keycase Folio Deluxe

    Targus Crave Slipcase

    [iPad2 and new 2012 model compatible] – This type of bag  is probably the best if you want a model just for carrying your iPad and its accessories, nothing more (there’s no place for anything else actually). It looks like a laptop hand bag, it’s smaller and more stylish thanks to its business design. Targus Crave Slipcase is made from water resistant fabric with stain guard coating, so you no need to worry about bad weather or getting your tablet soaked wet.

    If you’re clumsy the protective double foam padding will come in handy during ‘rough handling’ of the iPad. We know it’s a little too expensive, but if protection is what you seek you can’t go wrong with Targus Crave Slipcase.

    Targus Crave Slipcase

    Targus Crave Slipcase

    Piel Frama Premium Leather with MAGNETIC Closure – Black, Brown

    [iPad 2 and new 2012 model compatible] – If you want spare no expense for a genuine leather new iPad case then take a look at Piel Frama Premium Leather Case with MAGNETIC Closure, black color with tan lining. It’s made from handcrafted Spanish leather. Sure it’s expensive but the feel you get from touching it and the magnetic enclosure system ensures dead easy operation and make this one a collector’s item, not just the best iPad case.

    As many leather agendas, the Piel Frama also can be used as a stand, with two angles, one for reading and one for typing/working. Special measured cutouts provide easy access to all buttons and ports so you won’t ever need to take out your iPad to charge or sync it If you want to purchase it as a gift it’s important to know that it comes attractively packaged in Piel Frama gift box. This is one of the best iPad cases and there’s nothing stopping you from buying it (maybe except price).

    Piel Frama Premium Leather Case with MAGNETIC Closure

    Piel Frama Premium Leather Case with MAGNETIC Closure

    Official Apple Smart Cover case [iPad 2 and new 2012 model]

    Since the introduction of the iPad 2 the best cover came from Apple, and I’m happy to report that it works just fine with the new 2012 iPad. The same automatic magnetic attachment makes it a wonderful product, slim, light and pretty customizable, as it is available in Gray, Black, Blue, Orange, Green, Pink, Navy, Red, Cream, Tan.

    You won’t be able to protect the back aluminium panel, but the gorgeous Retina Display is safe with this stylish cover. All you have to decide is what colour suits you better.

    Apple Smart Cover: still the best

    Apple Smart Cover: still the best

    Update: Apple just announced the Smart Case, which is essentially a Smart Cover with a back panel cover, so you get full protection. The rest of the case functionality remains unchanged. You can get one from here.

    Be sure that onc the new iPad (2012) gains solid ground in the market there will be even more top best iPad cases so don’t forget to bookmark this page or subscribe to our RSS or Email Newsletter as I’ll update this article with further product once they are announced.