The right screen protector could save you hundreds of dollars in repairs (2024)

Even if you’re the most careful person when it comes to your tech, accidents happen — and seeing a crack on your phone screen after a particularly hard fall can be frustrating. A good quality phone case can only do so much to help you avoid this fate, and most cases will leave your glass screen vulnerable to damage.

Screen protectors are an affordable way to prevent screen cracking or shattering when you drop your phone, according to experts. To help you choose the right screen protector for your phone, no matter which brand or model you have, we consulted a variety of tech experts on the differences in materials, features and application methods.

SKIP AHEAD The best screen protectors of 2024

How we picked the best screen protectors

We spoke with technology experts about what makes a good screen protector and their top favorite brands. We also considered Select staff favorites. Here’s what we kept in mind when sourcing products:

  • Material: We included screen protectors made from tempered glass, which provides the best scratch and fall resistance, according to our experts.
  • Size availability: A screen protector is only useful if it fits the entirety of your phone screen. For this reason, every screen protector we recommend is available in various sizes, for both Apple and Android smartphones.
  • Water resistant: Some of our top picks are water resistant, which means they can withstand the occasional droplet of water from sudden weather changes or bathroom mishaps.



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The best screen protectors of 2024

The below options are either direct recommendations from Select staff or from our experts. We’ve included only options made from some form of tempered glass, as experts agree this material offers the best protection for your screen.

Spigen iPhone Screen Protector

Spigen is a top brand recommended by our experts. Arthur Zilberman, president of laptop repair company Laptop MD, notes the Spigen EZ Fit tempered glass screen protector is case-friendly, affordable and durable. It’s also easy to install, he says: It includes an alignment tray that you place on top of your phone screen and press down on to secure the glass in place. You get two screen protectors with each purchase, in case you ever need to replace the first one.

Spigen offers the EZ Fit screen protector for the iPad, Apple Watch and all iPhone models (including the latest iPhone 15 series). It’s also available for some Galaxy watch and phone models, as well as other smartphone models.

Ailun Glass Screen Protector

If you’re looking for a relatively affordable option, Zilberman recommends this tempered glass screen protector from Ailun, which works for the new iPhone 15. It features a clear, water-resistant and oleophobic (or oil-resistant) screen coating that protects against sweat and oil residue from your fingerprints, according to the brand. The box comes with three screen protectors — the downside is that the product includes guide stickers rather than an installation tray, so it may be a little trickier to get the product on your screen.

Ailun screen protectors are currently available for several devices, including Samsung’s Galaxy devices, older iPhones and more.

Zagg InvisibleShield Glass XTR2 Screen Protector

Zagg is a favorite of Mac Frederick, the owner of Phone Repair Philly, due to its “price and value.” It offers several durable tempered glass options through its InvisibleShield line, which is available for iPhone devices, Android devices, tablets, smartwatches and more. The one we’ve chosen to highlight works with the Phone 14 Pro but you can also shop for other iPhone sizes. The Glass XTR2 protector hides the visibility of fingerprints on your screen and filters out blue light using a protective layer, according to the brand. You can use the included apply tabs and installation tray to best align the protector with your screen, and the brand says it contains an antimicrobial treatment to prevent odor-causing bacteria.

Zagg InvisibleShield Privacy Screen Protector

Another screen protector from Zagg’s Invisible Shield line, this privacy screen protector is my favorite. It effectively protects my phone from constant drops on hardwood and tiled floors and keeps others from peeking into my phone, thanks to its stealthy privacy shield. The screen looks black if you look at it from the side, even if the display is on — which means I can look at work emails in peace even in crowded areas like airports. Fingerprints are also barely visible, thanks to the brand’s oil diffusion technology. You’ll also receive a microfiber cloth to wipe down your screen before installation and apply tabs to help align this protector. I own it for the iPhone 14 Pro, but you can also shop it for other iPhone, Google and Samsung models.

Supershieldz 3-Pack Screen Protector

Supershieldz 3-Pack Screen Protector$9.99$29.99

Frederick says Supershieldz is one of his favorite brands for tempered glass phone cases due to the products’ durability and affordability — it’s one of the cheapest screen protectors on our list. This pack comes with three screen protectors, all of which are made with scratch-resistant tempered glass, according to Supershieldz. The screen protectors have rounded edges for comfort and feature an oleophobic coating that repels sweat and oil from your fingers, according to the brand.

Supershieldz’s tempered glass screen protectors are available for devices from Apple, Samsung, Google, LG and more.

Frequently asked questions

Scratching or damaging your screen is easier than you might think, in our experience. If you carry your phone in your purse, backpack or pocket with change or keys, the screen “can easily get visible scratches from [those] hard surfaces,” which can “weaken the integrity of the original display and cause cracks more easily,” said Zilberman.

Screen protectors are the best way to minimize cracks in, scratches on or the shattering of your physical screen, according to our experts. While they vary in price, most aren’t terribly expensive: Plastic ones typically cost less than $15, while glass screen protectors range from around $10 to upward of $50.

There are limitations to what a screen protector can do, though: “It isn’t going to cover every square millimeter of the glass display,” said Frederick. The protector also usually won’t protect the back, edges and corners of your phone — the experts we spoke to suggested pairing a screen protector with a heavy-duty case from brands like Casetify or Lifeproof, preferably one with rubber edges that’ll absorb the impact of a drop and prevent damage.

When shopping for a screen protector, we recommend looking at features like material, comfort and ease of installation. Zilberman says that while you can get plenty of high-quality protectors at an affordable price, he doesn’t recommend sacrificing performance for a cheaper option.

Material Screen protectors come in a variety of materials — there are plastics like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), as well as tempered glass (with some even boasting chemically strengthened glass, like Corning’s Gorilla Glass protectors). Our experts agree that a quality tempered glass protector will be most effective at protecting your display compared to plastic protectors. Tempered glass is a stronger material because it can absorb the impact if your phone falls, in our experience — I’ve had my tempered glass case for over a year and dropped my phone countless times, without a scratch.

Comfort and feel Since we interact with our phones via touch, the feel and comfort of using a screen protector is important to consider. Screen protectors can sometimes change the touchscreen’s sensitivity — certain smartphone models ask you to input whether or not you’re using a screen protector on the device to better calibrate sensitivity, says Zilberman. Tempered glass is designed to have a smoother feel than other types of screen protectors and won’t affect touchscreen sensitivity, according to experts we spoke to.

Display Tempered glass mimics the original display and offers good clarity, whereas plastic screen protectors can create an unsightly glare and affect screen quality by adding a “murkier and grayer hue to your screen,” says Zilberman. Both plastic and tempered glass protectors can have privacy and anti-glare filters to fit your preferences. However, tempered glass protectors are more physically noticeable on your screen since they’re thicker — a plastic protector blends in remarkably well with the original display, experts note.

Ease of installation Installing a screen protector can be difficult, especially when there’s a chance of misaligning the protector or having annoying air bubbles and specks of dust lodged underneath the film. Most screen protectors include a plastic installation tray that can go directly over your phone screen to align the protector or one that holds your phone while you guide the screen on. Some protectors will come with “guide stickers” that show you where the screen protector will lie on your screen.

Compatibility According to Frederick, there isn’t much variation in terms of how well a screen protector works from one smartphone brand to another. However, screen protectors do come in different shapes and sizes depending on your phone, so it’s always good to check its compatibility.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Arthur Zilberman is the president of tech repair company Laptop MD. Laptop MD launched in 1999, and Zilberman has been in the laptop repair business for over 20 years.
  • Mac Frederick is the owner of Phone Repair Philly, located in Philadelphia, PA.
Why trust NBC Select?

Mili Godiois an updates editor at Select who covers a wide range of topics, includingvacuums,exercise bikesandcoffee makers.

Nishka Dhawan is an associate commerce editor at Select. She’s covered the tech space for more than three years and has written articles on IP ratings, phone cases and best practices for cleaning tech. For this article, both Dhawan and Godio spoke to Select staff and industry experts about their favorite screen protectors and what to keep in mind while shopping.

Catch up on Select’s in-depth coverage of personal finance, tech and tools, wellness and more, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok to stay up to date.

Mili Godio

Mili Godio is an updates editor for Select on NBC News.

Nishka Dhawan

Nishka Dhawan is the associate commerce editor at NBC Select.

The right screen protector could save you hundreds of dollars in repairs (2024)


How much do screen protectors help? ›

These films will help you avoid scratches and provide some impact protection, but if you're worried about dropping your phone, get a case. A screen protector will not protect the back of your phone, the edges, or even the corners of the screen.

Can a screen protector fix a broken screen? ›

No. While using a liquid glass screen protector could potentially help to prevent screen breaks, it will not help much if the screen is already cracked. It could make a tiny, hairline crack less visible, but it will not fix it and will likely just make matters worse.

Which type of screen protector is best? ›

Tempered glass screen protectors consistently land among our top-selling products. They provide multi-level protection, minimizing damage from daily wear and tear, as well as occasional drops and impacts, without causing deep-level damage.

Does screen protector save your phone? ›

Damage to your phone depends on what happens to it—the height it falls from, the material it lands on, the item that scratches it, even humidity. But whether it's made of tempered glass or high-grade plastic, a screen protector can prevent scuffs, scratches, and cracks.

Are screen protectors actually worth it? ›

Using a glass screen protector isn't a guarantee that you'll never break your iPhone's screen. But a protector can prevent screen scratches, which affect the structural integrity of the glass and make cracks more likely.

What is the downside of screen protector? ›

DisplayMate found that screen protectors make your phone more reflective. This reduces the quality of your display and requires you to increase your phone's brightness to match the same quality. Over time, he says this will wear down your phone's battery, and give you a shorter daily battery life.

Can screen protector hide cracks? ›

Long answer: Well, it's won't hide any cracks it's still a good idea to place a tempered glass screen protector over a cracked screen. If you use a screen protector you will no longer be feeling any of those cracks and no longer be risking possibly cutting your fingers if it's severely broken.

How do I stop my screen crack from spreading? ›

Using a dropper, apply a small amount of superglue to the crack. Use the tip of the dropper to spread the glue evenly over the crack. Gently wipe off any excess glue with an alcohol wipe or a lint-free cloth. Use as little pressure as possible to avoid worsening the crack.

How do you cover a cracked screen? ›

Get a screen protector and case to keep cracks from getting worse. Look online or go to your local phone store and purchase a protector that fits your phone. Peel the adhesive backing off and carefully stick it against your phone's screen.

How do I know if my screen protector is good quality? ›

While there is a wide range of prices for screen guards, don't assume that a higher price equates to better quality. Evaluate factors such as strength, fingerprint resistance, and additional features before making a decision.

Is a thin or thick screen protector better? ›

Thin glass won't offer much protection from drops or scratches. Glass that's too thick glass could affect your device's touch sensitivity. When in doubt, always choose a glass screen protector with a mid-range thickness. Typically, this is between 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm.

Is ceramic or glass better for a screen protector? ›

If your only concern is to protect your smartphone from scratches and cracks then a Ceramic screen protector can be a good alternative. But if you are not good at handling your smartphone and it often falls or slips or drops, then a tempered glass screen protector is a good option.

How many years does a screen protector last? ›

With proper care and maintenance, a screen protector can last indefinitely. In fact, a quality screen protector may even outlast the internal components of your smart phone, including the battery.

Which is better screen guard or tempered glass? ›

Here are some differences between the two: Protection: Tempered glass screen protectors are generally more durable and offer better protection against scratches and cracks compared to plastic screen protectors. This is because tempered glass is thicker and stronger than plastic.

Do liquid screen protectors work? ›

Talking about the thickness or bulkiness, liquid screen protector is the winner. It goes almost invisible on your phone screen while its thickness is extremely thin. At the same time, it can well prevent scratches from happening to your smartphone over the everyday uses.

Do screen protectors make screen look better? ›

Utilizing advanced screen protection technology should maintain the screen's visual quality even with privacy factors in place. In comparison, lesser quality screen protection may cause the display to appear grainy or pixelated, due to the use of patterned films used to block the viewing angles.

Are phone glass screen protectors worth it? ›

Perhaps the greatest advantage of using a tempered glass screen protector is that the material is thicker and stronger than that of your typical plastic screen protector. As a result, your screen protector will be extremely resistant to scratches and other visible damage.

Will a screen protector prevent cracks from spreading? ›

Put a screen protector

While it may not effectively halt the spread of existing cracks and can even trap dirt, worsening the damage, it does offer some protection against further impacts. Additionally, it makes the screen safer to use.

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