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- Screen protectors are the easiest way to protect a device from scratches, bumps, and other injuries.
- The best screen protectors are, per the Moh scale of mineral hardness, nearly as hard as diamond.
- Many are also designed to resist smudging, fingerprints, and other blemishes.
The screen is one of a smartphone or tablet’s most important aspects. That’s why it’s so important to protect it from scratches, dents, and other damage that can make using a device almost impossible. (Or at least unpleasant.) Some cases protect the display, but not all of them do, and not everyone wants to use a case. A screen protector can offer a middle ground by protecting the display without changing the look and feel of a device too much in the process.
Many quality screen protectors offer 9H hardness, which means they’re more durable than most glass, as well as some form of impact protection. The former defends against scratches; the latter helps absorb some of the force of an unexpected collision with another solid object. Modern screen protectors have also made it easier than ever to enjoy that protection without having to worry about dust, fingerprints, or air bubbles getting trapped underneath them.
Screen protectors aren’t one-size-fits-all, however. They have to be made specifically for the device they’re supposed to be paired with. Otherwise they would be frustrating to install, uncomfortable to use, and worse at protecting the underlying display. Here we’ve collected some of the best screen protectors for the iPhone 12 series, the Samsung Galaxy S21 line, the latest iPads, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 line, and the most recent Amazon Kindle Fire tablets.
The Spigen EZ FIT Screen Protector offers easy-to-install protection for the iPhone 12 line.
The best screen protector for the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max is the Spigen EZ FIT screen protector. This tempered glass screen protector ships with the titular EZ FIT alignment kit that, according to Spigen, offers “quick and fail-proof installation” on any supported device. All you have to do is remove a protective film, align a tray with your phone, and press firmly on the screen protector housed within that tray. Then your device should be ready to go.
Spigen says the EZ FIT Screen Protector boasts 9H hardness that should be able to withstand practically any kind of scratch your device would encounter during everyday use. It also features oleophobic coating that should prevent undue smudging, fingerprints, and other blemishes that could distract from whatever’s happening on-screen, and its rounded edges should make it just as comfortable to use your phone for extended lengths of time as it was before the screen protector was applied.
Just be warned: The EZ FIT Screen Protector features a cutout designed to accommodate the notch on every iPhone 12’s display. That notch houses a speaker used during phone calls as well as the TrueDepth Camera that enables Face ID, portrait mode photos, and other features that justify the controversial design introduced with the iPhone X. Spigen probably didn’t want to risk interfering with Face ID by covering the notch, so that part of the display remains exposed to the outside world.
That aside, the EZ FIT Screen Protector is said to be a durable, easy-to-install way to protect the latest-and-greatest iPhone from accidental damage. Spigen also offers two screen protectors in each box, an added bonus.
The best screen protector for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series
The Zagg InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O was specifically designed to protect the Samsung Galaxy S21 without obscuring its display or the fingerprint scanner underneath it.
Pros: Advanced impact protection, compatible with the in-display fingerprint scanner, antimicrobial treatment
Cons: Pricier than other screen protectors, only includes a single unit
Zagg offers a variety of screen protectors for the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra that debuted in January. The best for most people is the InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O screen protector because it offers advanced impact protection and an antimicrobial treatment without the potentially contentious blue light filter found in the pricier VisionGuard+ model.
Many of this screen protector’s defining features are included in its name. The GlassFusion+ refers to a hybrid polymer that “provides powerful, flexible protection with a glass-like feel,” Zagg says. D3O is an impact additive used alongside GlassFusion+ to offer up to 20% better impact protection than the company’s previous screen protectors. And of course the InvisibleShield refers to Zagg’s promise that using these products will protect your phone’s display without obscuring it.
Zagg also includes an installation kit that’s supposed to make it easy to apply the InvisibleShield GlassFusion+ D3O to the latest Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Unfortunately the product is more expensive than other screen protectors—it costs over three times as much as our pick for the iPhone 12 series—and Zagg only includes one unit in each package. That shouldn’t be a problem for most people, but it does mean the company offers less bang for your buck than some of its competitors.
The best screen protector for the iPad series
The JETech Screen Protector‘s rounded edges and thin design make it comfortable to use while still providing excellent protection for an array of iPad models.
Pros: Offers high scratch resistance, easy to install, affordable
Cons: It can be hard to find the right version, some packages only include a single unit
Apple offers a wide variety of iPads with various screen sizes. The best screen protector available for most of the iPad line is the JETech Screen Protector for iPad, which is available in sizes designed for the iPad, iPad mini, and iPad Air as well as the 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions of the iPad Pro. Just make sure you know what generation iPad you have before you start looking for a screen protector—Apple changed the size of the display as it released new versions of some of the models. There is some amount of backwards compatibility, luckily, but it’s not as straightforward as buying a screen protector for a new phone.
All that aside, the JETech Screen Protector for iPad is made from tempered glass that’s rated to withstand scratches up to 9H hardness despite being just 0.3mm thick. Versions designed for Face ID-compatible iPads include a cutout for the notch, just like most iPhone 12 screen protectors, while versions designed for Touch ID-compatible iPads have a smaller cutout at the top for the front-facing camera as well as a hole on the bottom for the Home button. (Which houses the fingerprint scanner.) JETech also says the screen protector shouldn’t interfere with your ability to use the Apple Pencil on iPad models that support it.
Unfortunately installing the JETech Screen Protector for iPad isn’t quite as straightforward as installing a screen protector on a smartphone. The company says its screen protectors still offer a “bubble-free and easy install,” but the process is more involved than you might think, because the iPad’s larger size makes creating an alignment tray more difficult. JETech instead relies on a number of guide stickers that you can use to help line up the screen protector with your screen during the installation process. This shouldn’t be too difficult, but it’s also more complicated and error-prone than installing a screen protector on a phone.
That frustration should prove worth it, however, because protecting an iPad’s display is arguably more important than defending the screen on a phone. Many people buy a new phone every couple of years, but an iPad is a larger investment that’s expected to have a longer life cycle than that. The JETech Screen Protector for iPad should make it easier to protect that investment and enjoy that extended lifecycle by keeping that massive (in comparison to a phone) display safe from most hazards. That promise should make the minor annoyances of finding the right version and properly installing it worth the effort in the long term.
The best screen protector for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 series
The Supershieldz Tempered Glass Screen Protector offers excellent scratch resistance, features oleophobic coating, and uses 2.5D rounded edges to make using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or S7 Plus as comfy as ever.
Pros: Scratch, smudging, and fingerprint-resistant surface, 99.9% clarity, rounded edges
Cons: Only includes a single unit
It’s considerably easier to find the right screen protector for the latest Samsung tablets. The company introduced two models, the Galaxy Tab S7 and the Galaxy Tab S7 Plus, in September 2020. SuperShieldz was quick to release a screen protector for each model with the aptly named Supershieldz Designed for Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 lineup.
These tempered glass screen protectors offer 9H hardness as well as a hydro- and oleophobic coating that should allow them to defend against most scratches, repel sweat, and resist fingerprints. SuperShieldz says they also feature “2.5D rounded edge glass” that’s supposed to make using the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or Galaxy Tab S7 Plus as comfortable as possible, a thin design that shouldn’t interfere with the touchscreen, and “99.99% HD clarity” that barely obscures the display underneath.
Unfortunately the same caveats regarding installation that we mentioned with the iPad pick apply to the SuperShieldz offering. The company promises there will be “zero bubbles” underneath the screen protector, but there’s little guidance during the installation process. Fortunately the company also says the screen protector won’t leave behind any residue when it’s removed, and both versions are cheaper than their competition, so a little bit of trial-and-error shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
The best screen protector for the latest Amazon tablet series
The Sparin Tempered Glass Screen Protector is an easily installed first line of defense between the latest Kindle Fire tablets that should be able to withstand plenty of abuse from enthusiastic play.
Pros: Promised easy installation, high scratch resistance
Cons: No hydro- or oleo-phobic coating, finding the right version can be difficult
Amazon might be the only company that makes finding a worthwhile screen protector for its tablets harder than Apple does. The company offers numerous iterations on similar designs—there are three versions each of the Kindle Fire HD 7, 8, and 10 as well as a special Kindle Fire HD 10 Productivity model—and the latest releases are often slightly different from their predecessors. There isn’t a one-brand-fits-all solution here, but the best option for most people is going to be the Sparin Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Amazon Kindle Fire tablets because it comes in a variety of versions that each support numerous tablets. (As well as an easy-to-read guide on their Amazon store page indicating their compatibility with specific models.)
Sparin’s offerings are all made from 9H-rated tempered glass in widths between 0.3 and 0.33mm, which means they shouldn’t interfere with any of the Kindle Fire tablets’ touchscreens while they protect them from most scratches. The company also promises “99% high definition clarity and light transmittance” to “keep original and stunning viewing quality and experience,” and just like SuperShieldz, it says the screen protector’s “2.5D rounded edges” should afford maximum comfort during normal use.
Similar promises are made about a smooth, “hassle-free, and bubble-free” installation process afforded by the screen protector’s “anti-air adhesive.” Luckily the Sparin Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Amazon Kindle Fire is also affordable—it’s priced in line with the JETech and SuperShieldz screen protectors we recommended for the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 lineups—and ships with multiple screen protectors in case something terrible happens during installation.
It’s a shame that finding a screen protector for the latest versions of the Kindle Fire tablets is so difficult, but the note about needing to defend tablet displays even more than phone screens feels particularly relevant here. Many people buy these devices for their children (which is why Amazon makes versions specifically designed for kids) and it’s no secret that kids can play rough with their favorite toys. If you’re looking for a screen protector to defend a Kindle Fire tablet from even the mightiest of temper tantrums, then, your best bet is probably going to be starting your search with the Sparin lineup.