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These top rated screen protectors will keep your smartphone free of scratches

A screen protector is an affordable product that protects expensive smartphones from cracks and scratches — here’s how experts recommend shopping for one.
Keep your phone crack-free with one of these expert-recommended screen protectors.
Keep your phone crack-free with one of these expert-recommended screen protectors. Vivian Le / NBC

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. 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. We also rounded up some top-rated options to shop, including NBC Select staff favorites.

SKIP AHEAD How we picked the best screen protectors | The best screen protectors in 2024 | How to shop for screen protectors | Should you get a screen protector?

How we picked the best screen protectors

A good quality phone case can only do so much to help you avoid a broken screen, and most cases will leave your glass screen vulnerable to damage — which is where a screen protector comes in. We spoke with technology experts about what makes a good screen protector along with getting recommendations from their top brands. We’re also including NBC 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.

The best screen protectors of 2024

The below options are either direct recommendations from NBC 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.

Best overall screen protector: Spigen

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.

Best warranty screen protector: Zagg

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 iPhone 14 Pro but you can also shop for other iPhone sizes. The Glass XTR2’s protective layer hides the visibility of fingerprints on your screen and filters out blue light 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. NBC Select commerce editor Lindsay Schneider and NBC Select Audience Development editor McKenna Moore also love the brand’s free replacement policy, which acts as a lifetime warranty for your screen protector.

Best budget screen protector: Ailun

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.

Best screen protector for privacy: Zagg

Zagg InvisibleShield Privacy Screen Protector

Another screen protector from Zagg’s Invisible Shield line, this privacy screen protector is NBC Select updates editor Mili Godio’s 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 she can look at work emails peacefully 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. Godio owns it for the iPhone 14 Pro, but you can also shop it for other iPhone, Google and Samsung models.

Best scratch-resistant screen protector: Supershieldz   

Supershieldz 3-Pack Screen Protector

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.

Best screen protector bundle: amFilm

amFilm OneTouch 2+2 Pack Screen Protector

NBC Select reporter Harry Rabinowitz has used these screen protectors for years, first on his iPhone SE, and now on his iPhone 15 Pro. He doesn’t drop his phone much, so he can’t confirm the protector’s durability, but the set has great value for cost. It comes with two screen protectors, both made from a tempered, scratch-resistant glass that has an anti-fingerprint, oleophobic coating, according to the brand.

It also includes two auto-alignment tools and installation accessory kits, to make placement easier, and two lens protectors for your phone’s camera. The brand offers protectors compatible with a range of both Samsung and Apple smartphones.

Best splurge screen protector: Otterbox

Otterbox Premium Pro Glass Blue Light Antimicrobial Screen Protector

NBC Select associate SEO reporter Ashley Morris and NBC Select associate updates editor Zoe Malin both use this protector — Malin for her iPhone 15 Pro, and Morris for her iPhone 12. Morris has been using Otterbox’s Premium Blue Light protectors for years, and finds them to be very durable and easy to install. As someone who drops their phone a lot (as in multiple times a day at minimum), her protectors tend to get a bit banged up over time, so she also loves that their warranty program allows her to replace the protector free of charge, excluding the cost of shipping.

Otterbox offers the protectors for a range of versions of Apple, Google, and Samsung smartphones.

How to shop for screen protectors

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 — Godio has had her tempered glass case for over a year and dropped her 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.

Should you get a screen protector?

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,” says 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.

Meet our experts

At NBC 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 Godio is an updates editor at NBC Select who covers a wide range of topics, including vacuumsexercise bikes and coffee makers.

Nishka Dhawan is a former associate commerce editor at NBC Select who 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 NBC Select staff and industry experts about their favorite screen protectors and what to keep in mind while shopping.

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