As I sit here answering customer questions as part of my daily email routine, I found one inquiry that is particularly relevant for anyone considering to purchase a wooden phone case. The customer asks “I fell in love with your Koa wood phone cases, but are wooden phone cases durable?”
Wooden phone cases are durable. That said, not all are made the same and there are multiple factors that affect its stability and longevity. For example, whether or not the wood has been stabilized or finished, and how you care for your phone will ultimately affect how long the wooden phone case lasts.
And as someone who not only makes wooden phone cases, I also own one. I’ve had mine for several years I am happy to respond to share my experience.
The popularity of wood phone cases has grown over the years. And for good reason, they are beautiful, unique, durable, customizable, and so much more. But they are also organic. And as with anything organic, it is subject to decay, so it is understandable why customers would be concerned about the wooden phone case’s durability.
With practicality, support, and value in mind, the remainder of this article explores some variables and attributes that affect a wooden phone cover’s ability to perform its function over time.
Primary Function is to Protect your phone
Before we can speak of a wood phone cover’s durability I think it’s important to address whether or not it serves its primary function of protecting a phone. Whether we’re talking about a wood phone case or any other, it’s important to remember that no case can completely protect your phone from damage. In rare cases, some covers can actually damage your phone by trapping dirt and debris which can cause scratching to your phone’s finish. That aside, phone covers generally have a positive effect on protecting your phone, particularly if you drop it.
Wooden phone cases typically fall into two categories, full wood cover or plastic with wood veneer.
|All-Wood||Plastic With Wood Veneer|
An all-wood phone case is hard and wraps the entire phone in wood. In some cases, it is actually a plastic made to look like wood and in other cases, it is wood that has been stabilized. The stabilization of wood is a process where resins are infused in the wood to protect and make the wood hard. Some call it the plasticization of wood. The benefit of these types of phone covers is hardiness. But unfortunately, it comes with the bulkiness and brittleness associated with something solidified. If you drop it, your phone might be protected but the case is likely to get scratched, crack, or break.
The plastic with wood veneer cover phone case offers the same and perhaps even better protection against a fall and less likely to chip or scratch. Because the plastic is soft, it can absorb the shock of the fall better than a hard cover. It can act more like a spring and minimize the chance of screen breakage. In addition, plastic covers with veneers offer a slimmer profile and are lighter making it easier and more comfortable to carry.
But regardless, they both, the all-wood and the plastic and veneer combo cover do the job of protecting your phone.
All of the phone covers made at KoaWood Ranch are finished with a semi-gloss lacquer. Lacquer penetrates deep and creates a seal that protects the wood from the inside out. Lacquer is tough. It lasts as long or longer than any of its competitors without chipping. It also doesn’t yellow over time like many other finishes.
Whatever the wood phone cover you choose, it is important that it is sealed with a protectant.
Avoiding These Things Will Add Life to Your Phone Cover
The number one threat to any phone and/or wood phone case is water damage. Wood regardless of how it is finished does not like water (the finish can break down). The longevity of your wood phone case will be greatly increased if you take measures to ensure it stays out of water. And if it does come into contact with moisture, it is important to dry immediately, you don’t want it to sit in liquid.
That said, last year I was running through a rainstorm and my iPhone fell out of my pocket and into a muddy puddle of water. I hadn’t realized what had happened until I went looking for my phone a few hours later. Luckily I was able to find it using Apple’s homing tools. After hours sitting in the water, I was happily surprised to find that both the phone worked and the KoaWood Ranch phone case was still intact.
In a world of COVID, you’ll want to pay attention to how you apply disinfectants and anti-bacterial wipes across the surface of the wood. Don’t apply more than is necessary and don’t leave the surface wet. These products use lots of chemicals and they can have an adverse effect on protective coatings. Ideally, you can avoid any moisture issues if you use a UV light to disinfect your phone. The photo on the left is an example of one commonly used to clean gadgets.
Another element that you’ll want to avoid is direct sunlight. Whether you’re at the beach or have your phone on the dashboard of your car, direct sun on the wood isn’t a good thing. The heat and sun rays can break down the wood’s finish and potentially undo the adhesives used in the production of the phone case. This can result in discoloration or cause the wood veneer to warp and become undone. Always keep your phone out of direct sunlight and avoid high heat temperatures that can both damage the phone and/or its protective cover.
- As mentioned early in this article, dirt, and debris can get caught in between the phone and its cover. This can cause an array of problems. Not only does it pose a potential aesthetic issue to your phone causing nicks and scratches, but it can get into the charger receptacle and speaker holes. The photo on the right is an example of dirt buildup that is exposed when the phone cover is removed. Remember to routinely remove your cover to clean off the phone. You can use a compress gas duster to blow clear any particles that are building up.
- The good news about wood is that it is receptive to reparative efforts of polishing. Using beeswax periodically to maintain the wood portion of your wood phone cover is a good way to keep it looking fresh and new.
Made to Get Better with Age
Wood nonetheless is subject to dents and signs of wear. But whereas these flaws look really bad on other cases, the wooden phone case gains character. Wood becomes more attractive with time and brings it to life. It can give the phone case an antique quality. Below is a picture of my phone case, as you can see, despite age and wear, it still feels warm, and maintains a unique look.
Wood phone cases are just as durable as the majority of protective phone cases out in the market. They perform their primary function; to protect your phone. With attention to some nuances of caring for organic material, your wooden phone case should bring you many years of service…or at least until your next cell phone upgrade.