Email share button Facebook Share Button Twitter Share Button Reddit Share Button

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. All product links on this page are monetized.

Light Theme · Darkish Theme

Are Cell Phone Screen Protectors Necessary?

Shattered tempered glass screen protector being held in front of undamaged phone

Screen protectors are very popular accessories among cell phone users. They're also high-profit up sell items, making them popular with retail phone store operators, as well. But are they really necessary?

Many phone owners wouldn't even think of not protecting their expensive phone's screen with a quality screen protector. Others believe they are unnecessary, or even harmful, and refuse to use them at all.

So who's right? Does your phone need a screen protector or doesn't it?

As with many technology-related questions, there is no single correct answer to that question. Whether or not you need a screen protector for your phone depends on the phone, your lifestyle, your budget, and the environment in which the phone will be used.

Let me explain it to you.


Advantages to Using a Screen Protector on Your Phone

Let's start by looking at the benefits and purposes of screen protectors.

In a practical sense, screen protectors protect your phone's screen from scratches and impact damage by being a sacrificial layer between the screen and the environment. The screens of newer phones, especially those that use Corning's Gorilla Glass, are pretty tough in their own right; so a screen protector may or may not be tougher than the screen it protects.

The difference is that unlike the phone's display screen, a screen protector (except for nano liquid ones) can be easily peeled off and inexpensively replaced should it become scratched or damaged. That's the real benefit to screen protectors. In most cases, they're no less likely to be scratched or damaged than the phone's display is. They're just easier and cheaper to replace.

My personal favorite screen protectors are those made by Supershieldz, RhinoShield, Spigen, and MaxBoost; but there are many other high-quality brands.


What are Screen Protectors Made Of?

Most screen protectors are made from one of four materials:


How Effective are Cell Phone Screen Protectors?

That depends whether we're talking about scratch resistance or impact resistances.

A high-quality screen protector made of any of the three solid materials will be close to 100 percent effective at protecting your phone's screen from scratches due to the most common causes, such as coins, keys, or sand in your pocket. That's not to say the screen protector will never scratch, but rather that it will prevent the screen under it from being scratched. It will take life's insults on the chin to protect your phone's screen.

The story's not so optimistic as concerns impact resistance. Tempered glass and TPU will provide some degree of protection against impact, but not very much. There's a certain range within a screen protector will absorb enough of the force of impact to protect the screen under it from damage, but a force that exceeds that range will damage both the screen protector and the screen underneath it.

Still, considering how inexpensive they are, I think screen protectors are worth the investment. This is especially true if your financial situation would make it difficult to afford to replace your phone's screen. Screen protectors are inexpensive and at least reduce the chances of your phone's screen needing to be replaced.

On a personal note, a few days before this most recent revision, I dropped my phone, face down, on a gravel driveway while working on my car. The impact broke my phone's tempered glass screen protector, but the phone screen itself was undamaged. I peeled pff the old screen protector, applied a new one, and all was well. It was a Supershieldz screen protector, which is one of my favorite brands.


Reasons Not to Use a Screen Protector

There are a few reasons why you may not want to use a screen protector. For example:

I personally didn't care much for the feel of the factory screen protector on my OnePlus 7t, so I replaced it with a Supershieldz tempered glass screen protector. But in terms of both clarity and scratch protection, the factory one was perfectly adequate. I just prefer the feel and responsiveness of tempered glass.