Apple's Smart Cover for the iPad mini is a recommended option to house your beloved iOS device, but when it comes to keeping it in good condition, you might want to look at a more comprehensive alternative.

The most popular cases come in the form of folios, which protect the front and back of your iPad and usually fold to create a stand, ideal for watching films or typing on.

Then there are the sleeves, which are perfect as carry cases. Rugged cases are for extreme use (or to keep your iPad mini safe in the hands of children), while rear shells are for keeping the back of your mini scratch-free. Whatever your specific requirements, you'll find plenty of options to choose from here.

Folio cases: To protect both sides of your iPad mini

Gear4 Coverstand

1. Gear4 Coverstand

Price: $37.95
Web: Mastershop

There's nothing particularly fancy about this case, but it's still a good all-rounder. The leather-plastic combo works well enough and the stand mechanism is suitably robust. It's basic and there's better quality around for this price, but we could easily live with the Gear4 CoverStand as our iPad mini's main case.

iChicGear Manhattan

2. iChic Gear Manhattan

Price: $US35
Web: iChicGear

The iChic Gear Manhattan is one of the finest folio/stand combos in this test. In landscape orientation the stand is very stable, aided by tucking the tongue of the case's clasp into its holder at the back. The iPad mini feels sturdy in the case at all times, and we really liked the neatly recessed leather, too.

STM skinny

3. STM Skinny for iPad mini

Price: $39.95
Web: Streetwise

That iPad mini is one slender collection of screen and circuits, so why would you want to bulk it out with a chunky case? The Skinny from STM keeps everything nice and slim, while protecting both front and back of your bite-sized iPad and doubling as a stand.

Cygnett Enigma

4. Cygnett Enigma

Price: $49.95
Web: Techbuy

A conundrum wrapped in a mystery? No, the Cygnett Enigma is just a really well designed case for your iPad mini, which uses a clever origami-style folding technique to turn the case into a stand. The rubberised texture makes it easy to hold, without adding too much bulk to your 7-inch tablet.

Moshi versacover

5. Moshi VersaCover for iPad mini

Price: $69.95
Web: Streetwise

With a name like VersaCover, you'd expect this case from Moshi to be super competitive or super versatile. It's actually a bit of both, using a unique origami folding mechanism to turn the case into both a landscape and portrait stand, without compromising protection. Integrated magnets also let you take advantage of the iPad's automatic wake/sleep functionality.

Targus

6. Targus Vuscape case and stand

Price: $19.98
Web: JB Hi-Fi

There's a reason some products are described as cheap and cheerful. For under 20 bucks, this iPad case from Targus offers a soft internal lining for your iPad, with six silicon strips to stand your iPad up at various angles. The padded front cover and easy access to all ports make it an affordable way to protect your tablet.

Toffee leather slim folio

7. Toffee Leather Slim Folio

Price: $89.95
Web: Streetwise

A very similar design to the Incipio Lexington, but with an easier tongue/loop design to hold the case in its stand position. It's solid and stylish, but our model was a little suspect when it came to the glue and stitching in some areas. A reasonable enough general purpose folio case.

Belkin leather tab folio

8. Belkin Leather Tab Folio

Price: $59.95
Web: Streetwise

Nothing says "professional" quite like genuine leather accessories, and this genuine leather folio case from Belkin says professional like a pro. With a luxurious finish, adjustable height stand and magnetic tab closures, the case is designed to keep your 7-inch tablet protected at all times, while the business card holder ensures you'll never lack for your contact details.

Incipio Lexington

9. Incipio Lexington

Price: $34.99
Web: Macfixit

The thick rubber housing of the Lexington Hard Shell Folio Case protects the mini, but never feels bulky. The rubberised leather that covers the case feels luxurious and it's one of the strongest stands we tried on test. Getting the tongue through the loop at the back, however, is more difficult than it should be.

Griffin slim folio

10. Griffin Slim Folio

Price: $39.95
Web: TryandByte

This Griffin case has some of the best quality (and best smelling) leather in this roundup. The Filofax-esque feel could appeal to business travellers and suchlike, but it will probably prove too bulky for most of us. It does have a loop to keep a stylus with the case, but unfortunately, the stand is a little weak for our liking.

Proporta Leather Style case

11. Proporta Leather Style Case

Price: $32.99
Web: Mobilezap

Get this if you want a well-padded case that will allow you to stand it in landscape or portrait. It's all done through one stand too, making it much neater than the QDOS Libris. It operates on a simple swivel mechanism and we found it became our general purpose case of choice over time.

Speck Fitfolio

12. Speck FitFolio for iPad mini

Price: $49.95
Web: Streetwise

Style is definitely at the forefront of the Speck FitFolio, with the form-fitting case coming in a variety of fabrics and styles to suit individual user tastes. The soft microsuede interior is partnered with the hard shell cradle, while closing the case securely is a breeze thanks to the smooth-snap clasp.

BooqPad

13. Booq Booqpad mini

Price: $49.95
Web: Rushfaster

Sometimes, a tablet just isn't enough to get the job done. Sometimes you need to pull out the good old paper and pen. The Booqpad mini lets you do just that, combining a notebook with the iPad mini case, allowing you to carry both alongside business cards in one convenient package. There's even an inner slot for tickets or cash, making it a luxurious and well-designed option for professionals.

Aranez leather case

14. Aranez iPad mini leather case

Price: $US69.95
Web: Aranez

With a slim, lightweight book design, and crafted from genuine cow leather, the Aranez ipad mini case is combines luxury materials with a professional design. With card slots and an internal pocket for storage of everything from notes to cash, the case will both protect and serve your tablet admirably.

simplism flip shell case

15. Simplism Flip Shell case for iPad mini

Price: $49.95
Web: JB Hi-Fi

Combining a built-in plastic plate for optimum protection with the luxurious texture of a leather case, the Simplism folio provides a great way to transport your tablet. Four card slots add an air of executive class, while integrated magnets will wake your tablet and put it to sleep whenever you need it.

Sleeves: Carry cases to keep your iPad mini easily accessible

STM Jacket D7

16. STM Jacket D7 sleeve

Price: $39.95
Web: Streetwise

Sometimes you need to carry around more than just an iPad mini. The STM Jacket D7 sleeve offers a comfortable, zip-up enclosure for your tablet, as well as a front pocket for all your cables and keys, a back slip pocket for documents and a removable shoulder strap for convenient transport.

Defy Simple iPad mini sleeve

17. Defy Simple iPad mini sleeve

Price: $79
Web: Rushfaster

It may not offer military-grade protection for your iPad mini, but the Defy Simple does offer "military grade wool" if you believe the marketing. Coupled with an iconic leather strap, and a front pocket for business cards or a notebook, this is a stylish and convenient sleeve for your tablet.

Herschel Supply Co Anchor Sleeve

18. Herschel Supply Co. Anchor Sleeve for iPad mini

Price: $29.95
Web: Apple

This fleece-lined, padded sleeve is as simple as protection for your iPad mini gets, with a two panel construction, a durable woven exterior and a rugged zipper enclosure. There's even plenty of room inside for your iPad mini, even if it's rocking a smart cover.

Acme made skinny sleeve

19. Acme made Skinny sleeve for iPad mini

Price: $29.95
Web: Apple

It's easy for iPad sleeves to add a heap of bulk to your tablet by introducing extra pockets and storage spaces. This Acme made sleeve is as slim as they come, offering enough space to securely store your tablet in comfort, without adding unnecessary bulk.

Rugged cases: To protect your iPad at all costs

Griffin Survivor

20. Griffin Survivor for iPad mini

Price: $64.95
Web: Macfixit

If you get your iPad in and out of its case regularly, then the Survivor might not be for you - it's fiddly at best. When it comes to extreme protection, however, Griffin's case is hard to beat. Seriously, some of the tests they put this case through are insane, giving the case a US Department of Defense Standard 810F rating.

Gumdrop Drop Tech Series

21. Gumdrop Drop Tech Series

Price: $69.95
Web: Techbuy

Don't be fooled by the Gumdrop's clichéd tyre tread design; this rugged product is a fine heavy-duty case. The Griffin Survivor edges it in terms of features, but this case is much easier (and therefore quicker) to get your iPad mini into, and for a bulky concept, we think it's rather stylish, too.

Cygnett workmate

22. Cygnett Workmate

Price $59.95
Web: Techbuy

You won't find many cases with rubber as thick as the Workmate's (it's actually made up of hard plastic and heavy rubber, interlaced for stronger protection). It works well as a heavy duty design, but, depending on your usage scenario, you might want the front covered, too.

Cygnett Armour

23. Cygnett Armour

Price: $49.95
Web: Rushfaster

We're not a fan of claw grips on any iPad case, and the Armour case doesn't do enough convince us otherwise. A shame, because the leather quality and thick padding makes this folio/rugged hybrid the ideal choice for those looking for a really tough case as well as a stand and a magnetic locking cover.

Shells: Keep the back of your iPad mini in tip top condition

Incipio NGP

24. Incipio NGP

Price: $22
Web: i-tech

As you might expect from a hard shell, the Incipio NGP is made of semi-rigid rubber. It's very good quality and easy to apply, although getting your iPad mini out again isn't always as quite as simple as it should be. The harder shell design of the other Incipio model sorts that problem, though.

Cygnett Flexigel

25. Cygnett FlexiGel

Price: $29.95
Web: Rushfaster

The FlexiGel has a nice hole-punched area at the bottom to form a grille above the iPad mini's speaker. The rest of the cut out sections to expose the mini's buttons are a little untidy, being all square cut, but it's still a great price for good quality protection.

Kensington back cover

26. Kensington Back Cover

Price: $19.98
Web: Dick Smith

Kensington's effort is almost identical to the Incipio NGP. There's also very little difference in price, so ultimately, it really comes down to which colour range you prefer. We like this teal version, though the Cygnett is the more attractive option when it comes to semi-rigid rear shells.

Incipio feather

27. Incipio Feather

Price: $29.99
Web: TechBuy

The Incipio Feather is the only non-flexing rear shell in this test. The Feather series has been very popular on the iPhone because of its light, slimline design, and that design is carried through beautifully here. It's easy to apply and gives you the best access to your iPad mini's exterior controls.