In the world of Kindle Fire accessories you'll find both Kindle Fire covers and Kindle Fire cases, but it's not very clear if they're the same thing or if there's a difference between the two.
So let's figure this out, shall we?
Basically a case temporarily holds your tablet until you pull it out and use it all on its own (meaning there's nothing still attached to your device).
A cover, on the other hand, is always attached to your Kindle Fire even while you're using it (unless you remove your tablet from the cover of course). Thus a Kindle Fire cover is "covering" your Kindle Fire both at rest and at play.
The simplest way for me to understand the difference between the two is to use this rule:
All clear or just confused? Below is an example of how this works.
These Kindle Fire covers remain attached while using your tablet.
This purple beaded bag is used as a Kindle Fire Case but is not needed when using this fun electronic device. The gray case has a zipper and you slide your tablet in and out.
Got it now? Good!
Kindle Fire cases are sometimes called sleeves, but when I try to envision myself saying, "Hey, cool sleeve!" it just sounds weird.
Amazon has tried to change this by listing cases under a category called sleeves, but it's already too late. Most people search for cases or covers, not sleeves, because that's what makes sense to us.
There are a few rare accessories which throw a little kink into this rule. These accessories come with both a Kindle Fire cover (attached) and a separate Kindle Fire case (holds the tablet while in its cover) but the basic rule is still the same for each individual part of the accessory.
Sellers don't help clarify things either since they often list their
items as both cases and covers. I know it's confusing, especially with
both words starting with the letter "c" (I still get mixed up!), but I
believe this article helps clarify things!
So, now that we know the difference between these two items, which should you use? Well, that depends on a number of things, such as your personal preferences and what you are looking for in your Kindle Fire accessory.
Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons of each.
KINDLE FIRE COVERS
KINDLE FIRE CASES
Let's go into a little more detail for each pro and con.
There's some debate as to how scratch resistant and break-proof the Kindle Fire is.
Either way, it never hurts to be extra careful, especially with your little investment ($200 bucks is nothing to sneeze at).
In the end, if the only reason you decide to "protect" your toy is that it brings you some peace of mind, then I'd say it's worth it- particularly if you have butterfingers or children... or both! ;)
See my FAQ on protecting your Kindle Fire for/from children for more resources.
If you're not sure you need to protect your tablet, then you better see what happened to my original Kindle Fire screen when I got careless!
Since a Kindle Fire case is not attached to your actual device, it only
provides protection when it's not in use. Whereas a Kindle Fire cover is
always attached to your Amazon tablet it provides additional
protection. Should you drop your Fire its cover will help protect it by
absorbing most of the impact- depending on how it falls, of course.
A cover will add some additional weight and bulk to your tablet when holding it. The Kindle Fire weighs just a little under a pound (14.6 ounces) so depending on your preferences, adding additional weight may or may not be an issue for you. If it is, be sure to check the weight and size (in the technical details) of the Kindle Fire covers you are considering.
Since a case is only used to keep your little toy safe while not in use, just about any kind of compartment-like accessory (bags, purses, totes, clutches, etc) can specifically be used to carry your Kindle Fire.
This is handy for those who like a lot of variety in their wardrobe and want to jazz up their look by frequently changing their Kindle's case.
Here's another photograph of my adorable purple beaded bag that makes a perfect case for my Kindle Fire!
Using a case instead of a cover also allows you to get the most out of Kindle Fire skins: those fun, full-body decorative stickers you can place on both the front and back of your Kindle Fire- they can really make your Fire pop!
Since a cover is always attached to your tablet it must fit perfectly to your Kindle Fire- you don't want it falling out and crashing to the floor! Due to this fact, there's a relatively limited selection of colors, materials, and styles to choose from compared to the practically limitless accessories that can be easily adapted into a Kindle Fire case.
Thus, with a Kindle Fire cover you're more likely to own and use just one cover, but going with a Kindle Fire case allows you to easily interchange cases to find one that matches your current wardrobe (or mood).
Some of you won't care, but for those of you who like to look as fashionable as possible, this may be an important deciding factor.
If you're prone to losing things (like your keys or sense of direction) then going with a cover would make life just a little easier since the cover is always with your Kindle Fire. Meaning you won't have to go looking for it when you're ready to put it away, you'll just flip its lid and voilà, it's covered!
Using a cover is also helpful for those of you who are like me and wander from room to room packing your tablet with you wherever you go.
Just to be a pill I have to say that using a cover does not guarantee that you won't lose your tablet. If you lose your Kindle Fire the cover will be missing with it (since it's obviously attached). What it does guarantee is that if you're holding your Kindle Fire in your hot little hands you'll also be holding its cover. So instead of TWO separate items to keep track of you only have one! Capiche?
If you're better at keeping track of your accessories the need for an attached cover is less of an issue- gee, how'd you get so lucky?
If you'd like a little help with locating your Kindle if lost or misplaced, a great preventative measure is to use a tracking app. See my Security Apps page for more details.
Most cases don't come with additional accessory features (except maybe a pocket or two), whereas covers have some really cool features. Here are some of the main ones:
If you're looking for additional accessory features for your Kindle
Fire, then a cover is probably what you need since a case is really only
used to hold your Kindle Fire when not in use.
Here's one more thing to be aware of when comparing the two. Kindle Fire cases that are enclosed (usually with a zipper) may or may not have an opening to plug in and charge your tablet while it's in the case. Be sure to check for that feature if it's one you want.
In the other corner, most Kindle Fire covers have openings at both the top (speakers) and bottom (power/charger/headphone) of the tablet since you always need access to them when using a cover for your device.
Which do I use? Well, at first I used the purple bag (pictured above) as a case. I was excited to finally find a fun use for my adorable, beaded bag. My Kindle Fire fit inside it perfectly and the soft, velvety bag helped protect my tablet.
After a few days I decided I wanted a cover that would stand up for both landscape and portrait. I did some extensive research, read a gazillion reviews, and finally picked out the color and style of my current Kindle Fire cover: a Red Genuine Leather Frameless Kindle Fire Cover by AYL.
Unfortunately, this company no longer has any products listed on Amazon (I have been thwarted in my efforts to get in contact with them) so I believe they are no longer in business. :(
Update!: I got the perfect cover for my Kindle Fire HD that I love even more than the one on my original Kindle Fire. It's amazing!
Now you know the difference between cases and covers! If you already know which one you want then take this next step, but if you're not sure this next step is right for you too as it will help you even more with your decision:
Go for it! Or browse for additional Kindle Fire accessories.
Another alternative to a standard cover or case is Amazon's Show Mode Charging Dock. It's a stand, case and magnetic charger all in one!
Find out more...