Choosing a waterproof case
What is the difference between Pelican and Storm Case options?
If you, as an individual or as part of a business, need to protect expensive or delicate equipment, there are many waterproof cases to choose from. However, it can often end up as a straight choice of Peli vs Storm cases (in this case, Peli’s Protector range).
Whilst strength, water resistance and lifespan are comparable, there are several differences when comparing Peli vs Storm cases. Variations include latch designs, different aesthetic appearances, size options, and price points. Peli cases are a great all-round option, whilst Storm cases are lighter, provide better value, and are more suited to specific applications.
But which one should you use?
This guide provides a detailed review and analysis of each of the protective case brands, split into four key areas:
- Performance levels (i.e. protection)
- Options and aesthetics
- Usability and features
- And finally, value for money
Please continue reading to see whether Pelican or Storm cases would be the best option for your specific application or requirements.
Quick reference / contents
Which waterproof case offers the greatest levels of protection?
The key reason you would use a Peli or Storm case is the protection it provides for your tools, products, equipment or other essential items. This first section analyses which case option will provide you with the highest performance levels.
Strength and durability
Storm and Peli cases use extremely tough and durable polypropylene materials in their manufacture. Both cases are so strong that they can even withstand being driven over by large vehicles. This strength is in addition to extensive drop testing (to military standards).
As such, both options provide an almost identical level of performance when protecting their contents.
Again, there is nothing to separate Peli from Storm cases regarding their water resistance. Both cases are IP 67 rated, meaning they are completely water-tight when submerged in depths up to 1 metre (for 30 minutes). Their resistance to water also means that they prevent the ingress of dust as well.
Both cases are fully certified, meaning their waterproof properties are identical, whichever option you choose.
The design of the cases catches where the first real difference emerges when comparing Peli vs Storm cases.
Peli cases feature traditional “pull-up” latches, which, whilst more difficult to use than the Storm case equivalents, provide a tighter seal. The Storm case “press and pull” latches are considerably more user-friendly but are arguably (a fraction) less secure.
Whilst this will be unnoticeable in most applications, the added strength provided by Peli case latches may prove vital if the case faces extreme rough handling.
Whilst both cases provide near identical protection for their contents (even allowing for the difference in the catches), does either case show more damage to the exterior after being used? Will either case suffer more from surface scratches, scuffs etc.?
Storm cases have a much more attractive surface, with an almost matt finish. Peli cases, by contrast, look a lot more industrial, with a slightly shiny finish to the plastics used. However, this means that Storm cases will show any scuffs and scrapes more obviously than Peli cases (although the colour choice will mitigate this to a degree).
Whilst it does not affect the performance of the protection, if this is important to your business, Peli may be the slightly better option.
The final judging criteria in this category covers security.
Both cases score highly here, with a range of padlocks explicitly designed for use with the cases, plus the ability to use third-party locks to secure the contents. And as the hinges, material and seals on the cases are so strong, breaking into both Peli and Storm options is very difficult.
Whilst Peli has (just) come out on top in this category (with two wins and two draws overall), there is virtually nothing to choose between the two cases. Either Peli or Storm cases will provide exceptional levels of protection for your equipment or items.
One other consideration, however – if you are looking for extremely heavy-duty protection – is to look at Roto Mould cases. Also produced by Peli, these offer an even more durable and robust solution.
Options and aesthetics
Which case will most closely match your brand or application?
Besides protection, it can be essential to ensure that if your business has employees taking equipment (and cases) on-site, these reflect your organisation’s branding and personality. At the very least, choosing the right case can promote a professional and reliable appearance to your customers.
Whilst appearance can be very subjective, most people, when pushed, tend to prefer the aesthetics of the Storm cases. This preference is due to several factors, including the smoother surfaces, less glossy finish and less “fussy” overall design. In essence, it just looks more modern and sleek.
And whilst some may disagree, most businesses interested in how their cases look will opt for a Storm over Peli.
Matching your case to your corporate colours can help with brand recognition. And whilst both ranges are limited by colour choices, they each provide six different options. Whilst these are broadly the same, depending on your business branding, you may find that one range is better than the other.
However, with both ranges offering black and silver (both very neutral colours), there is an option for every business.
There is a clear winner when considering the branding of your cases. Due to the smoother surfaces and larger areas without ribbing and reinforcements, the Storm case range offers a much more suitable surface for direct printing and affixing vinyl wraps or graphics.
While doing this on Peli cases is possible, it is much trickier, and the results are less striking.
The number of accessories available can make a surprisingly significant impact on the appearance of the cases. Options include additional straps, padded dividers and mounting kits. The latter allows you to incorporate electronics and screens directly into the cases.
Of course, both cases can also benefit from the inclusion of custom foam inserts manufactured from Plastazote® polyethylene foam. These offer greatly enhanced protection, can be tailored to your brand colours and even have logos etched onto the surfaces.
In terms of aesthetics, there is only one winner – Storm cases. Providing an (arguably) higher quality finish and certainly allowing for greater branding potential, Storm cases are perhaps the most attractive looking cases available in the current market.
However, Explorer cases provide another alternative – with their manufacturers significantly emphasising their Italian design heritage. As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Usability and features
Peli vs Storm, in terms of ease of use
So, although it is very close, the verdict is that Peli cases provide (an almost unnoticeably) greater level of protection, whilst Storm cases provide a better option in terms of aesthetics and branding potential. But which case is the easiest to use and live with?
Being able to find a case that is a suitable size for your equipment can have a significant impact on usability. With both Peli and Storm offering off-the-shelf sizes (unlike flight cases or EXOcase, available in any size dimensions for specific requirements), you have to select the case that is just large enough for your items.
So as Peli offers more than 40 sizes compared with Storms 25, there is a greater chance that you’ll find a closer match using Pelican. Selecting a more appropriately sized case can mean they are easier to handle and lighter.
But hold on – even though you may have to use a slightly larger case if opting for Storm, the construction and materials mean that Storm cases are a fair bit lighter than their Peli counterparts. This weight saving is seriously impressive, considering that the cases offer equivalent performance levels.
This weight advantage not only means that Storm cases are easier to handle and transport but can also reduce your costs (e.g. for air travel where weight determines your luggage charges).
Although this guide has already analysed the catches on the cases when considering performance, you should also consider usability.
Storm cases win comfortably here. The press and pull design makes them vastly easier to use, with the Peli versions seeming outdated in comparison (they can also hurt your fingers trying to open them).
Another advantage is that, if used in cold conditions, the Storm latches will not seize or get stuck as the Peli latches can.
Another win here for Storm cases. Their handles have a “soft grip” finish, making them more comfortable to use than the Peli equivalents. And whilst this may seem like a relatively minor feature, it can make a significant difference if you handle your case a lot.
You should also note that Peli and Storm cases include additional telescopic handles on the larger cases (any with wheels) – which is a genuinely handy feature.
Both Storm and Peli cases feature a pressure relief valve. This feature equalises pressure between the inside and outside of the case. Doing so protects the contents and stops the case from “popping” open in extreme conditions. It also prevents “vacuum lock” (whereby cases become difficult to open).
However, whilst the Storm case pressure valve operates automatically, the Peli version requires manual adjustment. As well as being more of a hassle (and being ineffective in locations where you can’t get to the case – such as the hold of an aircraft), it is also possible to accidentally detach and lose the pressure valve from the Peli case.
The larger-sized Pelican and Storm cases both include inline wheels (and telescopic handles) to allow the case to be pulled along – particularly useful if the contents are heavy too.
Whilst there is little to choose between the functioning of the wheels of the two cases, the Peli versions use stainless steel pins, whereas Storm uses alloy ones instead. Repeated exposure to salt water (e.g. in marine environments) could lead to corrosion of the Storm alloy pins, resulting in the wheels seizing.
A typical use for Storm and Peli cases is transporting expensive or specialist items via air. Both ranges have several sizes suitable to take on as hand luggage (this obviously applies only to the smaller cases) which allows for peace of mind if the items are particularly sensitive.
However, Storm cases are fractionally lighter in weight – meaning they cost less to transport via air.
So a pretty convincing victory here. Whilst analysing the first two categories highlighted very few differences between the two waterproof case options, the Storm case proves to be considerably easier to use than the Peli Protector option. If you are using the cases daily, this should be a big consideration.
Which waterproof case is the best value for money?
So with not much to choose between the cases overall, selecting one may come down to cost (and value/lifespan) for many businesses. Whilst this can be a sensible approach if you are transporting highly expensive or specialist equipment, it is not wise to cut corners on the cost of the case. The cost of damage to the equipment within is likely to be considerably greater than any savings made.
Storm cases win if it is a straight fight when looking at like-for-like prices.
Similar sizes cases tend to be cheaper across the Storm range than for their Peli counterparts.
However, one caveat to mention here is the range of sizes. If you have to select an overly big Storm case to accommodate your equipment (whereas a more suitable Peli will suffice), this difference may become negligible.
Again, there is nothing to choose between these two cases when considering their potential lifespan. Both options will last almost indefinitely (under everyday use and conditions). It is possible to replace parts such as handles, catches, wheels and so on as required, in the rare event they fail.
Put simply, either Peli or Storm cases will provide a durable, long-lasting solution for protecting your items.
Both Peli and Storm cases are so durable and robust that they come with a full manufacturer’s lifetime guarantee. Such a comprehensive guarantee ensures that whichever case you choose, it provides an exceptional lifespan and genuine value for money.
Due to their expected lifespan – not to mention their lifetime guarantee – both Peli and Storm cases provide genuine value for money. However, Storm cases are fractionally cheaper, meaning they just shade this category.
Of course, with so many waterproof cases on the market, significant price competition exists. Similar options include SKB and Nanuk cases, with these Peli case alternatives offering comparable performance at reduced price points.
The winner of Peli vs Storm
Reading through this entire guide, you have probably concluded that Storm cases offer the better all-round package – an opinion shared by GWP.
In fact, when asked, GWP would generally recommend Storm cases over Peli due to their lower costs, virtually identical performance, improved usability and (arguably) better appearance.
However, Peli cases are an excellent choice for any business. GWP have supplied these to many customers throughout the UK and beyond.
So, in conclusion, whether you choose Peli or Storm, you have a high-performance, dust and waterproof case that provides excellent protection and value for money.
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