Choosing a Waterproof Case.
What is the difference between Pelican and Storm cases?
Whilst there are a wide range of waterproof cases available, when businesses or individuals are looking to protect expensive or delicate equipment it usually ends up as a straight choice – Peli vs Storm cases.
But which one should you use?
Well, this guide provides a detailed review and analysis of each of the protective case brands, split into 4 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?
Obviously the key reason you would use either a Peli or Storm case is for the protection it provides for your tools, products, equipment or other important items. As such, this first section analyses which of the case options will provide you with the highest levels of performance.
Strength / Durability
Both Storm and Peli cases are manufactured from extremely tough and durable polypropylene materials. In fact, both cases are so strong that they can withstand being driven over by large vehicles. This is in addition to extensive drop testing (to military standards).
What this means in practice is that both options will provide an almost identical level of performance when protecting their contents.
Again, there is virtually nothing to separate Peli from Storm cases here. Both cases are IP 67 rated, meaning that they are completely water tight in when submerged in depths up to 1 metre (for 30 minutes). This also means that they prevent the ingress of dust as well.
Both cases are fully certified, meaning that whichever case you choose, their waterproof properties are pretty much identical.
This is 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 prove to be unnoticeable in most applications, the added strength provided by Peli may be useful if the case is likely to be subjected to 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? By this we mean surface scratches, scuffs etc.
Well, 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. What this does mean however is that Storm cases will show up 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 then Peli may be the slightly better option.
The final judging criteria in this category is for security.
Both cases score highly here, with a range of padlocks designed specifically 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, it can make the cases very difficult to break into.
Whilst Peli has (just) come out on top in this category (with 2 wins and 2 draws overall), there really is virtually nothing to choose between the two cases. Either Peli or Storm cases will provide exceptional levels of protection for your contents.
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.
02: Options & Aesthetics
Which case will most closely match your brand and / or application?
Besides protection, it can be important to ensure that if your business has employees taking equipment (and cases) on site, that these reflect the branding and personality of your organisation. At the very least, choosing the right case can ensure 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 is due to a number of factors, including the smoother surfaces, less glossy finish and less “fussy” overall design. In essence, it just looks more modern and sleek.
And whilst there may be some that disagree, the majority of businesses interested in how their cases look will opt for a Storm over Peli.
Matching your case to your brand colours can really help with positive association to your business. And whilst both ranges are obviously limited by colour choices, they do each provide 6 different options. Whilst these are broadly the same, depending on your business branding you may find that one range is better than the other.
Saying that, with both ranges offering black and silver (both very neutral colours) there is an option for every business.
There is definitely a clear winner when considering branding of your cases. Due to the smoother surfaces and larger areas without ribbing / reinforcements, the Storm case range offers a much more suitable surface for both direct printing and affixing vinyl wraps or graphics.
Whilst it is possible to do this on Peli cases, it is much trickier and the results are less striking.
The number of accessories available can make a surprisingly large impact on the appearance of the cases. This includes additional straps, and mounting kits, which can allow you to incorporate electronics and even 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 not only offer greatly enhanced protection, but can also be tailored to your brand colours and have logos etched onto the surfaces as well.
In terms of aesthetics there is really only one winner – Storm cases. Providing an (arguably) nicer finish and certainly allowing for greater branding potential, Storm cases are perhaps the nicest looking cases available in the current market.
Saying that, Explorer cases provide another alternative – with their manufacturers placing a significant emphasis on their Italian design heritage. As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
03: Usability & Features
Peli vs Storm, in terms of ease of use
So, although it is very close, so far the verdict is that Peli cases provide (an almost unnoticeable) 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 big impact on usability. With both Peli and Storm offering off the shelf sizes (unlike flight cases or EXOCase which can be tailored to specific requirements), it means you have to select the case which is just large enough for your items.
So as Peli offers more than 40 sizes compared with Storms 25 (approx.), there is a greater chance that you’ll find a closer match using Pelican. This can make your case(s) 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 means that Storm cases are actually a fair bit lighter than their Peli counterparts. This is seriously impressive considering that the cases offer near identical 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 your luggage will be charged on weight).
Although this guide has already analysed the catches on the cases when considering performance, usability should also be taken into account.
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 being 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 which makes 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 your case is being handled a lot.
It must be said however that both Peli and Storm cases provide additional telescopic handles for use with the larger cases that have wheels – a very useful feature indeed.
Both Storm and Peli cases feature a pressure relief valve. What this does is allow the pressure between the inside and outside of the case to be equalised, protecting the contents but also preventing the case from “popping” open in extreme conditions.
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 for 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. What this means that repeated exposure to salt water (e.g. in marine environments) could lead to corrosion of the Storm alloy pins, with the result being the wheels potentially seizing as a result.
A common use for both Storm and Peli cases is for transporting expensive, or specialist items via air. Both cases have a number of options that can be taken 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, where Storm cases shade this category is their lighter weight – meaning that if the case needs to be placed in the hold it will cost less to do so.
So a pretty convincing victory here. Whilst the 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 options. If you are using the cases on a daily basis, this should be a big consideration.
Which waterproof case is the best value for money?
So with not much to choose between the cases when looking at the overall picture, it may for many businesses come down to cost (and value / lifespan). Whilst this can be a sensible approach, if you are transporting highly expensive or specialist equipment then it is of course not wise to cut corners on the cost of the case. The cost of damage to the equipment within is likely to dwarf any savings made.
If it is straight fight when looking at like for like prices, then Storm cases win. 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 sized Peli will suffice) then this difference may become negligible.
As with so many of the categories used to analyse these cases, there really is nothing to choose between these two cases when considering their potential lifespan. Both options will last almost indefinitely (under normal use / conditions), and it is possible to replace parts such as handles, catches, wheels etc. as required in the rare event that they do 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, manufacturers lifetime guarantee. This ensures that whichever case you choose provides both 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 true 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 there is considerable competition on price. Similar options include SKB and Nanuk cases, both of which offer similar performance at reduced price points.
05: In Summary
The winner of Peli vs Storm
Reading through this entire guide, you have probably come to the conclusion that Storm cases offer the better all-round package. And at GWP we think you would be correct.
In fact, when asked, we would generally recommend the Storm cases over Peli due to their lower costs, virtually identical performance, improved usability and (arguably) better appearance.
Saying all that, Peli cases are a great choice for any business – and here at GWP we have supplied these to a huge range of customers throughout the UK and beyond.
So, in conclusion… whether you choose Peli or Storm, you are certain to have a high performance, dust and water proof case that provides excellent protection and value for money.
About the Author
General Manager | GWP Protective
Having originally joined GWP Protective back in 2004, working on the factory floor, Richard now heads up the business as General Manager. [Read full bio…]