Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Protect your new iPhone 14 with the most durable, eco-friendly cases

Ever heard of CD/DVD discs recycled into a phone case? Or a case that can turn into compost as soon as you're done with it? ZDNET's choices for the best iPhone 14 cases are eco-friendly, sustainable, and unique. But don't worry. We still included an Otterbox.
Written by Sherin Shibu, Contributor
Reviewed by Amy Lieu
Nimble Disc Case | Best iPhone 14 case overall
Nimble Disc Case review | Best iPhone 14 case
Nimble Disc Case
Best iPhone 14 case overall
View now View at Gonimble
Oakywood Case | Best affordable iPhone 14 case
Oakywood Case review | Best iPhone 14 case
Oakywood Case
Best affordable iPhone 14 case
View now View at Oakywood
Mujjo Case | Best leather iPhone 14 case
Mujjo Case review | Best iPhone 14 case
Mujjo Case
Best leather iPhone 14 case
View now View at Mujjo
Otterbox Defender | Best rugged iPhone 14 case
Otterbox Defender review | Best iPhone 14 case
Otterbox Defender
Best rugged iPhone 14 case
View now View at Amazon
Pela Compostable Case | Best sustainable iPhone 14 case
Pela Compostable Case review | Best iPhone 14 case
Pela Compostable Case
Best sustainable iPhone 14 case
View now View at Pela

The iPhone 14 is here and with it comes the search for the perfect case. Though some may believe that the iPhone 14 looks far better without a case, you might want to take precautions to protect your quadruple-digit investment. 

As ZDNET's Christina Darby pointed out, iPhone 13 cases still fit on the iPhone 14 -- so if you want to reuse your old case, you're in luck. However, if you had a Pro or Pro Max, you'll need to change your case to reflect the dimensions of the newer model. This list is for the iPhone 14 only.

Whether you're looking for durability, personalization, or even a case from a specific retailer, we've got you covered. Here are the best iPhone 14 cases on the market, with three additional honorable mentions at the end.

Pros & Cons
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Subtle
  • Drop-tested to 10 feet
  • Flexband impact-absorbing edges
  • Made of recycled polycarbonate
  • Available in different colors
  • Could be more protective
  • Screen protector not included
More Details

Features or tech specs

  • Materials: Recycled polycarbonate
  • Weight: 0.08 lbs 
  • Wireless charging: Yes, MagSafe and Qi charging
  • Price: $44.95

This is the world's only iPhone case made from recycled CDs/DVDs -- at least 72% of the case comes from post-consumer recycled plastic. It'll satisfy the user who was thinking about disregarding a case altogether but decided on some extra protection with a crystal clear exterior that allows the iPhone to shine. The clear exterior has a white circle on the back inscribed with the words "And the beat goes on / Made from recycled compact discs."

As an added benefit, the case won't get scratched or start going yellow because of UV light. It's protected by a 2-year guarantee and comes in a zero plastic, zero harmful chemical package that's fully recyclable. The ink that the packaging uses is even water-based. 

The case is drop-test certified to 10 feet, so it packs in some protection for its slim profile. It's not an obvious case, but it is a solid one designed in California by an ethical brand that is transparent about where its products are made and who its suppliers are. Nimble is also climate-neutral certified and a member of 1% For The Planet, a global network of environmentally conscious organizations.

Pros & Cons
  • Fast shipping
  • Unique style
  • Eco-friendly
  • Potential shipping costs
More Details

Features or tech specs

  • Materials: Polycarbonate shell, cherry wood
  • Wireless charging: Yes, MagSafe
  • Price: $27

Oakywood is family-owned and handcrafts its cases in Podhale, Poland. It sources its wood from certified and sustainably sourced cherry trees or American walnut trees. Each phone case is unique and looks modern. For this case in particular, cherry wood and polycarbonate stunningly combine for a product that's both functional and stylish. The polycarbonate shell absorbs shocks and protects your iPhone from scratches while the wood creates a comfortable surface for your hand to grip.

You can get the case in your hands quickly too. They ship worldwide within one to two business days from two locations (Henderson, NV for US orders and Ciche, Poland for all of the rest). If you choose to personalize any Oakywood product, it will ship from Ciche. 

Oakywood also partners with the nonprofit One Tree Planted to plant one tree for each product sold.  

Pros & Cons
  • Perfect fit with no bulkiness
  • Slim profile
  • Quality leather
  • Rated gold for environmental standards
  • More about style than protection
  • No screen protector
More Details

Features or tech specs

  • Materials: Vegetable-tanned Ecco leather, Japanese microfiber
  • Wireless charging: Yes, MagSafe charging
  • Price: $54 on Mujjo, lower on Amazon

This slim case is made of premium-quality Ecco leather that ages well and is rated gold for environmental standards. It wraps your iPhone like a glove and gives you easy access to every button and port. The leather acquires a unique patina over time depending on how you use the case, and it comes in tan, black, or Monaco blue. Satin-like luxury microfiber lines the inside of the case. 

For protection, the case has a rear-camera bump to protect your phone lenses and it wraps around the base of the phone without blocking the speakers or charging port. 

Check out Mujjo's wallet case if you'd like the same case with an added leather card pocket on the back. 

Pros & Cons
  • Protects phone from serious drops
  • Wireless charging
  • Built-in holster
  • Made of 50% recycled plastic
  • Doesn't come with a screen protector
More Details

Features or tech specs

  • Materials: Polycarbonate shell, synthetic rubber slipcover, and polycarbonate holster
  • Weight: 0.25 lbs 
  • Wireless charging: Yes
  • Price: $69.95

Otterbox is synonymous with rugged cases, albeit bulky ones. If you're someone who accidentally drops their precious iPhone at least once a week, like me, the tradeoff between size and protection might be worth it. Your phone with the case on should still be pocketable. 

Otterbox has three popular lines: The Symmetry, with the simplest and thinnest design, the Commuter, with two pieces of plastic instead of one like the Symmetry, and the Defender, with three. 

This Defender model made of 50% recycled plastic comes in five different colors and has a built-in stand/belt clip. With multi-layer protection, its drop defense is four times the military standard. It's also compatible with Qi and MagSafe wireless charging. 

Pros & Cons
  • Compostable
  • Soft
  • Flexible
  • Ships in minimal packaging
  • Free shipping worldwide
  • Pela donates a percentage of every sale to ocean cleanup
  • Doesn't come with a screen protector
More Details

Features or tech specs

  • Materials: Flaxstic®, which is comprised of compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw
  • Wireless charging: Yes, comes with MagSafe Module
  • Price: $69.95 on Pela, $39.95 on Amazon

This phone case is made of bioplastics that can safely compost in a home or industrial composting facility when you don't need it anymore. It's made of a safe material that's free of phthalates, BPA, cadmium, and lead and verified to meet child safety standards. The case is smooth, soft, and flexible, and ships to your home in minimal packaging. It comes in seven colors, from Forest Floor to Terracotta. 

The case is all about plants, but the impact of your purchase extends to the oceans too. For every sale, Pela donates a percentage of the profits to ocean cleanup and preservation. 

In a drop test, the Pela case protects an iPhone up to 20 feet. If your screen cracks with this Pela case and Pela's liquid screen protector, the company will pay for the repairs. 

Pela's higher price range can be attributed to its higher raw material and manufacturing costs, which the company claims are four times higher than those of plastic. 

What is the best phone case?

The Nimble Disc Case falls at an intermediate price and is a good mix of protection and style. It's made mostly of recycled CDs and DVDs, which is cool, and can withstand drops of up to 10 feet. It won't hide your new iPhone's beauty while enhancing it sustainably.

iPhone 14 case




Nimble Disc Case


Recycled polycarbonate (CDs and DVDs)

Nimble is climate-neutral certified and a member of 1% For The Planet.

Oakywood Case


Polycarbonate shell, cherry wood

Oakywood partners with One Tree Planted to plant one tree for each product sold. 

Mujjo Leather Case


Vegetable-tanned Ecco leather, Japanese microfiber

This case is rated gold for environmental standards.

Otterbox Defender


Polycarbonate shell, synthetic rubber slipcover, and polycarbonate holster

This case is made of 50% recycled plastic.

Pela Case


Bioplastic elastomer and flax straw

This case is safely compostable in a home or industrial composting facility.

Which is the right iPhone 14 case for you?

Each of these cases stands out for one reason or another. A handcrafted wooden case isn't something you see every day, but neither is a case that can compost after use. Here's some guidance on which case to choose if you're stuck.

Choose this iPhone 14…

If you want…

Nimble Disc Case

A clear, functional case that will highlight the color you chose for your iPhone and give you a taste of nostalgia. 

Oakywood Case

A handcrafted protective case made of wood that can be engraved.

Mujjo Leather Case

A luxury leather case.

Otterbox Defender

Something that will protect your phone from anything.

Pela Case

A biodegradable case that's soft to the touch and pleasant to the eyes.

How did we choose these iPhone 14 cases?

Eco-friendly cases took precedence here. Apple's environmental mission is no secret -- Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives said, "We consider our impact on people and the planet in everything we do. And we continue to ask ourselves how we can make our work an even greater force for good in the world."

So it made sense to encase phones crafted with the planet in mind while choosing sustainable and higher quality options.

We also prioritized durability and design of the cases. 

Do you need an iPhone case?

Apple markets the new iPhones as drop resistant and water-resistant to spills and splashes. You need an iPhone case if you want added protection or an extra pop of style. 

Go for a Pela if you might also not like the thin feel of an iPhone in your hand and want a softer exterior. Or an Oakywood might be right for you if you want a harder case.

Are iPhone 13 and 14 cases the same?

Yes, they are. For the regular-size model, the iPhone 13 case will fit the iPhone 14. 

What is the most protective phone case?

The Otterbox Defender would be your best bet. Otterbox is known as one of the strongest iPhone case brands, and the Defender line is their toughest yet on a slim design. 

Are there alternative phone cases worth considering?

Of course. The three options below offer a range of prices with the same focus on quality and sustainability. 

Editorial standards