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HomeLifestyleThe best phone mount for your car in 2024, tested and reviewed

The best phone mount for your car in 2024, tested and reviewed

Between navigation, podcasts, music and the like, smartphones are an indispensable asset to drivers. They’re also a potentially dangerous one: Any time you glance down at the screen, you’re increasing your odds of “LOOK OUT FOR THAT TELEPHONE POLE!” What you need is one of best phone mounts to keep the screen at eye level, the better to keep your eyes pointed toward the road. The better to stay on the right side of the law, too: A growing number of states have enacted more rigorous distracted-driving laws, which restrict what you can do with your phone while driving. A mount saves you from having to pick up and hold the device, a safety and legal no-no.

Quick Overview

These things come in all shapes and sizes. Some suction onto your windshield, some clamp onto or in front of your dashboard. Some are magnetic, some charge your phone — you get the idea. I’ve tested a ton of them over the years; below you’ll find some of my top phone-mount picks. Read on to discover the absolute best phone mounts for every kind of car (and driver).

Oh, and keep reading for answers to frequently asked questions, my testing methodology and more.

LISEN

Style: Vent | Magnetic: Yes | Charging capabilities: No

Lisen’s MagSafe-compatible arm attaches to a short, sturdy vent-gripper; it can rotate to position your phone above, below or to the side of the actual vent, the better to keep hot air from blowing on it during winter months. You can also orient your phone in portrait or landscape position, whatever suits you best. And if you don’t own an iPhone, you can use the included peel-and-stick rings to make just about any phone compatible.

Unlike many vent mounts, this one doesn’t rely on a “pince grip” that can shake loose over time. Instead, the attachment arm hooks around the back of one of the vent louvers. While it took me a few tries to work it in properly, once it was in place, the base seemed rock-solid. Hasn’t moved since. While I don’t love the retail price of this mount, which seems a bit high, I definitely like the mount itself — especially when it’s on sale. Be sure to also check out all of our other favorite MagSafe accessories.

Pros

  • Strong magnets
  • Phone can be positioned to not block vent
  • Includes metal rings for use with non-iPhones
Cons

  • On the expensive side for a simple vent mount
  • Not compatible with round vents

$16 at Amazon

Uncaddn

Style: Cupholder | Magnetic: No | Charging capabilities: No

If you don’t want a mount that blocks your air vent or exposes your phone to dashboard heat, there’s a third option: your cupholder. This caddy fits just about any size (thanks to its expandable base) and holds your phone atop a telescoping arm. Whether or not this is preferable depends on where your cupholders are located. In my Kia, the positioning works reasonably well; in the van, less so because the screen ends up a little too close.

In both cases, I found the center-console-area positioning less than ideal because it takes your gaze away from the road. But there’s a potential upside: I actually like this a little better for the passenger than for the driver, as it affords good positioning if the former wants to watch a video.

Pros

  • Doesn’t block vents or dash
  • Compatible with nearly all cupholders
Cons

  • May take focus away from the road
  • Mount’s cupholder is smaller than the one it replaces

$30 at Amazon

AONKEY

Style: Dash | Magnetic: No | Charging capabilities: No

Don’t want your phone blocking an air vent? This big, sturdy, anti-slip pad puts a clamshell holder atop your dashboard, keeping your phone securely in place without the need for sticky tape (though a square is included here in case your dashboard isn’t sufficiently flat). I do wish the clamshell had room for an upright phone, as iPhones (and some Android phones) don’t support a landscape view for the Home screen. Alas, this is a sideways-only mounting system. That’s fine for certain applications (navigation, etc.), but not ideal for actually interacting with your phone.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Sturdy nonslip base
  • Works even with oversize phone cases
Cons

  • Holds phone only in landscape orientation
  • Not great for heavily curved dashboards

$14 at Amazon

iOttie

Style: Dash or windshield | Magnetic: No | Charging capabilities: No

I’ve never liked windshield mounts until I tried iOttie’s One Touch 6, which holds the phone rock-steady — unlike the wobbly gooseneck mounts of yesteryear. You can also use a peel-and-stick pad to suction it to the top of your dashboard; either way, a telescoping arm brings the mount forward an extra few inches as needed, which is nice for cars with deep dashes or windshields. (Worth noting: iOttie also makes versions of this for use with CD slots, air vents and even vehicle screens that stick up out of the dash.)

The mount has height-adjustable feet and clamping side-arms that spring together when you push the phone into the center. (Hence: “one touch.”) Then you squeeze two side levers to release it. Although this arrangement allows just about any size phone to fit, the mount is a bit shallow; it won’t work with an Otterbox or similarly thick case. 

I also found that although the arm itself can pivot up and down, it doesn’t go side to side — and there’s little left/right play in the ball joint that holds the actual mount. These are hardly dealbreakers, just areas for improvement. As it stands, this is an excellent mount that I like a lot.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Strong suction
  • Solid hold
Cons

  • Not deep enough for thick cases
  • Limited left/right movement

$20 at Amazon

ESR

Mount style: Air vent or dashboard | Mount mechanism: MagSafe | Built-in charging: Yes

iPhone users who want a simple, affordable, powered MagSafe mount should take a look at ESR’s option, which can clip to a vent or mount atop a flat dashboard surface. I like the vent option because there’s a little support arm underneath that adds stability, but the downside is you’ll have to close that vent to keep hot air from blasting the backside of your phone.

As for power, you just plug the included cable into one of your car’s USB ports. That’s the most convenient option, but if you want the 18-watt fast charging the HaloLock is capable of, you’ll need an optional power-port adapter (like this one).

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Excellent instruction guide
  • Strong magnets
Cons

  • Blocks air vent
  • Doesn’t work with round or crisscross vents
  • Requires separate adapter for fast charging

$22 at Amazon

  • Position: Before you actually buy a mount, sit in your car and hold your phone in different locations: in front of a vent, up on the dashboard, etc. Ultimately you want the screen to be comfortably within reach and not blocking anything important (like your view of the road).

  • Cord clutter: Whether you’re plugging the phone itself into your car’s USB port or you choose a powered mount, you’re likely going to have a cable dangling down your dashboard full-time. It’s a necessary evil, but something to consider if you don’t like the look.

  • To magnet or not to magnet: Magnetic mounts make life a little easier, especially if you have a MagSafe-compatible iPhone: Just pop it onto the mount and it’s super-secure. So-called “grip” mounts are more universally compatible, but they’re also larger and little clumsier to use.

I’ve been driving since 1984 and professionally reviewing tech products since 1990, so you might say I have a wee bit of experience here. I’ve also championed having a phone mount for as long as I can remember — it’s one of those things I won’t shut up about, like pickleball and using a password manager — because it’s incredibly unsafe to fumble with your phone while driving. It would be bad enough if you got in a wreck, but even worse if you got in one with me.

I tested these mounts in a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica and a 2019 Kia Sportage, eyeballing how easy they were to install, how securely they stayed in place while driving and how easily they allowed my phone to mount and, er, dismount. It’s hard to say how well any of them will work in every vehicle, though, so look for user reviews that mention your make and model.

I use an iPhone 13, so the product list includes several MagSafe-compatible options. But just about any phone can work with a magnetic mount, provided said mount comes with a metal plate or ring that installs inside your phone case. (Most do.) Just note that taking this approach might interfere with wireless charging, assuming your phone supports that option.

Several factors play into determining the best type of phone mount for your car. With mounts that suction to the windshield, there’s a chance that over time they’ll lose their ability to properly stick to the glass, so you’ll need to replace them. They can be a bit finicky in hot and cold conditions, as well.

As for the options that mount to your dash, it really depends on your vehicle. Some of them have a larger base that has a non-slip coating on the bottom to help hold them in place. This means you need a large enough flat surface to put the mount. Other options come with adhesive pads you can use, which means you risk damage to your dash over time or when you go to remove it.

Over time, the vacuum seal that’s created by a suction cup when it’s installed can degrade. Once the suction cup is no longer able to create that full seal, it will begin to move around on the surface or detach completely.

If it’s a newer mount that’s giving you issues, you can try to clean the windshield and suction cup again, allowing both to completely dry before trying it again. Also, be mindful of the weather. You don’t want to try to secure your phone mount to the windshield when it’s super cold or during a heatwave.

Having a safe place to keep your phone while in the car is very important. You absolutely should not be holding it or engaging with it while you’re driving. Some newer vehicles have designated areas to leave your phone, some of which even have wireless charging pads built-in. In those cases, you probably don’t need to add a phone holder.

If you have an older car, a phone holder is a great investment. Whether you’re someone who spends a lot of time on the road or just a little, having a safe and convenient place to set your phone can make all the difference. These days, so many of us rely on our phones for music and navigation while on the go, and a phone holder is a great way to keep the phone where you can still see it but out of your hands.

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