Finding yourself the best car phone mount can be the difference between making it to your destination in once piece and missing that concert you’ve been looking forward to since the start of the pandemic. That may sounds extreme, but being able to keep your phone, and the navigation app, in view isn’t as easy as you might have thought.
If you don’t have a car phone mount, now is the time to start looking. While they don’t tend to break the bank, the Black Friday deals season is here and offering discounts on all manner of products. Car phone mounts are no exception.
Choosing a car phone mount for your car is simultaneously easy and difficult, depending on the interior setup of your car. Holders tend to fall into three categories: mounts that attach to air vents, mounts that stick to surfaces like dashboards and the windshield, and ‘the others’. Those are the oddities, the mounts that clip into things, slip into cup holders, or something else equally as strange.
That range of requirements and preferences is what can make recommending the ‘best’ holder so difficult, because what’s best for you might not be best for me. That being said, some holders are just objectively bad. But don’t worry, they’ve already been culled from our list.
All of this said, one of the best holders we’ve tested is the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount. The name is a mouthful, but it’ll fit in any car with a CD player and kept an iPhone 12 Pro firmly in place. At $20, it isn’t a costly option, either.
Another solid option is the TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount. This holder sits in a spare cup holder and has a long neck to try and put your phone close enough that you won’t be looking too far down to see it. You’ll lose a cup holder though, so that’s something to consider.
If you’d rather your mount had a firm grip on your phone, and charges it up in the process, then the SandMarc Active Car Mount, which offers MagSafe-compatible charging that would be perfect for anyone who has an iPhone 12 or iPhone 13.
Of course if you need something simple, then the Belkin Car Vent Mount is a great option to choose. Not only does it work with pretty much every phone out there, it also comes with built-in cable management to help keep your dash board tidy.
Of course anyone rocking a Popsocket mount will need something a little more specialized. In that case there’s the PopSockets PopMount 2, which has been built to securely hold your phone by the pop-out stand. It’s pricey, but it will work where most other phone mounts won’t.
Below are the best phone holders we’ve tested — and we’ve tested a lot! There will be something to suit everyone here, but if not, be sure to check back later — new holders are being tested all the time.
Using a cup holder isn’t the most obvious place to keep your phone mount, but it works surprisingly well. Thanks to its long neck and sturdy construction, this holder will position your phone high enough so it’s easy to see while keeping it out of your field of vision. Because you should be concentrating on the road.
Like all good phone holders, the TOPGO can be rotated to put your phone into portrait or landscape mode — perfect for sat nav apps in particular. The phone itself is held by three points and there’s little chance of it moving unless you want it to. The holder can jiggle around a little when on bumpy roads, but that’s difficult to avoid given the way this thing works.
The benefits of putting your phone holder into a cup holder are obvious: You don’t lose an air vent or have to deal with suction cups, and damn near every car has cup holders as standard. You’ll lose a place for your skinny latte of course, but that’s the price you pay for not being too hot or cold or worrying that your phone will fall at any moment.
Read the full TopGo Cup Holder Phone mount review
We’ve tested a lot of phone holders and the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount is one of our favorites for a simple reason — it takes that CD player that you likely never use and puts it to work. It also means that you don’t lose an air vent or cup holder, which is handy. On top of that, the design means that the holder almost disappears when you aren’t using it — which isn’t something you can say about some of the holders on the market today.
Installation of the Easy One Touch 4 mount is as simple as could be for the most part. Slide the mount where a CD would normally go, pull a clip that expands the mount to fill the slot, and you’re good to go. Those with extra-large CD slots have a little extra work to do, but not so much that the installation is a pain.
Once set up, your phone isn’t going anywhere and the chances are good that your CD slot will be high enough that your screen is never more than a quick glance away. If you don’t use your CD player — who does? — you can leave the mount installed and you won’t even notice it’s there. Magic.
Read the full iOttie Easy One Touch 4 CD Slot Mount review
Mounts that attach to a car’s air vents seem to be all the rage right now and one of the best is Belkin’s imaginatively named Car Vent Mount. It isn’t the cheapest option around, but it does have something most of its competitors don’t: cable management.
Belkin included an area for you to keep your charging cable so it doesn’t fly around your car when you aren’t using it, and it’s surprisingly effective.
Beyond the cable management component, there isn’t an awful lot to the Belkin Car Vent Mount and that isn’t a bad thing at all. What it does, it does well and that’s to hold a phone steady while you drive.
Similar to the iOttie CD Slot Mount, the Belkin accessory is small and slim enough that it doesn’t stand out even when it isn’t being used. That also means that your air vent will remain at least somewhat useful, even when the mount is in the way.
Read the full Belkin Car Vent Mount review
We’ll preface this by saying that a lot of people don’t normally rate phone holders with suction cups. They can be finicky and it’s easy to worry they’ll detach from whatever they’re mounted to — whether that’s the windscreen or the dash. But the iOttie Easy One Touch 5 is different and instils confidence in a way few other mounts do. That’s all thanks to its large suction cup that is, frankly, absurdly strong.
Once mounted, an extendable arm means you should be able to put your phone where you want it, bringing it within reach. You can’t change the angle of that arm, though, so you’ll need to have the whole thing pointing in the right direction. That might be an issue, depending on your car’s layout.
Like some of the best mounts, this one holds your phone rock steady when you’re driving around, and putting the device into the holder is a simple one-handed affair. People with huge phones should be good to go thanks to the three-point mounting system that can be moved at will.
Read the full iOttie Easy One Touch 5 review
If charging your iPhone while on the move is your game, the Sandmarc Active Car Mount is the place to look first. Featuring MagSafe, the holder is only compatible with Apple’s more recent iPhones. But its use of MagSafe means it’s one of the better-looking holders we tested.
In terms of charging, the Sandmarc holder is limited to 7.5W, so it isn’t true MagSafe as such. The magnets are super strong, however, and I didn’t have any issues in terms of movement during testing.
Like so many holders, this one attaches to your air vent using a clip that can be adjusted in all directions — so it’ll work no matter which orientation your vents happen to be in.
Read the full Sandmarc Active Phone Mount review
If the absolute smallest holder you can find is all you need, the YOSHI magnetic mount is for you. As small as a coin, this little thing is surprisingly powerful thanks to the magic of magnets. It’s cheap as well, costing as little as $11.
The only potential issue with this holder is the fact you need to affix a disc to the back of your phone — something for the magnets to attach to, basically. It can make the back of your phone look a little untidy, but the mount itself is more than good enough at its job to make that a minor issue. Despite being so small, an iPhone 12 Pro was kept firmly in place by the grip of the magnets — which is seriously impressive.
Sometimes cheap and cheerful is all you need and this YOSH holder is the epitome of that.
Read the full Yosh Magnetic Car Phone Mount review
If you’re someone who uses a PopSocket to make their huge phone less unwieldy, putting it into a car phone holder can be an issue. As you might expect, the PopSockets people have an answer to that in the form of the PopMount 2 Car Dash holder.
A suction cup affair that attaches to your dashboard, the PopMount 2 is simple in its use. With the holder in place, simply extend your PopSocket and slide it into the mount on the holder. It’s that simple
The PopSockets PopMount 2 Car Dash holder has a strong suction cup that should do the trick on most dashboards. The angle of the phone can also be adjusted, and it’s a relatively good-looking bit of kit even when there’s no phone in it — plus its design means it can be folded away when not in use. If you use a PopSocket, this is the one for you.
Read the full Popsockets Popmount 2 review
What to look for in a car phone holder
What you need in a phone holder might be unique to you. But in its most basic form a phone holder needs to hold your phone in the right position and in a way that ensures it won’t move too much when you’re on the road. If it does that, it’s off to a good start.
From there you need to find one that fits where you need it to fit, whether that’s into an air vent, onto your windscreen or dashboard, or somewhere else. You’ll also need to take your phone’s unique qualities into account, like if it has MagSafe or you need something that can accommodate a PopSocket or similar stand. This roundup covers all bases and there should be an option for everyone right here.
How we test car phone holders
Each of the car phone mounts in this roundup have been tested in the same car and, where possible, with the same iPhone 12 Pro.
Testing begins with making sure the holder itself is able to find a solid grip on whatever part of the car it’s supposed to attach to — windscreen, air vent, etc — and that it will hold a phone in place while driving.
From there, it’s a case of seeing how easily a phone can be inserted and removed, how well any movable parts work, and whether any additional features do their jobs well.
Finally, some car phone holders are more conspicuous than others, which is a pain when you don’t always keep your phone in them. If a mount is particularly huge or disappears when not in use, it’s called out.