Many drivers rely on their phones for streaming music and navigation. But if your phone is buried in a cupholder or resting on the passenger seat, it can be a dangerous distraction. Not to mention, hands-free use of the phone is now the law in many states across the U.S.
A dedicated mount can solve that problem by keeping a phone steady, visible, and within arm’s reach. There are some common mounting systems—some clamp to the vents, others use strong magnets, and a few include adjustable arms making it easy to position your phone. More recent mounts also include Qi wireless charging. Each design has its upsides and downsides, but how well do they work in reality? We found hundreds of car phone holders and discovered the best car phone holder the iOttie Easy One Touch(available at Amazon for $24.95), which mounts to your dashboard with a suction-cup.
The recommendations in this guide are based on thorough product and market research by our team of expert product reviewers. The picks are based on examining user reviews, product specifications, and, in some limited cases, our experience with the specific products named.
iOttie Easy One Touch 5
The locking side arms on this mount will quickly and easily secure your mobile device in place in one simple motion. The iOttie a great option, especially since the material quality is high and the design is both sturdy and highly adjustable. You can even easily adjust where the bottom foot stand is placed by pressing in the spring button.
It’s not hard to get the phone just where you want it, and with the secure arms, it’s less likely to go flying in the event of an accident or abrupt stop.
What's better: this mount includes a magnetic cord that organizes all of our charging cables.
The cradle has nice, cushioned jaws that are easy to adjust. It holds phones firmly—more tightly than the iOttie, in fact—and will fit phones from 1.9” to a big 3.7” wide. Unfortunately, its mounting arrangement lets it down.
This mount clamps to the slats of an interior air vent, There are two different tightness settings for the clamp so it will work with thicker and thinner slats and a ball-and-socket connection to the cradle.
You can block a lot of airflow and subject your phone to direct hot and cold if you can’t close the vent. Cars with protruding trim features may interfere with the mount. And some cars—like newer Audis—have no slats at all.
Even if it does fit, the mount it weighs down an assembly that was never designed for the task. On our test Ford, it flopped around, flexing—and blocking—a front-facing vent.
There are a lot of these small, disc-style magnet mounts selling under different brands and names, and we tested one of Amazon’s best-selling models.
The idea is attractive, but the reality can get ugly. A magnet must be strong enough to hold the phone, but weak enough to allow a phone to be easily removed. That leads to lots of dropping. This version sticks to the dashboard with foam tape, and some reviews complain about the adhesive melting in a hot interior, leaving behind a mess and a useless mount.
To use the magnetic mount, you must also stick a piece of metal to your phone or its case, or insert a metal plate into your phone’s case—which interferes with wireless charging. If your phone-case combo is light enough, however, it’s hard to argue with this mount’s ease of use.
For an easy-to-use mount that’ll fit any phone and can adjust to fit inside your car’s cup holder, this one is your best bet. It’s meant to be placed in your cup holder and even comes with interchangeable cups to fit different size cup holders. Plus, you can adjust the knobs to tighten it and secure any smartphone model, including ones with a standard case on them. The bottom of it also opens to let you charge your phone, and the base can rotate 360 degrees so anyone in the car can navigate or pick the next tune.
This phone mount can easily be installed on your dashboard, windshield, or air vent. It’s made with a two-level locking system and triple-layer gel to provide strong suction in order to keep the mount secure while driving. In addition, it’s coated with silicone to prevent any scratches from appearing on your phone. You can even customize the angle of your phone for the perfect view. Many customers describe this mount as being sturdy and seem very satisfied with the customer service, though it doesn’t seem to be the most durable.
Suction-cup mounts are our favorite, and they aren’t just for windshield mounting. As it turns out, they also work great when attached to the top of the dashboard. Flipping the mounting around this way also keeps the phone out of your line of sight. Not all dashboards have the right shape or design to make this possible, however.
Magnetic car mounts push into the slats of an interior air vent. They are low-profile, but even a light phone kept falling off during normal driving. All also require the user to stick a metal plate to their phone or phone case. That can make a mess of the phone, block wireless charging, and possibly affect near-field communication.
Air-vent mounts are best avoided. Some user reviews report fast-wearing plastic leading to exposed metal prongs and interior damage. There are magnetic air-vent mounts that stick on the dash with adhesive, too. Users have reported the adhesive melting in summer heat, which makes a mess and leaves you with a useless mount. They’re inexpensive, but also less useful than you’d imagine.
Dashboard pads are weighted, and sit on your dashboard. They were the least secure of any style we tested, and also require your phone to be in landscape mode. For that reason, we also don’t recommend them.
You may not even need a mount! Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are often offered on new cars, and mirror your phone’s apps on your vehicle’s touchscreen.
Phone size keeps growing, and mounts need to get bigger, too. The mounts with jaws to grip can grip a phone securely, but you’re not going to be able to cram a phablet in there. The magnetic mounts work with devices of any size, though you may need to use more than one to keep a large/heavy item in place.
No matter which design you choose, know that clever design ideas are often better in theory than in practice. You can use our review as a starting point, but as cars and phones are quite different from one another, it’s also important to read user reviews for a broader perspective.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.