(Pocket-lint) - We're routinely testing and rating new products, but our Top Pick is currently the Vicseed Car Phone Mount. We also recommend options from Artech, Yosh, iOttie and Beikell, which you can read more about below.
Mounting your phone in the car isn't glamourous, unique or even something you need to do before every journey, but, often, it's still the easiest way to navigate, take calls or control music playback.
Many vehicles now come with fancy, built-in dashboards that you can link your phone to over Bluetooth - however, in this guide, we'll be focusing on the phone mounts specifically designed for you to install.
These finely-moulded bits of plastic allow you to keep in touch while driving, and the Pocket-lint team has been testing some of the best and most popular picks out there in order to decipher which is right for your car.
One of the first things to understand when delving into the world of car phone holders is that there are three recurring design variations to consider - dashboard, windscreen and air vents - with some units managing to incorporate more than just one method.
Your car's array of air vents, the design of the dashboard and the actual distance between the dashboard and the windscreen will largely dictate how you fix the mount in place. Certain cars won't have the air vents available to clip a mount onto, for example, but will have an accessible dashboard - and vice versa.
Only by exploring the tried and tested picks below will you get an idea of which is best for your car, but we've also included plenty more things to consider further below. So, whether you have an iPhone or Android, let's dive into the best car phone mounts to help you remain hands-free on the road.
Best car phone mounts: Our Top Pick
Vicseed Car Phone Mount
- Ample mounting options
- Simple installation
- Doesn't re-stick that well
- Textured dashboards may struggle
For those not really sure whether they want to mount their phone on the dashboard, windscreen or air vent, Vicseed's cradle offers the choice of all three options.
This not only makes it compatible in one form or another with the car, but the adjustable arms also mean it's able to secure pretty much any smartphone in place.
To help find the best position in your car, the ball joint means users are able to spin it 360 degrees, too.
It's slightly pricier than other car phone mounts you'll find, but it's a small price to pay for unmatched hands-free options in the car.
This versatility, along with its very steady performance in use and straightforward installation, makes it our top overall pick to consider right now.
The only real issues we found were when we tried to mount on a textured dashboard, and also with the adhesive's strength when repositioning, but these are fairly universal issues (as you'll find in other entries).
Car phone holders we also recommend
Below, we detail the four other car phone mounts we recommend looking into.
Arteck Car Mount
- Very strong hold on dashboards
- Fairly neat-looking
- Gel pad adhesive can leave marks
- Issues with portrait mode and windscreen mounting
Much like other cradles on thist list, Arteck's is also designed to live best on the dashboard or windscreen, mounting through a sticky gel pad.
The rubber pad is fitted to the durable plastic neck and arm grippers, giving users the option to spin their phone the full 360 degrees.
Arteck, like most, also indicates their mount is able to cater for almost every smartphone size, and we found that to be the case. There's definitely potential for volume/lock buttons to get squeezed, too, but that's true of any cradle, really.
With easy installation, a competitive price and reliable use, it's tough to go wrong with this one - and, in our experience, it does pretty much just work exactly as it should.
Our only gripes are when we tried to move the holder from dashboard to windscreen, with it leaving a hard-to-rid mark. Depending on what car you have, mounting on a windscreen may also present problems if you want portrait orientation, since the arm may not be long enough to give you clearance away from your dashboard.
Yosh Car Phone Mount
- Clean, hidden design
- Strong magnet hold
- Grippers quite thick
- Not as sturdy as other methods
Perhaps the simplest way to fix your phone at a safe level is with Yosh's magnetic car phone holder.
With four N50 magnets, it's able to snag any 4.7-inch - 6.5-inch phone into place while remaining fixed onto the air vent through the rubber clip design at the back.
Yosh's magnet is just 40mm, so it's essentially like your phone is floating on the air vent, and, because there's no arms holding it in place, it's easy to spin 360 degrees or take off.
For the most part, it works really nicely. There are definitely scenarios that could cause issues, too, though.
While we're big fans of the sleek, hidden nature of the design, it's also part of its downfall - and we did experience our iPhone XS falling off a couple of times.
The grippers that attach to the vent are also quite thick, which, depending on your car, can really affect just how sturdy this remains.
Beikell Adjustable Car Phone Holder
- Adhesive extremely strong
- Very sturdy design
- Adhesive can also cause damage
- Chunky design
If you think the best spot to fix your phone in place is the dashboard, Beikell's suction cup design may be for you.
Designed to rest on reasonably flat surfaces, the sticky gel pad fits underneath the holder and keeps things sturdy, with users then able to fiddle around with the arm and move up or down to fit their desired level.
As with the most other holders, it can also be rotated 360 degrees. And once the driving is done, simply push the lock/release button to eject the phone.
So, it's all pretty straightforwars stuff, then?
Well, yes, for the most part. The only real issue we discovered is that the adhesive on the underside might actually be a bit too strong.
We'd advise anybody fixing this to their car to really give it a think about placement before committing - this isn't one that's easy to reposition.
iOttie Car Windshield Mount
- Carefully considered design
- Strong hold
- Relatively expensive
- Some issues with bigger phones
If you're looking to mount onto your dashboard or windscreen, iOttie's adhesive cradle is definitely one to consider.
Like the rest of the field, you're able to pivot the cradle (in this case, 225 degrees) to get the best view of your screen, while the arms and bottom can be adjusted to fit the size of pretty much any phone.
It's important to keep in mind that any suction mount is semi-permanent, and naturally may also succumb to heat over time, but it's a clean solution that keeps your air vents free from clutter.
The only other issue exclusive to this mount we found during testing was with bigger phones, which it sometimes struggled to keep in place. Aside from that, though, and providing you're willing to pay a bit extra, this is a very solid pickip.
Other products we considered
The Pocket-lint editorial team spends hours testing and researching hundreds of products before recommending our best picks for you. We consider a range of factors when it comes to putting together our best guides including physically testing the products ourselves, consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. Many of the devices we consider don’t make our final best guides.
These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5:
How to choose a car phone holder
While we would be the first to admit that car phone holders aren't the most complex of devices, there are things to consider before handing over your hard-earned cash. In this section, we'll briefly cover them.
Which design is best for your car?
We've mentioned this a little bit already, but it's worth repeating again. Essentially, there are three different types of car phone holder design - some clip to the car's air vents, some attach via an adhesive on the windshield and some attach via an adhesive on the dashboard.
As you'll discover with our top picks, some manage to incorporate a couple - or all three - types of holding mechanism into one design, giving users a much greater range of versatility.
We found during testing that windshield and air vent car phone holders were perfect for our car, but had issues with adhesives on the dashboard because of its curved shape. It sounds a little obvious, but it's actually easy to overlook - imagine where you're going to want to interact with your phone and how your car is set up for that before you buy. Is it going over the centre console, or is it sitting next to your door?
How long should you expect your car phone mount to last?
Typically, phone car mounts should last a decent amount of time. In our testing, we didn't use the phone mount on every drive, but we did give all the models a good amount of wear and tear.
From that, there were some consistent issues that popped up - mostly to do with adhesives. These are generally very high strength, but windshield models can deteriorate if left in direct sunlight, and dashboard models can struggle with certain surfaces. Air vent models would appear to be the answer, but many cars don't feature them in a good spot - and you'll also have to sacrifice the air blowing through as it should.
Will the design fit your phone?
Generally speaking, this shouldn't really be a problem. In fact, we didn't have one instance in which our test phones wouldn't fit inside the holder's grip.
There may be a few left-field phone designs that would struggle with the car phone holders on this list, but anybody rocking the typical, bar-shaped phone should be able to easily tune the holder to their device.
Most work by allowing a very broad range for you to then lock the phone into, and can release the device and go into full extension with the press of a button. It also shouldn't make a difference whether you prefer your phone to be landscape or portrait when in the car, each holding plate will be designed to keep it locked in position.
What benefits does having a phone mount bring?
Aside from being pretty much a legal requirement, given that you typically can't use your phone while driving, phone mounts in cars allow you to easily see navigation directions, play around with music, quickly view texts and caller ID, have a phone conversation on speakerphone, as well as much more. Due to the placement, you'll usually be able to link a charging cable with ease, too.
How much should you spend on a car phone mount?
As you might expect, car phone mounts are generally within the £10 - £15 / $15 - $25 range. There's really no reason to pay much more than that, and, at least in our experience, the more expensive models only really justify their price tag through versatility and the quality of the adhesive, rather than overall build quality.
More about this story
Every product in our roundup of the best car phone mounts has been tested by the Pocket-lint team in their own personal cars, just as you would in your day-to-day life.
This way, we were able to quickly get to grips with whether it met the standards of the manufacturer and our own expectations of how a good phone holder should perform.
We've tested in multiple vehicles with a range of different-sized phones in order to establish which we can recommend, discovering their unique pros and cons during the process.
In particular, versatility in mounting matters to us when it comes to this area, as does the performance of the adhesive on the rear. That's why we lived with these devices for more than just a week or so, as some options not listed in this guide deteriorated relatively quickly after installation - or were just simply not fit for purpose.
We aren't interested in extraneous details or pointless number-crunching in our guides - and, in the case of phone mounts for cars, it's a simple area that needs an equally simple mini-review.
Writing by Conor Allison. Originally published on 14 September 2020.