Quick answer: Looking for a great car mount? The iOttie One Touch 2 is one of the slimmest and most secure car mounts on the market and comparable to more expensive car mounts. If you want a mount that will withstand offroading, get the ultra high quality RAM X-Grip. Don’t want to use suction cups? We recommend the minimalistic Keenu Airframe or the magnetically shielded Neutron S.
Current laws may prohibit you from handling your phone while you’re driving — and thats where car mounts come in. Car mounts for your smartphone have become increasingly popular as many apps have replaced the functionality of other devices such as the GPS. You want to keep yourself hands free to focus on the road, but you need somewhere to securely hold your phone during your commute. Car mounts are also great for quick in-and-out use in rental cars when travelling. With our addictions to our devices you won’t have to worry about missing something on your smartphone while you drive. After researching almost 40 different car mounts, we can confidently say that we know which mounts function really well, which ones could be improved, and which ones to simply avoid. The anatomy of a good car mount includes fitting almost any device with or without a case, full access to charging ports, secure attachment to a windshield or dashboard, and preferably one-handed use. There a few other considerations such as the way mounts secure your smartphone or the way they fit the ergonomics of your vehicle.
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Best smartphone car mount
The improved iOttie One Touch 2 is a fantastic smartphone mount and covers all the requirements of a great smartphone mount. It has solved some of the issues we had with the original iOttie One Touch. It now has an extendable arm and their patented one touch locking feature is pretty fantastic, — you just push your phone in and the side rubber clasps automatically lock your phone in place. It allows for very simple and reliable one-handed removal and insertion of your smartphone. The iOttie One Touch 2 also features a two-step locking mechanism to help securing to curvy or textured surfaces. The bottom clasp has been redesigned to be adjustable, exposing the bottom charging port so you can plug your device in easier. Made of a super strong adhesive, the gel pad sticks firmly to curved, textured, and other difficult surfaces without a hitch. Use the second lock to attach to curved surfaces. When it’s time to adjust, you can easily remove the suction cup without leaving behind any residue. If the pad loses its stickiness, just rinse it with warm water and air dry it and your gel will return to mint condition. We found this mount to be extremely reliable and the best mount in this price range.
If you’re looking for a heavy duty car mount, then check out the RAM X-Grip. This mount uses a military grade aluminum construction and is backed by a lifetime warranty. It has a level of quality that cannot be beat by normal plastic mounts. RAM Mounts are well known for being extremely sturdy and are commonly found among law enforcement and other security personnel to brace their equipment. Even though it comes in at a higher price point, we loved the RAM X-Grip for its versatility and reliability. The suction cup is great and adheres to any non-porous surface very securely via a twist lock suction cup. The portion that locks your device in place is called the X-Grip, and has 4 aluminum arms with rubber tips and an underlying spring mechanism that expands and contracts the arms to hold your device. This design works really well and allows the back camera to be exposed for those who like to use your smartphone as a dashcam. The aluminum arm is also extremely strong and is the difference maker compared to cheaper plastic mounts. It will hold your device without moving at all even while offroading, let alone while city driving.
The cool thing about this mount is that you can mix and match different bases and grips to hold different sized devices. For some people, this type of mount will be overkill and there are a few drawbacks to consider. It’s unfortunate, but the way the X-Grip is designed it requires both hands to insert or remove your device, which can be annoying if you’re getting in and out of your vehicle a lot. As well, the rubber tips of the X-Grip that hold the device can press on the side buttons of your smartphone, so you may have to line it up so it doesn’t push any buttons. Some users also had issues with the rubber tips sticking over the screen, but this only occurred without a phone case. The simple answer is that most of you will not require the ultra strength and you may prefer the one-handed simpler operation of other mounts. But, if you do need this type of mount then it does it’s job amazingly. If you have a larger device or phablet such as the Galaxy Note, we strongly recommend the Ram Mount X-Grip IV so it holds your device properly and more securely.
Alternative car mounts
Our runner-up would definitely be the excellent Arkon Car Mount that comes with a 2 year warranty and great customer service. It meets our 3 criteria for a good quality suction cup, bendable arm and device grip. If you are looking for a mount without an arm, then we recommend the iOttie Easy Flex 3 which are both great compact mounts. The only issue with the latter is that it requires two hands to take the phone in and out. Another excellent basic mount if the Aduru U-Grip which is the best option if you’re on a true budget. The problem with most car mounts is that they suffer in a key area – either the suction cup, the arm, or the device grip. For example, the Griffin Windshield Mount suffers from all three. Many reviews complained about it being flimsy, the arm not tilting or the suction cup being very weak. We’ve left out a number of other mounts we felt were not worth even mentioning since theres so many good quality mounts to choose from.
If you can’t use your dashboard or prefer not to, then there are also other alternatives. For CD slot mounts we suggest taking a kiij at the Mountek nGroove, Koomus CD-Air, Mpow Grip Pro 2 or Satechi CD Slot Mount. There are also cup holder mounts such as the Bracketron or Mediabridge cradle. Although these car mounts function well according to user reviews, dashboard mounts can do the same job without you having to sacrifice a place for your coffee or listening to some ‘old-fashioned’ CDs!
Best magnetic mounts
Who doesn’t like magnets? (except maybe credit cards). If you want something unobtrusive and can be placed in any spot, then magnetic mounts can be quite enjoyable to use. We really liked the extremely useful Neutron S. Born and funded on Kickstarter, you can see their original campaign and video here. You attach the magnetic mount to any surface and device with its 3M mounting tape. The tape itself is extremely strong and can be safely removed without damaging the surface. Another reason we picked the Neutron S is that it’s magnetically shielded. This means that no magnetism should reach your device. I risked one of my credit cards to test this and put it on the outside of the magnets where your phone would attach. Thankfully, my credit card was fine and it appears that the magnetic shielding does work. This is important because manufacturers have advised against magnetic mounts because they could do damage to your device’s internal components. For example, there are videos of smartphone gyroscopes and compasses not working when using an unshielded magnetic mount.
The biggest flaw with magnetic car mounts is that they are very case dependent. If you don’t have a case on your device you’ll be fine. Otherwise, the placement of the magnet on the device itself can be problematic. The problem is that depending on the thickness of your case, the magnet may not be strong enough to safely stick to the other magnet. Even though it may not be pretty, you will likely have to attach the magnet to the outside of your case. Other than that issue, it works great and is very secure, just don’t go offroading with it. Its also important to note that wireless charging will not working while the magnet is attached, so you’ll have to remove the case whenever you want to wirelessly charge your device.
Best air vent mounts
Car layouts aren’t all the same, and for some reason you might not be able to use a full dashboard mount. Maybe the suction cup won’t stick to the material of your dashboard, or maybe you don’t want a car mount blocking your view. Either way, you’re willing to give up an air vent for your smartphone.
Air vent mounts work by securely attaching onto your car’s A/C vent slats. We recommend the highest rated vent mount on Amazon, the Kenu Airframe. If you have a larger phone such as the iPhone 6 Plus, we suggest the larger Kenu Airframe+ for Phablets. It has a very minimalist and non-obtrusive design and is quite versatile and secure (just don’t go on any super bumpy roadtrips and you’ll be fine). The vent grips come in two sizes for different air vent shapes and fit very snug. Being about the size of a pack of cigarettes, it’s great if you’re travelling and need a car mount for a rental car. It won’t be as secure as a dashboard mount, but it does its job well and serves as a good alternative mount.
If you have round air vents that rotate, then these types of mounts won’t work well for you. The air vent will just end up rotating or moving due to the weight of your smartphone. It also may be bad for your phone to constantly be exposed to hot air as it could overheat your phone, but we have no information verify this claim. It it something to think about though.