The goal of any good car phone holder or mount is simple: keeping your phone safe — and your eyes on the road — while you drive. But which one of these accessories is worth buying? To find out, we used an iPhone X and Galaxy S9 to evaluate the most popular universal car phone holders on Amazon.
In some cases, companies offer car vent holders that connect to your vents and offer a clamp of sorts that keeps your smartphone secure. In other cases, you'll find the option to magnetically mount the phone holder to your dash. The latter type is especially handy if vents aren't available or if you feel your vents are too flimsy to hold a heavy handset.
To evaluate these car phone holders, we considered their construction and build quality, installation processes, and other features. Those included how easy it is to route a charging cable through the holder to a smartphone. Here are our results.
Credit: Auto Tech
Instead of requiring you to put sticky adhesives on your dash, the iOttie Easy One Touch 4 uses a high-quality suction cup that keeps the smartphone steady regardless of how you're driving. You can also stick it to your windshield. Better yet, you can rotate your phone to view content in landscape or portrait mode.
Inserting your phone and keeping it safe in the iOttie Easy One Touch is a cinch. You simply squeeze both sides of a component that opens the pinchers, and once your phone is safely inside, you let let go. The phone holder automatically clamps on to your handset to ensure a snug fit.
Although I would've preferred a sturdier construction, the device makes up for that weakness with several perks that make it one of the better car phone holders on the market.
The Beam Electronics Universal Smartphone Car Air Vent Mount Holder is exceedingly simple to set up. Within a minute, I had the car mount installed and I was ready to go about my day.
Beam's device consists of two components: the holder itself and a part that connects to your car vent. The car vent connector is sturdy and has a clamp on the side to ensure it doesn't fall out when you move. It's easy to install, but it's plastic, which means it could break.
Beam's phone holder has a soft fabric that's designed to reduce the chances of scratching your phone and clamps on the sides; the fabric can be adjusted to be tighter around your phone. A release button on the back of the holder makes popping your phone out easy. While the iPhone X and Galaxy S9 felt safe in the phone holder, the device could use more support at the top. When driving, I noticed slight wobbling due to an imperfect fit with my iPhone X.
Credit: Beam Electronics
WizGear's Magnetic Mount is pretty easy to set up, but it could be more reliable. It comes with stick-on magnets that attach to the back of your phone and another one that you stick anywhere on the dash. The magnetic connection between the two components keeps your handset safe on the dash.
I was a little disappointed by the magnet quality. It was fine in most cases, but if I stopped suddenly, my phone would sometimes come loose, making me feel it wasn't as secure in the holder as it could have been. It's also a stick-on magnet, and not everyone will like using a hefty sticker on their dash.
That said, I liked that the magnetic mount uses a ball joint that allows you to adjust where the smartphone is facing. And because it uses stickers and magnets, the WizGear will work with any phone.
VAVA's Magnetic Phone Holder has an interesting design. On the phone side, it's simple: Attach one of the magnets to the back of your smartphone or case, and you're good to go. However, on the mount side, you'll need to connect a big ball magnet to your dash that then connects to another magnet that will ultimately link up with your phone's magnet.
That system means you can easily move your phone on that ball while you're driving, ensuring that you have the perfect view at any time. The feature also means you can use the phone holder in both portrait and landscape modes.
Overall, the magnet worked well, and I was generally impressed with its strength. However, I didn't like that I had to use adhesive to attach the phone holder to my dash. And for those who are worried about residue, that might be a nonstarter.
Torras' Magnetic Car Mount Holder is another simple option if you want to use magnets to keep your handset secure while you're driving.
The car mount comes with an adhesive area at the bottom that you attach to your dash. Once you attach the other adhesive to your phone or car charger, you simply connect the two magnets, and you'll be good to go. I found the magnets to be strong, and even when I hit the brakes hard, the iPhone X and Galaxy S9 stayed put.
The mount comes with a swivel feature that allows you to adjust where your phone is pointed. It's a nice add-on, but I found it hard to move. When I was driving, it was impossible to move the mount anywhere without using both hands. So, if you're planning to get this holder, be sure to have it in the spot you want before you start driving.
Another WizGear option, the Universal Air Vent Magnetic Phone Car Mount Holder is designed for those who might not want to stick the mount on their dash.
Instead, this WizGear is inserted in the air vents in your car on one side; on the other side is the magnet that connects to your phone. Like with the other WizGear holder, you attach a magnet to your handset or case, and the magnetic mount itself will keep your phone secure.
While the magnet was as powerful as the standard WizGear, I was disappointed by the vent connector, which doesn't come with a clamp. I often found myself checking to ensure my phone was safe. And when driving, it would sometimes bounce around and lose stability. The phone holder never came loose and fell to the floor of my car, but its motion was a distraction because I felt that I needed to keep an eye on it.
As a car mount, the Soaiy 3-in-1 Cigarette Lighter Car Mount is mediocre. The device has a small, plastic holder that comes with some, but not enough, foam to safeguard the smartphone. This mount requires you to cinch its two clamps around your phone, and because you might not do it as tightly as you should, it may not stay in place.
The real appeal to Soaiy's device is the car lighter attachment, which makes it possible to charge your devices. The component plugs into the rear of the holder and connects to your lighter port. On the back, you'll find two USB ports that allow you to charge two devices at the same time.
Unfortunately, the cable that connects the lighter connector and the port is rigid; it therefore limits how far away your phone holder can be from your lighter port. A flexible cable would have made this car phone holder far more appealing.