Best Car Phone Mount of 2021
The Scosche MagicMount Pro Dash Mount is an adhesive mount that sticks to your dash. It requires a magnetic plate on your phone or case, which we know will deter some folks, but this was our top choice for a car phone mount. This model is simple to use and the most secure of all the magnetic car phone mounts. The integrated cable management is straightforward and a nice feature if you want it. If you don't, it can disappear. You have some flexibility in deciding where to mount this model. The adhesive section's footprint is fairly small, at just 2.1 inches long and 1.2 inches wide, and provides many mounting options. This is the least bulky car phone mount we tested, and those who prefer something sleek and unassuming (and don't mind a semi-permanent mount) will love this option.
As with any semi-permanent mount, it isn't easy to move it around or swap it between cars. And, when you want to remove it, you will need to track down some new adhesive. Overall, though, this is a great semi-permanent mount.
The Maxboost Magnetic Air-vent gives you two vent mounts at an incredible price. It held its own in all metrics among the products we tested with similar designs. Setup is quick and straightforward — just slip the mount onto the vent, and you're good to go. The beautiful part of having multiple mounts included is that it's easy to transition from car to car if you are part of a multi-car family. If you're not, you can slip the other mount into your carry-on and be ready when you get to a rental car.
The main downside with this mount (and all mounts of similar design) is that phones can spin upside down on the magnet or even fall off. This is largely dependent on how big your phone is and where you place the magnet. If the magnet isn't centered on the case, there is a decent chance the phone will spin on bumpy terrain. The mount also tends to slide out from the vent when removing the phone, though this can be mitigated by sliding the phone off the mount rather than pulling it straight out. We should note that we encountered both of these issues with every car vent phone mount with a similar design.
Although the setup is more complicated than other vent mount options, the threaded pinch mechanism offers the most secure interface. That threaded pinch mechanism is also employed to lock in the swivel mount. Although this makes it much harder to adjust, once you find a viewing angle you like, it is much more secure and stable to touch. Putting the phone in may also be a little more complicated than with other mounts, but it becomes second nature with time. The wings stay open when it's not in use, then release to pinch the phone into place when you push the phone against the mount.
This mount's bulk makes it a bit of an eyesore when the phone is not mounted. But the same bulk adds some protection to prevent your phone from overheating on those cold days when the heater is blasting.
More than any other mount, this one allows you to put the phone exactly where you like it. The suction cup provides a lot of versatility for mounting positions on your windshield or dashboard. However, be aware that suction cup mounts on your windshield are illegal in some states. This mount is one of the most stable models that we tested, keeping your phone steady throughout your drive.
Due to its adjustable nature, setup is a little more involved. The pinching mechanism on both IOttie models is complex. They operate with a button on the inside of the mount — when the phone is pushed into the mount, that button is depressed, and the wings pinch the phone. At first, removing the phone feels a little insecure, but it becomes second nature with continued use. We couldn't get the suction mount to stick to some dashboards, especially cars with pebbled or sloped surfaces. This mount also has many moving parts and feels to be made of cheap plastic material. Our reviewers did not love all the excess screws and hinges and buttons and clamps of this mount, but once it is set up and out of the way, feels more manageable to deal with.
Our reviewers loved the Loncaster Car Phone Holder for its simplicity. With no moving parts, no messing with adjustments, and hoping your phone will stay in place, this phone holder will make you breathe easy. With a sticky adhesive bottom, this silicone cradle mounts easily on your dashboard, is unobtrusive, and keeps your phone at a perfect viewing angle with its charging port accessible. Since it doesn't rely on a cradle suspended by a small vent or dash attachment, this phone mount can easily accommodate bigger and heavier phones without having to worry it will fall over. Because there are no moving parts, it's incredibly easy to use with one hand — simply place or remove your phone from its secure rubber groove.
The only drawback we found is that this model can only accommodate phones in a horizontal orientation, and there is no way to adjust the viewing angle, although the slightly tilted angle of the cradle is more than adequate for daily use. The manufacturer states that the sticky rubber bottom can be cleaned and reused, but we are skeptical of how long the adhesive will truly last. But so far, it has managed to survive hot days sitting in the sun without losing its adhesion, and overall we are quite pleased by the simplicity and performance of this product.
The Beam Electronics mount setup is fairly easy. The mount offers two different locking positions for different thicknesses. It is very stable to the touch, and we didn't observe it slipping off the vent during use. The cradle pinch design makes it easy to mount the phone with one hand. Taking the phone out can be a bit slow compared to some of the other offerings, but it feels more secure and less likely to drop the phone. The cradle design also reduces the likelihood of your phone overheating if the heater is on.
The bottom supports to the cradle are not adjustable, which can be an issue for phones with headphone jacks or off-center charging ports. While it can tighten onto a vent, one small gripe we had during installation is that the adjustments are on either side of the center. This means that if you flip the switch in the wrong direction, you have to go all the way back across to achieve the desired tightness.
The build quality is excellent on this phone mount. Its completely metal construction inspires confidence that this phone mount will be with you for years to come — it is the only mount in our testing to feature these materials. It also has a spring-loaded mechanism that pinches the vent to increase its stability while keeping installation easy. It can also swivel to accommodate different viewing angles.
Like most vent mount phone holders, this model is still susceptible to phone overheating. The metal construction also makes the Penom a little heavy for some vents, making it prone to falling out of the vent.
The Kenu uses a spring-loaded clamp like the Penom to attach to a car vent. This enhances its stability and makes it harder to accidentally remove. At the same time, it remains quick and easy to put on the vent. Once installed, the spring-loaded phone interface is easy to operate with one hand and offers the ability to adjust the viewing angle with a swivel. In touch stability, it placed in the middle of the pack.
The simple design does have some weaknesses. The biggest one we found is that on rougher roads, the clamp tends to lose its grip on the phone — and suddenly, you're in a potentially dangerous situation.
With its small size, the Scosche MagicMount Pro VNT is easy to install. It's ideal for slipping into a pocket of your carry-on, then putting it on the vent of your rental car. It has a removable facade that you can change between black and silver to better match your car's interior.
Removing the phone with a twisting motion made for a clean release 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, the mount slipped out of the vent. Results will vary depending on your vent's thickness, which is similar to the situation with all other non-clamping vent mounted phone holders we tested.
The TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount is cleverly designed as it will fit right into your vehicle's cupholder instead of mounting to a vent or dashboard. This is a great option for those with smaller cars and dash space or those who don't like their vents to be blocked by a phone holder. Its base comes with attachments to help the phone mount fit snugly into different sized cup holders, and its gooseneck allows for endless viewing angles and adjustability.
However, this phone mount is large and bulky, taking up not only valuable cup holder space but also being a bit cumbersome with its long gooseneck, which comes very close to our gear shifter in our Toyota Tacoma. While other car phone mounts are meant to be placed at head height, making it easy and safe to take a quick glance at your phone for directions or to change a song, you must take your eyes off the road and look down to see your phone screen with this phone holder. Our last gripe is that the cradle does not attach securely to the gooseneck, making it easy to come unattached while trying to adjust the viewing angle — a definite downside.
Why You Should Trust Us
Lead tester Chris McNamara has tested over 1,000 consumer products in the last decade. In a big year, Chris also drives over 40,000 miles. Chris, along with Jason Peters and Miya Tsudome have been using car phone mounts for over a decade and have tested more than 30 different models throughout the years. Each of the 11 models in this test was used side-by-side with its competitors and evaluated across four different performance tests. We then used each model independently on long drives and road trips to assess durability and identify any quirks that could only be revealed through extended use.
Analysis and Test Results
We performed four different performance tests and evaluated each phone across four different metrics, including stability, ease of installation, ease of use, and security.
In this metric, we rate how well each product stays connected to your vehicle. The most stable mount in our test was the Scosche MagicMount Pro Dash. Its adhesive back held fast to whatever we stuck it to, and it included the side benefit of being very versatile in its placement location.
Just behind the Scosche was the IOttie Easy one-touch 4 Vent mount, the most stable of the vent mounts. The IOttie attaches to the vent, then clamps down with a threaded tightening mechanism. That threaded tightening mechanism is also employed to lock the swivel mount. Making on-the-fly adjustments is very difficult, but once you find the angle you like and lock it down, it's not going anywhere.
The TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount also scores high in the stability category, as it sits in your vehicle's cup holder and is adjustable in size for an assured snug fit.
On smooth roads, the Scosche MagicMount Pro VNT and Maxboost Magnetic were stable enough, but when the terrain got rough, they seemed to be the first to fall off. That's because they slip into the vent without any supplemental clamping mechanism. Because vent attachment models are secured to only a thin sheet of plastic, they are more prone to being impacted by a vehicle's vibration. They may not be the best choice if you are often traveling over bumpy terrain.
Ease of Installation
Across the board, the magnetic mounts took the longest to install the first time. First, you have to put the magnetic back on your phone or phone case. This took an average of two minutes to clean the phone for a reliable connection, line up the placement just right, and then finally stick it on. Consequently, reinstalling mounts that employ magnets is much faster than installing them the first time. All the magnetic mounts were fast to install if you exclude the magnetic back's initial installation — none taking more than a minute.
The quickest mount to install initially was the Loncaster Car Phone Holder. All you have to do is take the plastic off the bottom of the silicone pad and stick it on to your dashboard, which takes no more than 10 seconds. At 20 seconds was the BEAM Car vent phone holder, which uses a very similar design to clamp the mount to the vent. Among the designs that employ magnetic plates, the Maxboost Magnetic and the Scosche MagicMount Pro VNT were the quickest at 2 minutes 7 seconds and 2 minutes 9 seconds, respectively. But once that magnetic backing is attached to your phone, it's under 10 seconds to install them both.
Ease of use
This metric assesses the day-to-day operation of each mount, the ease of putting on and taking off your phone, and how the phone moves if you tap or swipe it while it's mounted. Here, the Scosche MagicMount Pro Dash B once again claimed the top spot. The adhesive is strong enough that you don't have to fuss with your tactics when taking the phone off — just pull it off in any direction. With the other magnetic mounts, you need to use a twist and pull motion to ensure the mount stays attached to the vent. With the Scosche, the phone is also stable to the touch.
The Loncaster also comes in at a close second for ease of use. Installing your phone is as simple as placing it in the silicone cradle, with no moving parts to adjust to put it in or take it out.
We found the Kenu Airframe Pro intuitive to use with one hand. You push your phone against the spring-loaded side of the clamp to open it and slip your phone in for a good fit. The vent-pinching mechanism also adds security to the mount, making it easy to install and uninstall your phone. The Penom Car Phone Mount also deserves an honorable mention here. It is the only magnetic vent mount that uses a spring-loaded design to pinch the vent. That makes it less likely you will pull the whole mount off the vent when you go to grab your phone.
Here, we look at how likely your phone will fall off during operation and how likely you are to drop your phone accidentally while putting it on or taking it off the mount. All the cradle-style mounts like the BEAM Car Vent Phone Holder and the IOttie Easy One Touch 4 Air Vent Mount were the most secure.
The Loncaster holds a phone with a case on nice and snugly, but since there is no adjustability option is not the most stable for a thin phone without a case. But because of its simple cradle design, it can accommodate larger phones with ease that may struggle to stay upright on other models.
It might seem overwhelming with over a thousand car phone mounts on the market. Hopefully, we helped you narrow it down to the best model for your needs. Once you decide whether you want a vent, dash, or windshield mount, it's then primarily a question of how easy you want it to be to install and remove the mount, and how securely you want it to hold your phone.
— Chris McNamara, Miya Tsudome, and Jason Peters