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Whether you’re in a rental car, navigating your way to some remote cottage in the countryside for a much-needed staycation, or you’re a rideshare driver ferrying passengers all over town, your smartphone is the one driving companion you can’t leave home without.
Satellite navigation, traffic updates, fare management and hands-free calling are invaluable tools for today’s drivers, so it’s important to ensure that your phone is always somewhere in view and safely secured on your dashboard.
Car phone mounts come in three or four main designs. Most are mounted to the windscreen using a suction cup, or to the dashboard using an adhesive pad. For drivers who’d rather not leave a mark on the glass or obscure their view of the road, there are more compact car phone holders designed to clip to your car’s air vents, or slot into the CD player. Some use rubber grips to hold the phone in place, while others use powerful magnets, which attach to a metal plate slipped inside your phone’s case.
But not all car phone mounts are created equal. Cheap car phone holders are prone to drooping or popping off entirely, especially on rough roads or when riding over speed bumps.
We’ve tested eight of the best car phone holders, from mounts that wirelessly charge your device as you drive, to simple, low-cost attachments that ensure your phone stays put no matter how bumpy the conditions.
We tested these holders in a rental car, using Google Maps and Apple Maps for navigation and Spotify for selecting playlists, as well as the Waze app to keep an eye on traffic updates and answering calls.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
Belkin car vent mount pro with magsafe
Phone sizes: iPhone 12 Mini to iPhone 12 Pro Max
Mount type: Car vent
While most magnetic car phone holders need you to attach a separate metal plate to the back of your phone, this Belkin car phone mount uses the iPhone 12’s existing MagSafe connection — a ring of magnetised metal built into the back of the phone — to securely snap your device into place without having to fiddle around with adjustable side grips.
The base of the mount clips into your car’s air vent, and can be oriented around an easily adjustable but very strong 360-degree ball joint to face in any direction in either portrait or landscape modes. Around the back of the mount there’s space to neatly wrap a power cable too, so you can avoid having unsightly wires flapping around by the gearstick. Smartly designed and with a neat aesthetic to match Apple’s, the Belkin is our pick of the best iPhone car mount.
Buy now £34.95, Apple.com
PNY expand car vent mount for smartphone
Phone sizes: Up to 5.5in
Mount type: Air vent
If you want to secure your phone to your dashboard for under a tenner — and without the phone ending up in the footwell — this PNY offering is a no-fuss car phone holder with a tight grip and an easy-to-aim, 360-degree design. The all-plastic build makes the holder lightweight and straightforward to attach, though with extended use this type of material is more prone to scuffing either itself, your phone or the slats of your vehicle’s car vent.
This car phone mount is compatible with phones up to 5.5in, so check your device’s size to ensure it will fit. For larger phones, PNY also sells a magnetic mount that works with a metal plate you attach to your phone.
Buy now £5.99, Currys.co.uk
Mous wireless charger car suction mount
Phone sizes: Any phone with a Mous limitless case
Mount type: Suction
High-end accessory designer Mous produces a range of premium phone cases and stands, engineered to protect your device without compromising on aesthetics. As well as making toughened and magnetised phone cases, the company has a line of related accessories, including its own wireless charging phone mounts for driving.
The wireless charger car suction mount works exclusively with the company’s own limitless phone case, employing a series of hidden magnets to align your phone with the driving mount’s charging coil. This means the mount is not compatible with phones using other cases, but if you’re already a Mous convert and you’re willing to pay a premium for a phone mount that doesn’t look like a medieval torture device, this wireless charging pad is a smart and stylish upgrade for your dashboard.
Buy now £89.99, Mous.co
Eono car phone holder
Phone sizes: 4-7in
Mount type: suction/air vent
Eono is one of Amazon’s in-house brands, focusing on low-cost, no-frills consumer products. As such, the Eono car phone holder doesn’t hold too many surprises. This universal mount is compatible with phones up to 7in and can be attached to the windscreen or dashboard with a suction cup, or to the air vent with a rubberised springy clip. A rotating ball joint at the end of an articulated arm allows for a wide range of viewing positions, as well as switching between landscape and portrait orientation.
Once everything is tightened up, the mount behaves itself. We found some wobbling on rough roads if the arm was fully extended, but if you prefer to position the phone nearer to the dashboard this isn’t a problem. The finish and materials feel cheap, but this budget car phone holder performs well where it matters.
Buy now £14.95, Amazon.co.uk
MPOW grip pro 2
Phone sizes: 4-6in
Mount type: suction
Designed to attach to a dashboard, this holder uses a trio of silicon-padded arms to firmly cradle your phone without scratching it, and can be easily adjusted around a 360-degree ball joint to keep it pointed towards your face in either landscape or portrait orientations. The suction cup uses a lightly adhesive gel pad to secure the base to textured surfaces, but you’ll need a relatively flat spot on your dashboard to get the best results.
The suction cup can be used without the gel pad to attach to windscreens, and both the suction cup and the grip feature a one-button unlock to quickly retrieve your phone when you’re hopping out of the car.
Buy now £9.99, Amazon.co.uk
Yosh car phone mount holder
Phone sizes: Fits all phones
Mount type: Air vent
A discreet car phone holder, the Yosh looks like a cufflink and attaches to your car’s air vents. The simple and unobtrusive design means it’s limited to vents with horizontal slats – its grippy nubbin can’t grasp on to circular vents and gets a little wobbly on vertical ones, but once snapped into place it feels rock solid. The low profile and high-end materials make the Yosh an ideal choice for drivers who don’t want to spoil the view of their dashboard or windscreen with bulkier plastic accessories.
You need to stick a small metal plate to the back of your phone for the it to work, but the mount’s quadra-nickel magnet is powerful enough to work through thin phone cases. You can use the same metal plate to easily attach a dedicated GPS device to this mount.
Buy now £6.99, Amazon.co.uk
Kenu airbase wireless
This wireless holder uses a pair of stainless steel spring-loaded grips to gently but firmly secure your device in place. Soft elastomer padding prevents scratching, while the included adhesive pad allows you to position the mount either on your dashboard or at eye-level on the windscreen. A car vent version of Kenu’s wireless car phone holder is also available at the same price.
The Qi-compatible wireless charger keeps your phone’s juice topped up no matter how long the journey, and uses a series of vents to stop your phone overheating — a problem we found with some other wireless car chargers. We appreciate how the mount’s own charger, which plugs into the cigarette lighter, has a second USB port so your passenger can keep scrolling through Instagram while you drive.
Buy now £38.99, Mobilefun.co.uk
The verdict: Car phone holders
Deciding which car phone holder is right for you depends on whether you want to make it a permanent addition to your dashboard, or you just need to temporarily prop up your phone in a rental car. For a premium mount, the Belkin car vent mount pro’s clever use of MagSafe makes it the best car phone holder for iPhone users. Our favourite budget option is the MPOW grip pro 2, which balances build quality and function in a cheap but hard-wearing package.
Looking for a new handset too? Read our round-up on the best mobile phone deals