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A How-To on Car Phone Mounts

Niel Stender

There are no shortage of options for car phone mounts on the market. Let’s look at how some of the popular options work and what style is best for you.

The Ever-Helpful Car Phone Mount

Phone in a windshield phone mount
Phone in a windshield phone mount

These days, cars and phones go together like spaghetti and meatballs. If you’re driving a car, chances are you have a phone with you. Which raises the question of what to do with said phone while behind the wheel? Fortunately, there are plenty of options for car phone mounts to solve this dilemma. Unfortunately, those options are so myriad; it can be overwhelming to figure out what you need. Let’s break down the factors at play and walk through some popular options.

All Things Considered

Phone in a vent phone mount
Phone in a vent phone mount

Before you start the process, you’ll want to think about where you want to locate the car phone mount. Dashboard, windshield, and vents are common options, but you could also utilize the rear-view mirror, cup holder, or even the CD player slot. Are you ok with affixing your mount using adhesive or would you prefer a suction cup?

Other important notes on car phone mounting are how you use your phone when mounted. Are you regularly using it for navigation? Does it usually need to be charged in the car? Do you have a heavy-duty case that might interfere with the mount? Lastly, while reviewing your options, keep in mind the frequency you’re taking the phone in and out of the mount. Some have one-handed, quick release operation while others are more involved.

Dashboard and Windshield Mounting

MPOW Universal Car Phone Mount - amazon.com
MPOW Universal Car Phone Mount - amazon.com

These two locations are obvious choices because they both keep your phone up at eye level. This is important for things like ongoing navigation use. Fortunately, there are several products that can be used in either location, like the MPOW Universal Car Phone Mount. It uses a suction cup for mounting in whichever location you choose. This makes removal easy, as there’s no adhesive to clean up.

The long, flexible arm means you can easily move the phone to your preferred viewing location and a stabilizer clip prevents shaking. Adjustable, padded clamps secure your phone and the knuckle allows for 360° rotation of the screen. This style requires a flat dashboard surface and is ideal for those who want plenty of options on where to position their phone.

Vent Mounting

Aukey Phone Holder - amazon.com
Aukey Phone Holder - amazon.com

This Aukey phone holder slides over the ventilation slats and uses a small lever to lock into place. No suction cups or adhesive required. The adjustable phone clamps are cushioned and the whole thing rotates. However, keep in mind the front-to-back articulation is limited by the proximity of the vents to the phone. This particular model includes an adjustable connection piece to ensure fitment for different sized gaps between slats.

The long, flexible arm means you can easily move the phone to your preferred viewing location and a stabilizer clip prevents shaking. Adjustable, padded clamps secure your phone and the knuckle allows for 360° rotation of the screen. This style requires a flat dashboard surface and is ideal for those who want plenty of options on where to position their phone.

Rear-View Mirror Mounting

Cellet Rear View Mirror Phone Mount - amazon.com
Cellet Rear View Mirror Phone Mount - amazon.com

A natural location for keeping an eye on your phone, this style of car phone mount is ideal for those using navigation on a regular basis. This mount from Cellet uses adjustable clamps to grip the frame of your rear-view mirror and has a rotating neck, hanging below, that grips the phone. The phone cradle can rotate in a full circle while the neck is on a joint that can move 270° to alter the viewing angle of the phone. That joint has a locking nut to keep the phone in place.

Cup Holder Mounting

WeatherTech CupFone - amazone.com
WeatherTech CupFone - amazone.com

The relatively low-tech CupFone from WeatherTech is also relatively simple to use. An adjustable and rotating phone cradle sits on top of a cup holder shaped base. There are four, increasingly larger, cups nested over this base that can be slipped on and off to allow for various cup holder sizes. Set your chosen size into the cup holder and it’s ready to go – no suction, no adhesive. This style phone mount is best suited for cars with cup holders located side-by-side, in relation to the shift lever, for avoiding interference when shifting.

CD Player Mounting

MPOW CD Player phone mount - amazon.com
MPOW CD Player phone mount - amazon.com

A clever car phone mount option from MPOW uses the opening of your car’s CD player as its installation point. A shallow set of pads, the width of a CD slot, slide in and are pressure-fitted using a locking nut to keep it all secure. Like most mounts, the phone cradle is adjustable and can be rotated to the drivers liking. This is a great method for folks that don’t use their CD player very much, although the manufacturer states that CDs can be played with the mount in use.

Magnetic Mounting

Scosche MagicMount - amazon.com
Scosche MagicMount - amazon.com

There is a variety of car phone mounts utilizing neodymium magnets to secure your phone. Typically, they have an adhesive or suction cup for mounting to the vehicle while the magnet is used in place of clamping arms or a cradle. The MagicMount from Scosche uses adhesive to install the mounting plate. It requires a small magnetic plate be installed onto the phone. This can be on the back of the phone or on a phone case – inside or out.

A set of magnets within the mount connect with the metal plate to keep your phone secure. For those with small surface areas to work with or that prefer a less cluttered look, this mount is very unobtrusive. It also makes it easy to mount and dismount the phone since you don’t need to fiddle with adjustable clamps. Scosche states the magnets are safe for smart phones, but notes that installing over top of a Qi wireless charging location will interfere with that capability.

Eyes on the Road

Phone mounted to the dashboard
Phone mounted to the dashboard

A main benefit to all these car phone mounts is giving drivers peripheral awareness of their phone versus looking around for it will driving. Given the proliferation of styles, there’s surely a mount that will fit the bill for every configuration and preference. Be sure to check for fitment with your phone, vehicle function interference, and ease of use when evaluating your options.

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Niel Stender
Niel Stender

Niel got his start in the car world as a vehicle dynamics engineer with SVT at Ford. He still has dreams of running figure eights on the wet pad in an S197 GT500. These days, when not fending off karate kicks from the 3 tiny humans that run his household, he can be found on St. Louis backroads pretending to be Ken Block in his 6-speed Mazda 6.

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