Finding the perfect mount for your smartphone in your car can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. There are tons of options. Some flat out cheap, others pricey and heavy with widgets and features you may not need. Then there are others that are just right. This week we’re looking at five of the best, based on your nominations.
Earlier in the week we asked you for the best car smartphone mounts, and you weighed in with tons—we mean tons of great nominations—enough that there’s something in there for everyone. If you don’t like these, you should really check out the call for contenders thread—there’s likely something in there for you. That said, we only have room for your five most popular nominees here, and here they are, in no particular order:
The iOttie Easy One Touch 2 car mount is an easy to attach, adjustable mount. It’ll set you back about $20 at Amazon, but for your money you get a car mount that’s easy to install, holds your phone tightly, has an adjustable, telescopic arm so you can have it closer to you or father away, and even has a swiveling, adjustable base that can be positioned where you want it to be. As the name implies, the mount locks with a single touch (although it’s not quite as simple as the product makes makes it sound) and has a semi-sticky gel pad to keep your phone in place after you have it clamped into place. It’s also a suction mount, which means you have a bit more flexibility as far as where you place it, but that comes with the tradeoff of needing a flat surface for it to stick to. The stickiness of the suction cup degrades a bit over time, but you can refresh it with a warm water rinse and laying it out to dry. The mount body itself keeps your ports free (largely), and while you’re not about to put a tablet or anything into one, it should hold most phones—even big ones—pretty nicely.
Those of you who nominated it praised its flexibility—you noted that for a suction cup mount, which are notorious for losing their suction and falling down when your phone is too heavy, or the weather is too hot (or too cold), or some other crazy situation happens, this one seems to hold up really well under extreme heat and cold, doesn’t warp or fall down, can support multiple phone types, can be easily adjusted for comfortable use by the driver or the passenger, and of course, it’s affordable. You can read more in its nomination thread here.
The Mpow Grip Magic is a tiny, $6 at Amazon, magnetic phone mount that latches on to an air vent in your car, sticks neatly to the back of your phone, and holds it in place without a ton of adhesives, clamps, cables, or other bells and whistles. If your phone has a metal back (or your case has a metal backplate) then this will work beautifully out of the box, but the mount comes with a magnetic backplate that you can slide between the back of your phone and your case (seriously, it’s super thin,) and if you really don’t want to use a case (or can’t put anything in it), you can attach an adhesive metal plate to the back of your phone or its case instead. The mount itself is designed to sit snugly in just about any air vent, and has adjustable clips for wide and narrow vents. Beyond that, it’s a simple, cheap mount that gets the job done.
Those of you who nominated the Mpow Grip Magic noted that it’s by far the only air vent case of its type, and as long as you can find one that fits well and is as good about the magnetic plates as this one is, you’ll be in good shape. They don’t have to cost a lot of money, and they hold your phone securely without brackets that obscure your ports or controls, and they can be used in portrait or landscape mode, whichever you prefer. Plus, many of you praised the price—about six bucks with free shipping, which makes it a great experiment, even if it doesn’t work out in the long run. You can read more in its nomination thread here.
The Kenu Airframe is another smartphone mount that makes use of your car’s air vents as a perfect place to keep your phone within arm’s reach for navigation and quick dialing, but still within an easy glance. It’s portable, too, which means it doesn’t have to be mounted in a specific vehicle, and it can fit almost any type of phone, so you can use it with multiple devices. It’ll set you back $20 at Amazon and comes in both black and white varieties. It’s a simple spring-loaded clamp that you slide into the air vent, secure into place, and then slip your phone into place inside. It’s simple, elegant, and that’s the beauty of it. You can even slip a card into the vent clamp and use it as a desk stand when you’re not driving, or you can just toss it into the glove compartment when you’re done with it if you don’t want to put it in your pocket or a bag. Since it’s spring-loaded, you can fit phones of just about any size, and there’s even an Airframe Plus for phablets and larger devices if the original Airframe won’t work for you.
Those of you who nominated the Kenu Airframe praised it for being so small and portable, and versatile enough to be used with multiple devices and multiple vehicles—all you need to do is remember to bring it with you, or just leave it in the car. You don’t need an adhesive, no mounting glues or suction cups or plastics, and it even works with phones in their cases, which a few of you really liked. You also pointed out that aside from the arms on the sides, you’re free to use your phone’s ports to charge or connect to your stereo. You can read more about it in its nomination thread here. Also check out that promo video above - we have to appreciate the amazing transition from “typical boring app/device promo reel” to “what the hell is going on right now.”
The Ram Mount X-GRIP series looks a little cumbersome, but don’t let looks fool you. The X-Grip is available in several form factors depending on whether you want your mount to live in your cup holder and bring your phone up to hand-level, sit in your air vent, or attach to the dash or windshield via suction cup. In almost all of them you get an adjustable arm and that X-shaped attachment arm that holds your phone securely thanks to an adjustable knob that can tighten down or loosen the arms of the grip to fit your phone. The arm itself is adjustable too, so you can swivel it into the perfect position for you, and it holds your phone securely without vibrating or wiggling around. There are even extension options for the arm so you can mount it closer to you if you need it, and X-Grip models for larger devices like phablets and full-on tablets. If you want one, it’ll set you back about $45 at Amazon.
Those of you who nominated the X-Grip shared tons of stories about how great your experiences were. With the exception of the price, which can be a bit high compared to some of the other, simpler options here, almost all of you said that you had your own X-Grips, and you liked them. You praised the X-Grip series for offering so many options, and still being versatile enough to fit whatever you put in them—and for having non-suction cup mount options if you don’t care for the issues that come with suction mounts. One of you even called it the “M1 Abrams of phone mounts,” noting that it doesn’t vibrate, it doesn’t wiggle, it locks your phone in securely, stays where you put it, and is easily accessible and adjustable without being loose or feeling cheap. Seriously though, don’t take our word for it—you can read tons of testimonials in its nomination thread here.
About $20 at Amazon gets you the Mountek nGroove Grip, a CD slot mount (and the only CD slot mount in our roundup, save the honorable mentions) that sits securely in your car’s presumably-unused CD player slot, and has an adjustable bracket and semi-sticky backing that keeps your phone snugly in place, regardless of its size. It also leaves the top and bottom open for use to charge or plug in audio cables, but the side brackets are a little wide to give you easy access to side buttons. Like the others here, it works in portrait or landscape mode with a quick twist, and avoids the adhesives or hassles of suction cup mounts or other more permanent fixtures. That said, you do pay for it in vibration and movement while driving, but the mount is rubber dipped to help improve your grip, and many of you pointed out that this is one of the most stable CD slot mounts you’ve ever used.
Those of you who nominated the nGroove Grip praised it for being adjustable and keeping your important ports clear so you could charge your phone or even access the headphone jack while driving (to plug in to your stereo’s AUX input, for example.) You noted it’s super simple to install, holds your phone snugly, and a few of you pointed to CD slot mounts as being even more sturdy than bouncier dash-mounted solutions like some of the suction cup models you can see here (and everywhere.) You can read more testimonials in its nomination thread here.
Now that you’ve seen the top five, it’s time to put them to an all out vote to determine the Lifehacker community favorite:
Of course, there’s also an air vent version of the MagGrip if you’d prefer to use that, but both are great options that are simple, affordable, fit nicely without a ton of vibration, and get the job done. You can check out its nomination thread here.
The Steelie Car Mount Kit, about $17 at Amazon. It also earned a lot of support in the nominations round, with more than a few of you calling out the surprisingly strong neodymium magnets and the discrete, flexible nature of the mount. You noted that the magnet stays on the back of your phone and doesn’t add a ton of bulk, and the tiny silver sphere that lives in the car can be mounted anywhere you need your phone to live. Best of all, with the magnet on the back of your phone, you can put your phone on any metal surface, which is pretty neat. You can read more in its nomination thread here.
We should also give a nod to the always-popular Binder Clip Air Vent Mount, which can get the job done with minimal vibration, a good, solid attachment, and keeps your ports and buttons clear—all for less than a buck, or free if you can snag a binder clip at the office. We love it—in fact, we love it so much we nominated it ourselves. You can check out that thread here.
The Hive Five is based on reader nominations. As with most Hive Five posts, if your favorite was left out, it didn’t get the nominations required in the call for contenders post to make the top five. We understand it’s a bit of a popularity contest. Have a suggestion for the Hive Five? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!