Everyone knows not to use your phone while driving (we hope so, at least). So, what’s a driver to do? Slap that phone on your dashboard, of course. With a good car dock, you can put your phone on the dash, clipped to an air conditioning vent, or even in the cupholder, keeping it within eyeshot and allowing you to go hands-free. It’s a win-win.
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What to Look for in a Phone Dock for Your Car
There are tons of great phone docks on the market, but which one is right for you? Here are a few key things to look for when making your decision.
- Stability: You need good support for both the phone mount and for your phone. The phone mount needs to be secure enough when fastened to your dashboard, windshield, or car vents that it doesn’t detach while you’re driving. Then, your phone also needs to fit securely in the mount too.
- Ease of Use: It should be easy to put your phone in the dock and just as easy to take it out. You shouldn’t have to fight with it and possibly damage your phone as you pull it out of the mount.
- Magnetic vs. Spring-Loaded: There are two main ways to fasten your phone in the phone dock: by magnets or by a spring-loaded mechanism. With a magnet-based phone mount, you have to attach a magnet to the back of your phone or phone case. Sometimes this can interfere with wireless charging, depending on where you place the magnet. With a spring-loaded mount, you have to fit your phone into the spring-loaded arms each time. A spring-loaded mount is more convenient for multiple people unless you plan to buy magnets for all the phones you intend to use with the mount.
- Will It Fit Your Phone?: It’s very important to make sure your phone and phone case, if applicable, will fit into the mount. If the mount you’re looking at only fits phones with up to a 6-inch display, but you have a thick case that adds an extra quarter of an inch, that mount is not going to work for you.
- Mount Type: Lastly, there are four different places you can put your phone mount. You can clip it to your air vent, suction it to your dashboard or windshield, or place it in your cup holder. All four options will work great, though in some states it’s illegal to use a windshield mount, so check your state or county always before buying anything. Just think about where you want your phone to be while you’re driving.
Best Overall: iOttie Easy One Touch 4
iOttie is a highly reputable phone dock brand and the Easy One Touch 4 mount is the company’s most popular option. It comes with an adhesive dashboard pad and a reusable suction cup for strong support. If you want the mount on your windshield, you’ll only use the suction cup.
One of the best things about this mount is its lock and release mechanism. You press the release bars for the side arms, touch your phone to the Easy One Touch trigger, then the arms automatically close around your phone to secure it.
Once your phone is in the mount, you can easily adjust it. The telescopic arm allows you to tilt your phone up and down up to 225 degrees and extend it up to 8 inches.
Best Budget: Trianium Magnetic Dash Car Mount
If you don’t have a whole lot to spend, the Trianium Magnetic mount is the one for you. There are four magnets built into the base and covered by a smooth rubber magnetic pad. Then, you’ll need to attach a metal plate to your phone or your phone case. It includes a protective film to prevent any scratches if you decide to attach the plate directly to your phone.
If you use any kind of wireless charger, you’ll have to remove the metal plate before you can start charging your phone. If you want to be able to use wireless charging more seamlessly, I’d go with the Scosche MagicMount below. But if you don’t use wireless charging or don’t mind removing the metal plate before prior to charging, this budget phone mount is a solid option.
Best with Wireless Charging: Kenu Airframe Wireless
Kenu’s Airframe Wireless phone dock is great if you love the convenience of wireless charging. Your phone case has to be less than 3mm thick for it to charge best, so if you have a thick case, you may want to consider other options.
All phones that are Qi-enabled, which is most new phones, work with the Airframe Wireless dock. It can charge up to 10W, with a max charging rate of 7.5W for iPhones and 9W for Samsungs. A wireless charging dock in your car means you won’t have to mess with annoying cables anymore, which is certainly a bonus.
The option pictured above is the vent mount, but there’s also a suction mount option if you would prefer it to be on your dashboard or windshield.
Best Magnetic: Aukey Car Phone Mount
If you want a magnetic mount for your phone so you don’t have to worry about adjusting spring-loaded arms, the Aukey Car Mount is perfect for you. There are four strong magnets inside the base, which you can adhere to your dashboard or your windshield.
Then, you either attach a metal plate to your phone or slip it in between your phone and your case. If you have a smaller phone, you use the circular metal plate provided; for larger phones, there’s a rectangular metal plate that’s a bit stronger. And again, if you use wireless charging on a regular basis, that’s something to keep in mind when buying Aukey’s magnetic mount. Before using wireless charging, you will need to remove the magnet from your phone or phone case.
Plus, the base can rotate 360 degrees, so it’s easy to get your phone in just the right place to view during a drive.
Aukey Magnetic Phone Mount
The Aukey Magnetic phone mount lets you place and remove your phone with strong magnets rather than spring-loaded arms.
Best Minimalist Design: Scosche MAGDMB MagicMount
This option from Scosche is great if you don’t want your phone mount to take up too much space in your car. You attach this mount to your dashboard with a strong adhesive. Then, there’s a magnet plate you have to either attach to your phone or stick in your phone case and you’re good to go.
Though this phone dock is small, it’s pretty powerful. It uses Rare-Earth neodymium magnets to keep your phone secure during your drive. Plus, if you position the magnet plate in the right place behind your phone case, you can still use wireless charging stations without taking the magnet out.
The Scosche MagicMount also has a 4-axis, 360-degree head, so you won’t have any trouble moving your phone around to find the best angle.
Scosche Magnetic Mount
The Scosche magnetic mount is great if you want to prop your phone up, but don’t want your mount to take up tons of space on your dash.
Best for Thick Phone Cases: VANMASS Universal Car Mount
This is a heavy-duty phone mount that will fit phones of any size with pretty much any case, including Ring cases, OtterBox cases, a PopSocket, and more. On top of being designed to fit thick cases, this car phone mount is extremely sturdy.
The VANMASS phone holder has undergone vibration tests to ensure your phone won’t drop while you’re driving. Plus, it can hold up to 44 pounds, so your phone is definitely secure. It’s also weather resistant in extreme conditions, like -40 to about 194 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can attach this phone mount to your dashboard, windshield, or air vent.
Best Cup Holder Mount: TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount
A lot of car phone docks out there attach to your dashboard, windshield, or air vent. It’s simple to install any of the above options and, if installed properly, they are very secure. But sometimes there’s a fear that your phone will fall anyway. If you feel uncomfortable with your phone being suspended in a mount from your dashboard, windshield, or air vent, you should get a cup holder mount.
The TOPGO phone dock sits in your cup holder, as the name implies, giving your phone a strong, supportive base. You can easily adjust the height up to 8 inches tall and utilize the 360 degree rotation to turn your phone whichever way you want it.
It comes with an adjustable base, so you can fit it perfectly to your cup holder size. This newest version of the TOPGO phone mount can support a cup holder size of 2.4 inches to 4 inches.
TOPGO Cup Holder Phone Mount
The TOPGO phone mount gives you a great location alternative if you don’t want to mount your phone on your dash, windshield, or air vent.