People often use their phones as sat navs, but what's the best - and safest - way to secure them in the car? Our top car phone holders will help you out
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Just about everyone has a mobile phone and many of us use that phone in the car as a sat nav device.
Indeed, navigation systems like Waze or Google Maps can be preferable to built-in systems, even in new cars. Yet there are few cars that have a dedicated phone cradle to hold the screen in a usefully visible position.
If you’re using your phone for navigation, a car phone holder or cradle could be a good safe and legal solution. If you invest in a decent model, you get a good view of your phone without it blocking your view, and you can be totally hands-free.
The trouble is, which car phone holder is the one for you, given there are thousands available to choose from? It's a confusing maze to navigate through.
So we’ve looked at what a great phone holder should be and produced a list of 8 of our favourites.
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Air vent, windshield or dashboard mounted phone holder?
There are 3 main ways of attaching the car phone holder to your car:
- Clipped to a vent
- A suction cup which sticks to a smooth surface – like your windscreen
- Dashboard mounted – these usually stick with a type of adhesive.
There are also 2 ways of keeping a phone in a holder - either with magnets, one of which is stuck to the phone, or with a mechanical grip.
These magnets are safe to use alongside your phone and shouldn’t cause damage to it
But which one you choose depends on your phone, and your vehicle.
For example, if you have a larger phone, a magnet might not be strong enough to keep your phone attached to your air vent. It could also prevent wireless charging, and block apps like Apple Pay.
Suction cups and adhesive mounts have their downsides too. Sometimes they leave unsightly marks on your car’s windscreen or dashboard. And over time, the stickiness could degrade causing the car phone mount to fall.
Where to place a phone holder in your car
It’s confusing trying to work out where to put your phone if you’re using it as a sat nav. You also need to make sure you’re putting it in a place that’s safe and legal.
Annex 6 of The Highway Code states:
“Windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision”
If you’re not using your phone for navigation purposes, you should put it away somewhere it’s not going to distract you.
If you’re using it to navigate, you should place it somewhere that’s not going to block your view of the road. A good option could be on the windscreen to the right of the steering wheel.
If you use a car phone holder that attaches to the air vent, then this isn’t really a problem. But you should make sure you can view your navigation app easily with a glance.
It’s best not to place the car phone holder too high up. The cables could interfere with the car’s controls, and could potentially get tangled around the gear stick.
Remember though, it’s illegal to interact with your phone while your car's moving, even if you're using it for navigation.
You can get 6 penalty points and a £200 fine if you're caught doing this. These points could stay on your licence for up to 11 years too. Not to mention that they could increase the cost of your car insurance.
If you need to use your phone while you're driving, pull over in a safe place and turn off the ignition.
Car phone holder features to look out for
Our research shows the most important traits for a phone holder include:
- Being the right size for your model of phone
- Being sturdy so they don’t wobble and the phone doesn’t drop out
- Not blocking the charge port on the phone.
Best car phone holders for 2022
To help you decide, we’ve chosen a range of models from Amazon that have received over 4 stars when reviewed by consumers.
YOSH car phone holder
£7.69*4.5 stars out of 5 based on 49,189 ratings*
- Powerful magnets
- Soft rubber.
- Magnets could prevent the use of mobile pay apps.
You can say goodbye to sticky residue with the YOSH car phone holder. And if you don’t like the look of the cradle then this neat car phone holder could be perfect for you.
The soft rubber used on the grips should protect your phone and your vents from any unnecessary scratches. It’s a thoughtful feature for car and phone proud motorists.
It’s magnetic and it attaches to the vents on your car, which could mean drivers with bigger phones could struggle. But the Yosh car phone holder claims to have powerful magnets which should be up to the job.
Lamicall car phone holder
4.5 stars out of 5 based on 33,298 ratings*
- Compatible with lots of phones
- Sleek design
- 360 degree rotation.
- May not be as grippy as other phone holders.
This dinky phone holder offers 360 degree rotation so you can get the best view of your navigation app.
It fits neatly onto your air vent, so no sticky residue on the dashboard.
But one thing to check is that it fits into your car’s air vents. The model boasts strong grips with padded rubber cushions that stay secure even on bumpy roads.
But given that the holder itself is smaller than some of the other models we’ve found it may not be as sturdy with bigger phones.
FLOVEME car phone holder
4.5 stars out of 5 based on 29,668 ratings*
- Attaches to the air vent
- Elegant design.
- Magnetic plate disrupts wireless charging and paying.
If you’re going to have your car for a while and want a more elegant solution, then the FLOVEME magnetic air vent holder could be just the thing.
Rather than blocking a vent or some of the screen, this device clips neatly onto your air vent so it doesn’t block your view.
What’s more, the pad is cleverly designed to fit curved and flat surfaces. The FLOVEME holder is also compact, elegant and adjustable so you can position your phone wherever you think is best.
UGREEN Air Vent Car Phone Holder
4.5 stars out of 5 based on 22,908 ratings*
- Automatically secures the phone in the holder using gravity
- Fits into your air vent
- Space for charging port.
- No rotation function.
By far the most interesting feature on this car phone holder is the ‘gravity linkage system’.
Instead of having to manually adjust the holder to fit your phone, with this device you simply drop in your phone and it adjusts itself.
The snug fit minimises the chances of your phone jumping out of the cradle if you go over a speed bump or round a tight corner.
The soft silicon pads on the cradle and air vent clamps reduce scratches to your phone and air vent too.
The only downside of the UGREEN car phone holder is that you can’t rotate it.
Autkors car phone holder
4.5 stars out of 5 based on 8,516 ratings*
- Stable design
- The holder doesn’t block your phone’s charging port
- Made of non-slip material.
The Autkors car phone holder seems versatile. One of the key features of this model is that it fits onto different types of air vent. This combined with its aluminium non-slip clamps means that you shouldn’t have to pull over and frustratingly reposition your phone.
The holder also has 360 degree rotation. This means you can freely move your phone - once you’ve parked the vehicle safely - to get the perfect view of your navigation app.
Navigation apps can drain your battery. Luckily the Autkors holder doesn’t block your charging port so you can plug in and drive until your heart’s content.
VANMASS Car Phone Holder
4.5 stars out of 5 based on 8,218 ratings*
- 360-degree rotation
- Easy to clamp and release
- Attaches to your air vents, windscreen or dashboard.
- Dashboard attachment comes with a sticky pad.
This car phone holder is certainly versatile. You can display it on your dashboard, air vent or windscreen.
The manufacturer also mentions you can use the display on your desk, which is handy if you use your phone a lot for work.
For the dashboard display, a plate sticks to your dashboard with an adhesive gel. The holder then sticks on to this firmly using a suction cup.
This might be a downside for some, as the sticky pad could leave marks on your dashboard. And you might not like the look of the suction plate when you’re not using your phone holder.
The VANMASS also comes with an extendable arm, so you can move it into the best position for you.
Beikell Adjustable Car Phone Holder
4 out of 5 stars based on 38,901 reviews*
- 360-degree rotation
- Secures with a suction cup
- Space for charging cable.
The Beikell adjustable holder is the best of the suction cup and mechanical grip devices we’ve found.
Because you don’t have to fit magnets to your phone you can still use wireless payments and wireless charging. Also, you don’t spoil the sleek lines of your mobile device.
The Beikell holder is strong, sturdy and easily adjustable to make sure you can position you phone just where you want it. It works either way up too – stuck to the screen or stuck to the dashboard.
The mechanical grip is also designed to allow a charging cable to simply plug in too.
Syncwire Magnetic Car Phone Holder
4 out of 5 stars based on 21,608 ratings*
- 360-degree rotation
- Attaches to your air vent so it doesn’t block your view
- Space for charging port.
- The magnetic strip might block functions like Apple Pay and wireless charging.
Possibly the simplest system available is the Syncwire magnetic phone holder.
Simply stick the supplied magnet to the back of your phone and you can attach it to the holder either in portrait or landscape orientation.
Just remember that magnets tend to stop wireless charging from working and also often stop wireless payment systems such as Apple Pay. But if this isn’t a worry for you, the magnets are slim enough for a phone case to still go over the top.
Which is the best car phone holder?
Based on reviews and the number of ratings, the best car phone holder is the YOSH car phone holder. But for each of our models, personal taste, your car and your phone all come into play when you’re choosing a car phone holder.
If you have a bigger phone, the cradles might be a good option as they distribute the weight more effectively.
If you’re going for a vent mounted model, you should check whether the car phone holder you choose fits onto your car’s vents.
And likewise, if you use your phone to pay for things frequently, a magnetic car phone holder might not be the best option for you.
*Prices and reviews correct at time of writing
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