Best car gadgets for 2021
We look at the best car gadgets that are essential for your car. Some might also come in handy if you run into trouble on the road.
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When you’re on the road, you want to be safe in the knowledge that you have everything you need in case something should happen. Like a breakdown, for instance.
And for long drives, it’s also useful to know that you can connect to your gadgets without causing distraction. For example, being able to change your music without touching your phone.
Whatever you’re looking for, from breakdown kits to a special cleaning goo, we’ve got what you need.
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Best car hoover: RAC cordless hoover
Whether you’re a neat freak, or your trying to up your cleaning game, the RAC hoover should do the job.
This wireless and completely portable hoover comes with a crevice tool, squeegee and an upholstery brush. It works on both wet and dry carpets too.
If you’re being extra thorough and run out of power, the three-metre power cable can top up the charge - giving you hours of uninterrupted cleaning.
Because it’s small and portable, you can keep the hoover in your boot. Ready for a quick spruce up should the queen need a lift.
Best in car phone holder: Syncwire car phone holder
Anyone who uses a sat-nav app on their phone should be familiar with the sheer rage induced by the suction failing on your phone mount.
Count to 10 and supress that rage, because this bug-bear might be a thing of the past with the Syncwire car phone holder.
Instead of suction, the holder uses a magnetic pad and adhesive mount to keep your phone secure. You’ll be able to expertly navigate the bumpiest of roads.
Don't forget that you shouldn't use the phone while driving – even if it's mounted.
You can find more in-car phone holders in our Best in-car phone holders round-up.
Best dash cam: Chortau
Rated 4.5 stars on Amazon (based on 12,030 Amazon ratings), the Chortau has everything you need to monitor the road.
The G-sensor detects any sudden or unusual movements. Once this is triggered the footage is automatically saved for you to review.
Your footage should be crystal clear as the Chortau records in 1080p. This is key if you’re using the footage for a car insurance claim.
Another nifty feature of this dash cam is the built-in parking sensor. Great to help you manoeuvre into those tricky parking spaces.
Best parking gadget: eRapta back-up camera
No one enjoys reversing, but the eRapta 2nd generation camera should have you turning around better than Bonnie Tyler.
The eRapta has an adjustable lens that finds the best view for reversing, and has automatic lighting, making your view even better at night.
Best diagnostic gadget: universal on-board diagnostics (OBD) reader
A useful tool for any budding mechanic. This OBD comes with high praise from Amazon, scoring just under 5 stars.
Once connected, the easy interface should help you sus out exactly what that pesky malfunction indicator light means.
When it’s picked up the issue, the monitor will display a code. You’ll see what this code means too, so even someone with no mechanical knowledge can find out what’s wrong with their car.
All diagnostic results are displayed on a bright and easy-to-read screen.
Once you know the problem, you can inform the garage to make the repair quicker and easier. Or you can have a go at doing it yourself. But only do this if you know what you’re doing.
The OBD reader covers European, Asian and American vehicles too.
Best sat nav: Garmin Drive 51 LMT-S sat nav
One of our favourites from our 2021 sat nav round up is the Garmin Drive 51 LMTS.
We love this sat nav because it’s simple and straightforward. No extra frills, just Garmin’s excellent navigation system.
Other useful features include a clear 5-inch screen, life-time map updates and live traffic information.
Best hands-free technology: Amazon echo auto
As you’d expect this is the ultimate in hands-free technology. You don’t have to have another Alexa device for this to work, just the Alexa app.
If you do have multiple Alexa devices, you can connect them all up.
A car is noisy, so you’re probably wondering how the microphone can pick up your voice. Far-field technology is the answer!
This is designed to pick up the user’s voice in noisy environments. So, no need to shout too loudly over the aircon.
The device connects to your car speakers through an auxiliary cable or Bluetooth. Every type of connection is catered for, except a romantic one.
The Echo auto is great for in-car entertainment. You can connect it to your Spotify, Audible, Deezer, or your apple music account. This should keep you and your passengers entertained.
And if your passenger isn’t enjoying your favourite ghost hunting podcast, you can change what you’re listening to simply by asking Alexa.
Or you could find a different passenger, but Alexa probably won’t be able to help you with that yet.
Like with any Alexa device, you can use the system to set reminders, answer calls (when you’re pulled over and stopped), you could even use it to check petrol prices. You can use our nifty petrol prices tool for that too.
Best car cleaning gadget: cleaning gel
As good as the portable hoover is, there may be some parts of the car it might just miss. For example, in the air conditioning vents, or in the spaces between the buttons.
This handy, and slightly strange, sticky goo could be ideal for getting into those difficult to reach places.
The sticky surface slips into the crevices and grabs bits of lint, fluff, and maybe that fiver you lost six years ago.
You can also use it to clean around the home. The goo works wonders in the gaps between the keys on your keyboard. Handy for picking up crumbs from your working lunch.
The goo can also be used as a stress reliever as you can squeeze and press it like a stress ball. Make sure you give it a bit of a clean first though.
The little pot doesn’t take up much space. So, you can keep it in your glove box and use the goo on the go.