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Best car phone holder 2024: The easiest to use and most secure windscreen, vent and dashboard mounts

A trio of car phone holders with iPhones

Keep your phone safe and visible for hands-free satnav, calls and music

If you own one of the millions of vehicles that don’t have modern built-in touch screens, the next best (and safest) thing is to get yourself the best car phone holder. In fact, you may not have much of a choice when it comes to legally and safely operating your phone while driving other than a dedicated hands-free car kit.

We know it can be a hassle to get an elegant phone holder solution in your car. There’s often some small snag that turns into a daily struggle when setting the phone up or removing it when you leave your vehicle. There are a lot of junk phone holders on the market, and believe us when we say we’ve tried too many of them for our own good.

Based on our testing of the most popular and promising car phone holders on the market today, we’ve put together a roundup of the best of the best (at least of those we’ve personally put through their paces). We’ve also included a handy buyers guide at the end to help you pick the right holder for your needs.

Best car phone holders: At a glance

Best windscreen mountHalfords Magnetic Windscreen Mount (~£15)Check price at Halfords
Best vent phone holder for securitySyncwire Gravity Car Phone Holder (~£15)Check price at Amazon
Best mount for stabilityOlixar Magnetic Windscreen Dash (~£20)Check price at Amazon
Best budget air vent-mounted holderYosh Car Phone Holder (~£9.99)Check price at Amazon

How we test car phone holders

We fit each car phone holder to the windscreen, dashboard or vent of a small SUV, then use it for a period of three days to a week with an iPhone and/or a Samsung Android smartphone, depending on the design and features of the mount.

Testing a car phone holder

During that period, we consider how easy it is to fit, remove and reposition the phone, and we drive on urban streets and country roads to see how difficult it is to dislodge it from the grip or magnetic mount. We test phones with and without a silicon case, and do at least one test over bumpy or uneven ground to see how well the mount works in more extreme conditions. Finally, we check any additional features, including wireless charging, to see how well these work in everyday use.

The best in-car phone holders you can buy in 2024

1. Halfords Magnetic Windscreen Mount: Best windscreen mount

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Halfords

  • Great for… total peace of mind
  • Not so great for… people who don’t like the hassle of a metal plate

This magnetic mount keeps things nice and simple, with a bracket that attaches through a heavy-duty suction cup to your windscreen and a magnetic mount on a ball and socket joint. You then slip the 50 x 35mm metal plate into a phone case or stick it to your phone, before locking the plate onto the mount.

As we noted in our testing, once it’s there, it’s going to stay there, no matter how bumpy the road gets – something that can’t always be said of some of the clamp-style holders. There’s also no maximum phone size to worry about – it will handle devices of up to 650g – and the joint means it works at a decent range of angles. As long as you’re happy with the metal plate on your phone or in its case, this is the best windscreen mount to go for.

Key specs – Weight: 46g; Mounting: Suction cup on windscreen; Max phone width: N/A; Colours: Black

Check price at Halfords

2. Syncwire Gravity Car Phone Holder: Best vent phone holder for security

Price when reviewed: £15 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… keeping your windscreen clear
  • Not so great for… people who like landscape mode

Vent mounts have a lot of advantages in that they’re easy to fit and remove, don’t block the windscreen and don’t take up much cockpit space, but they’re not always as stable or secure as some windscreen and dashboard holders. That’s not the case with this Syncwire model. Its chunky silicon claws got an iron grip on our vent when we tested it, and the clever spring-loaded mechanism holds your phone just as securely; it will even cope with super-sized phones like the Samsung Galaxy A71 or iPhone 12 Pro Max.

The ball joint on the vent mount gives you a wider range of tilt and swivel, so you can keep the phone in view, and – with a little practice – we found that you can insert and remove it single-handed, with the arms releasing as you pull the phone vertically out of its cradle. It can only hold the phone in portrait mode, but it’s one affordable, sturdy mount.

Key specs – Weight: 130g; Mounting: Grip on air vent; Max phone width: 88mm; Colours: Black

3. Belkin In-Car Vent Mount: Best vent mount for landscape viewing

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… people who like looking at the landscape and want to keep their windscreen clear
  • Not so great for… No notes here

If some vent mounts have a problem, it’s that they don’t hold your phone reliably in landscape mode. This isn’t a massive issue if you’re happy with your phone in the conventional portrait mode, but if you’re using your smartphone as a satnav, having more horizontal screen space to work with makes more sense.

Here, the Belkin In Car Vent Mount comes into its own, with two spring-mounted, rubber-gripped, aluminium arms to hold your phone securely, along with one of the strongest vent mountings we’ve seen to keep the whole shebang in place. It will cope with cases up to 3mm thick and even has useful routing for a charging cable. It will happily take phones of up to 93mm in width, which will cover even big-screen monsters like the iPhone 12 Max or Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and it had no problems holding our test Samsung Galaxy A71. If your vents can take the strain, it’s a great option.

Key specs – Weight: 37g; Mounting: Grip on air vent; Max phone width: 93mm; Colours: Black and aluminium

4. Otterbox Performance Car Vent Mount for Magsafe: Best phone holder for newer iPhones

Price when reviewed: £25 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… Magsafe iPhone owners
  • Not so great for… everyone else

Got a new iPhone? No need to worry about whether gripping mechanisms or metal plates will hold your phone securely; this Otterbox vent mount will hold it by its built-in MagSafe charging pad. Unlike some MagSafe holders this one doesn’t charge your iPhone while you’re travelling, but it does maintain a strong hold on your device, and you can still charge using a cable. In our tests, the mount itself kept a sure grip on the vent, rotating into horizontal and vertical positions, and we found a little play in the ball joint to get a decent viewing angle for the screen. Once you’ve snapped your iPhone in and out of this holder, you’ll wish everything could be this simple.

Key specs – Weight: 90g; Mounting: Grip on air vent; Max phone width: iPhone 12 series and upwards only; Colours: Black

5. Arteck Car Mount: Best dashboard/windscreen dual mount

Price when reviewed: £12 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… people who change vehicles
  • Not so great for… people who want fancy features

This simple, compact phone holder can be attached via its suction grip to either a windscreen or a dashboard (simply turn it upside-down to switch between the two modes). It has a button to pump the air out so it can achieve a strong grip, which can then be flipped up to release the holder.

The gripper itself is a simple, spring-loaded device, but it worked very well in our tests and can hold smartphones up to 89mm across. It’s hard to fault this product as it doesn’t try to do anything it doesn’t need to – and what it does do, it does very well.

Key specs – Weight: 91g; Mounting: Suction cup to windscreen or dashboard; Max phone width: 89mm; Colours: Black, red

6. Olixar Magnetic Windscreen Dash Mount: Best mount for stability

Price when reviewed: £20 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… bumpy rides
  • Not so great for… convenience

Objectively, this is the best smartphone mount available: it’s small, avoids blocking your view, can be attached to the windscreen or dashboard and is easily moved between vehicles. We also found it extremely stable, and it kept our phone steady as we crashed over Britain’s potholed streets. It also has a ball and socket joint for easy adjustment.

Your phone is secured in the mount with a magnet, meaning there’s no width restriction and it’s easy to put it in place and remove it at either end of your journey. However, this does mean you’ll need to attach the supplied metal plate to your phone or case, which not everyone will be enthusiastic about.

Key specs – Weight: 118g; Mounting: Suction cup to windscreen or dashboard; Max phone width: N/A; Colours: Black

7. Yosh Car Phone Holder: Best budget air vent-mounted holder

Price when reviewed: £9.99 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for…buyers on a budget
  • Not so great for… No notes here

Like many air-vent mounted holders, the Yosh holder comes in two parts. The holder itself slots between the vent blades and you attach a plate to the rear of your phone, which snaps onto the holder like a powerful fridge magnet.

How you attach the plate is up to you: you can use the supplied adhesive pad or slip it inside your shell or case. It comes with a second plate too, so you and a partner can each easily attach both of your phones. It’s a simple and extremely light design but the magnet holds the phone firmly even on bumpy roads.

Key specs – Weight: 59g; Mounting: Clip to air vent; Max phone width: N/A; Colours: Black, grey

8. iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless 2: Best in-car wireless charger

Price when reviewed: £24 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… people who hate cables
  • Not so great for… fast charging

Looking to keep your smartphone charging while you’re out on the road? This windscreen or dashboard holder incorporates a 10W QI wireless charger (with 7.5W support for iOS devices) into a mount with an ingenious one-touch mechanism that allows you to insert and remove your device, one-handed. The spring-loaded arms and adjustable foot hold it firmly in place, and it will cope with devices up to 93mm in width, aligning the phone dead-centre to give you the best wireless charging connection.

The mount fits onto the windscreen or dashboard using an ultra-strong suction cup, while the telescopic arm pivots and extends in a wide range of positions, so you can keep your phone out of the way but in view. iOttie includes a dual USB 12V charger for your car, though the 1.1m power cable is a little on the short side. There are cheaper in-car charging cradles out there, but not many so convenient or well-designed.

Key specs – Weight: 430g; Mounting: Suction cup to windscreen or dashboard; Max phone width: 93mm; Colours: Black

9. ESR HaloLock Magnetic Wireless Car Charger: Best Magsafe car charger for iPhones

Price when reviewed: £27 | Check price at Amazon

  • Great for… Magsafe iPhone users
  • Not so great for… third-party cases

ESR’s lightweight mount and charger is a top option for recent iPhones, giving you a Magsafe mount that fits with ease into a vent, then provides secure 18W wireless QI charging via a USB-C cable connected to your car’s USB outlet. The ball joint on the vent mount means it works with both horizontal and vertical vents, while a support arm holds the central square pad steady no matter how rough the road. ESR also sells a dashboard version, if you would rather have it fitted there.

Admittedly, there’s no additional support beyond the glossy Magsafe plate, which is a little limiting. That said, it kept a tenacious grip on our compatible test iPhone, and we couldn’t fault it – provided the phone wasn’t in a silicone case. Our test phone’s case weakened the grip somewhat; but ESR sells its own Magsafe cases, which won’t suffer the same problem. This is a smart compact holder and charger that will do your iPhone proud.

Key specs – Weight: 156g; Mounting: Vent clip grip; Max phone width: N/A, Fits iPhone 12 to 14; Colours: Black

How to choose the best car phone holder for you

In our testing we have found there are two things to consider when buying a car phone holder. One, will it fit your phone? And two, will it fit your car? The good news is that the mounts listed above will work with all popular smartphones.

The other half of the equation, though, is a little more complicated. There are numerous methods for attaching a phone holder to your dashboard or windscreen, and based on our experience not all of them will suit every car.

A windscreen mount is one convenient option. While poor-quality rubber suckers may slowly lose their grip and drop off, a good mount can be very convenient. Some designs include supports that rest on the dashboard.

You can also get suction grips and cradles that attach directly to your dashboard, this won’t work if it has a textured surface, though. Another possibility is to connect the holder to your car stereo.

One of the most popular options is a clip that attaches to your air-conditioning vent. These are ideal for lighter smartphones, but we’ve found that the grip might not be firm enough to hold heavier devices and it also obstructs airflow.

A final option to explore is a bespoke mount. For example, Swedish firm Brodit makes custom mounting units for each model of car to create a permanent mount for your phone.

What types of phone-attachment methods do mounts have?

Certain phone mounts have clips or arms that hold the phone securely: you simply slide the device into place when you get into the car and remove it when you leave.

Other mounts have a magnetic connection. These usually require you to attach a metal strip to the back of your phone, either by sticking it on the back or sliding it into a case – the latter is obviously better, as you don’t want to dent your phone’s aesthetic appeal. Apple’s MagSafe tech, as found across the iPhone 12 range, opens up another, even better option, where the mount simply holds your iPhone via its built-in MagSafe charging pad.

Even clunkier are mounts that have a ball and socket attachment: you’ll need to stick a metal socket to the back of your phone case, which clips into a ball on the in-car mount.

READ NEXT: Best dash cams

What other features should I look out for?

There’s not an awful lot to in-car phone mounts: they either hold your phone securely or they don’t. However, you might want to check whether the holder allows you to access the phone’s USB or lightning port so you can charge your phone while in transit – particularly if your phone often doubles as a satnav. Certain mounts even integrate their own QI wireless charger, meaning you can charge your phone without plugging it in. There will, of course, have to be a cable between your car’s USB port or 12V socket and the charger, so make sure it doesn’t dangle anywhere it might obstruct your driving.

How do I use a mobile phone holder legally?

There’s every chance you’ve been in at least one minicab where part of the windscreen is covered by a wall of phones. That’s not an example to follow.

If you’re using a hands-free phone in the car, it’s essential it doesn’t illegally block your view in any direction.

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