A car phone holder is a must-have. Today’s smartphones can give you easy access to satnav features with up-to-date maps and traffic info, while also allowing you to play music and podcasts as you travel. With voice assistants, you can even use them to make calls or receive and send texts hands-free.
The only problem? Holding a phone while driving a vehicle is illegal, and you could get whacked with a six-point penalty and a £200 fine if you’re caught. This applies even when you’re waiting at the lights or stuck in traffic, and thousands have been caught by the police.
With a phone holder or mount, this problem disappears. Tapping on the screen to accept a call or a route correction isn’t an offence, provided you don’t lose focus on the road. If police consider that you’ve been distracted, you might still find yourself facing an awkward conversation at the roadside. It’s also worth noting that the UK government is currently looking at bringing our outdated road laws into the 21st century, so rules around what you can and can’t do are bound to be toughened up. This is likely to be less of a problem if you’re working hands-free with your phone in a holder, provided you’re not catching up with your TikToks or posting driving selfies to Instagram.
Best car phone holder: Editor's pick
How to choose the best car phone holder for you
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 below 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 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, although this won’t work if it has a textured surface. 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 the grip might not be firm enough to hold heavier devices and it also obstructs the airflow.
A final option to explore is a bespoke mount. Swedish firm Brodit make custom mounting units for each model of car to create a permanent mount for your phone.
Attaching your phone to the mount
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, which requires you to attach a metal strip to the back of your phone. This is often slid into the case or stuck on to the back, which, at the very least, isn’t going to add to its aesthetic appeal.
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.
Other features to 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.
Using 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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The best in-car phone holders to buy
1. Halfords Magnetic Windscreen Mount: The best windscreen mount
Price: £15 | Buy now from Halfords
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.
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’ll 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
Buy now from Halfords
2. Mpow Gravity: The best vent mount
Price: £11 | Buy now from Amazon
Vent mounts won’t obstruct your view out of the windscreen, but they can vibrate and aren’t always stable. This Mpow mount avoids most of the major pitfalls with a choice of two durable vent clips for mounting on a wider range of different cars, plus an ingenious mount design. While most vent holders grip the phone from either side, this one also has a telescopic arm to hold it from below for added security.
With a reach of 91mm, it’ll cope with phones from 4in to 6in and above in size, and while it holds the handset firmly it’ll also release it quickly courtesy of a button at the back. You can even rotate your phone by a full 360˚ – handy if you need to use an app in landscape mode. Want a vent mount without the wobble? This is as good as it gets.
Key specs – Weight: 113g; Mounting: Grip on air vent; Max phone width: 91mm; Colours: Black
3. Belkin In-Car Vent Mount: The best vent mount for landscape viewing
Price: £14.49 | Buy now from Amazon
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’ll cope with cases up to 3mm thick and even has useful routing for a charging cable. It’ll 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. Eono by Amazon Car Phone Holder: The best budget dashboard mount
Price: £9 | Buy now from Amazon
This budget clamp from Amazon brand Eono works like a charm on most dashboards, with a cradle that slips onto the front edge of the dashboard and a large, sprung clamp that holds your phone firmly in place. Anti-slip rubber pads prevent any marking on your phone and the whole shebang feels rock-solid, although it might not suit every dashboard and you may be limited as to where it’ll actually fit.
The downside is that it’s not very adjustable – it works at one angle and if that doesn’t work for you the manufacturers recommend that you move your seat. All the same, it’s an easy and effective phone holder that won’t obscure much of your windscreen view.
Key specs – Weight: 46g; Mounting: Dashboard clamp; Max phone width: 80mm; Colours: Black
5. Mpow CD Slot Mount: The best CD player mount
Price: £8.50 | Buy now from Amazon
If your car stereo has a CD player you don’t use any more, you can turn it into a phone-holder support point. After all, it’s in a convenient spot – centrally located and normally quite high up, making it easily visible to the driver. And, as it’s attached directly to the chassis, it’s a strong anchor point.
To install the CD-slot holder, you simply insert the plastic half-disc into your player and tighten a finger screw to clamp it in place. The holder itself sits on a ball hinge for full adjustment, and there’s a quick-release button for when it’s time to take your phone out. Gadgets up to 79mm wide are supported.
Key specs – Weight: 138g; Mounting: Clamped to CD player; Max phone width: 79mm; Colours: Black, red
6. Arteck Car Mount: The best dashboard/windscreen dual mount
Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon
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 and 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 works very well 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
7. Olixar Magnetic Windscreen Dash Mount: The best mount for stability
Price: £15 | Buy now from Amazon
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 to between vehicles. It’s also extremely stable, keeping your phone steady as you crash over Britain’s potholed streets, and 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
8. Yosh Car Phone Holder: The cheapest air vent-mounted holder
Price: From £7 | Buy now from Amazon
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
9. iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless 2: The best in-car wireless charger
Price: £49 | Buy now from Amazon
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’ll 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