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For several years, we had a blog attached to our site that many of you found useful. We added articles as time allowed. We decided to expand our blog and write with far more frequency. We will continue to explain how to mount new stuff and use what you already have in ways you may not have thought about before.
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Car headrests were first mandated to be installed in vehicles back in the 1960’s. Headrests haven’t changed a lot since that time. They are typically supported by a post on each side of the headrest. These posts make an ideal mount point for tablets, phones and cameras. Car headrest mounts are especially useful for keeping backseat passengers entertained with your tablet. The posts to the headrest are typically the place where you would attach the mount. The headrest is also a great place to mount a camera for taking video of the views in front or behind the car. Let’s review some of the options.
There are two kinds of headrest mounts for tablets. The most common mount will attach to the two posts of a single seat and with the tablet placed between the posts. Perfect height for little backseat passengers and far enough away so that the tablet cannot be turned into a Frisbee. These mounts come in a wide array of qualities. There are lower end mounts that are made of plastic and include a universal cradle. I have found these mounts to be reliable but if you plan to install and remove it very frequently, consider a higher end headrest tablet mount such as those made by GripDaddy which include metal components and is a quality mount. You can also use your headrest to mount your large smartphone. The mounts are similar but include a smaller cradle to fit your large phone.
The basic headrest mounts work well for a single passenger. Fights can ensure if you have more than one kid back there so for those families blessed with a larger family, consider what is called a centered mount. This type of mount attaches to the headrest posts but then telescopes so that your tablet is located between the two front seats. No fights over who has the best angle to the tablet. Now the kids will just fight over what they are watching on the tablet. Maybe just buy a second headrest mount. These mounts are well made with the base constructed of a combination of metal and plastic.
Dash cameras have increased in popularity dramatically over the past several years. The popularity is fueled by an affordable price and the emergence of the popularity of the GoPro series. A little used mounting concept for dash cameras is to use your car headrest. The advantage of using your headrest to mount your camera is that most dash mounts are adhesive and when you sell your car, you will be faced with the dilemma of removing the mount without damaging your dashboard. A headrest mount is temporary and removable. You will need to select a mount that will attach to the post closest to the middle of your car and must include an extension to permit the camera to position between the seats with a clear view of the road. We have found that RAM’s motorcycle camera mounts work well for this purpose. As long as your headrest post is at least .5 inches in diameter, these extremely well made mounts can be placed around the single post and positioned to view the road. Depending upon the clearance needed, you may need to add the RAM long arm.
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Using your rear view mirror as a place to mount your GPS, phone or radar detector has recently become pretty popular. While I don’t know if it gets around the laws of states that do not permit mounting devices on your windshield (read about that here), it does place your device at a nice location that is very close to your line of sight while driving making it an ideal location for devices used for GPS purposes. The rear view mirror is great for smaller devices. You will find it to be a poor choice for larger devices such as a tablet.
There are two types of rear view mirror mounts. The first and least expensive mount uses the top and bottom of the rear view mirror to attach a vice like gripper. That gripper typically has a gooseneck arm attached to it and a cradle at the end of that. The cradles are generally universal and open and close around your cell phone or GPS. Before purchasing one of these types of mounts, measure the height of your rear view mirror and ensure that the specifications of the mounting gripper opens large enough to fit your windshield. Also, be sure to measure the width of the device you want to mount and ensure that the cradle opens wide enough to accommodate your GPS or phone. Lastly, ensure that your rear view mirror is tight. If the rear view mirror is not tight, and moves quite freely with barely any pressure, this mounting type is not a good choice as it will cause your mirror to sway. The picture that accompanies this article uses this type of mount. These mounts are simple to install and remove.
The second type of mount suitable for a rear view mirror uses the post that is behind the mirror. The mounts used in this application are shared by motorcycles to attach to the handlebar. It’s the post that attaches your rear view mirror to the windshield. I like these a bit better than the first type. Although more expensive, these mounts will prove to be sturdier than the ones that attach to the top and bottom of the mirror. Like the prior mount, you will need to measure your device to ensure that the universal cradle will be large enough to fit your phone or GPS. You will also need to measure the diameter of the rear view mirror post. Most are in the .5 – 1.0 inch range. The entry from RAM Mount comes with instructions for attaching to a rear view mirror. You will add an arm and cradle to make this a complete solution. You can also select one of RAM’s custom GPS cradles if your needs are in that area. These also make an excellent option for mounting your camera and you can add an adapter for these as well.
For radar detector owners, a similar mount to the one above which includes a custom insert for your device is available from a company called Blendmount. Like the entry from RAM, these will clip around your rear view mirror post and they include the insert that is unique to many popular radar detector models.
Car rear view mirror mounts have only been available for several years, so I’m sure I’ll be updating this article again as new varieties are introduced.
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The Garmin Portable Friction Car Mount was introduced roughly 5 years ago. The part number for this mount is 010-11280-02. You will also see some older models listed as part number 010-11280-00. This mount is made to be compatible with all Garmin Nuvi GPS models. The mount requires the cradle that came with your GPS. That cradle is likely still attached to your suction cup mount. Removal of the cradle is a simple matter of pulling it off the suction mount. Like the suction mount, the Garmin Portable Friction Mount has a 17mm ball which is standard to all Garmin Nuvi GPS cradles. Simply align the cradle’s socket with the 17mm ball on the mount and push. Your GPS can now be inserted into the cradle the same way as when you were using the suction mount.
This mount is perfect for drivers that live or plan to travel in states that limit use of a suction mount on your windshield. We wrote a detailed article on this topic which you can read here. Unlike the dash disk that Garmin now includes with most of their GPS units, the portable friction mount is not a permanent installation. The mount has a non-skid friction base which is made to stay where you put it. I have found the key to using these is to ensure that the base is on a level part of the dash and not overhanging. In other words, be sure that the entire base is resting on your dash. Also be sure that your dash is not oiled with a substance such as Armor All. Using any oil on your dash will render the friction non-skid part of the mount ineffective. And lastly, place this on a level part of your dash. If your dash slopes significantly downwards, this mount can potentially slip forward if you hit a large bump.
The mount itself weighs about 6 ounces. It features a stem that can be angels forward and back. The stem can be folded virtually flat to make it easier to store within a carry case or your luggage. The ball and socket permits full swivel so that you can place your GPS at the perfect angle. The mount has a flexible base which is a unique feature and this will help on dashboards which are not perfectly flat. This mount is highly portable. When traveling, just take the entire mount with the GPS attached to it off the dash and place it into your luggage. As mentioned in other articles, be sure though, to take the mount with you when leaving the airport on your way home, as way too many people wind up buying another mount because they left it in the rental.
Like other mounts made by Garmin, these are made to only work with your Garmin GPS. There are third-party add-on accessories available to use this mount with devices such as your phone. We wrote a detailed article on these add-on accessories which can be read here.
The Garmin Portable Friction Mount is a well made mount, very portable and inexpensive. It makes a good addition to your GPS and can likely be reused with your future GPS purchases assuming Garmin continues their 17mm ball and socket mount pattern with their Nuvi line.
Scotty is a Canadian based company that distributes their products globally. They concentrate on marine accessories with a heavy emphasis on mounting products.
Scotty offers a component based line of mounts meaning you can purchase a base and a holder and they are all interchangeable components. The vast majority of Scotty rod holders are post mount rod holders. The posts have indents on them and they are inserted into the Scotty bases with a push and turn. The holders are fairly easy to install and remove and this means that you can install multiple bases on your boat and then move the holders to wherever you wish to place your rod. A lot of Scotty customers will purchase several mounting bases and install them on multiple locations. They then purchase a lesser number of holders and place them as needed. Normally, you will remove the mount when the boat is not in use but the mounts are well made and can remain in place between use. I suggest removal to prevent theft.
There are a few key decisions you will need to make prior to purchasing your fishing rod mount and we’ll review them in the following paragraphs.
First decision to make is where you would like to mount your fishing rod. Scotty offers a large variety of locations. The most popular location is the top of the gunnel (the top edge of the vessel). Scotty make several different surface mounts that bolt to the gunnel including a locking and non-locking variety. I recommend the locking mount for a few dollars more as it will be more secure than the non-locking. The locking variety has a button which you will push to install and remove the holder. Scotty also makes a gunnel flush base which is a cleaner install but will require drilling a large hole on the boat so that the post can be inserted. Another popular location for mounting a fishing rod is any railing on your boat. The rail mount is a perfect solution for those that are hesitant to drill any holes.
Now that you have the location figured out, you will now need to select the type of holder to pair with the mounting base. The holder selection is based upon how secure you want your rod to be held, and sometimes, the type of rod you have. This decision can also be influenced by the look desired. Most holders I have seen in use are black in color, but they are available in chrome and white too. I never thought white was a good idea as these are made of composite plastic which discolors with exposure to the sun and weather elements. Most Scotty rod holders can be purchased alone or coupled with the more popular mounting bases that were referenced earlier in this article.
One of the most popular holders is the Scotty Rocket Launcher. Available in black and chrome, the holders consist of a nine-inch long tube. The Rocket Launcher features a tilt and swivel option and the rod inserts directly into the tube. This is the simplest and quickest to insert and remove your rod, however it also is the least secure since nothing is holding your rod in place.
Scotty also make a good spinning rod holder that includes a feature that locks your rod in place by flipping over the top part of the mount. I prefer this mount to the one just discussed as it is a more secure that the Rocket Launcher.
If you have a fly rod, Scotty make an excellent holder that includes a safety strap. The Scotty Fly Rod Holder is an excellent choice for hands free trolling and is fully adjustable.
If you find that the holder placed into the base is not high enough, Scotty offers an extender. Extenders fit between the post and holder and adds 6.5 inches of height to the final install. Although you can rig multiple extenders together, I do not recommend it as the mount will be too top-heavy and unstable.
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Does anyone really use these any longer for CDs? Digital content has made the CD player an almost useless device in most cars. It’s so much easier to load your content to your smartphone and then stream the audio to your car speakers. Most vehicles manufactured over the past several years have a USB port and an interface for streaming your music. Some permit use of Bluetooth. Others may use an FM transmitter connected to your device. You can read about FM transmitters here.
So what you do with the CD Player? Use it as a place to mount your phone!
CD player cell phone car mounts were introduced several years ago. Manufacturers realized that the CD players aren’t used very much and the location of most players are at a perfect place to be able to see your phone without taking your eyes too far off the road.
There are a few things to check before buying a CD player car mount. Most CD players are located just above or below your radio or in some case, your console display area. The placement of a CD player car mount might block access to the radio or your console display area. Some may find this bothersome and a different mount might be best if that’s the case. A second consideration is the proximity of the CD player to your vehicle’s stick shift. When the car is in park, ensure there is adequate clearance between what will be the end of the CD player mount and the stick shift. If the mount will extend too far, you might interfere with the stick shift when it is in the park position. Thirdly, be sure to measure the width of your smartphone. Most CD player car mounts come equipped with a universal cradle which you will want to ensure will fit your device. Although most of these mounts are sold with smartphones in mind, they can also be used for a GPS. There are also mounts that use magnetic attachments if you don’t mind attaching a small metal chip to the back of your device. I would not go heavier than a GPS or smartphone when using a CD player mount.
There are a few different types of CD player car mounts. The first type of mount uses a knob on the bottom to secure the mount within the CD player. I prefer this mount to others in this category as it will permit a more custom and secure fitting. You don’t want the mount to rattle around inside the player. The second type of mount uses a spring-loaded attachment that inserts into a CD player and locks itself in. Both are easy to attach and remove.
Your CD player should be unaffected by the installation of a mount. It will not think there is a CD mounted, at least not in my experience. I have a feeling that in a few years, vehicle manufacturers are likely to completely eliminate CD players from cars, or perhaps make it an option that you will pay for. Given the fact that more and more people have smartphones with digital content, the usefulness of a CD player beyond what might be a good mounting point will be somewhat limited.
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The car dash is a good place to mount a GPS, smartphone, radar detector, camera or small tablet. In some cases, it’s the only option you may have. In a prior article, we discussed a few states where mounting anything to your windshield is illegal leaving your dash the only logical place to mount a device that needs to see what is in front of you (for example a camera or radar detector). The dashboard is a good place to mount anything that needs to remain near your line of site while driving.
The key components of a good dash mount are stability and fit. Some vehicles have a significantly sloped windshields which means that the real estate is somewhat limited in terms of height. Measure the amount of space available height-wise and then measure the device you are wanting to mount. Stability is also an important factor. When stopping short or making a quick turn, you do not want your device along with the mount in your lap, so think about how you drive, the slope of your dash, and if you need a mount that needs to be fastened to the dash.
There are four types of dash mounts that we will discuss in this article. Some are permanently installed with adhesive and others are temporarily installed.
The least expensive of all dashboard mounts is called a dash disk and work in conjunction with your suction cup mount. This dashboard mount consists of a round plastic plate with an adhesive bottom. The plastic plate is smooth like your windshield and your suction cup mount will stick to it like glass. Get a mount that uses 3M Very High Bond adhesive also known as VHB, Personal experience has shown that anything else will come off with repeated use. Be sure to allow 24 hours for the adhesive to cure prior to use and make sure the dash is clean prior to application. A major drawback to this type of mount is that it’s fairly permanent. We offer some advice on how to remove one of these mounts in another article. Similar mounts are also available that use a 3M VHB base and a custom attachment for items such as a GPS or Radar Detector.
The next type of mount is a bean bag friction mount. These mounts typically weigh approximately two pounds and feature a non skid bottom. We have reviewed a few of these mounts in prior articles which you can read here and here. We prefer the Arkon CM012 version of these mounts for two reasons. Firstly, the mount is universal. Like the mounting plate we just highlighted, this friction mount has a round mounting plate integrated which works along with your suction cup mount. This mount also features a safety anchor to help keep the mount in place with sudden stops and turns. The mount can be easily removed and installed.
The third type of mount is one which is known as a sticky base mount and features a sticky base that works on textured dashboards. No glue required. These mounts have a suction cup that is made of a material that allows it to be easily installed and removed. When the base loses its sticking ability, simply rinse it in warm soapy water to recharge it. These mounts are available with universal cradles and also with custom adapters for your application. I have used these with GPS units and radar detectors and they have worked well. The key is to ensure that your dash is clean prior to application and that the base is fully charged by washing it prior to attachment. These mounts can be easily removed and installed however I have found with repeated use the base loses its sticking ability and you need to wash it between uses.
The last dash mount that we will discuss is a flat surface bolt down mount. These mounts are very heavy duty and normally used in commercial vehicles. These mounts feature a base with pre-drilled holes which you will run bolts through. Obviously, a permanent install and one that will require a permanent modification to your vehicle in the form of drilling holes and using bolts. These mounts are normally constructed of metal and used when you need a very durable hold on your device. These mounts can be fitted with locking knobs or cradles. I have seen these used in applications where the driver was using a tablet for delivery instructions and GPS purposes. They are often paired with a locking cradle which we have discussed in a prior article here on this site.
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I recently read there are over 1 million apps available for the Apple iPhone. I just can’t imagine how someone can possibly sort through the apps well enough to determine which app will fit their needs. These applications have helped me to either get to where I want to go easier, save some money or save some time. I use these applications regularly and figured I would share them with our readers.
Waze – A detailed article on Waze can be read here where I referred to this app as the best out there. Waze is owned by Google so be prepared for some ads popping up here and there. This is a GPS application that integrates real-time traffic, reports on road hazards and naturally, Google Maps. I use this app daily even if I already know how to get to my destination purely for the traffic capabilities.
Inrix Traffic – This is a pure traffic reporting application that also integrates some nice features such as traffic cameras so you see live what’s happening along your route. Like Waze, you can tell the application to plot a route and it will take traffic into account. The big advantage to Waze is the ease of user input into the current traffic picture. Waze also has an easier to use interface (in my opinion).
GasBuddy – This application posts current gas prices nearby. It is updated regularly by other drivers and you can also contribute by posting current prices at nearby stations. A lot of drivers might simply stop at their neighborhood station to fill up, but you would be amazed at how much you can save by shopping around with GasBuddy. While Costco gas prices are hard to beat, this application really comes in handy if you don’t have a Costco with a gas station close by. On a related note, Waze has a similar function built-in but I always found that GasBuddy is easier to use for gas prices.
Yelp – I have used this application repeatedly when out and hungry. Simply get into Yelp and it will tell you what restaurants are nearby. You can refine the search by typing in what sort of cuisine you feel like having. This application allows users to review the restaurants so you can get a good take on what’s good in the area.
Trip Advisor – This application has been around for a long time and has assembled a huge database of hotels, attractions and restaurants. Ideal application if travelling in a part of the country you aren’t familiar with. Trip Advisor now offers the ability to download their content and access it offline. Good to use when travelling in remote areas without a cell phone signal.
True Car – Here is the application you will use when buying a new car. True Car provides and fully discloses the least expensive prices dealers are selling your car for. This application is for real. I used it to negotiate a great price on a car earlier last year. I told the dealer to beat the price or I’ll buy it at the dealer shown by True Car. I saved thousands of dollars using this application.
Garmin introduced this series of GPS devices about one year ago. This series is among the most popular introduced in quite awhile. Reminds of the Nuvi 200 series introduced several years ago as far as popularity goes. These have enhanced displays with a 3-D view. Certain models add bluetooth, lifetime traffic and lifetime map updates:
Nuvi 2557LMT – This is the lowest priced model of the trio. This includes lifetime maps and a traffic subscription. There is no Bluetooth or voice-activated navigation.
Nuvi 2577LT – No lifetime maps but it comes with a traffic subscription. Voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth and Smartphone Link compatible.
Nuvi 2597LMT – The premium model which includes lifetime traffic and maps. Voice-activated navigation, Bluetooth and Smartphone Link compatible.
Personally, I don’t see myself using voice-activated navigation, so prefer the lower priced Nuvi 2557LMT. It’s a real bargain considering it comes with the lifetime subscriptions to both traffic and maps.
We’ll review mounting options in a bit. First I wanted to be sure that if you have one of these models with the traffic subscription, don’t lose the cable. Your traffic subscription is actually tied to the actual cable. If you lose your cable, you will need to replace with a very expensive (about $60) traffic charger. A plain car charger will not provide you with traffic, you need to buy the model with traffic incorporated into it.
Now for the mounts. Since Day 1, Garmin has used a design with the Nuvi series which incorporates a custom cradle with a socket on the back. This cradle fits over a 17mm ball which is part of the mount. Starting in 2013, the cradle was modified from one that fits the top and bottom to one which snaps into a round groove on the back of the GPS. It’s a good solid hold as long as you have it snapped in properly. Garmin must have liked this design as they carried it over to the majority of the 2014 and 2015 line of GPS units.
The default mount that is provided with the GPS is of the suction cup variety. This is the same mounting base that Garmin has used for roughly the past ten years (they changed the cradle, not the base mount). Garmin also includes an adhesive disk for those that wish to use it on the dashboard. If you would rather not put adhesive on your dash, you could use this cradle with Garmin’s highly regarded bean bag mount which we discussed in a prior article.
How about some alternative locations and mounts? Vent mounts have been available for many years but Garmin completely missed the parade on these until 2013. Finally coming out with a vent mount of their own, Garmin’s 010-11952-00 mount is a very well made mount. Unlike many of their competitors, Garmin saw the need for a vent mount with a clamp on the back if it. This means these mounts will fit horizontal and vertical vents.
RAM Mounts has a large array of mounts that feature their custom cradle for this series called the RAM-HOL-GA57U. Your GPS will snap directly into this custom cradle and there are accommodations for the power cable built in. This makes the ideal basis for motorcycle use and RAM offers a nice bundle for this series which includes the custom cradle and the mount. The mount is constructed of metal and includes the options for both a handlebar to 1.25″ diameter as well as the clutch. The clutch options work well on Honda Goldwings as well as most Harley models. The mount comes with a lifetime manufacturer warranty.
Motorcycle owners can also consider using the cradle that is provided with the windshield mount. That cradle can be removed by simply pulling it off and then snapped onto a motorcycle mount that has the 17mm ball. I prefer the RAM mount with integrated custom cradle as it is a much more secure mount so be very sure to tether the GPS to your bike if you select this option.
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iPhone bigger and better. At least that’s what Apple calls it. Recently made available, this is the most popular release to date of a new iPhone. It’s understandable, especially for those not already owning a more current phone. The performance and functionality improvements introduced with the new phone as well as the new operating system (IOS release 8) are significant. This is a site that focuses on the stuff needed to make your devices mobile, so if you want to read about some of the enhancements, take a few minutes to view it at Apple.
We would be remiss without mentioning one very important sets of features on the new iPhone 6 which is called iSight and Auto Image Stabilization. This combines some new hardware and software enhancements that will permit you to shoot photos and videos that aren’t as prone to a shaky hand nor as susceptible to a vibrating vehicle. This expands the potential of using your iPhone 6 for use as a dash camera or possibly for use on a motorcycle. If you choose to do this, make sure the mount that you purchase leave the rear camera lens uncovered.
When it comes to mounting this phone, it’s important to know the dimensions of these devices. The iPhone 6 is larger than any model announced to date. With a 4.7 inch diagonal screen this phone is 5.44 inches tall by 2.64 inches wide by .27 inches deep. The larger iPhone 6 Plus is even larger. Sporting a 5.5 inch diagonal screen, this iPhone is 6.22 inches tall, 3.06 inches wide and .28 inches deep. These are important measurements to keep in mind when selecting your mount. For those with any custom iPhone mount which features a cradle specifically made for your iPhone, they aren’t going to fit and you will need to purchase a new mount, or at least a new cradle. For those that have purchased a universal mount to hold your older phone, hopefully it opens wide enough to hold your new iPhone 6 series without a problem. Most universal mounts offer options to upgrade your cradle to a larger one. From experience, I suspect you will be able to reuse your existing universal mount for an iPhone 6, but not for the iPhone 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 Plus is a really big phone. It was made to compete with the larger models from Samsung such as the Mega and Galaxy Note.
Readers of our site already know that we favor the universal mounts because of the reasons just mentioned. So for those that never had a phone mount before, avoid the custom solutions and purchase a solid universal mount.
There are a lot of companies that offer some excellent mounting solutions for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Arkon, based in California, offers three inexpensive lines that fit all iPhone 6 models with or without a case. The Mobile-Grip 2 cradles were recently introduced. Mobile-Grip 2 features an expandable cradle that grips your phone from the sides. The cradle opens to 3.6 inches wide so should be large enough for almost all cases although you might struggle a bit with a thick case on an iPhone 6 Plus. Arkon also offers an older line called Slim-Grip Ultra which opens to over 7 inches. The Slim-Grip Ultra will hold your phone from the top and bottom and features support legs that can move from side to side. Lastly, the Megagrip cradle opens to 3.4 inches. The Megagrip has been around for many years and is extremely reliable. The Megagrip features one hand operation and opens with the push of a button. Arkon does not offer a custom cradle for any of the iphone 6 models.
iOttie, based in New York, provides some inexpensive mounts that feature the Easy One Touch 2 universal cradle which opens to 3.2 inches and will fit the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus without a case or skin. When adding a thick case, this line may not fit well. This cradle is spring loaded and sold with a variety of mounts for the handlebar, windshield and dash. iOttie is somewhat new to us and we plan to look closer at their offerings in the near future.
RAM Mount, out of Washington, features two custom cradles. The RAM-HOL-AP18U is made to fit the iPhone 6 and the RAM-HOL-AP19U will fit the iPhone 6 Plus. Since it’s a custom cradle, these will not fit your device with a case or skin. You can couple these with one of RAM’s mounting pedestals for the windshield, cup holder, dash or motorcycle. RAM also makes their ever popular X-Grip cradle, the RAM-HOL-UN7BU for the 6 and RAM-HOL-UN10BU for the 6 Plus. These universal cradles will open to grip your phone from the sides with or without a case or skin in use. Although the custom cradles are well made, we prefer the X-Grip universal cradles. It’s likely you will have a case or skin on your phone so go with the universal cradles. We do a deep dive on the X-Grip series which is worth reading here.
As for recommendations, I have used and really like the Arkon MegaGrip SM415 Mount for universal car use. This line is inexpensive and proven. You can use it reliably on your car dash or windshield and it fits your iPhone 6 with or without a case. The mount features a vacuum locked suction assembly attached to a pivoting arm. The cradle opens and closes at a push of a button and expands up to 3.4 inches so it will git the iPhone 6 even with a case and an iPhone 6 Plus without a case or with a very thin skin. The phone can swivel into any orientation. The mount also comes with an adhesive disk that you can stick to the dash to turn the mount into a console mount. The suction assembly can adhere tot he adhesive disk just like it would on a windshield. I have used these for a long time and can vouch for the ease of use and durability. Might be the best phone mount you can get for the price.
If you are looking to use your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus on a motorcycle, consider the RAM X-Grip line. These are heavy duty mounts that are mostly constructed of metal. The mount has gone through some rigorous shake tests and holds up well on a motorcycle. We wrote about X-Grips extensively on this site and you can view that article here. The mount that you would use for the iPhone 6 is the RAM-B-149Z-UN7U. The iPhone 6 Plus needs a larger cradle so you would select the RAM-B-149Z-UN10U.
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The air vent is one of my favorite mounting locations. I like it because it keeps the device right where it’s convenient for you to see it. I also like the fact that it keeps your device out of clear site of any potential bad guys. A vent mount is not clearly seen in a parking lot versus the traditional windshield suction cup mount or one for the dash. Most dash mounts are easy to install. Depending upon the vent mount, some are easy to remove (and some are not).
Vent mounts are excellent for mounting a cell phone, GPS or small tablet. Although there are a few good vent mounts made for tablets, you need to ensure that your vents can handle a larger heavier device. I have seen a few cases where the weight of the tablet pulled the vent slats out of the dashboard. Although I would wonder why that would happen in my car rather than blame the mount, I would simply recommend avoiding the vent for heavier items.
Although I was always a bit concerned about the heat or air conditioning blowing extreme temperatures on my device, I never had an issue using a vent mount with either a GPS or iPhone. Been using these types of mounts for ten years, never had an issue.
Vent mounts come in two flavors. The first uses two arms that grasp on to your vent slats. These mounts are inexpensive and easy to install. The arms will insert into the vent base and you will pinch the end of each arm to insert it over the vent slat. Removal is typically a matter of pinching the end of the arms, slide forward slightly and remove. They work great on horizontal vents, meaning the slats run from side to side. A minority of cars have vertical vents where the slats run up and down and a small number of vehicles have very wide round vents. In these few cases, I do not recommend one of these vent mounts but don’t despair as there is hope which I outline below. Good and extremely inexpensive vent mounts that I have used include a GPS vent mount, satellite radio mount and cell phone vent mount with universal cradle.
Vent mounts have been around for over ten years and the majority are made using the arms just described. Finally manufacturers are making mounts that include a small clamp on the back. Typical installation involves turning a small knob to open the clamp, placing it around a vent slat, then tightening the knob so the mount holds tightly. Mounts with clamps work on all vent types. Vertical vents and round slats no longer matter. These vent mounts are more expensive than the type described in the prior paragraph but for ease of installation and removal as well as being able to fit all vent types, the few additional dollars worth it. These types of mounts are just hitting the market and I suspect that we’ll be updating this review over the coming months as the new models hit the market.
Meanwhile, iOttie is a company out of the US that makes some well made mounts. They recently introduced a new air vent mount that will work using a clamp type of attachment just described. iOttie combines the mount with a magnetic ending (this is another trend that is becoming popular). A small metal plate with an adhesive backing is provided which will adhere to the back of your device, and that metal plate will attach to the magnetic mount. These work real well with a smartphone or GPS device.
Another interesting trend in vent mounts is the molding of a series of clips directly into the back of the mount. These vent mounts are distributed by a company called Kenu and will hold onto both horizontal and vertical vents. Although I prefer the mount just described from iOttie, these are minimalist in design, easy to install, and very simple to carry with you on vacation. So small that it will simply slip into your pocket. You know we like universal mounts, and this universal cradle opens wide enough to fit most phone with a case or skin.
Lastly, Garmin themselves never made a vent mount before until earlier in 2014 when they introduced a really well made one that has an integrated clamp and control wheel. While I have never been a fan of Garmin made mounts, I do like this one. They did a nice job in the design and it is well made. The ount features the Garmin 17mm ball which fits the back of any socket that is part of a Nuvi cradle. Your cradle is still likely attached to the suction cup mount included with the GPS purchase. If you are unhappy with the suction cup mount provided, consider their vent mount.
You can’t go wrong with air vent mounts. They are inexpensive and last a long time. Coupled with the line of site advantage that a vent mount provides, I recommend these over the typical windshield location suction cup mounts.