Choosing the Right GPS Car Mount

GPS systems have been around for many years.  While the technology has advanced considerably, the mounts that are provided by the manufacturer have stayed the same.  To this day, when you open your brand new GPS box, you will meet your new mount which will typically be a small suction cup similar to what you can purchased for a few dollars online.  The issue with these mounts is that you can use them in one place which is the windshield.  The second issue is that, well, what if you wanted to mount your GPS somewhere other than the windshield?  This article will help you to choose the right GPS car mount for your car.  If you are interested in an article about mounting on your motorcycle, read the articles we wrote on this topic.  You can view them here and here.

Suction Cup Mounts:  Since the manufacturers provide a suction cup mount in the box with your GPS, it should be no surprise that the most popular location to mount a GPS is the windshield.  If you need to replace your suction mount, look at some better made suction mounts, specifically one that has a suction cup diameter of at least 3 inches across.  However, before you spend any money on a new suction cup mount, read our tutorial on how to fix a failing suction cup to see if the problem can be addressed without buying a new one.  Also, be sure that your state allows mounts on your windshield.  We have written previously about the states that have an issue with windshield mounts.

Dash Mount:  The second most popular location for mounting a GPS is the dash.  Dash mounts come in two flavors.  The first type uses your existing suction cup mount.  The base is often weighted and features a non skid bottom similar to one of the mounts we reviewed which you can read here.  There is a second type of dash mount which is simply an adhesive round plate.  Like the weighted mount, these feature a smooth round surface which your suction cup will stick to.

Vent Mount:  I always liked vent mounts.  Typically, the vent is at the perfect location for a driver as your eyes do not have to wander very far from the windshield to see the GPS.  Anotgher advantage is that the vent is always somewhat below the view of a passing bad guy who is looking for windshield mounts.  The drawback about vent mounts is that removal is often tricky and they normally only work on horizontal vents.  If you decide to try a vent mount try to purchase one that uses a mini vice to attach to the vent slats versus the typical mount which uses arms to attach.

Cup Holder Mount:  Ever notice the number of cup holders in your car?  You can’t possibly put that many drinks in your car so why not use one of them as a GPS mount.  Be sure that the cup holder is a normal size, smaller than a 7-Eleven Big Gulp as most cup holder mounts will only expand so far.  Also, buy a cup holder mount made for your GPS.  I see too many phone mounts with universal cradles being sold for a GPS.  Avoid those as they will not fit your GPS properly.

Lighter Mount:  Never could figure out why these weren’t more popular.  We wrote a detailed overview on lighter mounts which you can read here.  Depending upon where your car power port or lighter is located, these can place your GPS at a great location.  Some lighter mounts include an integrated USB cable to power your unit and cost less than a new charger.  Before purchasing a lighter mount, be sure than your stick shift when put into park will not bump up against your GPS.  Also be sure that your lighter is fairly deep otherwise the weight of the GPS will likely pull the mount out of the receptacle.

So, as you can see, there are a variety of options that make good alternatives to a suction cup.  Most are made even better than the ones that you got with your GPS and many come with extended or even lifetime warranties.  You may also find that some of these alternative mounts are universal and can also be used when you upgrade your GPS several years from now.

If you haven’t selected your GPS yet, be sure to read our Guide to Buying a Garmin Nuvi GPS.

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