Choosing the Right Cell Phone Car Mount

Car Mirror Mount with iPhoneI remember when mobile phones first went mainstream with the infamous bag phone.  It costs 99 cents per minute to make a call.  You took a rubber antenna and used a suction cup to stick it to your windshield.  Call quality was sketchy and you only used it in an emergency.  That was about 25 years ago.  These have come a long way.  Next time you sit down at a restaurant, take a look around.  People no longer talk to each other while waiting for their dinner to arrive, they’re checking out Facebook on their phones.

The use of mobile phones in your car is now way beyond mainstream.  Phones can now replace GPS devices quite capably.  Take a look at Waze.  It provides the capability that you would find in a $200 GPS including updated maps and current traffic conditions.  And it’s free.  Although a smaller size than a DVD player or tablet, you can entertain the kids with a video or YouTube.  And oh yeah, you can make calls for much less than 99 cents per second.

This article will help you to select the right car mount for your mobile phone.

First measure your phone to ensure the cradle part of the mount will fit.  Stay away from mounts with custom cradles and instead opt for a universal as this will permit the use of a case or skin and can be used again when you purchase a new phone.  Secondly think about where you would like to put it.  We will review a few most popular mounting types below.  Lastly, be sure the mount that you purchase has a few important features included namely the ability to tilt, swivel and pivot.  Also be sure that the cradle part of the phone will not block any buttons or ports.

Suction Cup Mounts – These continue to be the most popular mount although I do not personally think it is the most practical.  I think these are the first type of mount people think of and that’s why they are so popular.  Be sure to purchase a mount that has a suction cup that is at least three inches across with a vacuum grip.  Be certain that your state permits use of a windshield mount as there are a few that do not as outlined in a recent article.   A very popular and affordable windshield suction mount that we have spoken about before is the mount from Arkon.

Air Vent Mounts – This is my favorite location for mounting a phone.  This keeps your phone at a perfect location near the windshield yet out of view of a potential thief.  Try to purchase a mount that uses a vice to attach versus the arms.  It is easier to install and remove and works on practically any vent type.

Mirror Mount – These are relatively new mounts and also one of my favorite locations.  The photo that accompanies this article shows a mirror mount in use with an iPhone.  Mirror mounts typically include a vice grip that attaches to the top and bottom of your rear view mirror.  These place the phone at an excellent location very  close to the line of site for the road.

Cup Holder Mount – As long as your cup holder isn’t larger than a 7-11 Big Gulp, use it for a car mount.  We wrote about cup holder mounts in great detail in a prior article.  I have eight cup holders in my car and can’t possibly use them all for drinks.  Why not use one for a mount.  Be sure to purchase a cup holder mount that has an expandable base for different size cup holders.

Dash Mount – Dash mounts come in two flavors.  First is a weighted base with a suction cup mount that will attach to a round smooth plate.  There is a second type of dash mount which will use adhesive to attach to your dash.  Although these types of mounts are popular, I prefer one of the previously listed options.

Lighter Mount – We discussed these in greater depth in a prior article.  These mounts combine a charger with a mount.  Be sure your lighter is deep enough to support the weight of a phone.  Lighters that are vertical seems to work best for these types of mounts.  Also be certain that your stick shift will not get in the way of the mount when you are in park.

That’s a lot of options.  There are even more options that I didn’t discuss because I don’t think they work as well as the options listed above.   Some of these mounts come with extended warranties that are worth taking into account.  Again, be sure to go with a universal cradle and not a custom one.  That will allow you to use a case or skin as well as re-purpose your mount for the next time you upgrade your phone.