How to Tell a Well Made Mount from a Poorly Made Mount

Arkon SR088 with a Delphi Skyfi XM RadioIt was over ten years ago when I first became interested in the area of mobile mounting products.  My first exposure was the need for a mount for my XM Satellite Radio.  I thought that I struck the jackpot when I first stumbled upon a mount that bolted to my car seat and attached to my Delphi Skyfi’s cradle.  In fact, that’s a photo of it that accompanies this article.  This was a well made mount.  Made of steel.  Literally.  I would still be using this mount today if I didn’t sell my car.

Back when this photo was taken, there were only a small handful of manufacturers that made mounts because there wasn’t a lot of devices to mount.  A mobile phone involved a phone in a big black bag the size of a small suitcase.  You only used the phone in an absolute emergency since the rates were something like $1 per minute.  The case didn’t have a battery so you needed to power it from your car’s lighter.  It was huge.  No thoughts of a car mount back then for phones.

Things changed a lot.  There are hundreds of companies making products for mounting devices all over the place.  Mounts for vehicles, home, boat, motorcycle, you name the place, there’s a mount out there marketed for it.

Are all mounts made the same?  The answer is absolutely not.  I have often written in other articles on this site that if the mount sells for a few dollars and is being shipped from Asia, it’s a good bet that it’s probably a poorly made mount and you shouldn’t count on it to be very reliable.  Sure, there are exceptions, but my experience tells me that when the price is a few dollars with shipping included, it isn’t going to be a substantial mount.

The majority of mounts on the market are made of plastic.  Some are very well made.  Some not so much.  A good way to figure out if it’s a well made mount is to hold both ends of the mount and try to bend it in opposite directions.  If it starts to give, it’s likely to not hold up too well when in practical use.  This is especially important in high stress vibration environments such as a motorcycle.  The quality of the plastic is also important.  It can’t be hollow.  Some manufacturers combine fiber with the plastic to make it stronger and these are normally pretty solid mounts.

If it is a suction cup variety, which most vehicle mounts are, take a look at the suction mechanism.  Check for a vacuum lock which is typically engaged with a lever or dial.  If there isn’t any vacuum locking mechanism, there is a good chance it will not hold well on your vehicle’s windshield.

There are a few manufacturers that make mounts out of metal.  These are typically higher priced than the plastic counterparts and it makes sense since the mounts are heavier and more costly to produce.  You will typically find these mounts are made to last a long time and some manufacturers offer extended warranties on metal mounts because they last for a long time.

Take the time and check the quality of the mount.  While it might cost a little extra for a high quality mount, it’s going to be worth it.