Dash/windshield mounts, cradle
Mpow’s Car Windshield / Dashboard Car Mount (MCM12) uses a large, comparatively ugly cradle to hold the phone, and you have to squeeze it shut rather than letting the arms snap into place automatically.
Nite Ize’s Steelie FreeMount Dash Kit places your phone only about an inch from the dashboard surface, so it’s far less positionable than our picks. It does, however, have the smallest adhesive attachment point.
The PopSockets Mount is small and unobtrusive but requires you to use a PopSockets accessory on your phone or case.
Bracketron’s Mi-T Grip Dash & Window Mount doesn’t feel as nice as other models and seems like it could break more easily. In our testing, the arms bent without much force, and they looked ready to snap if we put more pressure on them.
The Ram Twist-Lock Suction Cup Mount (RAM-B-166-UN7U), also known as the Ram X-Grip, was a top pick several years ago, but it’s not as easy to use as current designs. Offering two ball-and-socket joints, which you tighten or loosen with a single knob, the X-Grip provides a wide range of adjustability. And it maintains a strong, slip-free grip on the phone. But it’s pretty bulky compared with our picks, and getting the phone positioned properly between the strong, spring-loaded arms takes a bit of effort. With some phones, we’ve also had problems with getting the X-Grip arms to hold the handset without accidentally pressing buttons on the side or slipping off the corner. That said, Ram Mounts also sells a larger version, the Ram Universal X-Grip Large Phone/Phablet Cradle (RAM-HOL-UN10BU), which is designed to fit some phablet-size phones that our picks can’t accommodate.
Dash/windshield mounts, magnetic
If the Kenu Airbase Magnetic isn’t available, Scosche’s MagicMount Window/Dash is a good alternative. The Scosche mount is about half the price of the Kenu currently, but its long, semirigid arm allows the phone to bounce more when you’re driving.
Nite Ize’s Steelie Windshield Mount is only a partial component. You must also purchase a thick magnetic phone socket to stick to the back of your handset or case, making this an expensive and more-obtrusive mounting option.
iOttie’s iTap Magnetic Dashboard Mount doesn’t use a traditional suction cup, relying only on an adhesive pad. According to owner reviews, the pad doesn’t always stick well, especially on curved, textured dashes.
Logitech’s [+] Drive is somewhat pricey, and a fair number of owners report that the knob for tightening the mounting cup can break during normal use. On top of that, you can’t adjust the phone’s position side to side when the mount is locked in place—only up and down.
Mpow’s Grip Pro 2 CD Slot Car Mount is inexpensive but made with an inferior thumbscrew-style design. And instead of having the arms snap shut around your phone when you put the handset in the cradle, as on our top pick, you must manually squeeze the arms around the phone. (They release at the press of a button.)
TechMatte’s MagGrip CD Slot Car Mount is our former top pick and the only other magnetic CD-slot mount we tested. It’s simple, compact, and affordable, but like the other thumbscrew-based CD mounts, it’s not as easy to install in your CD player as iOttie’s lever design, and we’ve broken other screw mounts in normal use by overtightening. The current TechMatte model has a new attachment system, but we’ve still seen recent reports of it snapping. A few people report in Amazon reviews that the TechMatte mount’s rubber melted into their CD player, though we didn’t experience this problem in long-term testing with multiple models in several different cars.
If you’re looking for a vent-attached model with a magnetic phone mount, and you can’t get our top pick from Kenu, iOttie’s iTap Magnetic Vent Mount has similar dimensions but a slightly inferior clamp that’s a little more limited in its positioning.
Mpow’s Grip Magic Air Vent Mount Holder uses rubber-coated claws to grip vent flaps, rather than the superior squeezing arms of our top pick.
Nite Ize’s Steelie Vent Mount Kit requires the company’s magnet attachment on the back of your device. We think it’s a less-elegant design than our pick.
TechMatte’s MagGrip Vent Car Mount and WizGear’s Air Vent Magnetic Car Mount Holder are identical, affordable options. The design lacks articulation, so you can’t position it as well as other mounts, and because it doesn’t stick out far from the vent, it won’t work with some phones in some cars. It also uses inferior stubby rubber claws to grip vent flaps.
WizGear’s Air Vent Magnetic Car Mount Holder with Swivel Head has the same stubby rubber claws as the model without the swivel head but sticks out a bit farther. We’d take this one over the other WizGear model, but neither is as good as our pick.
The Bracketron Earth Elements O2 Vent Mount is the largest, most complicated vent mount we tried, without any benefits.
Logitech’s [+] Trip and ZeroTouch air-vent magnetic mounts are virtually the same design except for their finish. Neither model offers any adjustability, though. When used with the ZeroTouch app on an Android phone, the ZeroTouch mount supports voice commands for navigation, music, and other apps, as well as Alexa functionality. But it’s expensive for this category, and it’s more than most people want in a phone mount (we’ll be evaluating its voice-command support in an upcoming guide to Alexa devices for cars).