The Best Cheap Car Phone Mounts of 2019

Car phone mounts are marketed as a hands-free way to use a phone in a vehicle.

Many of these mounts are "universal," which means they're designed to work with any smartphone. Some mounts stay in position using magnets, suction cups or adhesives. Others grip onto the vehicle's air conditioning vents or insert into a CD/DVD drive.

The best car phone mounts hold a phone securely, allowing the screen to be easily repositioned. (Windshield mounts are illegal in many states, so double-check before you buy.) Some phone holders include a Qi wireless charger, but these advanced models cost upwards of $50. A basic mount can be had for much less, but cheap magnetic mounts may disable wireless charging altogether.

A note about safety while using GPS-navigation apps like Waze:

Research conducted by AAA found that navigational programming is the most distracting task for drivers. The same study found that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are safer to operate than native in-vehicle infotainment systems, but still potentially unsafe.

Even a hands-free phone conversation can increase the odds of a crash by 300%, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal. There is no truly-safe way to use technology while driving

Here are the best-reviewed phone mounts that have sold on Amazon for $15 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $12 | Great Deal: $10

This mount holds large phones and is easily adjusted, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers (even happy ones) say the mount loses grip strength over time. Customers with thin or rubbery air-vent slats weren't able to secure the mount.

Good Price: $13 | Great Deal: $9

Scosche's phone mount is easy to install and stays in place, according to several Amazon customers. Reviewers who live in hot climates say the adhesive fails over time; some customers with textured dashboards used super glue to secure the mount.

Good Price: $7 | Great Deal: $2

This mount is a great value and generally effective, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers had trouble securing phones that were in large cases; others wish this mount didn’t block so much airflow.

Good Price: $13 | Great Deal: $8

Many Amazon reviewers say this is the best phone mount that they've used, however, they warn that: it is large; it only holds a phone horizontally; and it won't stay in place on sloped dashboards. A few customers complained that their phones overheated inside of this cradle.

Good Price: $10 | Great Deal: $8

This phone mount is sturdy, durable and makes it easy to attach and detach a phone with one hand, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers (even happy ones) caution that this holder only works with certain types of air vents; others wish that the holder tilted and rotated more freely. 

John DeFeo