The Best Cheap Car Phone Mounts of 2019

A car phone mount keeps a smartphone attached to a vehicle's windshield or dashboard.

These holders are often "universal," which means they're designed to work with any phone. Some phone mounts use magnets, suction cups or adhesives to stay in position. Others grip onto the vehicle's air conditioning vents or slip into a head unit's CD drive.

Phone mounts are a popular accessory for drivers who use GPS-navigation apps like Waze. 

Beware: 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

Let's get back to phone mounts. The best of these cradles hold a phone securely and allow the screen to be repositioned easily. (Windshield mounts are illegal in many states, so double-check before you buy.) Some phone cradles include a Qi wireless charger, but these advanced models cost upwards of $50. A basic mount can be had for much less, but the magnets in these mounts will disable wireless charging.

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: $11 | Great Deal: $10

JunDa's dashboard mount holds phones snugly and allows them to be rotated easily, according to several Amazon customers. Many reviewers had issues clipping this mount to their dashboards, instead using their steering wheels or visors.

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 their phones when they were inside a large protective case; other customers were disappointed by how much this mount blocks airflow.

John DeFeo