Your phone is an essential tool as a rideshare driver. Not only does it allow you to pick up rides and navigate to your destination, but it also lets you contact Uber or Lyft support in case you have any questions. It’s no wonder that having a working smartphone is one of the key requirements for both Uber and Lyft drivers.
Of course, the best smartphone in the world is useless if you can’t see it and access it easily. You need to be able to watch your phone for directions and passenger notifications while still keeping both eyes on the road. The best way to accomplish this is through a phone holder. The world of car phone holders, however, is vast. With lots of different designs and brands on the market, how do you know which one to choose?
In this guide, we’re going to help you answer that question. We’ll go through the main types of car phone holders on the market, as well as recommend our favorite picks for each type.
- Why You Need a Car Phone Mount
- How to Choose a Car Phone Holder
- Types of Phone Car Mounts
- The 7 Best Phone Holders
- Car Phone Mount FAQ
Before we get into the specifics of cell phone holders, we should look at why you need one at all. Maybe you think having a holder for your mobile phone or other mobile device (like a tablet) is unnecessary. This might be true if you only use your phone for GPS navigation. In this case, you can get by with audio directions most of the time (though they can still cause some confusion in dense urban areas).
As a rideshare driver, however, just listening to your phone isn’t going to cut it. You need to be able to see it, swipe, and tap to accept passenger requests and confirm you’ve dropped passengers off. At the same time, you need to be able to watch directions while on the road and respond to any changes to your passenger’s itinerary.
Even if you’re using a Tesla for navigation, which has a massive screen for directions, you’ll still need to accept requests and keep yourself from getting distracted.
While it is possible to do all the above with your phone balanced on your leg or gripped between your hand and the steering wheel, we don’t recommend it. Not only is doing this very dangerous, but it’s also illegal in many states. If caught, you could find yourself with a hefty fine or even criminal charges (which can stay on your record and affect your ability to get a job). You can save yourself from all this trouble by paying the money for a phone holder and using it any time you’re driving for Uber or Lyft.
If you go to Amazon or Google and search for “car mount holder,” “phone mount,” or “car phone holder,” you’ll find a dizzying array of results. As with most types of cell phone accessories, much of what you find will be poor quality and will either break the first time you use it or won’t work at all.
Even among the quality products, there are still many options. Do you need a phone holder mount with a flexible neck? What about an adjustable base? Magnetic or bracket mounts?
Before you get bogged down in all the technical specifications, you should consider the basic function that a phone holder is supposed to serve. Does the device allow you to see and use your phone while still safely driving? That’s the only question that matters. Any other features are just a nice bonus.
Of course, there are some basic requirements that any phone holder needs to meet:
- Fit your phone (be sure to read the product description carefully to confirm this)
- Hold your phone securely (you don’t want it to fall off if you stop suddenly or hit a bump)
- Attach to your car securely (we’ll discuss the different ways that phone mounts can attach to your car in the next section)
- Comply with state laws (some states prohibit phone holders that attach to your car windshield, as such devices can obscure your view of the road)
But which mounts meet these criteria? And what do all the different terms related to phone mounts mean? Read on to find out.
Phone mounts have two key qualities that define them:
- How the mount attaches to your phone
- How the mount attaches to your car
In terms of how the mount attaches to your phone, there are two methods:
- Bracket mounts — These mounts use brackets to “grip” your phone (mimicking how you’d hold it in your hand)
- Magnetic mounts — With these mounts, you attach a metal plate to your phone or phone case. A magnet on the mount attracts the metal and holds the phone in place.
Whether you choose bracket mount or magnetic mount is a matter of personal preference. We recommend that you go with a magnetic mount, as it’s generally more convenient to use when you need to take your phone off the mount (such as at the end of a shift or during a break). That being said, there are bracket mounts that perform quite well. Just consider whether you want to use both hands to fiddle with the bracket each time you need to remove your phone from it.
Moving on, we come to the other key characteristic of phone mounts: how they attach to your car. There are a few main ways:
- Suction cup mount — A suction cup attaches the mount to either your dashboard or windshield. You’ll sometimes see these called “window mounts” or “windshield mounts” as well.
- Cup holder mount — The base of the mount fits into your cup holder.
- Air vent mount — The mount clips to your car air vent.
- Adhesive mount — The mount attaches to either your windshield or dashboard using some sort of (hopefully very strong) adhesive.
- CD slot mount — The base of the mount slides into your CD player.
Is one of the above types better than the others? Not necessarily. Many drivers dislike suction mounts, as they both obstruct your view of the road and aren’t always secure. In some states, they may also be illegal to use due to their obstructing your view (check your local laws to be sure). Assuming they’re legal in your state and don’t bother you, however, there’s nothing wrong with using them.
Cup holder mounts are convenient but also come under criticism from some drivers. Reasons include the fact that they make one of the cup holders useless, they don’t always fit well in the cup holder, and they require you to take your eyes off the road to use them. On the other hand, they have the benefits of being sturdy and not obstructing your view of the road.
Air vent car mounts can be excellent, as they put the phone in a place that’s easy to see without blocking your view of the road. Some drivers don’t like them, however, because they block most of the air flow from the vent they’re attached to. Depending on your climate and personal preferences, this may or may not matter to you.
Adhesive mounts are not something we generally recommend. To start, they aren’t the most reliable. Some do come with strong adhesives that can weather bumps and sudden stops, but these types are the exception. Even in cases where the adhesive is strong enough, it can cause problems if you ever need to remove the mount from your windshield or dashboard due to the sticky residue it leaves behind.
CD slot mounts are an interesting case. Assuming that your car even still has a CD player (some new models don’t), they can offer similar benefits to air vent mounts. They don’t block your view of the road, but they don’t require you to look down as far as a cup holder mount. The only downside is that they prevent you from using the CD player (though in the days of streaming music services, this is less of a concern than in the past).
That’s an overview of the basic types of car phone holders. Note that many brands of holders will offer both a bracket mount and magnetic mount version, both of which will use the same method of attaching to your car. We’ll highlight both types in the next section, which looks at the best phone holders.
Here are our top 7 picks, covering a variety of styles and price points. For the sake of consistency, we’ve provided links to Amazon for each product. However, it’s also worth checking the manufacturer’s website for special deals (such as free shipping on certain models).
First on our list, we have the MagicMount. It’s a magnetic phone holder with an adhesive mount. It uses a swivel holder that allows a 360-degree viewing angle for any device you attach to it.
Speaking of devices, you won’t have to worry if this mount fits your device. Because it uses a magnet to attach itself to your phone, all you have to do is apply the adhesive metal plate to either your phone or phone case (depending on how thick your case is). It’s a perfect fit for all phones.
Be sure that if your phone has wireless charging, you place the plate so that it does not obstruct the wireless charger area in the middle of your phone.
The MagicMount is currently $11.99 on Amazon.
Up next, we have the Easy One Touch 4. It uses a strong suction cup to attach to either your dashboard or windshield, and it grips your phone using a bracket. The bracket will hold any phone and case combinations that measure between 2.3–3.5 inches wide. This includes the following common Apple iPhone and Android phones:
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 6
- iPhone 7
- iPhone 8
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone X
- iPhone XS Max
- Samsung Galaxy S7
- Samsung Galaxy S8
- Samsung Galaxy S9
This mount comes with a telescopic arm extends from 4 inches to 6.5 inches and pivots on a 225-degree arc, allowing for a variety of viewing positions. You can also release the bracket mount with just the press of a button, which makes it easier to handle than some competitor mounts that use a bracket style.
The Easy One Touch 4 is currently $17.40 on Amazon.
The WizGear Universal Magnetic Air Vent mount holder is a basic mount, but sometimes that’s all you need. It clips to your air vent using a set of two prongs, and it attaches to your phone via metal plate and magnet. Due to the magnetic phone mount, it will fit any type of phone (though it probably isn’t strong enough to hold an iPad).
The WizGear Universal Air Vent is currently $6.99 on Amazon, making it one of the most affordable options on our list.
The Mpow mount is the only CD slot phone mount on our list. It fits into all car CD players. Just insert the base and then tighten it using the knob. You then mount your phone in the included bracket. The bracket fits any phones with a width between 2.2 inches and 3.7 inches.
The Mpow mount is currently $10.99 on Amazon.
Up next, we have the TechMatte MagGrip. It’s another air vent magnetic car mount. The mount is covered in rubber, which helps make sure it won’t slip out of place while driving. It has a subtle, minimalistic design, which could be a plus if you don’t want a bulky accessory stuck on your air vent. It’s a universal phone holder, fitting almost any device.
The MagGrip is currently $7.99 on Amazon.
The Steelie dashboard mount attaches to your dashboard using an adhesive. You then attach the mount to your phone using a magnet. This makes it similar to other magnetic mounts we’ve discussed so far. What sets the Steelie apart is its design.
The base of the mount is a steel ball (similar to a ball bearing in construction) that allows your phone to pivot at a variety of angles, making sure you can see your screen in whatever orientation you want. Due to its magnetic design, it can hold almost any phone.
The Steelie is currently $19.50 on Amazon.
For the final pick on our list, we have a cup holder phone mount. As we mentioned earlier, this style of mount won’t be for everyone. However, the MCUP does overcome some of the issues that other car cup holder mounts have with visibility. It uses a long telescoping arm to place the phone at a great enough height to be easily visible. This makes it superior to the “mini” arms that some other cup holder mounts have.
This mount uses a bracket design that will fit any phone between 1.77 inches and 4.1 inches in width. They also offer a model for holding iPads.
The MCUP is currently $19.99 on Amazon.
To close out this guide, let’s answer a few common questions about car phone holders:
1. What’s the best iPhone car mount?
In terms of iPhone vs Android, there isn’t any difference between phone holders. The only thing that matters is the width of the phone, which can vary even among iPhones. So when shopping for phone holders, look at the width the device accommodates. Or, just get one with a magnetic mount so that you don’t have to worry about your phone fitting in the bracket.
2. Are phone mounts tax deductible?
Most likely, yes, if you get them for the purpose of driving for Uber, Lyft, or any other kind of delivery app that requires you to use your phone in your vehicle. You should always consult with an accountant just to be safe, of course. For more information on rideshare and self-employment taxes, consult our guide.
3. Will magnetic phone mounts damage my phone?
No, they will not. While phones do contain some magnetic components, the magnets in phone holders are not powerful enough to damage them. They won’t wipe your phone’s memory, damage its speaker, disable its screen, or cause any other kind of problems.
Get the Phone Mount That’s Best for You
We hope this guide has shown you how to get the best phone holder for your needs. There are many options out there, and the best choice for you ultimately comes down to your preferences, type of device, and any applicable state laws.