Where in the world would the human race be if it were not for the rise of the lowly cup holder? While that might be a bit of a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ statement, those who spend any time at all in a car know the idea is not as ludicrous as one might think. Add today’s compulsion for digital devices and it was natural that the stable and always secure cup holder would develop a close relationship with the always lost, never convenient phone.
To marry the two in a way that capitalizes on the best qualities of each is a stroke of genius. A combination of heavy duty plastic, powerful magnets and rubberized grips have morphed into an array of products that are not only practical and functional but beautiful in their uniqueness.
The products reviewed here are the result of that marriage. Likely to be a long one, the bond between digital device and cup holder varies with each adaptation. Here, perhaps, one can find the best option for their specific lifestyle.
Quick Look: Best Cup Holder Phone Mounts
- SCOSCHE MagicMount
- Macally Adjustable Automobile Cup
- Macally Magnetic Car Holder
- Mediabridge Smartphone Cradle
- Macally Car Cup Holder
- Cellet PH650 Universal Car Cup
- Okra Car Cup Holder
- Leagway Phone Cradle Mount
1. SCOSCHE MagicMount
Give up one cup holder and get a 4 device charging station and magnetic mount device holder with this product from SCOSCHE. Safely secure a digital device to the magnetic MagicPlate then adjust the flexible neck for uncommon functionality.
This feature rich item uses an adjustable cup holder base for stability and has a single flexible arm with magnetic mount holder. The incorporated charging station operates on a 12 volt power adapter and has two 5-Watt USB ports and 2-12v devices. Complete with LED indicator lights that show charging, the powerful magnets hold devices securely. Great for hands-free use, the product has a rotating adjustment installs quickly without wobble. Besides the unit and user manual, the package includes a 12v car power adapter, small and large MagicPlates, protective film, and alcohol cleaning wipe. SCOSCHE offers Lifetime Tech Support and a 3-year limited warranty.
2. Macally Adjustable Automobile Cup
Designed to best fit rectangular devices with or without cases, this product by Macally accepts digital devices that are approximately 1.77 inches wide and 4.1 inches long. The cradle grip keeps the device secure without damaging the finish or case. With a one button release, there is no tug and pull to quickly retrieve the device. The base is adjustable and will fit all sizes of standard holders for car, truck and SUV.
A holder that securely grips a device while moving is great until it turns into a tug of war when trying to remove it. This product has all the security and flexibility a user could want with the addition of a one-button release. The heavy duty curved arm can be rotated to sit at just the right angle for visibility and the flexible neck allows 360 degree swivel. The cradle mount holds devices with or without a case.
3. Macally Magnetic Car Holder
Designed with three points of adjustability, this magnetic mount product offers secure hold even on the roughest of roads. The special neodymium magnets are safe and can be used on GPS and MP3 players as well as phones.
Many of these products have adjustable bases and necks that swivel. This model has an additional point of flexibility and that is the tilt of the 8 “ hooked arm. Combined with the magnet clip, this tilt permits better viewing angles regardless of the vehicle in which it has been installed. The magnets will work even while the phone is in its case and 2 different plates are included for use with devices that have plastic bodies. This product is a highly adjustable option that allows hands-free operation of any digital device without obscuring a driver’s line of sight. The manufacturer backs its product with a one-year limited warranty.
4. Mediabridge Smartphone Cradle
With five points of adjustability, this cradle mount holder by Mediabridge looks as if it were factory installed. The model is compatible with many of the most popular digital devices, even the larger screened models and heavy duty cases.
One height does not fit all and a product, like this one, that allows slight variations in height can be a real plus to the family with tall and short drivers. It may even have the capability to move away from such car operations as the heater, radio and onboard GPS. Like many of these products, this one stills has a rotating head for vertical and horizontal viewing and it will work with standard cup holders between 2.5” and 3.75”. In addition, it accepts devices up to 3.5” wide with or without cases and its sturdy base keeps the device from wobbling during a hard drive.
5. Macally Car Cup Holder
Available with or without a charger, this Macally product works with virtually any smart phone or rectangular digital device. Both models have an adjustable base that quickly installs in any standard cup holder. The sturdy 8” long flexible neck moves back and forth as well as rotates for greater adaptability. The one button release cradle accepts devices up to 1.77 inches wide and 4.1 inches long.
This model can be ordered as a simple holder or one that incorporates 2 USB and 2 additional CLA (cigarette lighter adapter) sockets. The unit easily connects to power through the vehicle’s standard 12v connection and charging is completed while the motor is running. Everyone can arrive at their destination charged and ready to go. The flexible support and rotating head permits devices to be used in multiple positions. In addition to its secure mount, the one button release makes retrieving the device almost automatic.
6. Cellet PH650 Universal Car Cup
Featuring a jointed arm design, this Cellet Universal device holder provides a stable viewing platform and uncompromising flexibility. The adjustable base is simple to install and the cradle securely grips most any phone or similar sized device. Reaching a maximum height of 13”, this design can also operate at a 10” height so that works for both small and large vehicles.
While other such products have stationary arms, this one has a 10 inch heavy duty one with a 3 inch maneuverable extension that increases the likelihood of getting the perfect place for ease of use. To further accommodate the user. a pivoting head rests at the end of the extension and allows for further adjustments. The sturdy base keeps the stand from wiggling and it is compatible with both smart and flip phone products. The high quality construction is tested before shipping and it is assembled in the USA.
7. Okra Car Cup Holder
Now, there is no need to get 2 different holders for a tablet or phone. This 2 in 1 Device Holder by Okra installs in seconds without tools and comes with a grip that is guaranteed to work with all tablets and smartphones. The base is adjustable as fits all standard cup holders in cars, trucks and SUVs. The flexible design works for driver or passenger.
For those who need a larger screen while using Google Maps or other navigation apps, this 2-in-1 holder adapts from cell phone to tablet with a quick adjustment. Backed by a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, this choice offers all the flexibility of many others but can do so with a tablet or smartphone without changing heads. Should the kids get bored, just set up the tablet and let it face the back or passenger side to keep viewers occupied.
8. Leagway Phone Cradle Mount
Suitable for those larger phones and devices, the Leagway Cradle Mount Phone holder has an adjustable base that fits into virtually any size cup holder. The curved arm can be rotated and has a ball joint holder for 360 degree swivel.
Not only for cell phones, this is a great product for use in an older car or truck to mount a GPS or MP3 player within easy reach. The powerful magnet attaches to a soft holder that cradles and grips any of the larger phones and devices without scratching. The stable base and curved arm are made to keep the device from wobbling while driving. The neck is flexible and allows the user to adjust the position to maximize visibility of the device. Installation takes just a minute or so and the product can be moved from vehicle to vehicle easily.
Cup Holder Phone Mounts Buyer’s Guide
Magnetic or Cradle
The primary difference between these products is what holds the device in place. Magnetic mounts can attach quickly and stay put but may scratch the back of the device. They may also lose their grip over rough roads. Additionally, some devices require special metal plates to be permanently added to ensure a strong bond with the magnet. Cradle models can grip the sides of the device with soft rubber but have size limitations.
Some versions do have adjustable grips that require resizing every time the device is changed. Overall, the best type of mount depends on how the mount is used and the type of phone or device you have. Flip phones are sometimes at a disadvantage with either choice.
Location, Location, Location
Just like the position of the cup holders in a vehicle, each of these devices are unique in how they approach the use of space. Each can be customized and work in different sized openings but is that really going to work in your situation.
Placing any of these products could potentially interfere with a gear shift, turn signal, CD player or onboard GPS. While it may sound silly, taking a ruler out to the car and doing some measurements may avoid the need to return a gadget you just KNEW was going to be awesome.
Line of Sight
Unlike dash and window mount versions, these items may be located well below a normal line of sight. If staying in touch through your phone or regularly adjusting playlists is an important consideration, users may find themselves looking down and away from the road more often than expected.
Bad Habits of Hands-Free Device Use
Based on a USNEWS article dated December 16, 2016, many hands-free device users develop some bad habits which can compromise safety while driving. Here is just a brief summary.
- Texting – With VIP and Bluetooth enabled devices, your attention can still be on the conversation, even if your hands are on the wheel.
- Phone calls – A good headset or using the speakerphone option can be just as distracting as texting while driving
- Media Use – Whether it is breaking news, audio book or favorite video, use of media can make the mind wander or divert attention away from the road.
While these are the habits related to device use other habits include eating and drinking, conversations with passengers, personal grooming, and sleep deprivation.
Reality: Distracted Driving Cost
The conveniences of GPS, streaming music and videos as well as texting and phone calls has contributed to a 10 year high in automobile accident deaths. According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), deaths attributed to distracted driving approached the 3500 mark in 2016.
Noting that each state has adopted laws and guidelines restricting how products such as these can be used, this Federal agency reminds drivers that besides potential loss of life, drivers can be fined, receive jail time and have licenses suspended if found to be using digital devices in an unsafe manner.
Check local and state laws to be sure these products can be used in the areas in which you drive. The seller is not responsible for how this product is used.
Laws regarding the issue of “distracted driving” vary greatly from state to state. Many laws specify where and under what conditions products such as these can be used. Check the law before purchasing to avoid possible fines.
Did you know?
Cup holders in automobiles were available in the late 1950s and 1960s and were often found inside the glove compartment which would open up into something of a tray with indentations for cups, etc.