If you’ve bought or are thinking of buying a car phone mount, you’ve probably wondered at some point about a suction cup’s sticking power. The fact is, no suction cup can have a foolproof hold on all surfaces, especially ones that are porous (like a mesh with little holes) or not perfectly flat. But if you’re thinking “Oh no — I went for the leather interior! Now I can never put a phone mount on my dashboard!” fear not; you do have options!
First, there are a few ways you can can adapt your dashboard for mount usability. Second, we’ll name some other surfaces in your car you can consider. Finally, we’ll explain how some suction cups are just better-engineered than others, so you can distinguish the best from the rest. Read through these tips, and you’ll never worry about the security of a suction cup car phone mount again!
Not All Dashboards Are Created Equal
Your car’s sleek interior can come in a variety of materials. Dashboards can be made of:
and others. It’s important to consider the overall texture, flatness, and especially “porousness” of your dashboard when placing a car phone mount. Uneven textures and porous materials can allow air to pass through into the suction chamber, unable to create the vacuum necessary for a stable grip.
The best way to test your dashboard’s material for suction-ability is to take a typical kitchen or craft suction cup (the kind one hangs window ornamentations from) and see how well it holds on a clean, dust-free spot on your dash. If one of these rigid suction cups holds securely, then a well-designed one will definitely stay sturdy on your dashboard. If air seeps through no matter what you do, check into options like:
- A heavy dashboard beanbag with a plastic platform on top, like this one
- A flat plastic disc with adhesive backing to stick to your dash, like this one
These are a great way to make sure your mount stays put on even the softest of dashboards, right where you want it.
Think Outside the Dash
A small and elegant car phone mount gives you the opportunity to be creative with placement. Your phone mount doesn’t have to crowd your controls, radio, or CD slot to be conveniently located, no matter what your interior is like.
In most states, it’s legal to set up a car phone mount on your windshield, which is by far the best option when it comes to suction cup security. The smooth flatness of windshield glass keeps air out and the vacuum in, so your phone doesn’t go anywhere even on bumpy roads. In taller vehicles with large, vertically-oriented windshields, typically the bottom center, top center (beside the rear view mirror), or side walls of the windshield are good places to set up a car phone mount for driver visibility and ease of use. In lower vehicles with very sloped windshields, stick to the bottom edges of the windshield.
Depending on your preferences and your car’s layout, you probably have a number of smooth, flat surfaces in the cabin that would also look great with a phone mount attached. Some creative ideas for phone mount placements include:
- smooth plastic surfaces on the front panel of the dash, e.g. around the stereo or next to air vents
- smooth plastic surfaces on elevated center consoles
- the front of the driver’s side window (when a panel is in place that does not roll down, such as a wind wing — as long as you can still see your side mirror!)
- on the plastic front dash panel directly underneath or above the steering wheel, so that a mounted phone can be seen through the wheel’s holes
These are especially great alternatives for states where mounting a car phone mount to the windshield is disallowed. (Let us know if you’ve tried or seen any other creative phone mount locations, and don’t be shy about sending a picture if you have one!)
The Extra Mile
The rule with products is that you get what you pay for, and phone mounts are no exception. A weak or poorly-designed suction cup, a device that’s too heavy, or other factors could all inhibit your ability to get reliable use out of a car phone mount. Remember these tips about shopping for a car phone mount to make your comparisons easier:
- Make sure the suction cup is a moderately soft material, to help it mold to whatever surface you want to place it on.
- Make sure the mount fits your phone, as well as any other phones (your wife or parents) that you might want to place on it, and has been reliably proven to support weight under realistic driving conditions.
- Make sure the product is well thought-out all around, with extra features such as metal shielding to protect your phone from any extra battery waves, and ideally a backup element to its mounting attachment such as an adhesive layer on the suction cup.
Check out our iMagnet Mount for a great example before you start your comparison shopping; we’re happy to say it should meet your standards for all of the above, including having a patented super-effective suction cup with an adhesive layer. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!