The best wireless charging phone mounts for cars


Hands-free smartphone mount reviews.


Top picks: Kenu Airbase or Kenu Airframe

To wirelessly charge your phone in a car while keeping it in a place that's safer and more convenient than, say, a cupholder, get the Kenu Airbase Wireless dash/windshield mount or the Kenu Airframe Wireless vent mount. 

Wirecutter researched more than 30 wireless charging phone mounts and tested 20 and found that both of these have the best combination of fast charging, serious stability, and easy adjustability.

About this guide

This guide was written by Thom Dunn and Nick Guy, editorial staff of Wirecutter (New York Times group) and republished by CHOICE. The products are independently selected. This test was conducted in the United States and was originally published on the Wirecutter website. You can read it here in its original version. © 2019 Wirecutter - https://thewirecutter.com - Distributed by The New York Times Licensing Group. Photo lead: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Best for mounting on the dash or windshield

Kenu Airbase Wireless Dash

This model delivered some of the quickest charging speeds, earned top results for stability, and makes it easy to mount and unmount the phone. 

Both Kenu mounts' spring-loaded tension arms gripped a small iPhone SE as tightly as they did a larger iPhone XS Max, even over bumpy cobblestones. 

Despite this firm clasping, it was remarkably easy, even one-handed, to push out either arm in order to insert or remove a phone. 

Best for mounting on a car's air vent

Kenu Airbase Wireless Vent

This is the sturdiest vent-mounted model that was tested, with fast charging speeds, a firm grip, and a quick way to attach and remove your phone.

The Kenu Airbase Wireless and Airframe Wireless offer a convenient way to charge your phone in the car, while also giving you easy access to audio controls, directions, messages, and more.

In tests, both models were among the quickest in charging phones.

The spring-loaded tension arms made attaching or removing a phone of any size very simple, and they held it steady while driving.

Both models offer a wide range of adjustability for positioning your phone where you can readily see it, regardless of the vehicle.

Of all the models tested, the dash-mounted Kenu Airbase Wireless and vent-mounted Kenu Airframe Wireless offered the best combination of fast-charging speeds, ease of use, and sturdy, reliable mounting. They provided some of the quickest charging rates and proved to be the most stable and adjustable overall.

Both of these WPC-certified models come with a dual-port 12-volt USB adaptor that can deliver charging speeds of up to 10 watts. In airplane mode – the most reliable measure – the Kenu mounts charged a drained battery up to 22 percent in half an hour and about 40 percent in an hour, even with a thin case on. 

The only models that were as quick were the Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge, Scosche StuckUp Qi, and Mophie Charge Stream Vent Mount. The StuckUp Qi wouldn't charge through a phone case, though, and the Mophie isn't WPC certified. The other seven models tested averaged 15 and 30 percent, respectively.

Vent mount example

The Kenu Airframe Wireless held our phones securely to the vents of multiple vehicles. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Both Kenu mounts' spring-loaded tension arms gripped a small iPhone SE as tightly as they did a larger iPhone XS Max, even over bumpy cobblestones. Despite this firm clasping, it was remarkably easy, even one-handed, to push out either arm in order to insert or remove a phone. 

You can adjust the mount by rotating it 360 degrees and about 45 degrees back or to the sides to readily see and reach the screen. 

It was also easy to place the phone in the correct position for wireless charging, although testers had to be careful the tension arms didn't press on a phone's buttons. 

The Airframe model had one of the simplest vent-attachment mechanisms – squeeze the two-finger pinch buttons on the base and slide it over one of the vent's slats. It was small enough that it sat flush against the vents in several different cars, which kept it steady over a variety of terrains. 

The suction cup on the dash-mounted Airbase model stuck firmly to the windshield, even with a heavy iPhone XS Max, but it was less reliable on textured dashboard materials.

dual port USB adaptor

Both Kenu models come with a dual-port USB adapter that includes a Quick Charge 3.0-amp input. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Both Kenu models are compact and don't extend far from the dash. This shouldn't be a problem for most drivers, but if you need your phone positioned further rearward – away from the dash – because, say, you sit back from the steering wheel or your car has a steep windscreen, we recommend the iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless.

On both models, the USB-C input is located on the bottom of the attachment that holds the phone, which means the cable from your 12-volt outlet may drape across the dashboard. On other models, the plug is located on the back of the mount, which makes tucking the cable away a snap.

Testers had mixed results with the suction cup on the Airbase model adhering to textured dashboard materials. If you need to mount it on such a surface, we recommend using a sanitary wipe to clean the suction cup and the spot where you plan to place it (or get the iOttie).

Also great – secure, adjustable car phone holder, but slower charging

iOtte Dash

Its extendable neck gives you more flexibility in positioning your phone, and the cradle design adds more support – but its charging speeds weren't the fastest.

The dash-mounted iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless doesn't charge as fast as the Kenu models, but its 20cm extendable neck and fully rotational base offer more flexibility to mount and position your phone. This can be handy if, say, you tend to sit farther away from the dash or if your car has a deeper windshield, on which the Kenu Airbase Wireless would be too far away for easy access. 

The iOttie's tension-grip phone cradle also has a third supporting arm underneath, which provides even more stability and helps you place your phone in the right spot for wireless charging. 

However, the adjustability options can be a bit overwhelming, and the more you extend the plastic neck, the less stable it gets, especially with larger phones such as the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max.

If you need a mount that's more adjustable than the Kenu models, we recommend the iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless. 

It has a 10cm neck that can extend out to 20cm (compared with about 5cm for the Kenu models), so you can position your phone closer to you, if needed. This can be handy if you tend to sit farther back from the dash or have a car with a deep, sloping windshield. 

The suction cup on this dash-mounted model also works better on textured materials than the Kenu, and both the base and the attachment that holds the phone can rotate 360 degrees. The neck can also rotate in an arc of 270 degrees, offering a wide range of options for setup and positioning.

The further the plastic neck extends, however, the more it tends to wobble, especially over rough terrain, which can be annoying. 

In addition to the spring-loaded tension arms and the suction cup, it also has separate knobs to tighten or loosen each of its four adjustable joints. This is a lot of moving parts, which can be a bit overwhelming when you're first setting it up and can also increase the risk of something breaking, which a handful of Amazon reviewers have complained about.

iOtte Dash back of

The iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless's arm can extend up to 20cm for more flexibility in positioning the phone. The lower support can also be adjusted up and down by loosening a knob on the back. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Compared with the Kenu models, the iOttie has an extra support for the underside of the phone, although testers didn't find that it provided better grip. 

A knob on the back of the mount lets you adjust the height of this bottom saddle to ensure that your phone is aligned with the wireless charging mechanism. 

To operate the Easy One Touch tension arms, squeeze the two levers on the sides underneath the arms. This will cause the tension arms to extend to their widest point. When you place the phone between them and press it against the mount, it triggers a touch-sensitive button that snaps the arms back into place around your phone. This was easy and convenient.

The iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless doesn't charge as fast as the Kenu models – 13 percent after a half hour and 25 percent after an hour in airplane mode. This made it one of the slower models in this test, although it's still a decent speed for wireless charging.

Also great – the best magnetic dash mount

Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge MPQ2WD-XTSP

This model delivered some of the quickest charging speeds, earned top results for stability, and makes it easy to mount and unmount the phone. 

Magnetic mounts make it quicker and easier to attach and remove your phone, and this Scosche offers the best combination of sturdy mounting and fast charging, despite a more complicated setup than other wireless charging mounts.

Also great – the best magnetic vent mount

Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge MPQ2V

This model delivered some of the quickest charging speeds, earned top results for stability, and makes it easy to mount and unmount the phone. 

Like the dash-mounted version, the MPQ2V charged about as fast as the Kenu models and held phones securely, but it requires a careful setup.

If you prefer the ease and convenience of a magnetic car phone mount, we recommend the dash-mounted Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge MPQ2WD-XTSP or the similar vent-mounted MPQ2V. 

Unlike standard magnetic mounts, these Scosche models accommodate wireless charging by using two magnets, located at the top and bottom of the mountface, so they don't interfere with the charging field in the centre. 

In tests, both models held all phones securely, and charged as quickly as the Kenu models and faster than the iOttie Easy One Touch Wireless.

Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge magnetic mount
Available in vent- and dash/windshield-mounted versions, the Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge uses two magnets, placed above and below a phone's charging zone, to provide a secure grip when held either vertically or horizontally. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Compared with other wireless-charging magnetic mounts, which use a single magnet at the bottom of the mount, the benefit of the MagicMount Pro Charge's dual-magnet design is that it anchors your phone to the mount in two places, which improves the balance and steadiness. Even a large 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max was secure when driving over bumpy terrain. 

However, the MagicMount Pro Charge also requires a more involved setup process; you have to precisely place the metal strips on the phone or case to ensure that the phone is held securely but doesn't interfere with the wireless charging field.

iOtte magnet phones
The MagicMount Pro Charge comes with templates for different phones, which help you accurately place the magnets above and below the phone's charging zone. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Both models come with a variety of jigs, guides, and magnets that fit with different phones, which helps. But it also makes it more difficult to use these models right out of the box or to use them with multiple phones, if you share a car with a spouse, child, or carpool partner, for example. And even when you've placed the magnets correctly and attached your phone to the mount, you still have to adjust its position to find the right spot for charging. 

By contrast, it was much more reliable to activate the wireless charging on the Kenu models, as long as you placed your phone roughly in the centre. 

While these Scosche models held each phone steady in tests, any slight movement over rough terrain could interrupt the wireless charging process, which you might not notice if your eyes are on the road. Still, we think this is a fair trade-off for the combined convenience and ease of magnetic mounting and wireless charging, and they work much better overall than any other magnetic mounts in the test.

The suction-cup mount on the dash-mounted MPQ2WD-XTSP was one of the best in the test, holding just as firmly to the windshield glass as it did to a smooth or textured dashboard surface. While some suction-cup mounts struggled with the weight of larger phones, the MPQ2WD-XTSP was able to support every phone, on every surface, for hours at a time. The attachment is also adjustable enough that you should be able to see the screen from wherever you're positioned in the driver's seat.

The vent mount on the MPQ2V was similarly sturdy, although it lacked some of the adjustability of the dash-mounted model – the only way to tilt the vent-mounted model back or to the sides was to adjust the way that the base itself sat on the vent. However, it is incredibly easy – and stable – to turn your phone from landscape to portrait mode on the MPQ2V, thanks to a notched dial that holds the mount face to the base.

Both Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge models charge using an included Micro-USB cable, which has an angled input jack to help keep the wire from draping across the dashboard. The included car adaptor has just a single USB output, however; you can use your own USB car charger, although this could have an impact on the charging speed.

About magnetic phone mounts

Magnetic phone mounts are generally the most convenient and simplest options for holding your phone in a car, and of the few wireless-charging, magnetic mounts available, the Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge models gave the quickest charging rates and held the phones the most securely. 

Both the dash-mounted MPQ2WD-XTSP and the vent-mounted MPQ2V charge phones about as quickly as the Kenu Airbase Wireless and Airframe Wireless models. 

While the design of most magnetic mounts is incompatible with wireless charging, these Scosche models avoid the problem by using two magnets, located at the top and bottom of the mount, away from the charging field in the centre. This setup holds phones very securely, but it requires you to be more careful when placing the metal strips on your phone or case. We think the process is a fair trade-off for the convenience of a magnetic mount, but it could make using other phones difficult.

CHOICE smartphone reviews reveal which models deliver the best camera, fastest performance and are easiest to use.

Which type of smartphone mount should you get?

If you want to use your smartphone while driving – to get directions, play music, or take phone calls – it's much easier and safer to have it mounted where you can easily see and tap the screen, without taking your eyes off the road for too long. 

A good smartphone car mount will hold your phone steady in a convenient place while you drive, without blocking your view of the road, and is much safer than, say, holding a phone in your hand or having to look down at a cupholder or dash bin. 

Wireless charging mounts, like the ones in this guide, offer the added convenience of charging phones with that capability while you drive.

Dash mount example
The better mounts can support a phone in either a horizontal or vertical direction. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Depending on your car's dash design as well as your personal preferences, you'll need to decide two things: 

  • A dash/windshield mount or a car vent mount
  • A tension-grip cradle or a magnetic grip for the phone

Dash/windshield mounts

This type attaches to the windshield or the top of the dash, generally with a suction cup and/or adhesive pad. This places your phone close to your normal line of sight while driving and doesn't block your view of, or access to, the dashboard and its controls. 

Vent mount example
Vent mounts slip onto a slat of your car's A/C dash vents, but this can limit the use of the vent, and on some dashes it could block a control or display. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Vent mounts 

These models slip onto the slats of your car's climate-control air vents. However, they can block air from the vent or, depending on the car, access to some dash controls. 

Vent mounts tend to be a bit less sturdy than dash mounts, although it depends on the combination of car, mount, and phone. 

Sometimes they can weigh down the slats too, which can affect your view of the screen. And we've heard a few reports of vent mounts breaking a vent's slats, although we've never encountered this problem.

Tension-grip cradles

This type of mount physically grips your phone to hold it in place, usually with arms that extend and contract from the side. Some of them also have a third arm extending from the bottom for added support. 

The best cradles expand to fit any size handset, close securely around your phone, and let you install or remove a phone quickly with one hand.

Tension grip dash mount
Most wireless charging mounts use a tension-grip design, which holds a phone with two spring-loaded arms on either side; some models also include an additional support underneath. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Magnetic 

Compared with a tension-grip design, attaching or removing your phone from a magnetic mount is even quicker and easier. You just hold your phone near the mount and, when properly aligned, the magnet will "grab" it and hold it in place. Similarly, you simply pull the phone off to remove it. And don't worry, these magnets won't hurt your phone.

You do need to attach a thin, metal plate to the phone or its case (inside or outside), so the magnet has something to hold onto. To align with the magnets in conventional, non-charging car phone mounts, the plate is typically placed in the centre of the phone's rear side. But this location can interfere with wireless chargers. That's why the few available wireless-charging magnetic mounts require the magnets – and the metal plate(s) – to be located near the top and/or bottom of the phone.

Other considerations 

Placement: Unlike regular phone mounts for cars, wireless-charging models need to be plugged into a vehicle's 12-volt outlet (aka cigarette lighter) to provide juice to the phone, which could affect where you place it. For most cars, a mount in the centre area of the dash would be closer to the outlet, while one mounted in the left corner of the dash or windshield – an otherwise popular location – would mean draping the cord over the steering column or routing it under the dash (if it's long enough). Alternately, you could hard-wire the mount to the car's fuse box, either by doing it yourself (if you're comfortable enough with car wiring) or taking the vehicle to a car-audio installer.

Charging speed: While wireless-charging mounts are handy, don't expect them to charge your phone at the same rate as a wired charger. The fastest wired chargers can get recent phones up to about 50 percent in only half an hour, while the models tested here were less than half that speed. That said, most of the mounts come with a separate USB adapter that's plugged into a car's 12-volt outlet, so you can swap it for one with higher amperage if you want to optimise your wireless charging speed. 

The competition

Wirecutter's previous top pick, the Scosche StuckUp Qi, has been discontinued, so the new dash-mounted Scosche StuckUp Qi WDQ2M and the vent-mounted Scosche VentMount Qi were tested. Both models held phones securely, although the automated tension arms were slow to open. Like the original StuckUp Qi, the newer model has an adjustable gooseneck that offers plenty of flexibility but tends to wobble, particularly with larger phones. It also wouldn't charge a phone through a case. The VentMount Qi quickly charged a phone through its case, but the attachment only rotates from portrait to landscape mode, with no way to tilt the screen up and back or to the side.

The original Scosche MagicMount Charge MPQWD-XTSP is a magnetic, dash-mount model that charges phones more quickly than most models tested, although not as fast as the Kenu Airbase Wireless and Airframe Wireless, or the Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge. Compared with the latter, which uses two magnets, the MagicMount Charge uses only a single magnet, located at the bottom of the base. This setup held most phones securely, although it struggled to hold a large 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max in landscape mode.

The Lynktec Bolt Smart Car Mount & Qi Wireless Charger has a pair of motorised tension arms, which open with a touch and are supposed to automatically close around a phone when it's placed in the cradle. But they didn't open or close reliably, and there was no way to manually override the system, which either leaves your phone unsecured or trapped within its grasp. Even worse was when a tester accidentally grazed the mount while driving, prompting it to open up its arms and drop the phone.

The Anker PowerWave Fast Wireless Car Charger held phones securely, was easy to open, and charged at a decent rate, but it doesn't come with its own 12-volt car adaptor (testers used runner-up USB car charger pick, the Anker PowerDrive 2). And while it came with two different vent-mounting options, neither one was particularly stable or remarkable.

Several models were tested that were not WPC-compliant, including the Mophie Charge Stream Vent Mount, TaoTronics Car Fast Wireless Charger TT-SH004, and the Choetech T521-S and Choetech T530-S, but none of them stood out in any way that made them worth the lack of certification. Previously tested was the vent-mounted Ventev Wirelesspro Dock, a magnetic model with a charger that kept cutting out, possibly due to magnetic interference.

What to look forward to

iOttie recently announced a new line of wireless-charging magnetic mounts, called iTap 2 Wireless, which will be available in dash-, vent-, and CD-slot-mounted versions. The company's iTap Magnetic 2 is currently the top pick for standard (non-wireless-charging) car phone mounts, and these new models look like they will use the same mounts, as well as a two-magnet setup that's similar to the Scosche MagicMount Pro Charge.

The research

This guide was written by the editorial staff of Wirecutter (New York Times group) and republished by CHOICE. The products are independently selected. This test was conducted in the United States and was originally published on the Wirecutter website. You can read it here in its original version.

Thom Dunn, who wrote the most recent version of this guide, is a Wirecutter staffer who has also written about Bluetooth car kits, Google Assistant-compatible devices, and standard car phone mounts (without wireless charging). His work has also appeared in Upworthy, Vice, and the Huffington Post, as well as in publications for institutions such as MIT.

Nick Guy, who wrote an earlier version of this guide, is a longtime Wirecutter staffer who has researched and tested hundreds of car mounts. He's also written guides to desktop Qi chargers, standard car phone mounts, multiport USB wall chargers, USB car chargers, and more. Prior to joining Wirecutter, Nick spent three years as the accessories editor at iLounge, where he reviewed more than 1000 products, including early wireless-charging devices.

Any good car phone mount needs do its basic job well, which includes:

  • a base that attaches securely to your car and won't fall, even over rough roads
  • an easy way to position your phone so you can see the screen without blocking your view of the road
  • an attachment that holds the phone tightly and securely, while still allowing you to change the handset's positioning
  • an easy way to attach and remove the phone, ideally with one hand
  • the ability to fit and support any size phone, even in a case

In addition, the models considered for this guide need to efficiently charge compatible phones through a certified wireless Qi system. So in addition to testing for the above criteria (using the same method as for regular car phone mounts), Wirecutter also used the same basic criteria for charging speeds and standards certifications that are used in their guides to Qi wireless chargers and wireless charging power banks:

WPC certification: Most smartphones that charge wirelessly use the Qi standard developed by the Wireless Power Consortium, an international trade group comprised of dozens of tech companies. So Wirecutter looked for chargers that have been certified as compliant with the WPC. A wireless charger that isn't certified could still be safe and reliable, but we thought it was important to verify that all our picks are up to code. Charging speed: The current Qi 1.2 standard supports charging speeds of up to 15 watts (9 volts/1.67 amp). However, the actual charging speed will depend on the phone itself and the output from the power source into which the charger is plugged. Wirecutter focused on models that support "high-speed wireless charging" of 7.5 watts or higher.

Plugin charger
We prefer models that are charged through a separate USB adapter, which gives you more flexibility and is less expensive to replace than a non-removable plug. This Kenu adapter includes two ports with different amperage levels. Photo: Rik Paul © 2019 The New York Times.

Power source: Wirecutter looked for chargers that use a standard connection such as USB-C or Micro-USB and come bundled with an adapter. Proprietary connections are more difficult and expensive to replace. Also, the power of the adapter affects the charging speed, so testers preferred models that came with their own adapters to maximise efficiency.

In order to get a feel for how each model works with different-size phones, each mount was tested with a 4-inch iPhone SE (weighing about 113 grams), a 4.7-inch iPhone 7 (about 139 grams, and a 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max (about 207 grams).

On the road: Testers spent about eight hours over three days driving a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta over freeways, paved suburban streets, unpaved roads, and cobblestones, rotating each phone through each mount and observing the stability, fit, and general usability for every combination. 

Testers evaluated how easy it was to set up the mount on the dash or windshield, attach or remove a phone, and adjust the mount in order to best position the screen. 

They also evaluated whether the phone remained steady during the drive and whether they could easily read the screen, whether the tension arms or magnet attachment held the phone securely over rough terrain, and how well the mount stayed attached to the car with different phones and driving conditions.

Charging: The mounts' charging capabilities were also bench-tested using an AC to DC converter that provides the same power they would draw from a car. 

Testers drained an iPhone XS Max down to a zero percent charge, then placed it on a mount in a Spigen Liquid Crystal case to charge, recording the battery percentage after a half hour and a full hour. (They wanted to re-create a real-life scenario assuming that most people will have some kind of case on their phone.) They repeated this process twice with each mount – once with the phone in normal use and once in airplane mode to minimise other variables.

© 2019 Wirecutter thewirecutter.com Distributed by The New York Times Licensing Group


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