GPS Mount/Cradle Buying Guide

To get the most use out of your GPS you need a mount that allows you to see, hear, and easily touch it while driving. A mount that continually falls off the windshield or dashboard is going to cause you more trouble than its worth. Finding a mount that not only fits your GPS, but also stays attached is key.

Types of GPS Mount/Cradles

Mounts are categorized according to where and how they attach to the vehicle.

Windshield Suction Mount

Windshield suction mounts use a suction cup to attach to the windshield of your vehicle. Many GPS units include a windshield mount in the package. This type of mount is popular because it puts the GPS within the driver's peripheral vision, within an arm's reach, and places the speaker close to the driver. However, they can leave circles or fingerprints on the windshield from frequent removal and attachment of the mount. Windshields that have a steep angle may pose a problem for proper attachment.

Dashboard Mounting Disk

A dashboard mounting disk is also often included in GPS unit packages. This small black disk adheres to the vehicle dashboard. A suction mount can then be attached to the disk. A mounting disk allows you to have a second location for the GPS, which permits the GPS to be even closer to the driver for better viewing, hearing, and reach. The downside of a mounting disk is that once it's placed it cannot be moved. Permanent removal can leave a ring, paper like residue, or can damage the dashboard material.

Friction Mount

Friction mounts have a smooth mounting surface surrounded by and attached to a fabric or rubber backed bag. A suction mount attaches to the mounting surface and the bag is placed on the dashboard. This type of mount is highly portable and eliminates any marks on the windshield or damage to the dashboard. However, because it uses friction, it is more likely to fall during sharp turns, bumpy roads, and emergency stops.

Air Vent Mounts

Air vent mounts attach to the vehicle air vent and to the GPS using a magnetic strip or circle that attached to the back of the GPS. Vent mounts leave a clear field of view for the driver and keep the dashboard clear of clutter. You may need to close the air flow to the vent used because hot air blowing on the GPS can overheat the unit. In hot months, cool air may be blocked from reaching the cabin.

Sun Visor Mount

Sun visor mounts clip onto the sun visor above the driver's head. They can be easily seen, heard, and reached but if you don't want the visor down you won't be able to see your GPS. This mount type works best for those who primarily use voice guidance with their GPS as it can be difficult to take more than a quick glance upward at the GPS while driving.

Cup Holder Mount

This mount fits into your cup holder and has a stand that holds the GPS up for you to see. They are sturdy but viewing may not be easy depending on the location of your cup holder. You also lose the ability to hold drinks. However, this type of mount works well for those who do not have either the room for a suction holder or want to keep their dashboard free of clutter.

Pay Attention to

Attachment

The number one complaint about GPS car mounts is that the mount does not stay attached, resulting in the GPS falling or sliding around the vehicle. There are some suction cup mounts that come with an additional gel or adhesive to help them stick to the windshield. Look for a mount with user reviews that report on how long the mount stayed attached. Beyond this, the type of you use attachment is personal preference. Windshield and dashboard mounts are popular because they are easy to see and reach while driving, but others prefer a mount that does not obstruct their view and keeps the dashboard clear of clutter.

Portability

If you need to move your mount between different vehicles, it's important to be able to attach and reattach the mount easily. Many mounts come with one hand release and attachment features. For those who frequently travel and need a mount to be used in a rental car, there are small portable mounts that can be easily packed in a suitcase.

Viewing Adjustment

Viewing adjustment is an important feature to consider. Depending on where you place the mount you may need to do extreme adjustments to be able to view the GPS unobstructed. Some mounts come with 360-degree viewing features that allow for maximum adjustment while others may allow you to simply bend the arm to which the mount is attached.

Fit

Know the measurements of your GPS to be sure that it will fit in the mount that you want. It is also important that the arms or cradle of the mount have some kind of padding or protection to be sure that the GPS does not get damaged or scratched.

Easy Release

There are mounts that allow you to easily mount your GPS into the cradle with one-handed attachment and release features. This gives you the freedom to attach your GPS while driving if you need to. This feature also makes it quicker when entering and leaving your vehicle.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Garmin

Garmin makes a wide variety of mount products with different mounting systems from friction to suction cup mounts. Many of them consistently perform well.

iOttie

iOttie makes quality mounts. They have some that come with a gel stick pad to aid in attachment.

URPower

URPower has a windshield attachment mount with a telescoping neck that allows for good adjustment for great viewing.