But keep your eyes on the road
In-car entertainment systems used to be all the rage, but smartphones and tablets packed with games, music, and movies have made them mostly obsolete. With an iPad holder mounted to your dash or car seat, passengers can watch movies in comfort.
What to Look for in an iPad Mount
There’s a surprising variety of tablet mounts, whether specifically for iPads or all tablets in general. Choosing an iPad car mount that’s right for you can be more challenging than you might expect.
The first thing you want to decide is where to mount it. There are many different options here, and the right choice depends on your vehicle and how much stability you need.
Air-vent mounts are easy to install and let you see the tablet while driving, so it’s good for things like GPS navigation. However, they are also the easiest to dislodge and fall, and we only recommend this style for mobile devices like smartphones. It’s rare to see tablet mounts for air vents anyway. It’s much more common to see them as phone holders for cell phones.
Car cup holder mounts are probably the best overall solution for most people, assuming that you have cupholders in a suitable spot. They offer a good mix between stability and ease of installation.
Some tablet holders mount the seat rail with a gooseneck between the mount and tablet clamp. This is great for passengers or vehicles with no suitable vents or cupholders.
Suction cup holders attach to the inside of your windshield but are better suited as phone mounts than tablet stands. They are much too prone to detaching and falling.
Finally, tablet mounts that attach to the headrest pillars are almost always the best solution for backseat passengers, especially if they don’t need to use the touchscreen much and only consume video content. Headrest tablet mounts are some of the most popular among parents.
This cup-holder mount from iKross can accommodate tablets between seven and 10.2 inches in size, covering most iPads except for the 11-inch Apple iPad Pros and larger. If you’re using a thick iPad case, you might be pushing it if you’re using one of the 10.1 inch iPad models.
You’ll find both a tablet holder and a smartphone holder in the box, so you can switch depending on which device you want to use. The cup-holder base expands by rotation, making for a secure fit.
The swingarm is quite clever, acting both as a way to adjust the angle of the tablet and as a way to absorb the shock of bumps on the road. It’s a solid mount at a great price, and it’s a good choice if you’re driving a pickup with a stiff suspension.
The Arkon mount is designed specifically for fleet vehicles like trucks. It mounts to the seat rail or the vehicle’s floor, and once it’s secured, you’re not going to move it with a casual bump.
The holder comes with a choice of different leg lengths, which you can combine to get the perfect fit for your tablet. This ensures that your tablet is securely held. The holder can be installed on your seat rail or attached to the floor. If you go with the seat rail, you can install it with just a socket wrench, but installing it to the floor involves drilling holes into the vehicle’s floor. So you need to be ready to make this a permanent installation in your car.
Suppose you’re an Uber driver or use your vehicle for professional driving purposes. In that case, this might be the permanent solution you’re looking for, customers who need something a little less permanent should look elsewhere, though.
Macally is famous for making quality and affordable Apple accessories. This headrest mount from the company is no different. Despite being aggressively priced, this is a solid aluminum product with a remarkable well-thought-out design.
The clamp attaches to the headrest posts of one front seat and can then be set up with the tablet directly behind that seat or hovering between the two front seats. So even if you have three bored passengers in the back, everyone can see.
You can angle the tablet as needed and rotate it into portrait mode with the rotating ball joint. This design requires no tools, since you attach it using hand-operated knobs. So you can set it up when your road trip begins and remove it at the end with no fuss.
More often than not, simple is better. The Lamicall headrest cradle has few moving parts so that nothing can break or go wrong. It’s just a simple mount that clamps to the headrest posts and will take a tablet up to 12.9 inches so that big-screen Apple iPad Pro users can enjoy a mobile theater experience while on the go along with all those iPad Air fans.
The Lamicall has universal compatibility with all iPad models. The installation process could not be more straightforward. Using a simple sliding clamp, you hook one end onto a headrest post and press the other hook back until it fits. It’s an entirely toolless installation.
This affordable and straightforward headrest can accommodate large tablets like the 12.9” iPads and lets you adjust the tilt and rotation of the tablet, thanks to the ball joint design. The price is right, perfect for fitting a holder to both seats without breaking the bank.
The Cellet holder offers a beefy arm that you can extend to a total length of 13.5 inches. This cup holder mount is notable specifically for its stability and clever three-point tablet holder, making it easy to insert and remove your tablet.
It supports 360-degree rotation and a single size-adjustment arm, with two fixed legs at the bottom of the holder. Compatibility is excellent, thanks to that grip design too. Looking at the list, it seems that every iPad ever made should fit in this holder, along with tablets from other brands, such as the Android-based Samsung Galaxy Tabs. This is truly a universal tablet holder.
The last notable feature of this holder is that you can remove the tablet holder segment. This allows the arm to fold up, making it easy to store in a glove compartment or other storage space for when you need it.
On the negative side, you are giving up the (literal) flexibility of a gooseneck in exchange for stability, thanks to that beefy solid arm. Still, if that’s what you need, then it’s the better choice than a gooseneck anyway.
As mentioned above, Macally has an excellent reputation as a budget Apple accessory brand, and again, this cup holder iPad mount reinforces that reputation.
This uses a gooseneck arm to allow for fine adjustment of angle and height, but of course, as with any gooseneck solution, hard bumps in the road are likely to make the tablet droop or change position.
In terms of compatibility, it will hold any device with a width between 3.5” and 8” wide. Note that the Apple iPad Pro 12.9” tablets have a width just short of 8.5”, so sadly, those will not work officially. Also, even large smartphones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max fall a little short of the 3.5” minimum width. iPad Mini owners are in for a treat, however! If your device is within the official width range, then this is a great gooseneck holder at a very fair price.
7. Apps2Car Universal CD Slot Car Tablet Holder
If you own a car that still has a CD player, do you use it to play CDs? If you’re like most people, you’re probably using Bluetooth or an auxiliary cable from your phone, which makes that CD slot a vestigial organ as far as you’re concerned. So why not put it to good use and mount a tablet to it?
As crazy as it sounds, a CD slot tablet holder makes a lot of sense. It doesn’t block any vents, and the CD slot is usually in a prime spot on your dashboard, making apps easy to operate.
The only question is whether this is strong enough to do the job. Based on what users have said, it does seem that it will handle tablets up to around the 10-inch range and do it securely, but bumpy roads can loosen some of the screws, requiring tightening. It also seems a little tricky to set up at first, but once you figure it out and have it installed, it’s plain sailing from there.
We wouldn’t recommend a CD slot holder for everyone, but it could be the perfect solution for you, depending on your specific vehicle and your needs.
There are quite a few exciting and unique headrest tablet holder designs, but the Klsniur might be the most innovative. That’s all thanks to its folding arm, which lets you put your tablet up against the headrest, bring it closer to your face, and swing it side-to-side.
The holder can accommodate tablets up to 10.5”, including all iPads except for the 11 and 12.9 inch iPad Pros. The clamp can rotate for portrait or landscape modes. The clamp has a port for charging, so you can hook up a power bank or cable from the car’s USB charger while the tablet is in place.
It’s also ridiculously affordable, so buying one for each seat should be no issue. The only real problem is that there’s little vertical angle adjustment. So if the person in the front seat reclines it too much, you may have some trouble getting a good viewing angle from the back seat.
This premium cup holder mount from Mount-It! It comes with a relatively steep asking price, so what do you get for your money?
First, the company claims this is a professional-grade mount suitable for delivery people and law enforcement. We have no way of knowing if this is true, but that goes towards justifying the price, and user reviews are very positive. The holder is principally made from aluminum, both light and strong.
This holder has a multi-segment arm that uses gears to keep things stable and in place. That’s a more solid solution than a gooseneck, but it’s more complicated with more moving parts. The arm does offer a “safe lock,” which lets you use knobs to tighten and lock it into position, so that’s even more peace of mind.
The arm design does allow for a fantastic range of positions and angles without the general floppiness of a gooseneck arm. Cup mount and tablet holder ends both offer 360-degrees of rotation, while the two arm joints offer 180-degrees of swivel. That should cover even the weirdest in-car setups.
This arm can only accommodate tablets up to 11”, so if you were hoping to mount your big iPad Pro, you’d have to look elsewhere
Most headrest mounts attach to the headrest pillars. There are a few downsides to this, though. First, the passenger in the front seat doesn’t have the full range of height adjustment since the mount needs a bit of room to fit. So a short passenger may not get the headrest as low as they need it. Second, some vehicles have an integrated headrest without exposed pillars. So there’s no way to attach a traditional headrest mount.
The Wanpool mount neatly solves both problems by using a wraparound attachment that works vertically or horizontally. To this wrap, you attach the clamp, which offers vertical angle adjustment. This mounting system is only suitable for the person sitting right behind the front seat, but otherwise, it’s a great choice, especially if you travel a lot. The clamp can handle tablets up to 12.9” in size.
There are some great tablet mounts here, but whichever you choose, we’d like to remind you that using your tablet while driving can be dangerous. It’s best to limit tablet mount use to passengers or when your vehicle is parked. If you want to use your tablet for navigation or music control, consider using Siri for hands-free operation so that you never have to take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel.