Most rental cars have everything I need for a weekend away or a commute. But some are still struggling in the charging space — understandable considering the multiple configurations our phones bring to the table. So my policy is simple: It’s best to have a solid repository of car chargers and accessories at the ready, avoiding any last minute fishing for a charger or Bluetooth receiver.
And since my partner uses an iPhone and I use a Pixel, our needs often diverge. But we also love sharing music so we figured it out.
All-in-one solutions are sparse because it’s hard to foster flexibility when wired charging makes the device obsolete once you change your device — which is a drag. But there are certainly options: leading device charging Anker sells the PowerWave, a wireless fast charger that mounts to your air vent in two steps and, unlike many chargers, can work with your phone case still on. Similarly priced is the VANMASS wireless car charger. It attaches to your dash or windshield. While it’s not equipped with fast charging like the Anker model is, its clasp sits on a rotating, telescopic arm that gives you more versatility to position your phone.
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If all-in-one isn’t your jam, buy a charger with multiple USB inputs to ensure the ability to charge different devices with different inputs and then find a mount that will adjust to your needs (and your friends’ needs if you anticipate any group travel) so that it will last longer than your current mobile device will.
The Anker car charging ecosystem is vast and I highly suggest you scroll through its offerings to see just how precisely it can meet your needs. My favorite in the space is the Anker USB C car charger, which includes its namesake as well as a normal USB port. This is perfect for me because I can charge my Google Pixel 2 or my MacBook Pro through the USB C fast charging port as well as charge my kindle or headphones through the other port. Or consider the extremely popular and highly rated $10 dual port charger — perfect to throw in your car and forget about. Another massively popular option is the Maxboost.
Cradles and Mounts
I’m guilty of neglecting to remember a mount when I travel and I curse myself for it each time, forced at its absence to pinch and zoom in and out of Google Maps in my lap while glancing away from the road to do so — dangerous and irresponsible (I know, mom) but nonetheless true. So keep your eyes where they belong with a mount or a cradle. Minimalists will enjoy the WizGear magnetic mounts. These make for a very simple mounting experience: Just hold your phone up to it.
While I really like the micro approach, I would want a sturdy mount like the universal smartphone mount from Beam Electronics. The mount swivels a full 360 degrees and its arms will clasp any phone — and it’s perhaps most importantly designed so that you can place or remove your phone with one hand. A windshield mountable option could be better for you so check out the Mpow 033 long-armed model. And of course the universally mountable iOittie bestseller, which will connect your windshield or to your air vent. Notable options include the cup holder universal mount and its cousin the magnetized cup holder mount.
When your car doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth connectivity, don’t subjugate yourself to normal radio or silence: Just get a Bluetooth receiver. Choose between the aux port receiver, like this best selling model from Mpow or any of Anker’s highly rated and best selling Roav series. The SmartCharge will connect to your Bluetooth and includes charging ports, audio controls, and an aux output for less than $15. The VIVA is a bit more feature-heavy, and includes voice assistant-enabled control with charging ports — it’ll let to you order pizza on your way home without using your phone.
Finally, be the change you want to see in the world and build bridges with phone owners of opposite pedigree. A handy dongle that converts iPhone standards to Android standards is a welcome olive branch. Convert your Lightning port to an aux cable input or your USB C port to the same. And it’s best to never leave the house without the male-to-male stereo aux cable — it’s $5 and can be the difference between a sound experience and a boring one.
Your travel routine is yours to customize — personalize it however you like with the right car accessories for your phone.
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