By on May 7, 2019

best ipad holders

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Try as you might to avoid too much screen time for your kids, there will be times on a family road trip in which backseat urchins are kept in rapt attention by some sort of tablet. It could be on the way to a far-flung location, after the nth hour of driving, or simply you need all hands to be quiet or I’m coming back there. All those reasons are valid.

So, yes. Despite all efforts of encouraging them to look at scenery or play mind-numbing games of Road Bingo, chances are high that a tablet holder will make its way into most cars across America. On the flip side, there are also plenty of people who deploy tablets for uses other than The Backyardigans, so we’ve attempted to assemble some of those options here as well.

VerticalScope’s bed-wetting lawyers are screaming at me to remind all hands not to engage with a touchscreen tablet while driving, lest a person lose their concentration and crash into a school bus full of disabled children. They are correct, of course — hands off until the car is stopped, okay? Those riding shotgun or camped out in the backseat are free to do as they please.

With that nonsense out of the way, here are eight options for installing a tablet in your car.

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)


1. Editor’s Pick: Ansteker Car Headrest Tablet Holder

ansteker car headrest mount tablet holder

This is an articulated type design which allows for a range of motion not possible with fixed holders. Great for multiple passengers to watch movies during road trips, which can maintain devices eye level to avoid neck and arm strain for more comfortable viewing experience. It’s also dirt cheap.

A multi-angle rotation allows for a wide range of different positions to adjust for the best viewing angle. Its single-arm mechanical design fits most car headrests, meaning one needn’t adjust the length to fit the distance between the two headrest supports. Of course, owners of cars with single piece seats are out of luck but, generally, if you’re rocking a Porsche Panamera you’ve probably popped for the in-car entertainment system anyway. For the rest of us, this is great.

Pros: Wide range of motion, fits tablets up to 11 inches in size, affordable

Cons: Sticks out quite far when not in use

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2. Positively Reviewed: Macally 2-in-1 Tablet & Smartphone Car Cup Holder Mount

macally 2-in-1 tablet car cup holder

Let’s get one thing clear – your author dearly enjoys cup-holder-mounted car accessories. In a market where there are many more places for drinks than passengers, it only makes sense to make the best use out of available space. This product is available with two different lengths of gooseneck – eight and twelve inches. Pro tip: go for the bigger one for greater range of motion.

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Designed to effectively be inserted into a standard cup holder, it makes a great backseat companion and keeps front-seat users hands-free and legal (think Uber or delivery drivers). It goes without saying that drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and not on their tablet. That gooseneck actually goes screwed into the cup-holder insert, so it should not wobble like a drunken college student.

Pros: Great cup holder design, long gooseneck arm

Cons: Passersby might think ET has taken residence in your car

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3. Budget Choice: Peipai Car Headrest iPad Holder

peipai compatible car headrest ipad holder

Only have a few shekels to dole out on rear seat entertainment for the peanut gallery? This holder checks in at about the price of a Starbucks Mocha Half Caff Super Foam Vegan Grande Latte (did I get that right?). This style of holder is designed to wedge itself between the vertical bars of a front seat headrest using tension. Think of a self-supporting shower curtain rod and you’ve got the basic idea.

The ends of the tension bar are cupped, so they should grip the headrest stanchions quite well. It may slip up and down, so lowering the headrest to pinch the holder between it and the seatback would probably be a good idea. It’s available in two colors, so you know I’m picking the red one.

Pros: Dirt cheap, simple design, zomg it’s painted red

Cons: Tension bar design may move slightly

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4. TFY Universal Car Headrest Mount Holder

tfy universal car headrest mount holder

This one touts itself as a universal mount, two words which generally mean the product ends up being anything but. In this case, however, the phrase seems to hold water. Its mounting system essentially wraps around a headrest with no protruding parts, meaning kiddos can vacate the car with tablet in hand and not leave a plastic extended arm behind.

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Its seller says this unit works with or without a case on the tablet, citing brands such as the popular Otterbox as playing well with its clamping system. Customers report the velcro straps used for mounting the thing onto a headrest is quite grippy and strong, lessening the chance of the tablet coming loose and bopping someone on the nose.

Pros: No protruding parts, strong velcro fasteners

Cons: May interfere with front-seat headrest comfort

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5. Arkon Car or Truck Seat Rail or Floor Tablet Mount

arkon car or truck seat rail or floor tablet mount

We told you this list would have ideas for people tasked with delivery duties. With just about every transportation company deploying a digital system for route instructions, a hefty aftermarket tablet holder is an essential tool. This unit can be mounted onto a seat rail or directly onto the floor, so tools are definitely required for its installation.

Great for fleets, this mount has a 22-inch flexible gooseneck which should give plenty of articulation in the truck cab for easy viewing of the tablet screen. The slim clamping system is said to accept tablets up to a yawning 18 inches in size. Your author’s childhood Zenith television wasn’t that big. The support legs are apparently customizable and adjustable for many different applications.

Pros: Useful fleet tool, accepts enormous tablet screens

Cons: Tougher to install than others on this list

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6. Oasser Kick Mats Car Seat Back Protectors With Tablet Holder

oasser kick mats car seat back protectors seat organizers

More than a simple tablet holder, this product serves up an entire seatback full of storage places and organization tools. Mesh bags on both sides store drinks, while a zipped bottom pocket stands ready to accept whatever detritus the young’uns have brought back from the beach.

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Since this post is about tablet holders, it is worth noting that this backseat organizer is built with a clear pocket designed to accept devices up to 10  inches in measure. A handy flap is said to be provided for threading headphone and charging wires. A strangely specific note states it will not fit a “2010 Yukon XL”, despite that model sharing seats with a lot of other machines in the GM lineup. Make sure this thing doesn’t interfere with your car’s side airbags.

Pros: More than a tablet holder, water proof lower panel

Cons: Users will need to determine proper and safe fitment

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7. Inndise iPad Headrest Mount

inndise ipad headrest mount

With a long mounting strap measuring over two feet long, this lightweight and sturdy holder can be attached securely around most headrests or headrest posts. Remove any existing cover on the tablet then place it inside this case made of genuine simulated leather. A tab holds the device secure within the case.

A bonus of this design is that the back of the tablet rests against both the seatback and headrest, providing a natural balancing point. Translation: Kiddo can poke at the screen icons without the tablet accidentally swinging away out of reach. The downside? Such activity may make front seat riders feel as if they’re on a small commuter plane and the person behind them is furiously trying to get the in-flight entertainment to work. Tray tables up, please.

Pros: Solid mounting design, actually looks kinda-sorta like a factory option

Cons: The tablet’s case has to be removed

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8. CarAccessories Air Vent Mounted Cradle Holder

famfashion cell phone ipad holder

Air fresheners, solar fans, bobbleheads of Jesus – there seems to be no end to the accessories one can clip onto the air vents of in their car. Now, drivers can add this one to the list. There are a dearth of reviews but, for $6.90, I’d be willing to take the risk just to see how it works.

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Apparently, this clamp is affixed in some manner to the heating vents with what looks like a couple of sliding plastic pieces. The tablet holder can be rotated to suit vents with either vertical or horizontal slats. My favorite part of the ad is when the seller states that, with purchase of this tablet holder, one will “colorful your life in the car”. Sounds appealing to me.

Pros: Very affordable, you’re likely not to see another

Cons: Blocks airflow, questionable clamping system

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Stay alert, stay safe.

This post cannot end without reiterating that tablets should not be used by drivers while they’re on the road. If you need to interact with a device, pull over to the side of the road when it is safe to do so before poking at a tablet’s touchscreen. Most of the items featured on this list are intended for either rear seat riders or the person riding shotgun.

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Beyond that legal claptrap, having a device aboard the car can be an invaluable tool, and not just for keeping the peanut gallery quiet on the ninth hour of a 10-hour journey. Not every vehicle is #blessed with a navigation system, nor do all have satellite radio, so a well-equipped tablet can be a life saver if one wanders into an unfamiliar area or some place where there is no radio reception.

Now, enjoy the ride!

[Images provided by the manufacturer]

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  • healthy skeptic: The best tablet holder is a Tesla Model 3. Kind of pricey, though.
  • Inside Looking Out: If it was up to me I would make ICE cars illegal immediately effective next month, I mean new car...
  • blackEldo: Which makes me wonder: Who the hell is buying a Blazer? (Besides rental companies, of course)
  • sgeffe: ^ This! I’ve also gotten lazy about detailing — I’ll pay the dealer to do it twice a year, as they do a...
  • sgeffe: I’ve just become lazy about handwashing the car: it takes me longer to drag out the hose and fill the bucket,...

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