Best Car Gadgets To Buy Right Now

A dash cam should be the only car accessory you purchase. This continuously records video while you drive, offering a trustworthy witness in the event of an accident.

The Viofo A129 Duo is So Nerdy top selection because it combines excellent image quality with the functionality you need, and the price includes a rear-facing camera.

If you wish to utilize the parking mode while not in your car, you’ll need to install the ‘hard wire’ kit, which draws electricity from your car’s fuse box. Although it isn’t as difficult as it appears, you may choose to hire someone to do it for you.

Read our comprehensive list of the top dash cams for more options.

DAB Radio Pure Highway 400

£129.99

DAB radio is found in many modern cars, but is likely missing from older models. This is the digital version of FM, and it offers not just improved audio quality but also a far larger selection of stations as well as some useful extra features.

Even if your car stereo doesn’t have an aux input, Pure’s Highway 400 makes it simple to add DAB radio to it. It is powered by your cigarette lighter socket, and the antenna is simply run up to the top of the windscreen (much like a dash cam).

It also features Bluetooth, so you can play music from your phone through your car sound, and you can use your phone’s assistant if you install the Pure Go app.

Traditional foot pumps and even inflators that plug into a 12V outlet in your car aren’t as convenient as battery-powered versions.

It’s yet another device made possible by the lithium-ion battery, which is now ubiquitous.

The RTC200 from Ring is a well-known British brand that offers up to 120psi – far more than you’ll ever need for your automobile.

It just takes a few minutes to increase the pressure in a car tyre from 20 to 30 psi, and it has enough power to do so on all four wheels. In our tests, adding 1psi took less than a minute.

Ring claims that it can fill a flat bike tyre in two minutes. It may be able to inflate a flat car tyre – not as quickly as a wired pump connected to your car’s 12V accessory socket, but with less difficulty. It’s also ideal for motorcycles.

The flexible tubing is stored in the side of the machine, and adapters are stowed in the base, so you may use it to pump up footballs and other items with less risk of losing them than pumps without slots.

On the front, there’s an LCD display and easy-to-use buttons. You can select up to four preset pressures, and the RTC200 will stop when they are reached. When attached to a tyre, it will also display pressure, so you can use it to check pressures as well as inflate.

It has a ‘drinks bottle holder’ that attaches to the mounting holes found on most bikes, as well as an LED light for use in the dark. There’s even a USB connector for charging your phone or other electronic device.

The Auto is a car-based Amazon Echo. If you have an Echo at home and use it frequently, you’ll enjoy having one in your car as well.

It’s simple to set up and use, but you’ll need Bluetooth or an aux-in port in your car to hear Alexa’s voice and any music you’ve streamed through your car speakers.

It’s also worth noting that Alexa requires your phone to connect to the internet, although the Auto is more handy than using the Alexa app on your phone because it’s hands-free and doesn’t require you to wake your phone first (which is illegal while driving in some countries).

The Auto’s strength isn’t providing spoken directions; it’s simply having Alexa available for all of the typical things: playing music, making reminders, chatting with friends and family, and even controlling smart home devices. It’s convenient to be able to ask Alexa to turn on the heat while you’re driving home.

Velox iOttie MagSafe Charger

You only have a few options if you own an iPhone 12 or 13 and wish to use the built-in magnets with a car mount.

Although the Velox from iOttie isn’t certified for MagSafe charging, it does allow you to securely mount your iPhone and charge it wirelessly.

Instead of MagSafe, it uses 7.5W Qi wireless charging, yet even Belkin’s mount only provides 2.5W more.

The prongs hold tightly to practically any air vent and can mount your phone vertically or horizontally, depending on how you prefer your sat nav app displayed.

The aluminum behind the soft-touch plastic helps to disperse heat from your phone, which is especially important in the summer when using sat nav apps and charging at the same time.

The captive USB-C cable, which cannot be disconnected from the mount, is the only little annoyance. This can be a problem if the cable is damaged. Although USB-C isn’t ideal for cars, which normally feature USB-A connectors, the packaging includes a USB-C charger that fits into your car’s 12W accessory outlet. If your accessory socket is already utilized for a dash cam, you may just buy an adaptor to convert USB-C to USB-A.

Most automobiles don’t have night vision, which is only available on high-end models and is an expensive option otherwise. You can add night vision to any car for less than a manufacturer would charge with the Lanmodo Vast.

It sports an 8.2in 1080p screen (albeit not a 16:9 aspect ratio) with a Sony sensor and 28mm lens incorporated into the back of the device. This provides a bright, zoomed-in image of the road ahead, making it much easier to see in poor lighting, such as rain.

There are no cautions when risks are detected, unlike some built-in systems, thus you won’t get notifications if a pedestrian is detected. This does not, however, imply that there will be no false alarms, as is occasionally the case with those systems.

The suction cup may be used to attach it to your windscreen, or the silicone base can be used to attach it to your dashboard. We discovered that when cornering or braking hard, we needed to use the three provided adhesive pads to keep it from moving.

Both the 12V accessory socket and the OBD port can be used to power the unit, and both cables are included. On the wire, there’s a second camera input for a rear-facing camera. For an additional $100, you may get a kit that includes the 720p back camera.

You can change brightness and contrast, switch between front and rear cameras, and rotate the screen using the buttons on the top of the unit, which you’ll need to do if you use the suction cup mount instead of the base. A third button alternates between color, black, and white.

It takes some getting used to glancing at the display while driving because it’s roughly the size of a rear-view mirror. You may not need the Vast if you already have a car with extremely powerful headlights, but it does improve seeing at night in many cars, even when there is street lighting.

If there’s a drawback, it’s that the camera’s adjustment range is restricted, so the screen has to be nearly aligned with your windscreen – you can’t turn it far before it stops aiming at the road. This is done on purpose, according to Lanmodo, to prevent the camera from shaking and resulting in a hazy image on the screen.

The build quality isn’t up to par for the pricing, with cheap-feeling buttons and a suction mount. It’s also worth noting that the Vast isn’t a dash cam that records footage; instead, it’s merely a monitor.

USB car chargers that plug into a vehicle’s 12V accessory (or, if you’re like me, cigarette lighter) socket are widely available. Also, it’s inexpensive. Traditional car chargers, on the other hand, aren’t up to the task of today’s phones, which can charge far faster than they used to.

However, Moshi’s QuikDuo is. It provides 36W of power, which is split between two ports: one old-style and the other new USB-C.

Although few phones require more than 36W to fast charge, it would have been wonderful to have a bit more power because you can’t actually fast charge two phones at the same time, especially if they’re two Huawei P30 Pros, each of which would take 45W.

It’s also a little on the costly side, but it looks nice and offers over-charge protection.

Nowadays, most cars feature USB ports, however you won’t find a 3-pin UK mains connector. You’ll need an inverter if you need to power something that can’t be charged over USB, such as a laptop or your DSLR batteries.

These devices convert the 12V DC power source in your car to 240V AC power (or 110V for US models).

The Bestek 300W inverter produces 300W, as the name implies. If you wish to connect anything more than 150W, you’ll need clips to connect it to your car battery directly.

That’s enough to run a laptop, a television, or a camp fridge. However, always check your device’s power usage before attaching it. Travel irons, hair dryers, and straighteners, for example, require too much power and cannot be used.

There are two USB ports, each of which provides 2.4A of power, enough to charge two iPads at the same time, in addition to the mains plug (one on the UK model, two on the US model).

Instead of disconnecting the inverter from your car’s accessory socket, you can turn it off with a switch on the back, and the internal fan isn’t overly loud.

If you can’t find this particular model, there’s a very similar grey variant for about the same price that claims to be “Amazon brand.”

If you want to find your car no matter where you parked it but don’t want to pay the V Auto’s monthly fee, the Nonda Zus is a good option.

At first appearance, it appears to be a standard USB car charger that connects to your 12v cigarette lighter. It can charge your phone and a second device at the same time, so your passenger isn’t left out; it’s also reversible.

However, there are certain hidden smarts that provide a lot of useful functions.

The accompanying app can be used to find where you parked your car, which is beneficial if you’re forgetful, and the position can be shared if you’re picking someone up, for example. You can also set up parking meter alerts to avoid running out of time and incurring a large fine.

In addition, the Zus can track the status of your car’s battery and alert you if something is wrong. You can also keep track of your journeys, including mileage, if necessary.

About the Author: Lee Lynch