Whether you’re touring across the UK or Europe in your ‘van, it’s handy to have sat-nav available to keep you on the right route – and to help avoid map-reading arguments. In fact, the increased use of smartphones and tablets as sat-navs, in the place of separate sat-nav units, has triggered a resurgence in the need for accessory mounts, to keep your devices secure on the road.

Of course, this is a very logical development. A few years back, these mobile phone holders were often used in conjunction with sometimes hit-and-miss hands-free kits, which have since been superseded by Bluetooth technology. And as many road users will have their smartphones with them anyway – and will want to keep them charged, too – it makes sense to use the apps on smartphones and tablets for navigational purposes. In addition, it’s easy to keep these systems up to date, as your tablet or smartphone will often be connected to the internet (although, of course, watch out for data roaming charges when touring abroad). 

Yet despite this, very few tablets or smartphones are sold with vehicle mounts, so if you want to use your device as a sat-nav, you’ll need to invest in an accessory mount. With so many on the market it can be hard to decide which to buy, so here at Practical Motorhome we’ve put some through their paces to help you out.

Every mount was tested in the same way. We measured them to see what size device each could accommodate. We also tried them to see how simple or tricky it was to insert and remove a phone or tablet from each holder – you don’t want to leave your shiny new iPhone unattended and on full display when nipping out your ‘van, but at the same time, you don’t want to have to spend a large amount of time faffing about with the mount to release your phone.

Another important factor when reviewing accessory mounts is how easy they are to get into a useful, secure position. We are also keen on holders that can be mounted on either your motorhome’s windscreen or the dashboard, giving users a bit of choice. And last but not least, we wanted to see how each product performed on the road – and for the purposes of our test it was a very bumpy road. Only mounts that kept all the devices as still as possible could collect a full house of points.

Here we are reviewing the Ram Mount X-Grip RAM-HOL-UN7B-KT. It costs £48 and we are pleased to report that it delivers stable, shake-free holding of all devices 3-9cm wide. Not only that, but fitting your mobile phone or tablet into this holder could not be any easier. Just squeeze the two furthest points of the X together, insert your device and let go. A clamped balljoint controls all positional adjustment – simply loosen the clamp, angle it as you choose, then tighten it. It is that easy!

The way this mount is built means that it’s very versatile. You can even purchase a larger X if required, plus instead of the suction pad you could attach a handlebar clamp and use this holder on your bicycle – great for those who love cycling holidays.

Our testers were so impressed by Ram’s Mount X-Grip RAM-HOL-UN7B-KT that it was awarded a five-star rating and it emerged as the winner of our accessory mounts group test.

If your budget doesn’t quite stretch to this, how about another five-star product, the Polco Universal Smart Phone Holder POLC23? We also reviewed the Kenu Airframe, the Belkin Window Mount, the Olixar Omniholder and the Sakura SS4609 Universal Rotating Mobile Phone Holder.