Friction mounts are great, but it's easy to get one that won't work with your GPS. Today I'm going to look at three different friction mounts and address how to select the right one. First I want to cover some common questions about friction mounts.
Why use a friction mount?
I prefer friction mounts over suction cup mounts for two reasons -- theft prevention and convenience. Let's say you're navigating to a shopping center or restaurant. You see it coming up. You can lift the friction mount off the dash before you even pull into the parking lot. No one sees you remove the GPS and there is no tell-tale suction mark left on the windshield. If I'm leaving the car only briefly, I will often just place the mount with GPS attached on the floorboard.
It's convenient in other ways too. These mounts are flat out easier to use than a suction mount. And if you have disassembled it, you can attach the GPS to the mount in your lap, rather than having to reach to the windshield.
Do they ever fall off the dash?
The only time I have ever had a friction mount come off the dash was
when driving a wash-boarded, gravel, Forest Service road (way too fast I
might add). When testing on pavement in town, neither jack-rabbit starts
nor slamming on the brakes have resulted in any significant movement of
a friction mount. Do be aware though; like any GPS mount, friction
mounts should be placed outside of air bag deployment zones.
How do friction mounts work?
Friction mounts stay on your dash, thanks to two things -- a grippy, non-slip bottom and a fabric "bean bag" that contains weights.
Choosing a GPS friction mount - three options
Selecting a proper friction mount isn't always the easiest thing to do. There are brand-specific mounts and so-called universal mounts. Sometimes the latter simply will not work with some GPS units. So let's take a look at some popular options and how to ensure that you get one that does work for your GPS.
Garmin nuvi friction mount
I've written about this one before. If you have a nuvi, look no further. The Garmin nuvi friction mount has over a thousand five-star reviews at Amazon, and with good reason. It works great, and the four-pronged legs of the mount help it conform somewhat to the shape of your dash.
Unlike universal mounts, you don't connect your suction mount to this one. Instead, it replaces the swivel ball of your existing mount, as you can see below.
Bracketron universal friction GPS mount
Universal mounts have a flat smooth surface that your suction cup mount attaches to. The Bracketron universal GPS mount, a popular option, has a very simple, circular design. While it does not conform well to dash shape, it doesn't seem to make any difference other than aesthetically. It will however, take up the most space (front to back) of the three options listed here.
You can see it in action below with the Dash Express. The Dash is so heavy that it may prove an exception to my statement about friction mounts not moving. I haven't seen this one slide with the Dash on it, but I'm betting it could topple over.
Unfortunately, the Bracketron mount is far from universal. Which brings us to the next mount...
Arkon friction GPS dash mount
Some GPS suction mounts are so short, that they will not extend the device over the raised bean bag fabric at the front of the Bracketron mount. Prominent examples are the new TomTom ONE 130 and XL 330 series featuring the new EasyPort mount. Devices that have a power lead sticking out of the base of the unit can also be problematic. As you can see below, the Arkon friction GPS dash mount solves this problem nicely, by eliminating any front lip.
This type of mount can also give you a lower profile than most friction mounts. The photo at the top of this post shows the Akron in action with the TomTom XL 330-S.
I hope you've found a mount in this post that will suit your needs. Now it's your turn. What mounts have you tried that do or don't work with your device?