1. Viofo A129 Duo – Best-Value Dashboard Camera
If you purchase only one gadget for your vehicle it should be a dashboard camera. This records video continuously while you drive providing a reliable witness if something unfortunate occurs.
Our top choice is the Viofo A129 Duo as it combines excellent image quality with the features you require, and the price includes a rear-facing camera as well.
If you want to use the parking mode to capture incidents when you’re not in your vehicle, you’ll need to use the ‘hard wire’ kit which takes power from your vehicle’s fuse box. That isn’t as challenging as it sounds, but you may prefer to pay someone to install that for you.
For other options, read our complete overview of the finest dashboard cameras.
Read our complete Viofo A129 Duo evaluation
2. Pure Highway 400 Digital Audio Broadcasting Radio – Most Versatile DAB Radio
Found in a lot of new vehicles, but likely absent from older models is DAB radio. This is the digital equivalent of FM and brings not only audio quality enhancements but also a much wider selection of stations and some useful additional features.
Pure’s Highway 400 provides an easy method to add DAB radio to your existing car stereo, even if it doesn’t have an auxiliary input. It gets power from your cigarette lighter socket and you simply run a wire up to the top of the windscreen (just like a dashboard camera) for the antenna.
In addition to DAB, it also has Bluetooth so you can play music from your phone through your car stereo, and if you install the Pure Go app you can also use your phone’s assistant.
Read our complete evaluation of the Highway 400.
Read our complete Pure Highway 400 evaluation
3. Ring RTC2000 – Best Multi-Purpose Pump
Traditional foot pumps or even inflators that plug into your vehicle’s 12V socket aren’t as convenient as battery-powered models.
4. Amazon Echo Auto – Top Smart Speaker Add-On
The Auto is a gadget that is made possible due to the now-ubiquitous lithium-ion battery.
Ring is a well-established British brand and its RTC200 provides up to 120psi – much more than you will ever require for your car.
It takes a few moments to fill up a car tire from, for example, 20 to 30psi and has sufficient power to do this on all four wheels. In testing, it only took less than a minute to add 1psi.
Ring claims that it can inflate a bike tire from flat in two minutes. It might be able to pump up a car tire from flat – not the quickest, but less of a hassle than a wired pump that connects to your car’s 12V accessory socket. It is also excellent for motorcycles.
There is a soft carry bag, but conveniently the flexible pipe is stored on the side of the unit and adapters are kept in the base so you can use it to pump up footballs and other things, and there is less chance of misplacing them compared to pumps that do not have slots for these items.
There is an LCD display on the front and user-friendly buttons. You can select four preset pressures and the RTC200 will stop once that pressure is reached. It will also display the pressure when connected to a tire so you can use it to check pressures as well as inflate.
It comes with a “drinks bottle holder” that is designed to be attached to the mounting holes typically found on most bikes, and there is an LED light for use in dark conditions. There is even a USB port so you can charge your phone or another device.
The Auto is an Amazon Echo for your car. If you have Echos at home and use them frequently, you will appreciate having one in your car as well.
It is easy to set up and use, but it does require that your car has either Bluetooth or an aux-in port so you can hear Alexa’s voice and any streamed music through your car speakers.
It is also important to note that you need your phone to provide the internet connection for Alexa, but the Auto is more convenient than simply using the Alexa app on your phone because it is hands-free and you do not have to wake your phone first (which is illegal while driving in some countries).
Although it can provide spoken directions, that is not the Auto’s strong suit. Its main advantage is having Alexa available for all the usual tasks such as playing music, setting reminders, communicating with friends and family, and even controlling smart home gadgets. It is useful to be able to ask Alexa to turn on your heating while you drive home, for example.
Read our comprehensive Amazon Echo Auto review
5. iOttie Velox MagSafe Charger – Top Choice for MagSafe Charging
If you own an iPhone 12 or 13 and want to utilize its built-in magnets with a car mount, your options are severely limited.
Although iOttie’s Velox is not certified for MagSafe charging, it allows your iPhone to be securely mounted and charged wirelessly.
It accomplishes this using 7.5W Qi wireless charging instead of MagSafe, but even Belkin’s mount only offers an additional 2.5W.
You have the option to mount your phone either vertically or horizontally, depending on your preference for displaying the sat nav app, and the prongs firmly grip virtually any air vent.
Beneath the soft-feel plastic is aluminum, which aids in dissipating heat from your phone – a particular concern in the summer when using sat nav apps and charging simultaneously.
If there is a slight drawback, it is the attached USB-C cable, which means it cannot be detached from the mount – a problem if the cable becomes damaged. USB-C is not ideal for cars, which typically have older USB-A ports, but a USB-C charger is included in the package that fits into your car’s 12W accessory socket.
Alternatively, you could purchase an adapter to convert USB-C to USB-A if your accessory socket is already occupied by a dash cam.
6. Lanmodo Vast – Best for Night Vision
Night vision is not commonly available in most cars, usually being reserved for high-end models or as an expensive optional feature. With the Lanmodo Vast, you can easily add night vision to any car without the high cost charged by manufacturers.
It features an 8.2in 1080p screen (although not with a 16:9 aspect ratio) and utilizes a camera built into the rear of the device equipped with a Sony sensor and a 28mm lens. This provides a clear, magnified view of the road ahead and greatly improves visibility in unfavorable conditions, such as rainy weather.
Unlike some integrated systems, there are no alerts when hazards are detected, so you will not receive warnings if a pedestrian is detected. However, this also means that there are no false alarms, as sometimes happens with those systems.
You can use the suction cup to attach it to your windscreen, or the silicone base to place it on your dashboard. During testing, we discovered that we needed to attach the three included adhesive pads to prevent it from moving during sharp turns or hard braking.
The unit can be powered either through your car’s 12V accessory socket or via the OBD port, and both cables are included. There is a second camera input on the cable, which is intended for a rear-facing camera. You can purchase a kit that includes the separate 720p rear camera for an additional $100.
Buttons located on top of the unit enable you to adjust brightness and contrast, switch between front and rear cameras, and rotate the screen – this is necessary if you opt for the suction cup mount instead of the base. Another button switches between color and black and white display modes.
The display is approximately the size of a rear-view mirror, making it quite large, and it may take some time to get accustomed to glancing at it while driving. If you already have a vehicle with exceptionally powerful headlights, you may not require the Vast, but in many cars, it truly enhances night vision, even in areas with street lighting.
If there’s a downside, it’s that the camera has limited adjustment so the screen must be approximately parallel with your windshield – you can’t turn it much before the camera is no longer pointing at the road. Lanmodo claims this is intentional to prevent the camera from shaking and causing a blurry image on the screen.
The construction quality is lower than what you might expect at this price, with buttons and suction mount feeling cheap. It’s also important to note that the Vast is not a dash cam that records video – it’s simply a monitor.
7. Moshi QuikDuo – Top In-Car Rapid Charger
USB car chargers that plug into a vehicle’s 12V accessory (or, if you’re old-fashioned like me – cigarette lighter) socket are prevalent. And inexpensive. However, with the latest phones able to charge much faster than before, traditional car chargers are inadequate.
Moshi’s QuikDuo, on the other hand, is up to the task. It provides 36W of power divided between two ports: one being the old-style and the other being the new USB-C.
Not many phones require more than 36W for fast charging (the iPhone 13 series maxes out at 27W), but it would have been nice to have a little more power as you can’t truly fast charge two phones at once, especially if they’re two Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultras, for instance, which would each require 45W.
It’s also somewhat pricey, but it does have a sleek appearance and includes over-charge protection.
8. Bestek Inverter – Ideal for Portable Power
Nowadays, most cars have USB ports, but one thing you won’t find is a 3-pin UK mains socket. So if you need to power something that can’t be charged via USB – such as a laptop or your DSLR battery – an inverter is necessary.
These devices convert your car’s 12V DC electricity supply to 240V AC (or 110V for US models).
The Bestek 300W inverter delivers precisely what its name suggests – 300W. However, if you want to connect anything over 150W, you’ll need clips to attach it directly to your car battery.
That’s sufficient to power a laptop, TV, or camping fridge. Just make sure to check the power consumption of your device before connecting it. Appliances like travel irons, hairdryers, and straighteners require too much power and cannot be used.
In addition to the mains socket (there’s one on the UK model, two on the US version), there are two USB ports, each providing 2.4A of power – enough to charge two iPads simultaneously.
A switch on the back allows you to turn off the inverter instead of unplugging it from your car’s accessory socket, and the internal fan isn’t excessively noisy.
9. Nonda Zus – Top Car Management Tool
If you are unable to find this precise model, there is a very similar gray version that claims to be the ‘Amazon brand’ available for approximately the same cost.
If you wish to locate your vehicle wherever you have parked it but are not interested in paying a monthly fee for the V Auto, then take a look at the Nonda Zus.
At first glance, it appears to be a standard USB car charger that connects to your 12v cigarette lighter. It has the ability to charge your phone and an additional device simultaneously, ensuring that your passenger does not feel excluded – they are also reversible.
However, it possesses concealed intelligence that offers a variety of convenient features.
You can utilize the companion application to determine the location of your parked car – a useful feature if you tend to forget – and the location can be shared if you are picking someone up, for instance. Additionally, you have the option to set up alerts for parking meters so as to avoid accidentally running out of time and incurring a substantial fine.
Furthermore, the Zus is capable of monitoring the well-being of your car’s battery and will notify you if there is any issue. It can also track your journeys, including mileage, if necessary.