Mobile phone on magnet car mount phone holder for GPS. Lifestyles photo in car. Front view. With hand, phone.

The best car accessories depend on your lifestyle, vehicle, and preferences. That said, there are a number of accessories (like a car emergency kit) that every driver should keep in their car. Here, we’ll suggest car gadgets ranging from the essential to the useful.

Each of the items we recommend was tested and evaluated alongside similar accessories and scored based on a number of criteria.

5 Essential Car Accessories

#1 Emergency Kit: First Secure Car Emergency Kit

First Secure Car Emergency Kit

Check Price

A quality emergency kit is a must for any car owner. Accidents happen and it’s always prudent to be prepared. We tested several of the best car emergency kits, and think that First Secure offers one of the best overall options.

This kit includes essentials like jumper cables, tow straps, tire repair kit, air pump, and first aid kit. Included tools are durable and high-quality.

Approximate cost: $80

Our Experience

We unpacked a First Secure emergency kit to assess item quality and organization. We were generally impressed. The air compressor isn’t the most robust, though it should work in a pinch.

Throw this kit in your truck or center console: It is compact and could easily fit in any car. There are only two internal mesh pockets, so there’s no way to organize, but in an emergency, you simply empty the entire pack to locate the item you need.

Overall Rating4.2 out of 5
Utility5 out of 5
Item Quality4 out of 5
Storage3.5 out of 5

#2 Cell Phone Holder: Ram X-Grip Mount

Ram X-Grip Mount

Check Price

Most people’s phones are entirely integrated into the driving experience: for navigation, entertainment, and more. If you use your phone for directions, it’s extremely useful to have a mounting device that allows you to easily see your screen while driving.

The Ram®X-Grip® offers a secure grip and is compatible with a wide range of phone sizes. It can be mounted on your windshield or drilled into your dashboard. But be aware the X-Grip isn’t ideal for every phone. The grips on the side can push the volume and power buttons if the phone isn’t aligned properly.

Approximate cost: $60

Our Experience

Ram X-Grip Mount

The X-Grip is extremely adjustable. It has ball joints and 360-degree rotation in several locations. While it can take time to set up (as there are several knobs to adjust), users can perfectly position the mount for their preferences.

With a powerful grasp, the X-Grip supports even the heaviest phones. Overall, we think it’s one of the best car phone mounts. However, be aware that in some states it is illegal to attach objects to your windshield. Be sure to check local laws before installing this phone mount.

Overall Rating4.1 out of 5
Stability4.5 out of 5
Ease of Installation4 out of 5
Ease of Attachment4 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

#3 Jump Starter: Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry

Check Price

It’s handy to keep a pair of jumper cables in your car, and these will be included in any auto emergency kit. But what if there’s nobody around to help revive your car battery? If that happens, it can be useful to have a portable jump starter like the Clore Jump-N-Carry.

The Jump-N-Carry weighs about 20.0 pounds but is relatively portable and will fit in most trunks. This jump starter has a lead-acid battery and can emit a powerful charge. Its peak amperage is 1,700.0, meaning it can jump even large vehicles like pickup trucks. The Jump-N-Carry can also charge handheld electronics using a built-in USB port.

Approximate cost: $155

Our Experience

Clore Automotive Jump-N-Carry

We tested many of the best jump starters using a carbon pile tester. This allowed us to check consistency and output. Clore did well, showing a consistent 12.6 volts. This device is easy to use and reliable. It even has a test button that shows you the remaining charge so you can quickly check if it is ready to go before you head out.

Overall Rating4.7 out of 5
Power5 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Durability4.5 out of 5

#4 Tire Inflator: Fanttik X8 Apex Tire Inflator

Fanttik X8 Apex Tire Inflator

Check Price

Keeping your tires properly inflated increases fuel economy and can save money in the long run. Keeping an air pump in your trunk can help you maintain proper tire pressure when the weather shifts.

Having reviewed several of the best tire inflators with gauges, we like the Fanttik X8 Apex Tire Inflator best. It can inflate tires up to 150.0 psi (pounds per square inch) and it’s cordless, meaning you can take it with you and top off anywhere. The battery is rechargeable, and the device has an auto shut-off feature so you don’t accidentally over-inflate.

Approximate cost: $120

Our Experience

Fanttik X8 Apex Tire Inflator

The Fanttik X8 is easy to use and has a lightning-fast inflation speed. The smart features are robust and easy to use. This inflator can even double as an extra power bank to charge your devices.

Overall Rating5 out of 5
Inflation Speed5 out of 5
Ease of Use5 out of 5
Features5 out of 5

#5 Air Freshener: Air Spencer CS-X3 Air Freshener

Air Spencer CS-X3 Air Freshener

Check Price

The Air Spencer consists of a plastic case and changeable gel insert. The plastic case can be affixed to your dashboard, floorboard, or center console. It’s a long-lasting car air freshener with several scents (squash, lime, citrus, and crystal).

Approximate cost: $20

Our Experience

Air Spencer CS-X3 Air Freshener

We tested the Air Spencer alongside several of the best car air fresheners. The Air Spencer is easy to use and excellent at masking bad odors. We liked the smell a lot, though this is subjective. We recommend the squash scent (which smells more like lime soda than the gourd).

Perhaps most importantly, the Air Spencer scent lasted longer than any other air freshener that we tested. You can get well over a month of odor from a single refill.

Overall Rating4.3 out of 5
Longevity5 out of 5
Odor Masking4 out of 5
Value4 out of 5

5 Useful Car Accessories

#6 Dash Cam: Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam

Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam

Check Price

A dash cam can be a wallet-saver when it comes to insurance claims. We believe the Kingslim D4 is among the best dash cams because it offers both front and rear video coverage at a moderate cost.

Recording at 4K video resolution and 30 frames per second (FPS), the Kingslim provides clear video, especially for a camera in this price range. It also has a built-in GPS that records speed and location as well as video. The Kingslim is easy to use and suitable for those who’ve never used a dash cam before.

Approximate cost: $120

Our Experience

Kingslim D4 Dual Dash Cam

The Kingslim demonstrated the superb daytime video quality. Many dash cams include a single camera, but the D4 comes with two cameras wired together. The rear camera’s resolution is noticeably lower, but nonetheless usable. More cameras does mean more work during installation. You’ll have to tuck wires into your upholstery, which can be a time-consuming task.

The menus feature intuitive design and are easy to navigate. You can adjust video resolution, event detection sensitivity, loop recording time, and more.

Overall Rating4.3 out of 5
Ease of Use3 out of 5
Video Quality4.5 out of 5
User Interface5 out of 5
Extra Features4.5 out of 5

#7 Backup Camera: Auto-Vox CS-2 Wireless Backup Camera

Auto-Vox CS-2 Wireless Backup Camera

Check Price

The Auto-Vox is a simple wireless backup camera that anyone can quickly install. While most new vehicles already have a built-in backup camera, this is not often the case with older cars. Backup cameras can help prevent fender benders in the parking lot and make parallel parking much easier.

The Auto-Vox backup camera offers a 110-degree viewing angle, features a wireless digital connection, and is waterproof.

Approximate cost: $95

Our Experience

Auto-Vox CS-2 Wireless Backup Camera

We rated the Auto-Vox CS-2 as the overall best backup camera because it is reasonably priced, has useful features, and is easy to install. We found the display screen to offer reasonable resolution, and we like that the wireless connection means that you don’t need to deal with a lot of wires. The wireless feature works well: We didn’t notice any drops in connection, though the video can rarely lag.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Ease of Use5 out of 5
Installation5 out of 5
Video Quality4.5 out of 5
Features4.5 out of 5

#8 OBD2 Scanner: Launch CRP129E Scan Tool

Launch CRP129E Scan Tool

Check Price

An OBD2 scan tool is a useful tool for car owners, even if you don’t know much about car repairs. OBD2 scan tools can help even the layperson diagnose and clear some engine codes. And if you want to work on your own car, an OBD2 scanner is a must.

We think the Launch CRP129E Scan Tool is among the best OBD2 scanners. It’s easy to use and has a depth of features for those interested. You can check live data, perform emissions tests, and reset diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs).

The CRP129E comes with data code protocols from nearly 60 carmakers and over 1,000 models, and it provides free lifetime updates.

Approximate cost: $260

Our Experience

Launch CRP129E Scan Tool

We found the Launch CRP129E simple to use. We like the touchscreen user interface and long connection cable.

Note that you will need a WiFi connection to set up your Launch scanner. Once you’ve registered the device, however, you won’t need a persistent internet connection to use the scanner. The Launch OBD2 scanner is small and you can easily store it in your car to quickly diagnose issues.

Overall Rating4.4 out of 5
Value5 out of 5
Ease of Use4 out of 5
Customer Satisfaction4.5 out of 5
Data Collection Capabilities4 out of 5

#9 Portable Charger: Anker Portable Charger

Anker Portable Charger

Check Price

While some of our suggestions for best car accessories also include charging ports, it can be worthwhile to carry a dedicated portable car charger. Especially since these can be small and fit in your pocket.

We like the Anker PowerCore Slim 10K and even think it’s the best portable charger on the market. It has a 10,000.0-mAh battery that charges at 2.4 amps. Safety features like short circuit protection, temperature control, and overcharge protection protect your phone, and there is even a trickle-charge feature for rejuvenating dead batteries.

Approximate cost: $20

Our Experience

Anker Portable Charger

We found that this power bank charges extremely quickly and is very durable. It’s small, powerful, and easy to use. Compared to other chargers that we’ve tested, the Anker was twice as fast.

Overall Rating4.7 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Power5 out of 5
Portability4.5 out of 5

#10 Sunshade: Sailead Polarized Sun Visor

Sailead Polarized Sun Visor

Check Price

Sunglasses are typically the best means to filter harsh rays in the car, but glasses aren’t comfortable for everyone. If you want to forgo the wraparounds, a car sun visor has you covered.

The Sailead polarized sun visor is adjustable and stable. You can situate it close to the front of your face, effectively protecting your entire field of vision.

Approximate cost: $25

Our Experience

Sailead Polarized Sun Visor

The Sailead earns its designation as the best car sun visor extender because of its adjustability. Most extendable visors connect to your existing visor via an elastic strap. The Sailead attaches with a spring clip which allows it to fit more vehicles.

Importantly, you can adjust the Sailead’s distance from your face, and it also rotates and swivels. Lesser visors don’t fit all vehicles and may not stay stable, especially as the elastic stretches over time. Expect the Sailead to last quite some time.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Ease of Use4.5 out of 5
Stability5 out of 5
Coverage5 out of 5

5 More Car Accessories

#11 Neck Pillow: Trtl Pillow

Trtl Pillow

Check Price

The Trtl Pillow is an adjustable travel neck pillow that’s well-suited for sleeping. You shouldn’t wear a car neck pillow while driving, but it’s one of the best car accessories for passengers and a good item to keep in your back seat. This lightweight device keeps your neck cool and supported. The Trtl offers a more rigid alternative to memory foam, though it does sacrifice plushness.

Approximate cost: $35

Our Experience

Trtl Pillow

It’s not immediately obvious how to use the Trtl, but we were able to figure it out with some fiddling. It’s easy to adjust and features an ergonomic design. The microfiber fleece lining is soft to the skin. What makes this one of the best car neck pillows is the unparalleled neck support.

This pillow is easy to wash, you can throw it into the washing machine and turn the settings to low. It takes about a day to air dry completely after a rinse cycle.

Overall Rating4.4 out of 5
Support5 out of 5
Comfort4 out of 5
Adjustability4.5 out of 5
Portability4 out of 5

#12 Seat Cushion: Purple Ultimate Seat Cushion

Purple Ultimate Seat Cushion

Check Price

The right car seat cushion can keep your bottom gently padded for long drives. In high temperatures, the best car seat cushions will also keep you cool. We think the Purple Ultimate is the pinnacle of seat cushion technology. While it packs a hefty price tag, it’s well worth it. There’s also a cheaper version available.

Approximate cost: $150

Our Experience

Purple Ultimate Seat Cushion

We tested several top car seat cushions, and the Purple Ultimate cushion was easily the most comfortable and breathable. It comes with a no-slip cover that is machine washable for easy cleaning. Be aware that this cushion is big. If you have small car seats, it may not easily fit in your vehicle and you’ll want to opt for the smaller version.

Overall Rating4.6 out of 5
Comfort5 out of 5
Maintenance4.5 out of 5
Airflow5 out of 5
Grip4 out of 5

#13 Backseat Baby Mirror: Shynerk Baby Car Mirror

Shynerk Baby Car Mirror

Check Price

Backseat baby mirrors can be a comfort to small children. If you have a child in a rear-facing car seat, it can be calming for them to see a caretaker’s face. A baby mirror is also a means for the driver to quickly check the mood of their child passenger.

The Shynerk Baby Car Mirror is our pick for the best backseat baby mirror because it’s easy to use and install. It’s a large, shatterproof mirror (11.4 by 7.5 by 1.1 inches) that has been crash-tested.

Approximate cost: $20

Our Experience

Shynerk Baby Car Mirror

We tested the Shynerk by installing it ourselves. We found it easy to adjust because of its simple ball joint design. The large size of the mirror makes it easy to position properly, and the wide angle offers a full view of the back seat.

We did note the low-quality plastic used in the construction, but for only around $20, this baby mirror seems worth the investment if you regularly transport a small child.

Overall Rating4.5 out of 5
Design4.5 out of 5
Installation4.5 out of 5
Value4.5 out of 5

#14 Food Tray: Stupid Car Organizer

Stupid Car Organizer

Check Price

The Stupid Car Organizer is a useful car accessory for long road trips or short commutes. If you find yourself eating in your car or have passengers who do so, a car organizer provides a much-needed flat surface. It can also help keep your car clean by catching crumbs and function as a front seat organizer.

We think the Stupid Car Organizer is among the best car trays because it is easy to set up, inexpensive, and easy to clean.

Approximate cost: $30

Our Experience

Stupid Car Organizer

We tested several car trays, and the Stupid Car Organizer was able to hold the most food. It uses adjustable straps which make it easier to secure items in place. We drove over several speed bumps and our test food remained on the tray.

This tray does take up an entire seat, so it’s not usable if your car is completely filled with passengers, but it is very stable. It can easily be stored when not in use.

Overall Rating4.6 out of 5
Ease of Installation5 out of 5
Stability4 out of 5
Durability5 out of 5
Holding Capacity4.5 out of 5

#15 Car Trash Can: Lusso Gear Spill-Proof Car Trash Can

Lusso Gear Spill-Proof Car Trash Can

Check Price

A small, leak-proof container with a sealable lid like the Lusso Gear car trash can can help keep your car organized. If you often find yourself snacking or eating in your car, a handy trash bin is a must.

This bin is also a good buy for rideshare drivers. It includes a Velcro® adhesive that lets you attach it to a passenger seat or glove box. This 2.5-gallon container has enough capacity to last through several passengers.

Approximate cost: $26

Our Experience

Lusso Gear Spill-Proof Car Trash Can

Our review team named the Lusso Gear Spill-Proof Car Trash Can the best car trash can because of its durable construction, high capacity, and useful design elements. We think the washable liner that’s easy to remove and clean.

This large capacity can be an issue for some drivers, as it does take up more space in the car. If this can is too big, opt for a smaller option like the KMMotors foldable trash can.

Overall Rating4.8 out of 5
Ease of Installation5 out of 5
Capacity5 out of 5
Features4.5 out of 5

#16 Bonus Recommendation: Nulaxy KM18 Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Nulaxy KM18 Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Check Price

These days, most car radios include Bluetooth® compatibility. However, if you have an older vehicle, you’ll need to purchase an aux cord or a Bluetooth FM transmitter to pair your smartphone with your radio.

We think the Nulaxy KM18 is the best Bluetooth FM transmitter. It has a large LED display and flexible gooseneck. It can pair with most Apple, Android, or Galaxy devices. It also has a USB port, AUX port, and built-in micro-SD card reader to stream all your music over the airwaves.

Approximate cost: $15

Our Experience

Nulaxy KM18 Bluetooth FM Transmitter

The Nulaxy KM18 is easy to use. It plugs into your car’s auxiliary port (cigarette lighter) and quickly pairs with most phones. The clarity and connection are smooth and this device even adds hands-free functionality for calls.

Overall Rating5 out of 5
Installation5 out of 5
Streaming/Calls5 out of 5
Versatility5 out of 5

What Car Accessories Do You Need?

The car accessories you might need depend partially on your climate and how you use your vehicle. But there are several items that most people benefit from keeping in their car. It’s generally a good idea to have:

  • Emergency kit that includes a first aid kit
  • Ice scraper (climate dependent)
  • Air freshener
  • Phone mount
  • Napkins
  • Pencil and paper
  • Registration
  • Insurance information
  • Jumper cables (or portable jump starter)
  • Tire inflator
  • Tire repair kit
  • Spare tire

In addition to the items listed above, there are a number of things that you may not need but are convenient to keep in your car or can improve your car experience. This includes items like:

  • Seat cushion
  • OBD2 scanner
  • Dash cam
  • Backup camera
  • Portable charger
  • Sun visor extender
  • Neck pillow
  • Car trash can

Our Review Standards

All of the car accessories we recommend in this article were tested by our review team. The review standards for each type of product can vary, but all were first selected based on positive customer reviews on sites like Amazon and Advance Auto Parts.

Frequently Asked Questions: Accessories For Cars

*Data accurate at time of publication.