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The coolest car gadgets

No matter where you live, there’s an adventure to be had within driving distance. The problem is that, for many of us, road trips can be long and boring experiences, made even more difficult if there are restless kids in the back seat. Thankfully, there’s a whole world of great devices and gadgets to help make your next road trip safer and more enjoyable. Let’s take a look at some of the best for 2021.

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Lanmodo Night Vision System ($500)


Even the best drivers can struggle to see at night, regardless of weather conditions, so it’s great to have a little help. The Lanmodo Night Vision System operates in 1080p and offers a bright view of the road ahead — up to 984 feet, to be exact. It sits securely on the vehicle’s dash and can be purchased with a rearview camera for older vehicles without an equipped camera.

Cobra RAD 480i ($150)

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Radar detectors are nothing new, but the latest crop of devices is quite impressive. The RAD 480i from Cobra comes with a partner app that allows community sharing of speed trap locations. Updatable software and 360-degree laser detection are great bonuses.

Fobo Tire Plus ($160)

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Properly inflated tires wear more evenly, thus increasing the lifespan of your rubber as well as fuel efficiency. Rather than using a handheld pressure gauge to ensure your tires are properly inflated, however, the Fobo Tire Plus system uses a series of Bluetooth gauges that relay this information directly to your smartphone. Fobo will alert you when your tire pressure is getting too low directly on your phone. The app even provides a straightforward tutorial, making installation a breeze.

Scosche USB Charger ($10)

As you begin to accumulate car gadgets, you’ll also need more space to charge many of these devices. Thankfully, Scosche’s charger allows you to charge two devices at once. While there are USB hubs with more ports, this unit is one of the best given its low profile and budget-friendly price tag. There are plenty of excellent chargers if you’re willing to spend a little bit more, too.

Tile Mate ($25)

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Our forgetfulness costs us thousands of dollars over the course of our lifetimes. Unsurprisingly, one of the most commonly misplaced items is our car keys. Thankfully, the Bluetooth-equipped Tile Mate easily slides onto a key chain, allowing you to track the whereabouts of your keys using an accompanying mobile app — even if they’re locked inside your car. Tile is one of the best Bluetooth trackers on the market, and it’s even compatible with several infotainment systems.

Garmin Dash Cam 56 ($200)

A dashcam is an exceptional tool for determining fault after a car accident, and the Garmin Dash Cam 56 is our top pick. The device captures images in crystal-clear 1080p video, saves video on impact, and will record your GPS location to show when and where accidents occurred. It keeps you safe, it’s compact, and it even responds to voice commands.

Nanopresso ($65)

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Most of us simply shudder at the thought of starting our workday without a cup of coffee. It’s easy to forget to set our favorite coffee maker, or, if we’re running behind, we may simply lack the time to swing by our preferential coffee shop on the way to work. Designed for the flibbertigibbet — or those with a soft spot for unnecessary gadgets — the Nanopresso is a coffee maker tailor-made for those of us who are constantly on the move. It doesn’t need power to work, and it’s compatible with Nespresso capsules.

Arsvita Audio Cassette Bluetooth Adapter ($23)

Arsvita Car Audio Bluetooth
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If your car is living in the past, a Bluetooth cassette adapter is a great way to stream all of your favorite playlists directly from your smartphone (without any unsightly cord clutter). The best part is that you don’t have to take apart any components or refit your car to do so. Arsvita’s offering is one of our favorites, too. It offers roughly eight hours of playback on a single charge, which is more than enough juice to play all of your favorite — or embarrassing — tunes, much to the dismay of your friends. It even allows for hands-free calling thanks to a built-in microphone. It’s compatible with most smartphones, too.

Backseat Car Organizer ($7)

Backseat car organizer
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Families and high-maintenance travelers alike will enjoy the convenience a backseat car organizer offers as it creates an orderly storage compartment for all of your traveling necessities. This organizer has different sized pockets to store various objects, including electronic devices, snacks, toys, or beauty supplies. Its mesh and polyester material makes it easy to clean and identify the items you put in it.

The adjustable headrest can attach to almost any type of car seat, so you can keep everything within reach wherever you are. A hypoallergenic cotton lining and waterproof interior provide another bonus. We’ve all experienced a spill on the road. Some drivers might even use it as a trash holder since its sturdy shape holds up even when it’s empty.

Vanmass Wireless Car Charger ($30)

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The best part about the Vanmass car charger is that it doubles as a phone mount. The mount supports phones from 4 to 6.5 inches, which covers most smartphones. The charger also includes a flexible arm so you can adjust it easily even while driving to change glare or simply improve the angle. You can also extend it towards you if you’re parked and lean back.  Vanmass also offers a two-year warranty.

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Chris Teague
I cover automobiles and tech to find the stories and information that really matter. My background in technology consulting…
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