Over the past few decades, it’s not only the number of cars that we see on the road that has increased, but the amount of time that we spend in our cars has, too. With the average commute taking between 20 minutes to 45 minutes (depending on which state you live in), that time soon adds up to nearly 200 hours – or nine days – a year.
Naturally, spending so much time in one small space can have repercussions, but it also means that now, more than ever, we’re looking for the best ways to make our time in the car more convenient than ever. Take the humble car cup holder. It may seem like a simple addition to an otherwise adequate car but spend enough time without a drink holder and you’ll suddenly find yourself bemoaning your new purchase.
Luckily, the almost infamous lack of cup holders in European cars doesn’t have to put you off the impressive engineering. Instead, you’re now able to purchase the right cup holder for your needs, without having to consider the layout of your car on purchase.
Below, we discuss the best car cup holder selection on the market, today. Not only that, but we’ve taken the time to help you find the right cup holder type for your needs and worked our way through your most common needs to bring the ultimate buying guide when it comes to coffee cup holders for your car.
The Best Car Cup Holder
A simple but effective universal cup holder, this cup holder adapter can change your standard car cup holder into a giant that will happily meet the needs of any travel mug. Being able to hold up to 40oz mugs (including the YETI options) securely and without much fuss, this is a great choice for those taking in the daily commute.
There are two ways to expand this option, whereby you can alter the depth of your cup holder to meet the needs of your cups, mugs or bottles and you can extend the width for better stability. It also comes with a soft fit sleeve, so you can be sure that your car will remain undamaged by scratches during fitting or on rockier roads.
Adjustable three-ring base
- Weight7.2 ounces
A simple and inexpensive addition for any commuter
A great fit with any and all bottles and mugs
Side opening for handles
No added storage
Only suitable for one user/drinker
Another great choice in a portable cup holder, this car cup holder adapter works in a similar way to our top pick, with a few minor adjustments and slightly higher price. With a simple twist of the top half, you can expand the base of your new cup holder to securely fit into any standard car cup holder.
Ranging from 2.5 – 3.75 inches in diameter, there’s a huge range here but you will still need to check the size of your current option before purchasing this. The central unit can also handle up to 3.4 inches diameter in bottles, cups and mugs and the seller recommends using a credit card to measure against, in order to check that your travel mug will fit. Anything smaller than this will be securely held in by the addition of the rubber tabs around the head of the cup holder.
Extendable base to fit any car cup holder
Tabs added for extra security
Fits up to 3.4 inches in diameter
- Weight10.1 ounces
Uses a simple twisting motion to extend or retract the base, to fit any car
A very sturdy option which uses additional rubber tabs to increase stability
Can hold a very high capacity, depending on the bottle or cup used
Shorter depth can be problematic in some cars (check your measurements to ensure this doesn’t come loose)
Only suitable for one user/drinker
Combining the storage capabilities of the console options, along with the adaptability of the extending bases of our top choices, this mini console from Go Gear covers everything you could need in a car cup holder. The upper half of this choice can handle the standard go-to’s in your car, such as your phone, change or glasses, while the lower half features two, adjustable cup holders.
There’s a huge range of sizes here, so you can be sure that almost any mug or drinking cup you bring along will be able to fit without issue. The only real problem here is that you’ll need to place this console on your seat or floor, which can make reaching for your drinks a little awkward – especially in a full car. And, while it is generally very stable, it isn’t ideal to have a loose console in the car.
For use on seats of the floor
Three storage compartments plus two cup holders
Cup holders are adjustable
- BrandGo Gear
- Weight15.2 ounces
A sturdy option that works well for any car
Drink holders are adjustable and so can fit most sizes of cups and bottles
Offer complete organization for your car
Not ideal for busy households, as there may not enough room to place the console down
If you prefer to have a mounted drink holder in your car, then you can’t go too far wrong with this option from Camco. While mounting options all cause damage to your car via the screws, this can be worth the added convenience, depending on how you prefer to drive. That said, if you prefer not to use the screws, double-sided tape is included with this option – although the strength of the cup holder using just tape hasn’t been tested by users, yet.
This adjustable drinks holder can handle a surprisingly high weight and can be adjusted to meet almost any width of cup. This is shown by buyers, with many reviewers noting that they have had some great experiences that have surprised them, even with their largest drinks. It also folds up neatly when not in use, which is perfect for those who like to keep their car extra-neat.
Mounted adjustable cup holder
Folds up when not in use
Can be screwed on or attached using double-sided tape
- Weight3.2 ounces
Adjustable handles allow for almost any size cup
Surprisingly strong with great grip on both the mounting and cup
A very affordable option
Using the screws will damage your car
Tapes may not be strong enough for heavier drinks
With extra-tall sides to ensure complete stability for your bottle or cups, this cup holder works brilliantly for water bottles or the morning beverage on the way to work. The 1-inch slot is ideal for those cups with handles, such as the standard travel mug while the sides reach an additional 3 inches. Meanwhile, the tapered base works to 2.6 – 3.4 inches to provide a snug fit in your fitted car cup holder.
The upper diameter reaches 3.9 inches across and is therefore wider than some of our options. However, due to the added height, it is not as stable as some of the higher options on our list, with some users noting that sharp turns can throw off the center of balance for this option.
3-inch upper cup to hold most drinks very well
Incorporates a 1-inch slot for handles
- BrandSmart Kup
- Weight4 ounces
Uses a high-strength plastic for greater durability
High sides mean you are less likely to come across slips and spills
Very affordable and highly rated
Tapered base can be a little loose for some cars
Another choice with an expandable base, this option ranges from 2.5 – 3.75 inches in diameter at the base, to fit any car cup holder. Simply twist the upper half to expand or retract the base to fit whatever size fits best. Meanwhile, the upper diameter can hit a massive 3.8 inches and hold up to 40oz bottles and cups, along with a slot down one side to handle mugs and cups with handles.
This is regularly highly rated by those who take longer, rougher drives, who note that this option from Seven Sparta works brilliantly in maintaining a stable, firm grip during on the road. The tall sides help to further this, providing a great base for your drinks during trying journeys. Not to mention the exceptional customer service, who have worked to provide this new edition of their popular car cup holder.
Expandable base works by simple rotation
Slots for handles of mugs and cups
Universal car cup holder
- BrandSeven Sparta
- Weight14.7 ounces
A secure option that is ideal for longer, rougher drives
Fantastic customer service, which has dealt with previous issues well
Can occasionally slip out with your drink
Another choice which would need to placed on the floor or a vacant seat, this console cup holder is made in the USA and can hold everything you could possibly think of. Being made from durable plastic resins, this is a slightly weightier option and comes with a higher price tag but is likely to be more stable on the floor.
The two cup holders have a static size, with no wiggle room for larger cups, so don’t expect anything amazing here. However, the organizer which is attached has some nice features, in that it can handle any items large or small, from your tablet to pens. This is all thanks to the extra depth that this console has, make it ideal for those who want a decent organizer over a decent cup holder.
Designed for seat or floor
Car cup holder and organizer
Made in the USA
- Weight1 pounds
Can hold plenty of items, making it ideal for longer drives
Fits in any car
Can be too bulky for some users
Needs to be kept on a seat or on the floor
Our first side-pocket console organizer and cup holder is from IOKONE and has proven to be very popular with buyers. Available at a great price, this option is made from durable plastic with a leather upper, making this one of the best-looking options for use in your car.
There are two cup holders here and they can fit most standard travel mugs and cups. The only real issue is that there is no fitting and therefore this item can get in the way a little bit – especially if used on the driver’s side. That said, this is a good looking addition to any car and there’s even some extra room as an organizer, so all-in-all this is a relatively decent choice.
Two cup holders and organizer
Slots between seat and center console
Fits larger cups
- Weight10.6 ounces
Handy organizer that works well in most cars
Very easy to clean with a damp microfiber cloth
Not ideal for mugs or drinks with handles
No extension available for wider spaces
A short but sweet option for those who like to place their cup holder anywhere in their car. While it may seem a little odd, reviews do note that this little car cup holder does well to stick wherever it’s placed. Better still, the wider base works well to maintain stability during rides and the addition of the springs allows for better grip to your mug or cups.
This is a fantastically affordable option that can easily be picked up and placed elsewhere without any fuss – ideal for hiding in the glove box when not in use, for example, or moving from car to car. Indeed, many users will take this cup holder for other uses, such as to avoid their drinks being knocked over by their cats.
Uses internal pressure to keep drink in place
Non-slip base for rocky rides
Sits in place via the rubber base
- Weight5.9 ounces
Very secure grip for drinks
Very easy to use with no need for complex installations
Low edges aren’t very effectively at holding their center of gravity
Spring-loaded grip can be quite tough to remove drinks from
Surprisingly sturdy for what is essentially a stick-on cup holder, this item from ZoneTech works by sticking to your windows and can be placed anywhere in the car where there is a suitable surface nearby. Cheap and cheerful, this is a great choice if you want to free up some console space in your car, or simply need a drinks holder in the back seats for the kids.
Despite a simple design, it holds a decent weight, with customers noting drinks even up to 24oz are comfortably held by this option. The only real downside to this particular option is that it looks a little “clunky” and can get in the way if you’re looking to open and close your windows regularly
Very affordable option
Mounted style cup holder
Adjustable arm moves cup holder to where you need it most
- Weight8.8 ounces
The adjustable arm ensures your cup holder never gets in the way
Can be placed anywhere in the car
Holds weight very well
Not very aesthetically pleasing
Will need a little maintenance as it can become too loose or tight over time
Another simple choice which uses an additional sleeve to adjust to your car, this option from Smart Flask is a basic cup holder adapter which works for a smaller range of sizes but does a great job with those holders which do match the dimensions. Luckily, if this doesn’t fit your car, there’s also the option of a moneyback guarantee provided by the seller, although the extension dimension ranges should ensure that only those suitable will buy this option.
With a deep upper half, and wider diameter of up to 3 7/8 inches, it’s likely that this cup holder will meet your needs without too much fuss and the foam sleeve can be adjusted to meet multiple fitted cup holder types. All-in-all, if this cup fits your car, then you won’t come across any issues and will be able to hold up to 40oz bottles of cups in your car with pleasure.
Works best with drinks around 3 3/8 to 3 7/8 inches in diameter
Outer side can be adjusted to fit car cup holders
Opening for handles
- BrandSmart Flask
- Weight7.2 ounces
Extra deep to help prevent spills
Comes with a moneyback guarantee
Helps to maintain the ideal temperature of your drink
Does not work with all cup and bottle sizes
Can stand a little high in the center console
If you have a deeper cup holder but don’t have the width you need for your drinks, or simply want more organizing space, then this is the choice for you. This console cup holder from Rubbermaid works brilliantly for commuters as it covers everything you could possibly need – with a lined eye-glass compartment through to an extra-wide cup holder, this is a great choice for daily drivers.
This item is dishwasher safe for extremely easy cleaning, but you will need to check the dimensions of your car’s center console before purchasing to ensure a good fit. It also comes at a great price, so you don’t need to pay an extortionate amount for a deluxe cup holder.
Provides plenty of additional compartments
Easy to clean
Includes a lined eye-glass compartment
- Weight7.2 ounces
Creates plenty of extra space around your car console
Dishwasher safe for extremely easy cleaning
Simple to use and very secure
Check dimensions before buying to ensure the console will fit in your cup holder
Your car will need enough space around the center console to fit this
Simple and cheap, this window cup holder is great if you’re looking for something that will do for a one-off, long-haul trip. Simply slot the hook into the gap between your door and window and you will have yourself a high-capacity cup holder that is out of the way and easy to use.
Of course, things are never quite that simple and there are a few negatives here, in that you won’t be able to use your window while this is in use, without the cup holder popping out and needing to be replaced. It also requires enough space for the cup holder itself to be placed between the gap, as many newer cars won’t have a large space here.
Two pack for both driver and passenger
Very high capacity
Hooks on to the window
- BrandCustom Accessories
- Weight0.8 ounces
Super easy to install and use
Made from a durable plastic to hold very large drinks with ease
You won’t be able to raise your window while using this
Can be a little difficult to put into place for many newer cars
A great choice if you find yourself needing a slimline organizer that can hide your valuables when required. This option from KMMOTORS has been designed to slide into the gap between your seat and center console and works with a magnetic flip-up lid to keep heat-sensitive items away from the sun’s glare – or simply to hide your change.
There are two pads included with this purchase, so if you think your gap might be a little wider, it might be worth trying this item out over our earlier side pocket option. Meanwhile, this option has also been made with plywood along the central design, so ensure a stronger fit and great durability.
Organizer and cup holder
Pads included to fit any size gaps between seat and console
Magnetic flip-up lid hides goods from prying eyes
- Weight1.1 pounds
Compatible with most car spaces
Works as a cup holder and storage
Can stick up a little far and get in the way of some drivers
Not the most visually appealing option
Available as a complete car cup holder organizer, this item can handle anything and everything you have to throw at it or could possible need on your journey. While not ideal for commuters, since the bag is used over the headrest and is therefore only available to those in the back seat, this is a fantastic choice for family cars and long drives.
Dishwasher safe and therefore very easy to clean, this organizer consists of two cup holders, a folding tray and additional storage space. The strap is completely adjustable to match the length you require (lower for kids who may want to use the tray as an activity table, higher to stay out of reach), and the lower section even includes hooks for trash bags or coats.
Hangs over car headrest
- Weight1.55 pounds
Works brilliantly for holding everything you need for your journey
Can easily be stored away under the chair when not in use
Only really good for passengers, as the holder is based behind the headrest
Can take up a lot of space
Best Car Cup Holder Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying a Cup Holder
The size of your cup holder will make a huge difference as to how it will fit in your car. Too small, and it won’t hold everything you need. Too large and it will just get in your way and be far too clunky to drive with, comfortably.
It also matters as to how much you can fit in your car. Most will use the capacity as a means to show how much you can fit in their cup holders, although many will go in to greater detail and give you specific dimensions. If possible, go with the latter, as every car drinks holder is different and may even stop you from being able to purchase one option over the over, completely.
The material matters for two main reasons. The first is that you will no doubt want a decent cup holder that allows you to enjoy your new car without feeling like an ugly contraption is in your peripheral vision at all times.
The second is that the material can increase the stability and convenience of your item. This is a big plus, as rubber backings and plastic options are less likely to cause spillages – and, if that does happen, are super easy to clean up.
While there isn’t a great deal of features to be had on the standard cup holder for your car, there are a few “nice to haves” which can be added. For example, many of our stand-alone adaptable cup holders have extending bases, which allow for a firmer grip and therefore more stability. Meanwhile, there are plenty of options out there which add extra organizers or compartments, to help make your cup holder even more helpful.
By convenience, we mean how easy is your item to fit and remove, and how well does it clean up. Stand alone, single cup holders can usually be brought from car to car, without a great deal of fuss, while fitted options might end up damaging your car due to the requirement of being screwed to your dash.
You should also be aware that it’s likely your cup holder will get dirty over time. Just like the rest of your car, it will pick up dust and debris during use – but it will also be catching spills from your drinks. Thus, having an option to quickly and easily clean your cup holder is a huge benefit. Some of the options above are great for this, as they are dishwasher safe.
Others might require a little more work in that they require a wipe down with a microfiber cloth. However, we have tried to provide you with the best auto cup holder options that are also super convenient to use.
Benefits of Car Cup Holders
It’s fair to say that a properly fitted car drink holder will be much better suited to providing a safe place to put your hot drinks. In doing this, you are then able to focus on the road and therefore less likely to get into an accident. They also provide additional stability, as opposed to the thinner, more shallow auto cup holder options that come with your car. This, in turn, means your drinks are less likely to spill and cause a distraction, or get caught under the pedals of your car.
Many of the options above not only provide additional space for your drinks, but also consist of an organizer which can help create a suitable space for all the items you might need to have nearby in the car. This might include something as simple as a space for your glasses, or even consist of a tablet holder, which you might use for work once on the job, for example.
A better fit for your car cup holder means no spills from your drinks, and therefore less need to constantly clean up the awkward spaces in your car. Should you have an accidental slip or find your cup holder getting messier over time, these cup holders come with the added benefit of being easily removed – therefore making clean-up much easier and quicker (especially if your chosen item is also dishwasher safe).
Different Types of Car Cup Holders
While many of the options above will be adaptable in some form or other, we’re actually referring to the single cup holders with extending or adaptable bases, here. These are ideal for commuters as they’re only able to hold up to one drink at a time – but not great for larger groups or households, as you would need to buy multiples.
However, they are one of the most versatile options, since they can easily be changed to meet the needs of yourself and your car. Coming with retractable options, or an adjustable base, they are sturdy and reliable, as well as being easy to place and remove without damaging your car. You will need a fitted cup holder as part of your car’s initial design in order to use one of these.
Acting as a standalone option, but usually able to slide between sections of your car, such as the footwell or alongside your car’s central console, these are much larger but come with extra space. Perfect for larger households, or those who simply want the additional storage space for their organizers, phones and so on, these will usually come with two, larger cup holders.
Some are completely freestanding and will need to be placed on the floor of your car, or on a spare seat, which can make them a little less stable. That said, since they are usually wider and more robust, they still provide a good option with little risk of spills or slips.
Others can be used as side pockets and are placed alongside your seat. These are usually a little slimmer, but longer and you will need to ensure that you’re comfortable with this addition, as they can take a little space away from your seat. They do, however, provide a great, easy to access space for all your driving items or simply to keep extra change in for the parking meter.
Not as popular as the two main options above, these cup holders will need to be attached to your car using an adhesive or screws. The latter will damage your dashboard, however for older cars and those who aren’t looking to maintain their car value, this is of little concern and the benefit of having a strong cup holder can outweigh this.
They are usually very strong and can hold a greater capacity in drinks and many will be retractable or will fold up to take less space when not in use. Bear in mind that it would be unwise to keep moving this cup holder after fitting, so choose the space wisely to ensure it doesn’t get in your way while driving.
The least favorite option but extremely cheap and handy to have for occasional use, hanging cup holders use a small hook to latch on to your car door. While this can get in the way of the driver, they are a great choice for passengers, as they can often hold a large weight or drink capacity and shouldn’t do any damage to your vehicle.
Our Top Pick
We love the Cup Holder Adapter from BottlePro because it provides an affordable and easy to use option which adapts your current cup holder into a universal fitting. This option is able to handle almost any bottle, cup or mug with an extending base and secure fitting, along with a cut-out slot for any handles.
There’s also the added bonus of the excellent customer service, which many reviewers note has been outstanding. All-in-all, this is a fantastic choice for the daily commuter who is tired of having inadequate cup holders. Instead, we recommend this cup holder from BottlePro to fix all your travel drinking woes.
- Why a Good Cup Holder is Hard to Find – HBR
- Why manufacturers spend so much time designing cup holders – The Globe and mail