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Whether you're an unwavering enthusiast, a casual commuter, or a new driver, your vehicle is more than just a mode of transportation—it's something of a second home. Just like a good security system or comfy furniture, there are things you'll want to have to make the experience of inhabiting your vehicle safer and more comfortable.
From basics to keep your vehicle organized and on the road to gadgets that add a layer of safety and security, we've curated a list, with some help from the Gear Team experts, of indispensable car accessories that deserve a spot in every driver's arsenal.
Cordless Pistol Grip
The Avid Power Cordless Pistol Grip garnered best overall honors when the Gear Team put several tire inflators to the test. It edged out the competition mostly due to its flexibility. It comes with multiple valve adapters, for inflating more than just tires, and multiple power options. It also had the fastest tire inflation times among the easy-to-use pistol-style inflators.
Boost Plus GB40
A dead battery is simply no fun, and if you live in more sparsely populated locales, finding someone to give you a jump isn't always so easy. So keeping a jumper pack like the Noco GB40 handy will provide a bit more peace of mind.
When comparing jump starters, the Gear Team gave it the nod as the best compact jumper, which makes it perfect for keeping in your car just in case. It's rated for gasoline engines up to 6.0 liters and diesel engines up to 3.0 liters, so if you'll need to jump-start something with a larger engine, have a look at Noco's larger options.
4 Gauge 20 Feet Jumper Cables
If you prefer doing things the old-fashioned way or simply would rather not be bothered keeping a jump starter charged, a quality set of jumper cables is absolutely essential. Cartman's 20-foot cables were picked as the best cables for most vehicles when the Gear Team tested six jumper cables.
The testers appreciated that beyond solid lead length and quality clamps, these cables represented a good value because they included a carrying bag, a terminal cleaning brush, and a three-year warranty.
150W Car Power Inverter
A power inverter may not be something you've considered, but once you've thought about it, you'll realize the value of this little gadget. The Gear Team tested the Superone power inverter among a few others, and it was named the best for light-duty use.
It features two USB ports, one AC plug, and two 12-volt cigarette lighter–style ports, so you can power a variety of devices simultaneously. The AC outlet even allows you to charge laptops or whatever else you can't leave the house without. Its design makes it easy to find a convenient place to charge anywhere you have a free cupholder.
iQ 4K Smart HD Dashcam Pro
A good dashcam will add a layer of protection to your commute by recording what's going on in and around your car. The iQ from Nextbase takes this to another level by incorporating AI to make your drive even safer.
It records in ultra-crisp 4K, but where it shines is in the driver-assist features it offers. It connects to your smartphone where you can customize alerts for lane departure, imminent collisions, and drowsiness. Guardian mode allows you to monitor younger drivers remotely, and Roadwatch uses AI to track the speeds and locations of vehicles around you.
GPS Car Tracker
An unfortunate consequence of automotive ownership is the possibility of theft. Since our cars and trucks are typically the most expensive things we own next to our homes, taking some precautions is wise.
The Bouncie earned Best Overall honors from our Gear Team when it was compared to other trackers. They loved the Bouncie's simple setup and intuitive interface. It can provide a healthy list of alerts from speed and impact detection to curfew and even fuel level.
Auto Sense Wireless-Charging Cupholder Car Mount
Among the accessories we keep in our vehicles, a good phone mount stands out as a must-have. Pretty much everyone on the road has a smartphone, so having a safe place to mount and charge it only makes it easier to keep your head up and your eyes on the road.
This mount from iOttie was awarded the best cupholder phone mount in the Gear Team's comparison test. It sits discreetly in your vehicle's cupholder, where it can automatically clamp to your phone providing a sturdy mount. As a bonus, it also charges wirelessly while your phone is within its grasp.
Roadside Emergency Car Kit
This one is so essential that actually, every car should come with one from the factory. An emergency roadside kit can seriously be a lifesaver. We like Thrive's kit because, despite its size, it contains over 100 items that can help get you out of an uncomfortable situation, or at least hold you over until help arrives.
Some of the kit's contents include an escape hammer, rain poncho, zip ties, bungee cords, and a first-aid kit.
Multipurpose Cargo Organizer Blocks
I have personally used these for years across vehicles from Volkswagen GTIs and Porsche Caymans to Toyota Land Cruisers. As long as your vehicle cargo area is lined with carpet, these handy little blocks will do you well.
The bottom features high-strength fastening hooks that bite hard into your vehicle carpet, allowing you to stabilize, store, organize, and protect whatever cargo you may be carrying. I've used them for sporting equipment, spare wheels, and even gas cans.
16-Piece Arsenal Builder Carwash Kit
Although many may scoff at us car nuts for obsessively washing our cars and trucks, the joke is on them, because maintaining your vehicle's exterior and interior can be nearly as important as the mechanical bits.
This kit from Chemical Guys includes everything you need to give your car a proper wash. It was also named the best premium carwash kit when tested by the Gear Team. They liked that in addition to all the Chemical Guys sprays for various parts of your car, the kit includes a foam cannon for soaping your vehicle, a bucket, and a collection of microfiber towels and brushes.
Why Trust Us
With the legacies of Autoweek, Car and Driver, and Road & Track behind us, the Hearst Autos Gear Team is more concerned with our readers' trust than with our bottom line. We won't tell you to buy something if we wouldn't buy it ourselves or recommend it to our friends, and we'll never claim to have used or tested something if we haven't.
We've evaluated dozens of products, from catalytic converter protectors and electric car chargers to foam cannons. Our picks and recommendations of products and gear are based on testing and knowledge, not hype.
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