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Best car gadgets 2021: – BBC Science Focus Magazine

If you’re a casual driver, a consistent commuter, or an all-out car enthusiast, there are a range of gadgets available that can optimise your time on the road.

Whether you want to keep passengers entertained on a long trip, clear your car of clutter, or keep track of its location when it’s not in use, we’ve got you covered with a round up some of the best car gadgets that will help you get the most out of your vehicle.

The best car gadgets in 2021

Echo Auto

Echo Auto on white background

If Alexa has become a fixed feature in your home, you may be pleased to know you can now take the virtual assistant on the road. Simply connect Echo Auto to the Alexa app on your phone as well as your car speakers (via auxiliary input jack or Bluetooth) and you’ll be able to make your usual commands on the go. 

Whether you want to request a song, stream an audiobook, set reminders or check petrol prices, you can do so thanks to the eight microphones and far-field technology which are designed to hear you over music, air conditioning and general road noise.

To protect your privacy, you can press the microphone off button at any time which will electronically disconnect the voice activation. Just make sure your car is compatible, as not all are – you can find a full list here.

Car cleaning putty

TICARVE cleaning gel for car

With their claims that it can clean 97 per cent of dirt and crumbs from awkward crevices, the car cleaning putty is designed to get into tricky spots where dust can gather in your car. Simply knead the cleaning gel into a ball and press it slowly into the car vents and other difficult to reach gaps, and when you pull it out the dirt should come with it.

Made from high-tech cleaning gel material, it’s skin friendly, non-sticky, and has a lavender fragrance. It’s reusable up to the point where the gel starts to darken in colour. 

OCUBE handheld cordless vacuum

OCUBE Handheld Vacuum Cordless Mini Portable Vacuum Cleaner

A small and convenient handheld vacuum that can be stored in the car for general upkeep or in case of cleaning emergencies. At just 0.6kg, it can be used with one hand and has a variety of attachments available such as a stretchable rod, a crevice nozzle and a brush nozzle which are useful for a longer job.

Despite its small size, it boasts a powerful suction. It takes about 3.5 hours to fully charge, which gives you a run time of up to 30 minutes.

NEXTBASE full HD dash cam

NEXTBASE 322GW Full HD Dash Cam - Black

If you’re looking for the additional security of a camera to keep track of the road in the event of an accident, the NEXTBASE dash cam will do the trick. It features a 140 degree wide-angle lens which will capture everything in HD right down to the finest details including car models and number plates.

In the case of an emergency it can send out an SOS, using the built-in GPS to notify the emergency services of your exact location, as well as relevant medical information such as your blood type. It will even remain active while you’re not in the car thanks to the parking mode which will record any movement around your unattended car, so you can review the footage if you spot a new bump of scrape.

NORSHIRE tyre inflator

NORSHIRE tyre inflator on white background

Claiming to be the smallest and lightest tyre inflator in the world, this handheld gadget is 8.2 inches in length, 1.6 inches in diameter, and delivers 175 PSI to pump up flat tyres. Made from metal in order to be much more durable than similar plastic products, it’s designed to correctly gauge the correct pressure needed to extend the recommended life of the tyre. 

If the battery dies, you can supply direct power to the inflator through a 12V cigarette lighter, which means it’s perfect in a pinch if you have a socket in your car.

Halfords padded seat cushion

Halfords padded seat cushion

For long journeys or simply for those who spend plenty of time in the driver’s seat, the Halfords padded seat cushion has a contoured design with a high density filling to make the journey more comfortable. The cushion is made to fit your car seat with an anti-slip backing and adjustable straps to ensure it (and you) are fully secured.

Handpresso travel coffee maker

Handpresso Handcoffee on white background

If you’re looking for a caffeine kick from the comfort of your car, the Handcoffee Auto travel maker by Handpresso can be heated from the driver’s seat using a 12V cigarette-lighter plug which comes included. It takes just 4 minutes to make a 800ml drink, using Senseo-compatible soft pods which come in a variety of flavours.

Zeerkeer GPS tracker

Zeerkeer GPS Tracker on white background

Keep an extra eye on your car using the Zeerkeer GPS tracker which gives you real-time updates on the location of your vehicle with a positioning accuracy of up to five metres. Compatible with both Android and iOS, you’ll be able to monitor your car from your phone, to give you complete peace of mind. 

Due to a strong magnet on the device there’s no installation required, simply attach it to any iron surface, and begin tracking by texting the SIM card phone number in the device which will send you a Google Maps link of the car’s position. 

Waterproof, dustproof and shockproof, the tracker also has additional features including an over-speed alarm function which will text the admin number whenever the tracked vehicle goes faster than 70mph.

Car headrest tablet mount

Tablet Car Mount

Keep your passengers entertained on long car journeys with this versatile car headrest which is compatible with a broad range of devices, from iPads to Samsung tablets. The hook and loop strap connects securely to the headrest without obscuring the buttons or tablet screen to ensure there’s no disruption to the viewing experience. Easy to remove and reattach when exiting or re-entering a vehicle, it has a silicon holding net which will help avoid scratches and any damage to tablets and iPads.

Oasser car boot organiser

Oasser Car Boot Organiser on white background

It can be easy to let the clutter accumulate in your car, which is why Oasser has developed a boot organiser to keep you on top of your belongings. Made from waterproof Oxford cloth with built-in plates made from density board and pearl cotton, your items will be safely stored and well protected. 

Collapsible and easy to install, it has three compartments with two moveable plates which can create one large space. There’s also the additional feature of a heavy duty cover, to keep your belongings out of sight for added protection and privacy.