Best car accessories 2021: car tech you never knew you needed

From dash cams to key locators, we’ve put together a list of the best car accessories for your wheels

Included in this guide:

A man driving along a road with the Chris digital assistant screen attached to his windscreen – one of the best car accessories

This isn’t going to be a list of Pimp My Ride-worthy super sonic sound systems, hot tubs in the back of the truck, aquariums, or even chandeliers, but a practical list of all the car accessories that may actually improve your driving experience.  

From the best dash cams that will prove your innocence in an accident to wireless Bluetooth transmitters for car sound systems that predate smartphone connectivity, the car accessory market is certainly a variable one. 

We've also got the best sat nav and the best car phone holder, for those really looking to upgrade their car cabin.

But before we get into the cool gadgetry, there’s one necessary item that clinches the top spot. Dog hair, crisp crumbs, mud, hairpins and the odd 1p coin; by the end of the month, your car probably looks like a detritus dumping ground, which means the clever and convenient Dyson V6 Car & Boat is a no-brainer when it comes to ‘need to buy’ car accessories. 

The others? We’ll leave the ‘need to buy’ decision up to you – they are all pretty cool, though. 

Best car accessories you can buy

Nextbase dash cam

(Image credit: Nextbase)

1. Nextbase 622GW Dash Cam

Catch drivers in the act with this 4K dash cam

Resolution: 4K
G sensor: Yes
LCD screen: 3 inches
Reasons to buy
+ Wide viewing angle +Polarising filter reduces glare for the best picture 

There’s nothing more annoying than trying to explain to the insurance company that the accident wasn’t your fault, no matter what kind of tangled web of lies the third party is trying to weave. Well now, the proof is in the camera. 

Recording in 4K quality, this smart dash cam allows you to record and easily transfer footage from the device to your phone or home PC. It uses a magnetic pad to secure itself to the dashboard and it tracks your GPS and speed to ensure everything's fair and square whenever you happen to have an accident.  

Tile Mate

2. Tile Mate

‘Where me keys, where me phone?’ Don’t know? Tile Mate’ll find them

Connection: Bluetooth
Type: GPS locator
Battery life: 1 year
Reasons to buy
+ Use your phone to find your keys+ Use the Tile Mate to find your phone 

While the bloke from Britain’s Got Talent may have enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame (can’t remember ‘where me keys, where me phone’? Look it up on Youtube, it’ll blow your mind), we know only too well the frustration of actually misplacing them. 

This handy gadget attaches to your keys; you can ring it from your phone or consult the app to see when they were last seen. You can also press the button on the Tile Mate itself and it’ll ring your phone… and it’ll even make a noise on silent mode – handy, eh?  

Divi USB Car Charger

3. Divi USB Car Charger

Charge up on the go

Connection: USB x 2
Power: 2.4A in each USB port
Material: Aluminium
Reasons to buy
+Two USB ports+Slim design

The Divi USB charger is one of the most compact car chargers on the market, with a slimline design, which sits almost flush with the edge of the outlet. It'll allow you to simultaneously charge two devices at full speed with 2.4A in each USB port. 

The aluminium case looks more premium than the plastic options on the market, and the scratch resistance technology keeps it looking like new. The Divi charger has a number of safety guarantees, and comes with a 12 month manufacturer warranty.

Firefly Bluetooth Receiver

4. Firefly Bluetooth Receiver

A slick option for turning your can into a Bluetooth speaker

Power: USB
Type: Bluetooth Transmitter
Phone call compatible: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Slim, stylish design+Simple use

Add Bluetooth to your car audio system with Firefly, the world's tiniest music receiver. Firefly allows you to stream music from your smartphone to any device with an AUX input.

Just plug Firefly into your audio system and a USB power source, and pair it with your smartphone. Once paired, Firefly will remember your device and auto-connect whenever you're close by.

Arteck Car Jump Starter 8000mAh

5. Arteck Car Jump Starter 8000mAh

Get an instant power boost

Number of charges: 20
Battery Size: 8000mAh
Torch: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Compact design+20 jump starts per charge

If your car is getting on a bit, and won't always start first time, don't call a tow truck service or wait on the side of the road for help, use the Arteck. This handy little device will lump your vehicle up to 20 times on a single charge, with heavy duty cables and clamp built in.

It'll also charge all of your portable devices, such as smartphones, tablets, cameras, wireless headphones, and portable gaming systems, etc, and, if that wasn't enough, it has an ultra-bright LED torch built in.

LDesign Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter

6. LDesign Wireless Bluetooth FM Transmitter

Whack on the tunes with this handy Bluetooth transmitter

Power: 5V
Type: Bluetooth Transmitter
Phone call compatible: Yes
Reasons to buy
+ Hi-fi sound quality + Comes with charging port 

When the radio jingles literally make you want to blow a gasket, hook up your phone to this transmitter and play your own tunes through your car stereo. With an in-built microphone, echo cancellation and noise suppression, this transmitter handily doubles up as a hands-free calling device and triples up as a charger. 

Plugging right into your cigarette lighter socket, this transmitter is easy to use and, according to people who’ve already bought it, provides oodles of performance qualities, too.  

Autoglym The Collection - Perfect Bodywork, Wheels & Interiors

7. Autoglym The Collection - Perfect Bodywork, Wheels & Interiors

Get you car looking brand new

Exterior: Yes
Interior: Yes
Cleaning cloth included: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Covers everything+Trusted brand

If you've just got a new car, or are looking to update your old car, you'd be surprised how effective a thorough clean is. If you're looking for a total clean, you can't go wrong with Autoglym's Bodywork, Wheels & Interior collection.

The kit contains everything you need to get your car sparkling again, including bodywork shampoo, super resin polish, extra gloss protection, clean wheels, instant tyre dressing, alloy wheel seal, interior shampoo, car glass polish, vinyl and rubber care, a sponge, hi-tech finishing cloth, and finally, an aqua dry cloth.

Scosche USB Charger

8. Scosche USB Charger

Don’t miss out on a valuable opportunity to charge your phone

Power: 12W
Type: USB charger
Compatible: All devices
Reasons to buy
+ 12 watts of charge + Low profile design 

If you’re on the go for work, taking phone calls every five minutes while browsing online spreadsheets can take its toll on your battery, so if you’re driving in between clients, it’s a great time to give your phone a boost of charge. 

This Scosche USB charger is small and fits neatly into your cigarette lighter socket. It works with all smart phones and devices, and there’s two ports so you can charge up your tablet and your phone at the same time.  

Dyson V6 Car & Boat

9. Dyson V6 Car & Boat

On the road or on the water, this hoover has you covered

Power: 21.6 volts
Type: Handheld vacuum
Battery life: 20 minutes
Reasons to buy
+ Small and light + Mini motorised tool for picking up pet hair 

Combining Dyson’s powerful cyclone technology with accessories specifically designed to clean your car, this one is a no-brainer if you’re always cursing at stray dog hair and crumbs in the back seat. 

From the crevice tool to the mini motorised tool for picking up dog hair, this small and light hoover is versatile and offers up to 20 minutes of charge, so you can quickly clean your car without forking out any extra at the local hand car wash. 

AA Car Essentials Emergency Winter Car Kit

10. AA Car Essentials Emergency Winter Car Kit

Don't get stuck in the snow

AA approved: Yes
Carry case: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Everything you need+Compact bag

The AA Emergency Winter Car Kit is essential if you want to be prepared for winter conditions and comes in a handy storage bag to stow easily in the boot of your car. The folding shovel is compact but strong enough to tackle thick snow and the snow snow and ice grips will ensure you remain sturdy on your feet in wintry conditions. 

A Hi-Vis jacket ensures other motorists can see you and a handy torch to help you see and be seen on those cold dark nights. Also included is a foil blanket to keep in body heat should you need to wait for a breakdown rescue. This kit also includes a rain ponchos plus a set of fully insulated booster cables in case of emergencies.

AA Ultimate First Aid Kit

11. AA Ultimate First Aid Kit

Better safe than sorry

AA approved: Yes
Carry case: Yes
Reasons to buy
+Compact kit+Extensive

This first aid kit from AA is ideal for road trips, camping or caravanning. Everything is contained within an easy-to-carry storage pouch, and you know it's a quality product, from the AA.

The extensive kit contains: wound dressings, triangular badges, first aid dressings, first aid compress, bandages, an emergency blanket, adhesive plasters, a pair of scissors, adhesive tape, and instructions on how to use everything.

Chris Digital Assistant

12. Chris Digital Assistant

It's Amazon Alexa but for your car

Control: Voice
Connection: Bluetooth
Internet required: No
Reasons to buy
+Attractive design+Smart functions

Chris is a digital assistant, like Amazon's Alexa, for drivers. The smart hardware supports you like a real co-driver, giving you directions, reading messages, controlling music, and accepting calls.

Chris is attached to the windscreen like a sat nav and paired with the mobile phone via Bluetooth, and best of all, Chris also works offline, without any internet connection.

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Spencer Hart
Spencer Hart

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over six years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's not decorating his new home, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or making sure his Instagram account looks perfect.