Your handy taxi app guide

Whether it’s 2 a.m. and you’re leaving a party or you’re headed to the airport on a Friday afternoon, your best transportation option might come from one of the many taxi apps out there. Here’s what the top companies offer.

  • uberX

    Available on the Uber app in many American cities, uberX is a rideshare app, meaning drivers are operating their own cars. It has low minimum fares, so you can easily use it for short hops, and it offers the standard Uber perks like driver tracking and cashless, tipless fares. It background checks drivers and provides supplemental insurance so you should be covered in an accident.

  • UberBLACK

    "The original Uber” allows users to electronically hail black cars, and in some cities taxis. The company has big fleets in most American cities, so drivers arrive fast. It works with insured dispatchers and provides supplemental insurance, so if there’s an accident, you should be covered. The fare structure is good for a trip to the airport, but during peak usage, prices often surge.

  • Lyft

    Known for the pink mustaches on its cars’ grills, Lyft is another player with lots of drivers in their own cars. Many offer amenities like water and snacks. It operates in big cities, and the fare structure favors short or medium-length trips. It offers supplemental insurance that should cover accidents.

  • Hailo

    Hailo helps users hail cars in major cities like Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, DC and New York. Local dispatchers set their own fares for taxis (though not black cars), so they can vary. Hailo sometimes charges small service fees, but there’s no surge pricing and the company verifies drivers’ licenses and insurance.

  • Taxi Magic

    Available in cities big and small, Taxi Magic is another app for hailing existing cabs. Its local partners set fares, so prices vary, and the company also leaves some background and insurance checks of drivers to local dispatchers, so there is a possibility of an insurance gap. Taxi Magic supplies dispatchers with data for improved service.

  • Sidecar

    Sidecar drivers operate their own cars -- and set their own fares. The competition means prices are below local taxis’, the company says. The app also shows those fares plus amenities offered by the drivers and their car models. There’s even a guy offering a DeLorean taxi in Seattle. Sidecar operates in major West Coast cities, plus Chicago, Boston, Charlotte and DC. The company background checks drivers and covers them with supplemental insurance.

By: Ben Brody, Dominic Aratari/CNNMoney