Best tripod 2022: the top travel tripods and tabletop camera stands
The best tripod options for steady shooting
You can’t shoot sharp with wobbly hands. Searching for a stable base? Try attaching your camera or smartphone to one of the best tripod models.
From tabletop phone mounts to carbon fibre camera stands, the best tripods hold your shooting gear rock-steady. So whether you’re shooting portraits, landscapes or a timelapse of your terrace, the options listed below will keep your camera stable.
And if you’re not sure which to pick, we’ve set out some top tips to keep in mind when choosing the best tripod your needs and budget.
Most tripods are topped with a screw mount. Smaller cameras tend to use a 1/4in-20 thread size, while heavier professional gear often employs a larger 3/8in-20 setup. Many stands let you switch between the two.
A fixed thread is fine for shooting straight ahead, but creative compositions require a more complex camera mount. Many tripods offer tops that tilt, rotate and swivel, while some feature bubble levels and quick-release plates.
Not all tripods can support the same payload. Some stands max out with premium compacts, while others are strong enough to support a full-frame DSLR. Check that your shooting setup falls within any weight limit.
The tallest tripods can extend higher than 1.8m – handy if you’re taking headshots for a basketball team. Some also come with swappable central columns: a shorter shaft can help if you need to drop down low for a shoe shot.
The bendy bracket: Joby PodZilla
Any tripod worth its legs should stand firm on flat terrain, but it takes a special accessory to wrap around a railing. Joby’s malleable mounts have long been happy to grip irregular objects – and the PodZilla is no exception. Good for up to 2.5kg of gear, its articulating aluminium limbs can be bent to suit all sorts of shapes and surfaces. The swivelling top makes it easy to switch orientation, while a quick-release plate lets you swiftly swap from ‘pod to paw. An integrated bubble level also shows when your framing is straight – handy if the legs are all akimbo.
The compact critter: Manfrotto Pixi Evo
Ever wondered happened to the Tripods from War of the Worlds after Tom Cruise toppled them? Rumour has it, they all got jobs at Manfrotto’s factory… Styled like it could scuttle off to conquer the planet while you’re distracted by your camera’s ISO settings, this dinky plinth can support the weight of a mirrorless or entry-level DSLR camera. Crafted from light but durable aluminium, its sliding legs allow you to work at two heights, while the ball mount lets you tilt to portrait orientation. Ideal for documenting the world’s demise from a different angle.
The tabletop tower: Novo Mantis T3
Heard the one about small packages? If a small-but-tall tripod is your idea of a good thing, this pint-sized companion proves the adage. Lightweight at 500g, it measures just 21.5cm when closed. Yet twist-lock legs unlock a maximum height of 27cm, while its carbon-fibre construction can carry a 5kg payload. Paired with the optional ET25 extender column, it tops out at a respectably lofty 62cm.
The streamlined stand: Peak Design Travel Tripod
Size isn’t everything, but dimensions matter if you’re packing light for an assignment. This full-size stand folds down to the diameter of a water bottle, with no bulky knobs. Despite its trim design, the carbon companion can support up to 9kg of equipment. Its low-profile head swivels through 360 degrees, while the legs deploy rapidly for instant stability – so you’ll never miss an unfolding scene.
The featherweight frame: Gitzo Traveler
Putting your head between your legs is usually a last resort. But the brace position is standard form for this touring tripod: its limbs hinge up around the central column to create a tidy travel package. At 895g, it won’t max out your baggage allowance, yet its 10kg load limit is cleared for beefier gear. Lost your head? Spec it with one of several mounts.
The everyday easel: Kenro Karoo 201
Want a top ‘pod that doesn’t demand top dollar? Magnesium alloy might make this kit heavier than some, but it’s also lighter on price. And it’s no knock-off option: built sturdy and stable, the Karoo’s dual-action head features a quick-release plate, while the column can be reversed for action at ground level. Need extra elevation? Switch to monopod mode for a max height of 172cm.
The brawny base: 3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
Hoisting something 23 times your own weight is a pretty Herculean feat. While the knurled knobs on this muscular mount are more workhorse than classical warrior, it’s certainly a heavy lifter: standing up to 1.85m tall, it can shoulder 40kg. Multiple mounting points make accessorising a cinch, while swappable boots suit all sorts of surfaces. And the whole thing collapses down to 24cm, which you can’t say of most strongmen.
The acrobatic accessory: Benro Bat
Like bats, wild photographers don’t like to be cornered. But if you do find yourself shooting from a tight spot, this agile frame will adapt to the challenge. It can’t hang from a branch, but its pivoting legs can be separately set to five angles. Up against a wall? Set one down, two up for a firm perch to impress any flying mammal. And you don’t need sonar to keep subjects in your sightline – just the dual-panning aluminium ball head.
The pivoting platform: Vanguard VEO 3+
Standard shafts can lift and lower your lens, but one axis is a little linear. Free your framing with this all-angle stand: the central column is attached to a swivelling bracket, so you can pap from pretty much any position. Go high for a classic aspect, swing low for a fresh perspective, or set it level to create a multi-mount rig with the bundled adapter. Scale markings also make it easy to repeat specific shots.