These days, unless you’re a professional photographer or YouTube star, your smartphone is likely the only still or video camera you own. What a great camera it is too. Every year, we’re seeing improvements to picture quality, new features, better editing capabilities, and more lenses.
When it’s time to show off those dance skills on TikTok, take a selfie with a few friends, or shoot a star-filled picture of the night sky, however, leaning that $1000+ phone against a desk lamp or tree stump just isn’t going to cut it. Likewise, try zooming your phone in on a subject and holding it steady, and you’ll instantly see the need for a tripod.
As the still and video capabilities of phones increased, unsurprisingly, the ways that people use them has increased as well. This has led to a much wider range of tripods being released that are designed for, or at least compatible with, most models of smartphone.
Phone tripods are surprisingly useful for a piece of equipment that most people find, well, pretty boring. Regardless of whether you just take pictures, are a selfie-posting machine, or starting your vlogging career, there’s a tripod out there that’s worth picking up.
That’s why we’ve come up with our recommendations for smartphone tripods that address any need you’re likely to have (and several you probably haven’t thought about yet). That tree stump will appreciate the time off!
- Height: 18-63 inches
- Weight: 2.2 pounds
- Bluetooth Remote: Yes
- Other Features: 12-inch ring light
- Height: 17.7-60 inches
- Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Bluetooth Remote: Yes
- Other Features: Doubles as a selfie stick
- Height: 10 inches
- Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Bluetooth Remote: Yes
- Other Features: Flexible legs
- Height: 8.1-40 inches
- Weight: 8.3 ounces
- Bluetooth Remote: Yes (on the handle)
- Other Features: Selfie stick
- Height: 7.4-19.3 inches
- Weight: 12.1 ounces (with grip)
- Bluetooth Remote: No
- Other Features: Gimbal, full range of controls on handle, powerful app
- Height: up to 16 inches
- Weight: 2.8 pounds (total)
- Bluetooth Remote: Yes
- Other Features: Light, stereo microphone
How We Picked Them
Every tripod we picked is best for a specific use. As well as more traditional phone tripods, we also looked at a range of options where the tripod forms part of a wider solution.
As a general rule, portability matters. While they didn’t all have to fit in your back pocket, we looked for tripods that were easy to move around and, where possible, were as useful outside the home as in it. Size and weight were major factors.
Something that’s holding up your expensive phone, and often gets carted around in a bag or backpack, needs to be durable and reliable. Cheap junk is false economy: we prefer gear that’s likely to last the distance, even if it costs a little more upfront.
While every solution here accommodates any phone (as they should), some tripods can also be used with a standard camera. You’ll likely have to buy the necessary cable separately, though.
Shutter remotes have become commonplace, and almost all of our recommendations come with one. Beyond that, each product here addresses different needs, from extra lighting to being super-lightweight or having high-end video stabilization. In each case, we weighed the options against others in their category for the most useful features.
Why overpay? We like solutions that do a better job than the competition at a good price. It’s about value rather than the cheapest option, though: as we mentioned above, balancing utility and cost matters.
Best Phone Tripod Kit: Todi 12” Ring Light Stand and Phone Holder
Value and utility are the name of the game with the Todi 12-inch Ring Light Stand and Phone Holder. Not everyone needs a full vlogger solution, but if you have any plans to record yourself, especially on video, the ring light comes in very handy.
The holder extends out to 4.3 inches wide, which means that even large phones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max or Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra easily fit.
The tripod stand extends from 18 inches out to 63 inches, so there’s plenty of flexibility about where you place it. Once the included flexible gooseneck phone holder is attached, the total height can extend as far as 73 inches, or just over six feet.
With the light ring attached, the Todi weighs 2.2lbs, so while it’s not the lightest option on our list, it’s still easy to move around your house or pack into a bag and take along to a video shoot.
The stand and flexible gooseneck phone holder are lightweight but fairly well-built, with a tripod base that extends further than most others on the market. Combined with the non-slip rubber feet, there’s less chance of the tripod sliding and falling over than many others in this price range.
As is typically the case, the LED light is the most fragile: try to keep it protected when you’re on the move, and avoid putting it in places where it’ll get easily knocked by people walking past, especially when the stand is at full extension.
Many tripods now come with Bluetooth remote shutter switches, and the Todi is no exception. Take a picture or start filming when you’re ready: there’s no need to set a timer and hope everyone in the shot smiles at the right time.
It is mostly because of the ring light in this kit that we feel it’s best solution for those looking for more than just a simple tripod. The different lighting modes are flexible and fun, and are clearly aimed at those producing videos for TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and elsewhere.
Lighting modes include three conventional white lighting modes (warm, natural, and cool tones) and six different RGB color modes, including two colors at once in different segments of the light. You can cycle between ten levels of brightness depending on ambient light and your needs at the time.
The ring light is powered via a proprietary cable which includes several control buttons. It’s USB-powered, but needs at least 10 watts (5v/2amps) of power to achieve maximum brightness. Not all computer USB ports manage this: if yours doesn’t, grab a decent USB outlet adapter instead.
You can remove the light from the stand as required, both for transportation or to save space if you don’t plan to use it for a while.
You get plenty for your money here: the kit is very reasonably priced for what’s inside, and the flexibility that comes with it.Buy on Amazon
Best Budget Full-Size Tripod: Alptoy Tripod
Sometimes, all you need is a tripod. There’s no need for lights, gimbals, or microphones: you just need something better than your wall or pot plant to prop your phone up, wherever you happen to be using it.
That’s where this Alptoy model comes in. This full-size tripod is simple and inexpensive, albeit with a few bonus features that lift it above the pack.
The Alptoy accommodates phones between two and four inches wide, which covers almost everything on the market, including large phones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The phone holder is attached via the traditional ¼-inch screw, which means the tripod can accommodate small cameras as well.
Being a full-sized tripod, the Alptoy has a relatively large height range. It sits 17″ off the ground at the low end, and rises to 60 inches at full extension. With the legs folded in, the tripod can also act as a selfie stick, albeit a slightly bulky one.
At just 1.6 pounds, the stand is lightweight but well-made, and the base unfolds wide enough to keep the pole steady even when fully extended. The four quick-flip locks are well-constructed, letting you change the tripod height quickly and accurately.
The tripod’s low weight is a definite bonus for portability, but does mean that you need to be a little careful to avoid tipping when using it at full extension in windy or crowded conditions.
Even this basic tripod includes a Bluetooth shutter remote, which really speaks to their ubiquity. It’s largely expected that you’ll get a remote with almost any tripod or selfie stick these days. It works well enough, although we’d prefer it have a longer range.
Selfie Stick Option
For those times when you need a selfie stick, the Alptoy does double duty, with the phone holder rotating through 180 degrees so you can quickly flip to portrait mode as needed.
The relatively light weight makes the tripod easy to hold in one hand, although as you’d expect, it becomes more unwieldy the further you extend its height. Wrapping your hand around the folded legs also isn’t as comfortable as the padded grip you find on most dedicated selfie sticks.
We’d consider the selfie stick aspect a bonus here, rather than something you’d use all the time, but it’s a handy feature nonetheless.
Very reasonably priced, this tripod is a good budget option for those looking for a versatile, lightweight tripod that can be used in a wide variety of situations.Buy on Amazon
Best Small Phone Tripod: Ubeesize Portable Tripod
So you’re heading off on a camping or hiking adventure, and a small, flexible tripod sounds like a great solution for selfies and family pictures? It absolutely is.
The UBeesize is ideal for throwing into a backpack and using in unexpected places. This little tripod is well-suited for times when regular versions just aren’t an option.
What makes it so flexible is that it is actually, well, really flexible. The octopus-style legs can adjust for stability on any uneven surface, and wrap around anything from a branch to a bicycle handle.
The Ubeesize phone mount can accommodate devices between two and 3.9 inches wide. Remove the holder, and you’ll also be able to attach small sport cameras on the standard ¼-inch screw. The mount swings through180 degrees for horizontal or vertical shots.
The Ubeesize is definitely intended for use on the go. It’s ten inches long with the phone mount attached, or seven inches without. At a bit over six ounces, it won’t weigh you down, so it’s easy to justify taking even for lightweight travel or hiking.
The smaller length of the legs can limit the kind of shots you’re able to take, depending on what’s available nearby to sit the tripod on or wrap it around. It’s ideal for low-angle shots and unusual perspectives, though, in a way that a full-size tripod isn’t.
While small and inexpensive, the Ubeesize tripod is surprisingly robust as long as you’re using it as intended. Since it’s made from lightweight foam and plastic, it’s not suitable for holding large cameras, but is ideal for your GoPro or smartphone. There’s a lifetime guarantee in case of any problems.
As previously mentioned, shutter remotes have become an expectation at this point. They’re very much a necessity for a little tripod that might be attached to a pine tree branch several feet away, and the one that comes with the Ubeesize works well with most phones.
You don’t need to pay a lot for small portable phone tripods like these, and the Ubeesize is priced in line with, if not slightly cheaper than, other models of a similar quality.
There’s a reason this is one of the best sellers in its category on Amazon: portable and (literally) very flexible, it’s a great lightweight phone tripod for those on the move.Buy on Amazon
Best Phone Selfie Stick With Tripod: Bluehorn Selfie Stick
Let’s face it, selfies are here to stay. Some of us hate pictures of ourselves, and others have a life documented by them. We’ve come a long way from the picture shot in the bathroom mirror, which honestly isn’t a bad thing.
A good self-portrait requires a selfie stick to get that right balance of face and background, or to get enough distance to include more than one person in the picture. Most of us don’t have the arm length of 7-foot tall basketball players.
There are approximately as many selfie stick brands as stars in the galaxy, but if you’re looking for one that doubles as a tripod, we’ve picked this BZE model as the one to go for.
The stick will accommodate all types of smartphones 2-4 inches wide. You can also attach a small camera (GoPro or similar), simply by removing the phone holder to reveal a standard ¼-inch screw.
We wouldn’t recommend using larger cameras, especially at anywhere near full extension: the tripod/selfie stick will likely become quite unbalanced.
The last thing anyone needs is a heavy selfie stick, since the end result is tired arms and shaky photos. At 8.3 ounces, it’s solid enough to feel secure in your hands, while still be very lightweight to hold and lift.
Small enough to easily fit in a small bag or backpack when you’re not using it, the stick extends out from eight to 40 inches, giving plenty of range and shooting flexibility.
Made from a sturdy aluminum alloy and well manufactured, there’s little flex even with the pole fully extended. Since it’s designed as a selfie stick first and a tripod second, it’s much more comfortable to hold than the Alptoy model mentioned above.
The downside of that design choice, however, is that it’s not the ideal tripod for some situations. The legs are shorter and don’t extend as far as most dedicated tripods, which leads to some instability at its maximum height. At shorter lengths (like placing it on a desk for Zoom calls, for instance), it works just fine.
Yes, there’s even a remote for the selfie stick, which is a good thing. Reaching 40 inches to hit the shutter button on the phone isn’t exactly an option for most people. The shutter button is attached to the handle, making it very convenient when taking selfies, less so when using it as a tripod.
You’ll pay a bit more for this selfie stick than really low-end models, but the quality and flexibility is reflected in the price.
Looking for something slightly different? We covered a range of other selfie sticks, including several that double as tripods, here.Buy on Amazon
Best Phone Gimbal With Tripod: DJI Osmo 6
For those of us who own a drone, the DJI name has long been associated with high-quality products. It’s no different when it comes to video stabilization: with years of experience making gimbals for their drones, it was no surprise when the company started making standalone versions as well.
If you’re unfamiliar with handheld gimbals, they’ve become an indispensable tool for anyone looking to create smooth video that makes it feel like you’re moving smoothly through its environment with no shakiness.
Great for a walk through the park, filming a concert, or even for realtors wanting to do a “fly-through” of a house, a good gimbal lets even amateur video makers create professional-looking footage.
The Osmo 6 is DJI’s latest and greatest model, and is one of our top phone gimbal picks overall. If you want a gimbal that doubles as a tripod, this is the one to choose.
The Osmo 6 can accommodate every smartphone right up to the iPhone 14 Pro Max thanks to its adjustable clip that clamps onto your phone and connects magnetically to the gimbal. The only downside is that you’ll need to remove it to charge wirelessly, but that’s hardly a big deal for most people.
The iOS app works better than the Android one, though, so we’d suggest this gimbal is best suited to those with Apple devices.
Weighing 12.1oz and measuring 5.4 x 1.3 inches when folded up, the Osmo 6 is compact for a gimbal, but not for a tripod. Expect to be storing it in your bag or backpack, not your pocket.
We expect high-quality products from DJI, and on a hardware level, it doesn’t disappoint. As mentioned above, though, the Android version of the app isn’t as good as the iOS one. That’s pretty disappointing, although also something that’s easy to fix in the future.
Why settle for a shutter remote? The Osmo 6 has its own app, letting it track subjects, create timelapse videos, use gesture control, and create panoramas by stitching pictures together, along with a range of other features.
From the handle controls you can zoom, change from landscape to portrait, alter the pitch, and more.
While it’s primarily intended to be a gimbal, the Osmo 6 turns into a small tripod, and an 8-inch extension rod means you can use it for selfies as well. The tripod legs fold up to become a handgrip, and work well. Since they attach via a standard ¼-inch screw, you can also use other types of tripod if you need something longer or even more stable.
It’s DJI so it’s more expensive, but it’s DJI so it’s also worth it. Not everyone needs an Osmo 6, but everyone should want one.Buy on Amazon
Best Beginner Vlogger/Video Kit: Movo Smartphone Video Rig Kit v7+
We’ve mentioned vlogging briefly earlier, but it seem appropriate to recommend a complete solution as well. These can cost several hundred dollars or more at the high end, but cheaper options are available that are a better fit for those new to video recording.
The Movo Smartphone Video Rig Kit v7+ starts out with a tripod, and then adds everything else on top that you need to get started. There’s a handgrip, stereo microphone, LED light, Bluetooth remote, and various mounts and cables, all designed to work well together.
The Movo accommodates all sizes of phone from 2.2″ up to 3.6″ wide.
At 2.8 pounds this rig is relatively heavy, but that weight includes having both the mic and light mounted as well. An optional extension pole provides a max height of 16 inches if you choose to use it.
Movo makes a solid product here, constructed from aluminum with a foam grip. The LED light and microphone are high quality for the amount you’re paying, and it’s good to see a hard case included to help protect the kit while in transit.
You won’t be shocked to hear that there’s a Bluetooth remote shutter included here, and that it does exactly what you’d expect.
Microphone, LED Light, and Tripod
Intended to be a full beginner vlogger solution, the Movo includes an LED light to make sure subjects are properly illuminated, plus a good stereo microphone that lets you record at much higher quality than a standard phone mic.
The tripod legs can be removed as needed, and like the OM-5, you can attach the pole to a larger, heavy-duty tripod if you’re recording outside or need greater height extension thanks to the use of a standard ¼-inch screw.
Yes, more expensive solutions exist, but for most people starting out on their vlogging journey, this is the right mix of price and quality to get you up and running.Buy on Amazon
Main image via fizkes/Shutterstock.com, product images via Amazon