Best Phone Gimbals iMore 2021
Moving even a little while shooting video with your phone can lead to shaky, unusable footage that no amount of optical image stabilization will correct. Whether you're filming with a new iPhone 12 Pro or an older model phone, you need a gimbal. As a photographer, I don't get paid unless my images and videos are crystal clear on every take. I don't skimp on the gear that goes in my bag, and that's why I carry the Zhiyun Smooth 4. I love the Zhiyun for its rock-solid three-axis stabilization that stands up to high winds, walking and running, and even shooting from a moving vehicle. This isn't the only winning gimbal I keep on hand. These are the best phone gimbals for your money today.
- Best Overall: Zhiyun Smooth 4
- Best Value: Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus
- Best Gesture Control: DJI OM 4
- Best Entry Level: Moza Mini-S 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer
- Best Extendable: FeiyuTech Vimble 2S
Best Overall: Zhiyun Smooth 4
Beloved by professional videographers, vloggers, and enthusiasts, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is a must-have piece of photo gear in my bag. The Smooth runs for 12 solid hours per charge and outputs rock-steady footage no matter the weather or your movements. Sliders on the side of the handle operate as a control panel, allowing you to switch between gimbal modes, flip on a fill light, record, pause, and more.
If I have to nitpick, it's that this gimbal balances most accurately without a phone case. Since the Zhiyun's grips firmly hold your pricey phone in place, this isn't an issue, but for the inconvenience of having to pull your case off to shoot and replace it again when you've finished.
Features worth bragging about include object tracking, focus and zoom capability, a shutter trigger, and advanced shooting techniques like time-lapse, hyper-lapse, motion lapse, slow-mo, and more. Whether you're an advanced filmmaker or just learning the ropes, this is the phone gimbal that gives you smooth video in every situation.
- Battery lasts 12 hours
- Clean footage
- Impressive auto-tracking
- Handle controls are exceptional
- Case included
- Best used without a phone case
Best Value: Hohem iSteady Mobile Plus
The Hohem Isteady Mobile Plus is an affordable phone gimbal with advanced features you'll adore! Included with this model is a newly released 3D inception mode that lets you vertically rotate your phone 360 degrees while filming. Fun to use! A sports mode kicks 3-axis stabilization into overdrive, ensuring movies are never shaky, even when you're running down the stairs or biking over rugged terrain.
Battery life on the iSteady Mobile Plus is an admirable 12 hours, and the unit can charge your phone if necessary. This model has four panning modes, various time-lapse features, and can do minor retouching during post-processing with the included app. This well-balanced model is one of the best phone gimbals because of its versatility, and it fits every phone up to the iPhone 12 Pro.
My only gripe is with the software. Both iPhone and Android apps are clunky, at best, challenging to navigate, and hard to learn. The app is continually being updated and gets better with each release. But those feeling overwhelmed may want to stick with their phone's video and camera software to start. All in all, this is a pro-grade gimbal at a bargain price.
- 12-hour battery life
- Produces shake-free video
- Video tutorials included
- App could use some work
Best Gesture Control: DJI OM 4
Our review of the DJI OM 4 shined a bright light on its many features. For your money, you'll get a magnetic phone clamp and magnetic ring holder that locks your iPhone in place. While genius in design, our only complaint is that the magnetic clamp is very tight on an iPhone 12 Pro Max.
This model has 3-axis stabilization, Dynamic Zoom, ActiveTrack 3.0, and our favorite feature, gesture control. When shooting a selfie or a group shot, you can go hands-free and remotely control the OM 4 with a gesture. Super cool!
This kit comes with everything you need to get started, including the OM 4 grip tripod, power cable, storage pouch, wrist wrap, and manual. If you shoot a lot of footage of yourself or require hands-free control, this is the best phone gimbal for you.
- Hands-free shooting
- Shutter button on the handle
- Solid stabilization
- Dynamic Zoom
- Tight fit on iPhone 12 Pro Max
Best Entry Level: Gudsen Moza Mini-S
When size matters, the Moza Mini-S performs like no other. This phone gimbal has a slim, light body that folds down to five inches in length, small enough to fit nicely in a backpack, drawer, or even your glove compartment. A built-in sensor and brushless motor do away with the shake that turns good videos into vertigo-inducing nightmares. This is also the easiest to learn gimbal on our list, making it the right choice for newbies.
This little gimbal automatically detects and tracks objects and people, in addition to panning, tilting, and rolling. Footage stays crisp thanks to 3 axis stabilization. The handle on the Moza Mini-S is equipped with one button zoom and focus controls for smooth operation.
If there's anything to complain about, it's the variable battery life that sometimes stretches eight hours while other times are barely making it to the five-hour mark. You'll also need to remove the case from your phone for the clamps to adequately grip your smartphone. Despite these minor quirks, we love this tiny powerhouse for its size and competitive features.
- Good subject tracking
- One button focus and zoom controls
- 3-axis stabilization performs well
- Great for beginners
- Phone case must be removed
- Battery life not consistent
Best Extendable: FeiyuTech Vimble 2S
The FeiyuTech Vimble 2S is perfect for anyone who could benefit from a little extra reach. Shooting selfies, action high above eye level, or motion slightly out of arm's reach is possible with this lightweight gimbal that extends to 18 centimeters. The Vimble 2 can do movies vertically or horizontally, as well as face and object-tracking. And 3-axis stabilizers give anyone steady hands when they're on the move.
Controlling the Vimble 2 is as simple as pushing buttons on the handle, and that's why it made our list as one of the best phone gimbals. A joystick gives you total control, in addition to a Bluetooth shutter button, trigger button, and focus key. Tilting, rolling, and panning is silent and work beautifully.
Built-in filters are fun to use with the Vimble 2, and your work is editable with the free app. The only drawback is the battery life, which lasts a tad under 5 hours. If you don't mind that, the Vimble 2 is the ideal piece of photo gear for any phone owner.
- Extendable for wide-angle captures and selfies
- Built tough
- Convenient and easy-to-use controls
- Good stabilization
- 5-hour battery life
What's the best phone gimbal this year? When it comes to playing favorites, my bag's hardest working tool is the Zhiyun Smooth 4. I love the easy-to-hold handle that functions as a control panel and lets me adjust settings and change focus on the fly via a handwheel. Object tracking is dead-on accurate, and footage is stable and in focus whether I'm climbing the side of a mountain, running on a trail, or shooting from a car.
The Zhiyun's only fault is that it operates best when your phone case is stripped off. Leaving it on works, but it never seems to balance correctly, and operation is clunky. So, be forewarned, to get the most out of the Smooth, it's case off when working!
No matter what your skill level, you'll be impressed with the 3-axis stabilization and tilt, roll, and pan rotation options on this smartphone gimbal. The Smooth is a standout product that's sure to keep your creative juices flowing.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
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