Best Phone Gimbals iMore 2019

Moving even a little while shooting video with your phone can lead to shaky, unusable footage that no amount of optical image stabilization can correct. 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 reliable and rock-solid 3 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

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.

Pros:

  • Battery lasts 12 hours
  • Clean footage
  • Impressive auto-tracking
  • Handle controls are exceptional

Cons:

  • Best used without a phone case

Best Overall

Zhiyun Smooth 4

Buttery smooth footage

Do away with shaky shots with excellent 3-axis stabilization and an impressive battery life that just may outlast your creativity.

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.

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.

Pros:

  • 12-hour battery life
  • Produces shake-free video
  • Budget-friendly
  • Video tutorials included

Cons:

  • App could use some work

Best Value

Hohem Isteady Mobile Plus

A topnotch gimbal for a steal

This is a high-end gimbal that pushes out shake-free video and steady stills for a few bucks less than the competition. Great for beginners and pros!

Best Battery: *DJI Osmo Mobile 2 *

You don't want to run dry in the battery department while filming! The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is a handheld smartphone gimbal that boasts 15 hours of battery life. And if your phone battery starts petering out, this gimbal has you covered there too. In addition to having enough juice to power through even your most extended projects, this device can also charge your smartphone.

The Osmo Mobile 2 excels at filming on the go. Built-in ActiveTrack uses sensors to actively track subjects while brushless internal motors guarantee stability. Everything from small vibrations to more intense movements is smoothed out with this model. Handle controls make it possible to perform advanced visual effects like dolly zoom, time-lapse recordings, and panoramas.

The only con here is that if you shoot with attached phone lenses, the gimbal sometimes cannot incorporate the added weight to balance the shot. You can get around this by purchasing weights or making your own (by using standard washers). This is a minor inconvenience that won't apply to most. For amateurs and professionals alike, the Osmo Mobile 2 is the gimbal you'll take with you everywhere.

Pros:

  • 15-hour battery life
  • Shutter button on the handle
  • Solid stabilization
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Adding external lenses can cause balance issues

Best Battery

DJI Osmo Mobile 2

A battery to power your most extended shoots

With 15 hours of battery life, killer stabilization, an affordable price tag, and a shutter on the handle, this lightweight gimbal shines!

Best Foldable: 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 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 barely making it to the five-hour mark. Also, you'll 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.

Pros:

  • Packable
  • Good subject tracking
  • One button focus and zoom controls
  • 3-axis stabilization performs well

Cons:

  • Phone case must be removed
  • Battery life not consistent

Best Foldable

Moza Mini-S

When size matters

The Moza Mini-S comes with 3-xis stabilization that helps shaky hands take perfect videos. Bonus: it folds down small!

Best Robotic Stabilizer: Freefly Movi

Movi is a new concept from Freefly that uses a stabilizing internal robot to help you create cinematic masterpieces. With 3-axis stabilization, this pint-size tool captures smooth video whether you're standing in place or running across a mountain trail. The sleek form factor is operable with one or both hands. And a flat, rubberized base lets you set Movi down and film time-lapses or go wild with more creative endeavors.

Movi is powered by two lithium-ion batteries that hold out strong for a full day of shooting. Movi can also attach to a tripod, Dashboard, or selfie stick via an underside mount. Professionals and beginners will be enamored by the shooting modes, trigger shutter, and endless possibilities for expression.

Investing in a Movi is costly. That out of the way, this phone gimbal comes with a few extras not found elsewhere. With purchase, you'll get the Movi robotic gimbal, a USB A-C cable for fast charging, two lithium-ion batteries, and a rugged travel case. If you're an adventurer, the Movi is a fun gadget that outputs outstanding video, and its functional design is ahead of its time.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Fun to use
  • Batteries good for 8 hours
  • Advanced cinematic controls

Cons:

  • Expensive

Best Robotic Stabilizer

Freefly Movi

Your own personal robot

Movi puts professional-level control in your hands, produces smooth videos and crisp photos, and is a blast to use.

Best Extendable: FeiyuTech Vimble 2

The FeiyuTech Vimble 2 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. 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 works 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.

Pros:

  • Extendable for wide-angle captures and selfies
  • Built tough
  • Convenient and easy-to-use controls
  • Good stabilization

Cons:

  • 5-hour battery life

Best Extendable

FeiyuTech Vimble 2

When you need a longer reach

When you need longer arms, the Vimble 2 is your ticket to creativity. This fully-featured model is perfect for selfies and unique angle shots.

Bottom line

When it comes to playing favorites, the hardest working tool in my bag 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

Jodi Owan is a freelance writer and photographer who has been published in print and online. When not climbing mountains with a camera, she can be found testing and writing about technology. Find her on Instagram and her website.

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