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What to Look For in a Tripod in 2022

When shopping for a tripod, you’ll need to consider what type of photography you do most. If you’re hiking hills to get the perfect landscape shot on a regular basis you’ll want something compact, lightweight, and durable. If you mostly work in a studio, you might go for something that’s stable enough to prevent camera shake and allows you to position the center arm for creative angles like overhead shots.

Some of the main factors to consider when selecting your perfect tripod are weight, size, what kind of head it has, and any extra features it may come with. Most people can get away with lightweight aluminum tripods, especially in the higher-end price range, but if you’re knocking it around a lot you want a more expensive (but more durable) carbon fiber build.

Some tripods sell the legs by themselves and require a separate head or mounting plate to attach your camera, so watch for that when you calculate the price. The kind of head you purchase matters, too—a ball head lets you swivel the camera around for interesting angles, but a smoother pan head might be better for you if you’re shooting video.

If you’re just starting out, you’re better off buying a tripod with a head or universal quick release plate included, and expanding your gear once you’ve got the basics down.

Tripod legs can also have different locking mechanisms. Many on the market today favor the twist-lock design, where you simply turn a ring to lock the tripod leg in place once it’s extended. Some have a lever lock design with clip-like levers you lift to extend and push down to lock. Both work fine, and it’s mostly a matter of preference.

With all that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of some of the best tripods on the market right now. Whether you’re looking for a travel companion you’ll keep for years or just a good mount for cell phone videos, you’ll find something you can use here.

Best Tripod Overall: Vanguard Veo 3+ 263AB

Vanguard tripod being used outside
Vanguard

Pros

  • Good all-around tripod
  • Sturdy design and smooth function
  • Configurable center column opens up a variety of shots

Cons

  • Not the smallest or lightest
  • Not the most expensive, but still a bit pricey

Great tripods can be hard to find, especially for beginners. Vanguard’s Veo 3+ 263AB stands out as a solid all-rounder because it provides a lot of professional features in a well-built package—all at a price point that isn’t astronomically high.

The center column on this tripod can be extended 90 degrees, helping you get an overhead angle for those Instagram flat lays or product shots. You can even mount the center column across the tripod legs and mount two pieces of gear, like your camera on one side and a small light on the other, which is great for shooting video.

There are other tripods that do some things better than this one, but the Veo 3+ meets multiple needs pretty well. It folds down a bit larger and heavier than dedicated travel tripods, but you can still take it with you. There are lightweight carbon fiber tripod options, but you’ll need to pay extra for them.

Best Tripod Overall

Vanguard Veo 3+ 263AB

Vanguard's Veo 3+ is a tripod that excels in several categories and offers a lot of features for the price point.

Best Budget Tripod: Benro TMA28A Series 2 Mach3

Benro TMA28A on blue background
Benro

Pros

  • Lots of features for the price
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Good weight capacity

Cons

  • Might still be too expensive for some

While not the absolute cheapest, the Benro TMA28A Series 2 Mach3 tripod offers a robust feature set for the price you pay.

The?TMA28A comes in three different heights, with the shortest option reaching 65 inches. It can convert to a monopod and comes with optional spikes you can add to the bottom of the tripod legs if you need to set it up in areas like on ice or a hillside. There’s even a hook on the underside of the body to hang a counterweight for extra stability.

This tripod uses twist locks to secure the legs and is rated for a load capacity of around 30 pounds, so it’ll likely be able to handle any setup you attach. You can screw a quick release plate to the top to hold your camera or attach a more specialized head you purchase separately.

All in all, you’d be hard-pressed to find something better for under $200. And while over $100 may not be “budget” for some, we’d recommend dropping a little extra cash on this one if you can.

Best Budget Tripod

Benro TMA28A Mach3

Need a sturdy, compact tripod that won’t break the bank and is great for beginners? Benro has the tripod for you.

Best Tripod for Phones: JOBY Gorillapod 325

Joby tripod on green background
JOBY

Pros

  • Small and compact
  • Wraps around a variety of objects for unique angles
  • Great price point
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Not for full-size cameras
  • Doesn't have a very high reach

The people at JOBY have made a name for themselves with their unique flexible tripods. From phones to vlogging cameras, the company has found many a fan in the YouTuber and content creator groups. Their Gorillapod 325 is perfect for a vlogging tripod, and you can attach it anywhere the legs will fasten for an almost endless variety of angles.

The stainless steel construction and ball head will hold up to travel and let you pan or tilt your phone to your heart’s content. And at around $20, it won’t break the bank either.

It won’t hold your DSLR—since this tripod only has a 2.2-pound weight limit, we recommend only using it with a phone or small mirrorless camera—but it’s a great option for beginning vloggers and phone videographers that don’t need expensive and bulky equipment.

Best Tripod for Phones

JOBY Gorillapod 325

Joby has a small, flexible tripod that's a great option for vloggers and phone videographers.

Best Travel Tripod: Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

Peak Design tripod being used outside
Peak Design

Pros

  • Carbon fiber construction
  • Ball head mount included
  • Phone mount included
  • Smooth and easy to operate

Cons

  • High price tag

Peak Design’s Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod is among the best out there. Its light, compact design makes it very popular with nature photographers and adventure enthusiasts.

Where this tripod really shines is in the accessories and design. It includes a fold-out mount for your smartphone in the center column and comes with a ball-head mount that functions very well for precise adjustments via the tightening knob. If you still want to use another head, the ball-head detaches and you can connect other tripod heads via the Universal Head Adapter.

Finally, all of this is packaged in a case that’s as nice as the Travel Tripod itself, so you never have to worry about finding a spot for it in your camera bag.

All of that said, this tripod is very expensive. If you don’t absolutely need a tripod this specialized, you’d probably be better off with our budget option. But if you’ve got the money to spare, this travel tripod is a high quality option.

Best Travel Tripod

Peak Design Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod

Peak Design has a well-built, well-designed tripod that is easy to take with you anywhere.

Best Spotting Scope Tripod: Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod

Bushnell tripod on pink background
Bushnell

Pros

  • Durable tripod from a recognized outdoor company
  • Pan and tilt head with wide mounting plate
  • Rubber feet for added grip
  • Anti-corrosion finish

Cons

  • Leg locks are not quick release
  • Doesn't include a bubble level

If you’re a birdwatcher, stargazer, or game hunter you’ll need someplace steady to mount your spotting scope. Bushnell’s 784030 Advanced Tripod offers a good balance of quality and price. Built by a company known for manufacturing outdoor products, this tripod’s strong aluminum legs are wrapped in cushioning that also helps keep them from getting too hot or cold.

The pan and tilt head allows for fluid adjustment of the scope to follow your subject, and that head has a wide mounting plate to accommodate different types of scopes. Bushnell’s tripod comes with rubber feet for added grip, and an adjustable center column to set your viewpoint at varying heights.

This is more of a set-it-and-forget-it tripod, as the legs are not quick release and require some time and effort to move. You’re better off using it to set up in a single location you know you can stay at for a while. That makes it great for wildlife photography, but if you need to move the tripod around a lot, you’ll want another option.

Best Spotting Scope Tripod

Bushnell 784030 Advanced Tripod

This tripod from Bushnell is a good all-around spotting scope tripod for outdoor enthusiasts.

Best Video Tripod: Benro A373T + BL75 Half Ball Adapter

Benro A373T on grey background
Benro

Pros

  • Great price for what you get
  • Well built and rigid
  • Higher load capacity can handle video equipment
  • Comes with a half-ball head

Cons

  • No center column
  • Requires an adapter if you can't use the half-ball head included

Video shooting comes with extra weight—cinema cameras are usually larger, heavier, and require extra accessories like external monitors and heavy zoom lenses. The Benro A373T handily meets that demand with a rated capacity of 55 pounds, higher than any other tripod on this list.

It also comes in aluminum and carbon fiber constructions, both of which are sturdy enough to hold up to consistent use. The legs use modern twist locks, as well. Finally, and most importantly, those who’ve used the Benro are very happy with it, making this tripod a sound investment.

A half-ball head is included, but if you need to adapt other types of tripod heads to use with these legs, Benro’s half ball adapter will let you use them without much fuss.

Though a very good choice for video, the A373T doesn’t have a center column. If you’re looking for a tripod that’ll let you get low-angle or overhead shots, or can convert into a monopod for something like sports shots, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Best Video Tripod

Benro A373T

The A373T is a sturdy tripod with a higher weight rating that’ll hold your video gear without a fuss.

Profile Photo for John Bogna John Bogna
John is a freelance writer and photographer based in Houston, Texas. His ten-year background spans topics from tech to culture and includes work for the Seattle Times, the Houston Press, Medium's OneZero, WebMD, and MailChimp.?Before moving to The Bayou City, John earned a B.A. in Journalism from CSU Long Beach.
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