The best budget tripods in 2022

Best budget tripods: Photographer with camera on tripod photographing urban skyline at sunrise. Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best budget tripods are a fantastically cost-effective way to increase your versatility as a photographer or videographer. There are many camera techniques that simply aren’t possible without a good, solid camera support, and while tripods can come at quite a high price, they don’t have to, and the cheap tripod market is filled with solid budget choices.

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The main challenge is to make sure that even with the cheap price tag, you’re still getting a quality product. There’s a lot of false economy floating around there on the market, and so it’s best to stick to reputable brand names, many of whom have done a commendable job of offering cheap tripods alongside their more expensive products. We’ve included plenty in this guide, such as Joby, Benro and Manfrotto. 

Depending on what you want to shoot, you’ll want to look at slightly different budget tripods, and we’ve included plenty of different types on this list. For those with ultra-light setups who just need a straightforward support, we’ve included a couple of tabletop tripods. We’ve also added in some cheap tripods with three-way heads that are optimised for video, as well as options with reversible central columns for low-down shooting – this is great for macro and close-up work.

Having a low budget does rule out certain types of tripod – if you’re spending less than $100, you’re not going to get tripods made from carbon fibre, which is the stronger and more lightweight material. You’ll also get a relatively simple tripod head, rather than the more sophisticated ball and video heads that come with expensive tripods.

With all that said, let’s get to the list. 

The best budget tripods

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(Image credit: Manfrotto)
The best budget tripod for tabletop support

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 1
Max load (legs/head): 2.5kg
Max height (with head): 20cm
Folded height: 20.5cm
Weight (with head): 0.26kg

Reasons to buy

+
Superbly well-built
+
90° tilt function
+
Practically pocketable

Reasons to avoid

-
Too small for many applications

Tabletop tripods can be just the thing in a pinch, and the Manfrotto Pixi EVO is arguably the best around. It offers a surprisingly comprehensive amount of functionality for such a small device, with two leg angles for uneven surfaces, as well as a built-in head that allows you to tilt the camera up to 90° to enable shooting in portrait orientation. 

The Pixi Evo supports camera kit up to a weight of 2.5kg, so naturally it’s not going to be suitable for all setups. A lightweight mirrorless setup or even an entry-level DSLR should be okay, as long as you’re using a smaller lens. This pocketable tripod will perfectly complement such a setup. 

(Image credit: Benro)
The best budget tripod for smartphones

Specifications

Material: Flexible rubber
Leg sections: 1 (flexible)
Max load (legs/head): 1.5kg
Max height (with head): 21cm
Folded height: 26.5cm
Weight (with head): 0.22kg

Reasons to buy

+
Versatile, bendable legs
+
Included smartphone clamp

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited carrying capacity
-
Sometimes compromised stability
-
Limited height is restrictive

Flexi-leg tripods have gained in popularity as smartphones have increasingly become the go-to choice for content creators, and the Benro KoalaPod is one of the best. It comprises three to five extendable, detachable legs that can be twisted around any which way you like, allowing you to balance your camera or smartphone on uneven surfaces, or grip onto protruding objects.

With a carrying capacity of just 1.5kg, the Benro KoalaPod is designed for the lighter end of setups – the included smartphone clamp makes it clear who the intended audience is. Moulding the legs to a secure position can take a bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, this is a superbly versatile tabletop support. 

(Image credit: Manfrotto)

3. Manfrotto Element MII Aluminum

The best budget tripod for urban photography

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 4
Max load (legs/head): 8kg
Max height (with head): 160cm
Folded height: 42.4cm
Weight (with head): 1.59kg

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive 8kg payload
+
Quick to deploy
+
Lightweight to carry

Reasons to avoid

-
No spiked feet option

Manfrotto has been doing a good job of introducing budget-friendly photo and video accessories alongside its more premium offerings, and the Element MII Aluminum is one such option. It’s really quite well specced for a tripod that tends to be sold around the $100 mark. 

It carries 8kg of kit – comfortably more than basically anyone is going to need – and can be extended to a maximum height of 160cm. Its twist-lock legs are quick to deploy, and the easy-switch leg angle selectors are great for quickly adjusting the tripod’s position. The Element MII Aluminum is an ideal choice for a day of city-exploring photography, where you’ll want a quick-deploy support that packs down well. 

(Image credit: Manfrotto)

4. Manfrotto Compact Action Aluminum

The best budget tripod for run-and-gun video

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 5
Max load (legs/head): 1.5kg
Max height (with head): 155cm
Folded height: 45.3cm
Weight (with head): 1.2kg

Reasons to buy

+
Joystick head for video
+
Handy quick-release plate
+
Good maximum height

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited 1.5kg payload

Video users have slightly different needs from their tripod, and the Manfrotto Compact Action fills a lot of these very nicely. Its bespoke joystick-style head makes it easy to make quick adjustments to your camera’s viewing angle, and the quick-release plate means you can quickly attach and detach the camera as the need arises. The Compact Action tripod is light, but sturdily built, with a maximum height of 155cm

What’s the catch? A payload limit of 1.5kg is quite slim for a tripod of this type, and rules out a lot of more advanced video setups. Double-check your kit before buying – a slimline mirrorless or entry-level DSLR setup should be fine. 

(Image credit: Slik)

5. Slik Sprint Pro III with SBH-100DQ

The best budget tripod for low-angle and macro shooting

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 4
Max load (legs/head): 2kg
Max height (with head): 159.8cm
Folded height: 47cm
Weight (with head): 1.02kg

Reasons to buy

+
Quick reversing mechanism
+
2-section center column
+
Flip-lock legs

Reasons to avoid

-
On the pricier end

A stable support is critical for macro shooting, where focusing is incredibly precise, but it also needs to be able to get close to the ground so that you can fill the frame with your subject. The Slik Sprint Pro III with SBH-100DQ is an excellent choice of budget tripod for this kind of work – it features a reversible two-section center column, as well as a Rapid Flip Mechanism that lets you get the tripod down low nice and quickly. Its minimum working height is just 15.7cm away from ground level, meaning you can get very close to any low-down subjects. The rubberized leg grips and robust flip locks also help with smooth operability. 

(Image credit: Velbon)

6. Velbon EX-530

The best budget tripod for panning shots

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 3
Max load (legs/head): 4.1kg
Max height (with head): 156cm
Folded height: 56.9cm
Weight (with head): 1.4 kg

Reasons to buy

+
3-way pan/tilt head
+
Radial leg braces

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulkier than others
-
And pricier

When buying a tripod, it’s important to look at the head that it’s packaged with, and the 3-way pan-and-tilt head that comes with the Velbon EX-530 is an excellent specimen. If you’re planning on creating dramatic stitched panorama shots, or shooting video and want to be able to pan the camera smoothly, this is a great buy. The additional radial leg brace in the center also makes it extra secure, and a 4.1kg load capacity should be fine for basically any camera setup. It’s a bulkier tripod than others on this list, but if you don’t mind shouldering a little extra weight, it’s an excellent choice. 

(Image credit: Joby)

7. JOBY Compact Advanced Tripod

The best budget tripod for vlogging

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 5
Max load (legs/head): 3kg
Max height (with head): 165cm
Folded height: 44cm
Weight (with head): 1.42kg

Reasons to buy

+
Kit includes 360° phone mount
+
Solid 3kg capacity
+
Integrates with other Joby kit

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively heavy

Joby is mostly a name known for its flexible, grippy GorillaPod tripods, however the firm has also branched out into different types of camera support. The Compact Advanced tripod is a more conventional affair, a lightweight camera support that’s clearly been designed with vloggers in mind. It travels well thanks to a neatly folding design, it comes with a useful three-way head, and if you shell out for the kit (which isn’t much extra) you also get the GripTight 360 Phone Mount. It uses the same QR plate as other Joby products, meaning it’s easy to swap your camera between them in seconds. Handy if you already own a GorillaPod or similar. 

(Image credit: Slik)

8. Slik U8800L

The best budget tripod for time-lapse

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 3
Max load (legs/head): 2.04kg
Max height (with head): 169.4cm
Folded height: 65cm
Weight (with head): 1.54kg

Reasons to buy

+
Super stable
+
360° pan/tilt head
+
Geared center column

Reasons to avoid

-
Harder to find outside US

With a central brace system that kicks in automatically when the legs are splayed, the Slik U8800L is a rock-steady support. As such, it’s an excellent choice for prolonged applications like time-lapse and long exposure, where you really don’t want the camera to move. It’s one of the bulkier tripods on this list, and doesn’t fold down as small as most others, but can also reach the highest maximum height, so there’s an element of trade-off there. One thing to note is that the Slik U8800L is harder to find outside of the US, so international readers may want to consider a different option from this list. 

(Image credit: Jamie Carter / Digital Camera World)
Good lightweight tripod for spotting scopes

Specifications

Material: Aluminium alloy and ABS
Leg sections: 3
Max load (legs/head): 6kg/13.2Ib
Max height (with head): 164cm/64.5”
Folded height: 70cm/27.5”
Weight (with head): 2.2kg/4.85lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Spreader adds stability
+
Built-in spirit/bubble level
+
Carry case with shoulder strap

Reasons to avoid

-
Can’t swap-out head

This budget tripod is designed for use for shooting video, or for supporting a spotting scope. Its three-section design means that it does not fold away as small as some, but this helps with stability - which is also helped by the spreader supports that connect the center column to the legs. A downside, compared with more expensive options, is that you can't remove and upgrade the pan-tilt head. See our full Svbony SA402 review (opens in new tab).

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