The best smartphone gimbals can do things that your camera's image stabilization can't. Stabilizers can take out the worse of your wobbles, but a gimbal controls the movement of the phone itself, creating smooth panning
and sweeping movements and even following subjects around the frame. With your smartphone on a gimbal you can capture professional looking sequences without any complex, heavy gear.
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The best gimbals are mechanical stabilizers that use at least two but normally three axes of rotation to keep a camera steady. These have motors that work individually or together to achieve a whole range of movements. For example, Pan Follow mode will keep your camera level as it moves, while Follow modes allow smooth vertical tilts too and POV modes let you tilt the camera horizontally too for more dynamic angles, but still perfectly stabilized.
Better still, dedicated smartphone gimbals have companion apps which work wirelessly with the gimbal to offer subject tracking, automated panoramas and more. If you are using a camera, rather than a phone, check out our separate guides to the best gimbals for DSLRs (opens in new tab) and mirrorless cameras, or to the best GoPro gimbal (opens in new tab).
There are three main players in the gimbal market, including DJI, FeiyuTech and Zhiyun. These companies make full-size gimbals for mirrorless cameras too, but here we're concentrating on smaller, lighter gimbals specifically for phones.
So what the best smartphone gimbal features to look for? Here's a list:
• Phone size: the best camera phones today are pretty big, so check the specs to see your phone will fit
• Phone rotation: some gimbals can quickly rotate between regular horizontal shooting and vertical shooting for TikTok etc.
• Selfie sticks: some gimbals have extending handles so that you can hold them further away to film yourself
• Folded size: smartphone gimbals are lighter and smaller than those for regular cameras, but some even fold down small enough to fit in a bag or a coat pocket
• LED lights: some gimbals have LED lights built-in or attached magnetically. They surprisingly powerful and very effective for selfie shots
The best smartphone gimbals in 2023
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We didn't think smartphone stabilizers could get any better than the DJI OM 5 but the DJI Osmo Mobile 6 goes to show they can. We're still not convinced by the fiddly folding mechanism but other than that it's an extremely robust, professional selfie stick/gimbal that has a lot of advanced features such as motion timelapse, subject tracking and an analog zoom/focus wheel for easy control. This certainly isn't a budget option but it's by far one of the best selfie sticks you can buy if stabilization is your main game. We tested it using the iPhone 14 Pro Max and despite it being one of the heavier smartphones now available it was able to keep up with some aggressive movements from us and still maintain incredibly smooth footage. It's an excellent selfie stick/gimbal but you will have to pay a hefty chunk more.
The DJI OM5 is the latest smartphone gimbal from DJI. It has a 21.5cm extendable pole and is the most lightweight one yet at just 290g. DJI has removed the big heavy battery found in previous models for a lower-powered one but don't worry, it still has over 6 hours of battery life (and you could always charge it with one of the best power banks (opens in new tab)) The handling and build quality of the OM5 is excellent, it has a rubber handle for grip and the joystick is perfectly positioned for easy operation. You can use gesture controls such as displaying a "V" sign to initiate record and ActiveTrack will lock on and track a subject. Our one slight concern is that the hinge at the top of the extension rod is really easy to turn which can be frustrating when you're opening the hinge in the hurry. That aside, it's a great gimbal which is why it got five stars in our review.
Read more: DJI OM 5 review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The Zhiyun Smooth X is a compact, lightweight mobile phone gimbal with a battery life of 5.5 hours. Despite its plastic build, it still feels well-made and the affordable price tag certainly makes it a tempting buy for anyone who wants to improve their smartphone filmmaking. Since you're able to swivel the gimbal head 90-degrees into portrait orientation, it makes it perfect for using for videos to be posted on TikTok or Instagram.
One of our only niggles with the Zhiyun Smooth X is that the ZY Cami app that you need to use in order to set up the gimbal isn't compatible with every phone. However, most phones are capable of running the app, so check the compatibility list here (opens in new tab) if you're unsure.
Read more: Zhiyun Smooth X review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The FeiyuTech Scorp Mini is an incredibly lightweight and manoeuvrable gimbal that will suit the needs of smartphone and mirrorless camera users when it comes to shooting pans, tilts and tracking shots while keeping your horizon level. The sling arm enables you to get low angle shots with ease and you can also make smooth moves using the tactile front knob and rear joystick. Juts bear in mind that given the compact size of the gimbal it won’t suit cameras with a long lens – but of course it handles smartphones with ease.
Read more: FeiyuTech Scorp Mini review(opens in new tab)
The Zhiyun Smooth 5S handled our iPhone 13 Pro Max and its 3-camera array with no problems, and its fill light is both powerful and simple to use. But with the phone’s accessory port jammed up against the tilt motor for horizontal video, it makes using mic impractical, plus there are not one but two matching apps and the 5S has tiny mode lamps you can barely see in daylight. The Zhiyun Smooth 5S is very effective, however, and while the apps are a bit of a muddle, you can use it with your phone's native app too and still get the benefit of basic stabilization and control options.
Read more: Zhiyun Smooth 5S review(opens in new tab)
The ZHIYUN Smooth Q4 Combo enables you to perform professional and disciplined camera moves on your smartphone while keeping the footage stable and the horizon level. You can make the gimbal pan and tilt, zoom in or out of your subject and trigger the recording with one hand thanks to the Bluetooth connected app on your smartphone. It will help elevate your camera moves to a more professional level. The Smooth Q4 is an adequate smartphone gimbal that’s on par with the DJI OM 5 in relation to price, features and performance. If you want a faster way to attach your smartphone to a gimbal then the OM 5’s mount has a magnetic clamp that might sway you to buy that device.
Read more: Zhiyun Smooth Q4 Combo review(opens in new tab)
This compact, lightweight and durable gimbal will have you panning, tilting and tracking your subjects like a Hollywood camera operator. Using your smartphone’s front-facing camera and the free Feiyu ON app, you can make the gimbal track your movement as you walk and talk and trigger the recording with a hand gesture. Some of the app’s panning timelapse features didn’t perform as well as we hoped but all in all this is an effective budget smartphone gimbal.
Read more: FeiyuTech Vimble 3 review (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
The Zhiyun Crane M2S enables you to perform a combination of tilts, pans and even rolls with your smartphone or action camera so that you can capture professional steadicam style clips. Its quick release plate enables you to detach a camera and remount a different one with a minimum of fuss and effort. It will even shine a little light on your selfies thanks to a built-in fill light.
Read more: Zhiyun Crane M2S Combo Kit review (opens in new tab)
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