The best mini tripods can be a perfect way for shooters with smaller setups to get some stability! While the enormous aluminium tripods favoured by enthusiast photographers may be flashier and more fully-featured, but a mini tripod, also referred to as a tabletop tripod, can provide you with advantages you'd never considered.
For one thing, they're much easier to carry around. When folded, many mini tripods can slip into a jacket pocket or a small bag, and this means you can always have it with you to whip out at a moment's notice! Some mini tripods are also multi-functional, and can convert to being a handgrip or a selfie stick, giving you more flexibility on the go.
There are a few different classes of mini tripod, and which you end up choosing will depend on the nature of your setup. If, for instance, you're using a sophisticated smartphone such as the Google Pixel 4 or the OnePlus 7T Pro, pretty much any mini tripod (and certainly all of the ones in our guide) will do the job. This will allow you to nail group selfies and experiment with long exposures!
If, however, you're using a light mirrorless camera or DSLR and want to use a mini tripod, then you need to be a little more discerning and make sure you're getting one that can take the weight. And remember, that's the weight of the camera and lens combined! We've specified the maximum payload capacity of every tripod on our list, so this should be a simple task.
Also, if you want to move beyond mounting the camera on a flat surface, it's worth considering more specialist models like those made by Joby. The famous GorillaPod series of tripod are capable of clinging onto protruding objects like tree branches, and can be set up on uneven surfaces. This gives you a lot more flexibility out in the big, wide world. Some mini tripods will also come with a ball head to help you nail angles and positioning, while others will have extendable legs or even an adjustable central column. We've noted this where it comes up in each of the products on our list.
In this guide, we've picked the best of the best when it comes to mini tripods. Every product on this list is capable of supporting an action camera or camera phone, (though a phone will require an additional clamp to secure it to the tripod), and some will support a good deal more than that. The heftiest models could even take a full-frame DSLR! So let's dive straight into the best mini tripods available right now.
The best mini tripods in 2021
Manfrotto’s Pixi mini tripods have been with us for several years, but this Evo version steps things up - literally - thanks to its extendable two-section legs. These can lock into six different extension points using an ergonomic push-button release on each leg. At full stretch there’s some flex when you mount a heavier DSLR, but Manfrotto’s 2.5kg load rating is reasonable. Keep the legs retracted to their shortest setting and the Evo feels much more stout, thought this reduces the shooting height from 19cm to 15.5cm. Alternatively, if you want to sink lower, the legs have a secondary angle setting selected using a simple but effective switch on the side of the ball head. This lets the head down to around 10cm off the deck.
The ball head itself is of a usefully large size for a mini tripod and it clamps securely. It can also tilt through 90-degrees into portrait orientation, and a convenient wheel locks the ¼”-20 thread to your camera, so you don’t need to rotate the whole tripod.
Factor the keen pricing and this basic but well made support is a smart buy.
Sirui’s entry stands out thanks to its almost entirely metal construction. It certainly feels like a premium product, especially next to more budget rivals. Load capacity is a respectable 4kg, and we found the 3K-35T easily supports a full-frame DSLR and 24-70mm lens. This sturdiness does have an impact on weight though, as the 3K-35T tips the scales at 430g - noticeably heavier than Manfrotto's 260g Pixi Evo mini tripod.
The legs fold out from their resting position alongside the centre column, and a quick twist of the central ‘spider’ locks them in their outstretched position. The two-section centre column can then adjust your shooting height from 25.5cm up to 34cm, or you can remove the column completely and mount the head directly to the legs for a lower stance, though this is a bit of a faff that requires the use of an Allen key.
The support is topped off by a good-sized and precisely-machined aluminium ball head. It features separate pan adjustment, though this is of limited use as there isn’t a dedicated knob to adjust the pan base independently.
You can get GorillaPods in numerous sizes to suit cameras from a GoPro up to a full-frame DSLR, and all make great tabletop tripods, but we went for the flagship GorillaPod Rig to see what the GorillaPod design is really capable of.
The Rig is intended to hold not just your camera, but with those ‘arms’ on either side, you can also add accessories like LED lights, microphones, a small external video monitor, or even a phone (via an optional clamp). The system works best for shooting video closeups, but it can be equally effective for macro stills when you position a light on either side of your camera. This can be anything up to a full-frame DSLR, as the total load rating is 5kg.
The Rig is bundled with a high quality ball head that features separate pan adjustment. Grippy locking knobs clamp the head very well, and your accessories mount to the GorillaPod arms using standard ¼”-20 screw threads.
The legs are the largest in the GorillaPod range, measuring around 27cm long. They allow you to wrap the Rig around static objects, so this needn’t just be a tabletop tripod, and Joby also bundles a strap that lets you to tie the Rig to even larger objects, such as a tree trunk.
While it's not the sturdiest tripod around, Benro's BK15 weighs an incredibly slender 200g, and can transform into a selfie stick! With its six-section telescoping post it's got decent reach, and what's more, it comes with a Bluetooth remote in the box, so right away you've got everything you need to have some fun taking serious selfies.
As a tripod, the BK15 is fine, as long as you're rocking a seriously light setup. That maximum load capacity pretty much just puts you in smartphone territory, and indeed the BK15 comes with a smartphone clamp. Still, a smartphone is what a lot of people shopping for a mini tripod are shooting with, so it does somewhat make sense.
The little ball head gives you a decent amount of shooting versatility, and the clamp range of 48-100mm means it'll fit basically any phone except the very largest or very smallest. For smartphone shooters, this will get the job done very nicely.
Mini tripods are also a great way to improve your smartphone photography, and the Joby GripTight ONE Micro is a solid choice in this department. The versatile clamp can take phones of most sizes and hold them securely, and it provides a rock-solid foundation to experiment with longer exposures and other types of tripod shooting. The catch is that it doesn't have much in the way of height, so you'll need a table or other surface to rest it on. It packs down nicely though, meaning it's great to have along with you when you're travelling light and want to take group shots or long exposures.
Able to hold as much as 5kg in weight, the Neewer Desktop Mini Tripod can stand up alongside much larger tripods. That's more than enough to hold a mirrorless setup or even a lighter DSLR, giving you real versatility from a tripod that slips easily into the bottom of a backpack.
It's pleasingly sturdy, and five leg sections, has plenty of scope for precise angle adjustments. Its maximum height is about 50cm, which is pretty good for a tabletop tripod, and having a 360-degree ballhead on top is no bad thing either.
The main drawback of the Neewer Desktop Mini Tripod is its weight. It's significantly heavier than the other tripods on this list, and arguably heavier than a tabletop tripod really should be, so that is something to bear in mind before you hit "buy" on this particular piece of kit. If that doesn't bother you, this is a solid pick.
Mini tripods can often also be short on build quality, but Gitzo’s mini marvel is a noteable exception. It’s constructed using the same carbon eXact tubing tech as full-size Gitzo legs and is topped off by an equally well made aluminium ball head. The ball itself clamps super-securely using the grippy locking ring at the base of the head.
Gitzo rates the load capacity at 3kg, and that’s very fair, as the Mini Traveller feels rock solid, even when the legs are spread to their widest setting - a neat pull action on each leg lets you switch between the two available angles.
If you need to support even more, the legs themselves have a colossal 25kg load rating - just remove the head using the included Torx wrench, and Gitzo provides an adaptor that allows fitment of a beefier head to maximize the legs’ carrying capacity.
Equally impressive is the tripod and included head weigh a combined 265g, which makes this one of the lightest mini tripods on the market.
The Mini Traveller is available with two color options: black, or Gitzo’s signature ‘Noir Decor’ mottled gunmetal grey finish.
As tabletop tripods go, the EX-Macro is somewhat bloated, measuring 28cm long and requiring a 9cm-diameter slot in your kit bag. It’s also on the heavier side at 560g, but the EX-Macro is closer to a full-size tripod in design than a typical tabletop tripod. The legs have three sections and lock using conventional lever clamps, while the centre column has 6cm of height adjustment. Maximum shooting height is a very versatile 56cm, and the legs can support up to 2.5kg of payload, though Velbon recommends 1.5kg as a safer bet.
It’s a surprisingly conservative load rating given the tripod’s substantial size, but the problem is the unashamedly plastic construction. As a result, the three-way pan & tilt head feels very cheap, and the tiny plastic quick release plate is especially nasty, causing a heavier DSLR to wobble more than we’d like. It’s a pity given the head’s separate pan and tilt adjustment should be ideal for delicate macro compositions.
The head is definitely the weak link in the setup, and it can’t be replaced. The legs actually hold very securely under much more than 2.5kg, with extra - albeit completely plastic - bracing helping their rigidity. This bracing can also let the leg angle extend wider for extra stability.
5 things to look for in a mini tripod
1. Heads up
The limiting factor of a mini tripod can often be a titchy ball head. A larger ball is more controllable and easier to clamp securely.
2. Spread your legs
A tripod with multiple leg angle or extension options gives you the choice between extra height and more stability.
3. Size matters
Good quality mini tripods can hold a surprising amount of gear. With load ratings up to 5kg, some can support even a DSLR and telephoto lens.
4. What tabletop?
Joby’s innovative and extensive GorillaPod range proves a mini tripod can be liberated from the tabletop, as you can wrap them round many objects.
5. Little extras
Bundled mounts to fit a GoPro or smartphone are nice, as is an extending centre column for gaining more height or doubling as a selfie stick.