When you first start vlogging, you need three things — a camera, a mic, and a smile.
But, if you want to bump your picture quality up a notch, you’re going to need a few extras.
One of the biggest problems I ran into when I started recording vlogs was my videos becoming almost useless due to the shaky camera.
If you’re trying to walk across the room or move your camera for a closeup, things can get really shaky. And, those shakes can make your camera work look unprofessional.
Luckily, there’s a solution — gimbals.
I’ve compiled a list of the best gimbals you can get this year. Some of them can be quite heavy, so make sure you don’t get one that is bigger than you need to. For example, if you are using your phone, don’t get one that can also hold cameras, as you can probably get a lighter and cheaper one made for phones.
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The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is a 3-axis gimbal for smartphones. It fits most smartphones (the iPhone X is a little too heavy). But, it’s definitely too small for a DSLR.
We all know that smartphones are capturing some ridiculously good footage lately. And, they can be a cheap entryway for vloggers on a budget.
But, this gimbal can make that good smartphone footage absolutely insane. And, it has some sweet features that help you unlock the value trapped in your smartphone camera.
For starters it works exceptionally well at its primary function, stabilizing. And, for around $100, that’s an impressive feat. But, the Zhiyun is just getting started.
The ZY play app has some nifty features like Vertigo — which is that cool disorienting effect you get from backing away from something and zooming into it simultaneously (like this super famous scene in Jaws.)
You also have your basics like Zoom, subject tracking, timers, etc.
The build is also incredibly robust. And, it feels sturdy and expensive despite the price tag.
Now, there are some negatives packaged into this as well. It doesn’t fit some of the latest devices. Namely, it doesn’t work great with the iPhone X.
And, it doesn’t have a joystick for controlling the gimbal. Instead, it has a turn dial, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to control it while looking at your camera for the vlog.
- Under $100
- Great stabilization
- The perfect companion for smartphone vloggers
- The vertigo effect can give you some memorable vlog scenes
- Doesn’t work with DSLR
- A little too lightweight for the iPhone X
- No joystick
- ZY play app is great — but it’s not as good as some of its competitors
2) Feiyu G6
I’ve talked about the benefits of vlogging with a GoPro before. And, it can be a super-easy way to capture some on-the-go footage. But, GoPros can get super shaky when they’re being used as standard vlogging cameras.
The Feiyu G6 is good for GoPros, but it is also compatible with other cameras.
Its body is splash-proof and built exceptionally well, which ties into the whole “nonstop adventure” image that GoPro is going for.
The gimbal rotation is extra smooth, and the 3-axis stabilization keeps your GoPro perfectly steady.
Better yet, you get a front-facing joystick that’s super-simple to use with only one hand — which you’ll be doing often on vlogs.
Not only is the battery life above average (+12 hours) but there’s a small LED screen on the front that displays the current battery level.
The G6 is compatible with all of the GoPro models — and some of the GoPro copycats.
An important point here is that you can also use this gimbal for your smartphone. But, you’ll need to purchase a different mount or clip. Here’s a cheap one that will work.
If you want a cheap, easy-to-use gimbal that’s waterproof, filled with features, and reasonably priced, the G6 should definitely be on your Top 5 list.
The main negative about this gimbal is the noise. Many of you use your camera’s mic. If you do that, you’re going to hear the little gimbal motors rotating.
Your best bet is to invest in a mic. Personally, I recommend the Shure SM7B.
But, if you’re doing it on the cheap, you may want to think about a stabilizer without motors.
- Reasonably priced
- Best GoPro gimbal on the market
- Front-facing joystick is easy-to-use
- Fantastic battery life
- Can use a smartphone if you buy a new mount
- Great stabilization and smooth rotation
- Can be a little noisy
- Won’t work with DSLR cameras
We’re kicking the price (and the quality) up a little bit with the ZhiYun Crane-M3. This thing is a beast.
It costs a little less than the DJI Ronin-S, and its 3-axis stabilization is just as good.
The Crane 2 is jam-packed with features. The handle has an OLED screen that gives you incredible visibility. It’s always nice to see what mode you’re in without having to translate blinking lights and obscure acronyms.
Also, the Crane 2 gives you direct control of basic camera functions like zooming straight from the handle.
The battery on this gimbal is insane. It’s got around 18 hours of battery life. And, you can charge your camera directly from the gimbal battery (which definitely won’t last 18 hours if you’re charging your camera.)
This gimbal is great for DSLRs, phones, mirrorless cameras, and even GoPros with a cheap mount. The handle is a little heavy, so it can be cumbersome to drag around when you’re vlogging. But, the results are definitely worth it.
If you buy it new, it comes with a nice case, a tripod, and some other goodies. Since vlogging is a very active form of video, you won’t use the tripod as often as your hands (at least most of you won’t), but it’s always nice to have the option.
- Great battery life
- Lets you charge your phone while you shoot
- Comes with tripod
- OLED makes changing modes easy
- One of the best 3-axis gimbals on the market when it comes to motor stabilization
- Phone charge port location isn’t the best
- Doesn’t work with DSLR cameras
In the same price range as the Ikan Beholder, the Feiyu AK2000 is another insanely good DSLR and mirrorless gimbal. I don’t like this one quite as much as the Ikan, but it’s still a great product.
It has a nifty touchscreen with tons of functions, which is an interesting and certainly useful feature. The stabilization works well (not quite as well as the Ikan) and it uses some advanced algorithms to steady the shake.
The battery lasts 12 hours, which is fantastic. But, it takes 5 hours to charge… which is… less fantastic.
It can support a decent weight, and it has a breadth of available DSLRs and mirrorless cameras that it supports. You can also fit a medium lens on most cameras without any hassle.
The big advantage this gimbal has is the touchscreen, which you can use to zoom and adjust camera settings in addition to gimbal settings.
- The touchscreen is neat and nifty
- Can support plenty of camera models with medium lens kits
- Battery lasts 12 hours
- Great stabilization
- Can be used for smartphones, but it is a bit heavy for them
The DJI Ronin-S is a must-include on any gimbal list. That being said, you don’t need to spend $600 on a gimbal for vlogging. You really don’t. But, if you have the cash to drop and you want your videos to be among the very best in stabilization on Youtube, this is the gimbal that gets you there.
This 3-axis machine of stabilization is jam-packed with features.
It’s heavy enough to support a wide selection of cameras and lens combinations. Basically, it can handle anything under 8 lbs — which is A LOT.
Like most gimbals, the Ronin-S has motorized axis control that reduces and virtually eliminates shake. And, that’s cool and all. But, the Ronin-S is much more.
It has remote camera control for a wide variety of cameras. The mount can be transferred from handheld to tripod without moving the camera.
Plus, the SmoothTrack feature lets you customize how much the gimbal interacts with the movement of your camera. So, if you want a little more or a little less shake, the SmoothTrack feature lets you reduce the axis control.
The joystick for camera control is hefty and feels firm. And, you can switch between a few modes, the coolest of which is Sports mode. And, it puts your gimbal on overdrive to reduce pretty much ALL camera movements.
Really, this thing is the industry’s favorite for a reason — it’s really good.
It also has like 9 accessories up for grabs.
My biggest gripe with this gimbal is the price. At double the price of the Ikan, It’s hard for me to justify. But, it’s definitely worth it to a lot of people. It’s probably the best-selling high-end gimbal on the market.
- Tons of features
- Gimbal works great at reducing stabilization
- Sports mode is a huge plus
- Remote camera control works well
- 8lb payload is fantastic
- It’s the price of a nice camera
Gimbals aren’t absolutely necessary for vlogging. But, if you want to reduce your camera shake and improve your quality, they’re amazing tools. Personally, I recommend the Ikan Beholder as the best all-around gimbal. But, the Smooth 4 and G6 are perfect for those on a budget. If you’re serious about vlogging and you have the extra cash-to-splash, the DJI Ronin-S is Hollywood movie level good.
Will has been a full-time content creator since 2014. He’s an audio, video, and tech hobbyist dedicated to reviewing products and giving you the best tips he knows to grow your audience.