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The best monopods for photography

When hand-holding is too little and a tripod is too much, a monopod might be a perfect balance.
January 30, 2022
Amazon Basics 67 inch Monopod

Finding the best monopods for photography is no easy feat. These come in all sizes, weights, prices, and constructions. The idea is to get the best bang for your buck and figure out what is better within your budget. We are here to help and have compiled a list of our favorite monopods for photography.

What is a monopod, and who should get one?

A monopod is a stick to mount a camera for added stability. It can usually be extended or reduced in length, using a retractable mechanism. Monopods serve a similar purpose to tripods, but they do so in a smaller, lighter form that is much more portable and convenient.

Also consider: Learn more about tripods and the best options available

These tools provide stability for those times when hand-holding a camera just doesn’t cut it. This could be when using a slower shutter speed, for example. Using a monopod can provide enough stability to reduce motion blur.

A monopod can also help compose images from difficult angles, such as shooting from up high. Some people even use them to get down low by letting the camera hang upside down and simply fixing perspective during editing.

Monopods come in all shapes and forms. Some are made with metals like aluminum, while others take advantage of lighter and stronger materials like carbon fiber. Some have a standard 1/4-20 UNC screw for mounting your camera, while others come with more advanced heads with fluid panning mechanisms and more controls. Nicer monopods even come with mini tripods on the bottom, for added stability. We know picking the right one can be daunting, so let’s help you make the right decision.

The best monopods for photography

Editor’s note: This list of the best monopods for photography will be regularly updated as more products launch.

Amazon Basics 67-Inch Monopod

Amazon Basics 67 Inch Monopod for photography

A monopod is ultimately just a stick that can extend and can hold a camera on the other end. Certain products get fancier, and those extra tools can make a difference, but some prefer sticking to the basics while saving some money.

The Amazon Basics 67-inch monopod will do just fine for those who don’t need all the bells and whistles. It weighs under a pound, has a non-skid rubber base, and can carry up to 6.6 pounds of equipment. It even comes with a carrying bag! Best of all, it’s very affordable.

Manfrotto Compact Extreme

Manfrotto Compact Extreme

You will see a lot of this brand in this post of the best monopods for photography. This is because Manfrotto is one of the industry leaders in photography accessories. And while Manfrotto is known for its high prices, this monopod is quite the steal.

More: Photography terms and concepts you should learn

The Manfrotto Compact Extreme has a $49.99 MSRP, but you can often find it cheaper. It offers a sturdy and lightweight aluminum construction and an overall better-looking design. It’s also an excellent option for those who need more flexibility. Its modular design makes it possible to add a ball head, change the base, or use the standard static thread. There’s even an included GoPro adapter.

Manfrotto Element MII

Manfrotto Element MII

The Manfrotto Element MII Monopod takes things up a notch with a twist-locking mechanism that makes extending and shortening the leg much quicker. It is compact and lightweight, thanks to its aluminum construction.

The included strap adds another layer of protection for your equipment, too. This is overall a great monopod for both beginners and pros. I would say the Manfrotto Element MII offers some of the best bang per buck for photographers on a budget.

Manfrotto 290 Carbon Fiber 4-Section Monopod

Manfrotto 290 Carbon Fiber 4 Section Monopod

Getting all the benefits of a good Manfrotto tripod without adding too much weight to your bag is possible. The Manfrotto 290 is a lighter and stronger monopod made of carbon fiber. Of course, this material will cost you more, but you’ll quickly notice the benefits. This monopod can still carry 11 pounds, and weighs only 1.1 pounds.

Vanguard VEO 2S

Vanguard VEO 2S monopod

Vanguard is another trendy brand in the photography world, and its Vanguard VEO 2S monopod is a great offering we know many of you will love. For starters, it’s the first option in this list of the best monopods featuring a triple-leg system. This improves stability, while still offering a moving mechanism for added mobility. The legs can also fold up when not needed.

More: Advanced photography tips to improve your images

Other features include an aluminum construction, a 64-inch maximum height, and a three-section twist-lock mechanism for quick action. It can also hold up to 13.2lbs of equipment, which is pretty nice. Amazon also throws in a phone mount and Bluetooth shutter remote. And if you want to get even fancier, a carbon fiber version is available.

Benro Aluminum 4-Series Flip-Lock Monopod

Benro Aluminum 4 Series Flip Lock Monopod for photography

Benro is a lesser-known brand, but they make great products at affordable prices. The Benro Aluminum 4 Series features a 3-leg locking articulating base, which you commonly only see in high-end options. And while this version comes with a flip-locking mechanism, the company also offers a twist-lock version.

The maximum height is 64.6 inches. Weight starts to suffer, even if made of aluminum, as this monopod is 2.4 pounds. It can carry up to 44.1 pounds, though, which is quite surprising and takes this Benro monopod to a whole other level. This is a lot of monopod for the cost, offering pro-level features at an affordable price.

Gitzo GM2562T Series 2

Gitzo GM2562T Series 2

The Gitzo Series 2 monopod is not cheap. It also doesn’t offer a bunch of features like some of the other products in this list, but what it does, it does very well. This is one of the best monopods, primarily because of its construction.

The tubes are made of carbon fiber, making for a strong, yet very light body that can carry 26.46lbs of equipment. The twisting mechanism also makes it super easy to adjust the height. A neat clip in the strap makes it simple to attach the unit to belts and straps. The 14.17in length offers a high level of portability. Extend it, and you’ll be able to enjoy a 55.91in maximum height.

Avella CD324 Carbon Fiber Monopod

Avella CD324 Carbon Fiber Monopod

Professional video-focused monopods are no longer as exclusive as they were. Great-quality monopods can be had for around $100, and one of the best monopods in that price range is the Avella CD324. It’s made of carbon fiber, can be extended by up to 71 inches, and has a 13.2 max load.

Also: Ways to improve your lowlight photography

In addition, you get a small tripod base and a fluid head with a handle for smooth panning. The leg is also made of carbon fiber, which is impressive to see at this price point.

Coman KX3232 Monopod

Coman KX3232

What makes the Coman KX3232 one of the best monopods is its versatility. It comes with a mini tripod base, but the legs can also be folded up and hidden away, or even removed. You can also turn the whole thing into a small tripod by docking the head on the mini tripod legs.

The unit comes with a nice head and handle for video shooting. You can extend it up to 73.2 inches, which is outstanding. The aluminum construction is not as light as carbon fiber, but it will feel more solid and stable. Not to mention the price is great!

Manfrotto Xpro Plus

Manfrotto Xpro Plus

Things start getting serious when you pay $300 or more for a monopod. The Manfrotto Xpro Plus leaves no loose ends in quality and features. This is one serious product for professionals.

The unit has a sturdy aluminum construction that weighs 4.63lbs and can carry an 11.02-pound payload. The monopod can be extended all the way up to 79.92in. This version comes with a 3-leg base for more stability and controlled handling. The fluid head also improves video stability and adds control with a handle.

Equipment isn’t everything, but it helps take your photos more efficiently. We have plenty of recommendations for your photography bag. Check out our best lists of cameras, lenses, and other photography essentials or accessories you should consider.