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The best gimbal for your Android or iPhone
Smartphones have become very good at stabilizing video with OIS (optical image stabilization) and EIS (electronic image stabilization), but they can’t beat the efficiency and control of a mobile gimbal. Directly holding your camera phone while recording can lead to unexpected movements, jumps, and trips. Add shaky hands to the equation, and any smartphone will need some help keeping footage steady.
Those looking for the best phone gimbal will soon realize many options are available. Finding the right smartphone gimbal can be daunting, so we have curated a list of the best handset stabilizers available.
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this list of the best smartphone gimbals as new ones launch, and older ones are phased out.
Buying the right phone gimbal for your needs
You need to consider several things when picking out a phone gimbal. The obvious factors to consider are price, size, weight, battery life, and build quality. Of course, mobile gimbals have other more complex features to keep in perspective. An essential one is the stabilization technology in use. Are you working with a 3-axis or a 2-axis stabilizer? 2-axis stabilizers smooth out tilt and roll, which means movements going up/down or from side to side. The third axis steadies panning.
It’s also important to consider device compatibility. You will need to look elsewhere if the gimbal doesn’t fit or the hardware isn’t made for your handset. The motors need to handle your handset’s size and weight. The software will make a massive difference in your experience, too. Be sure to look at how many features the app has (if there is one).
The best overall: ZHIYUN Smooth 4
The ZHIYUN Smooth 4 is getting older now, but it holds the title as the best smartphone gimbal by our book. This device seems to offer the best value for the money. It has a $109 MSRP, but you can usually find it for under $100, and provides an experience that few other gimbals can match. This smartphone gimbal already has two successors, the Smooth 5 and Smooth 5S, but we believe they’re overpriced and don’t offer much more than the Smooth 4. The only upgrade we deem worthy is the addition of fill lights at the top and bottom ends.
From build-quality to battery life, there's a lot to love about the ZHIYUN Smooth 4.
ZHIYUN’s Smooth 4 sports impressive build quality, and it offers one of the more stable tripods on the market. It measures 123 x 105 x 328mm and weighs 547g before adding your smartphone of choice. The Smooth 4 packs a 2,000mAh cell, which should keep you rolling for up to 10 hours on a single charge.
We can appreciate the impressive selection of buttons and knobs with which ZHIYUN equipped its Smooth 4. However, the sheer variety results in a steep learning curve, so you may have to do a few practice runs before getting the hang of things. We’re not entirely sold on ZHIYUN’s app, either, but the Smooth 4 combines enough quality and value to command our best gimbal slot.
- Impressive selection of buttons and knobs
- Solid build quality, especially for the price
- Impressive stabilization and a very stable tripod
- Steep learning curve
- No object tracking
- Not the best for large or heavy phones
Other products worth considering
While the ZHIYUN Smooth 4 is the best choice for most users, there are a few other products worth considering. Below, you’ll find a quick breakdown, followed by a deeper dive into each alternative further down in the article.
- Insta360 Flow: The Insta360 Flow is the best gimbal if you want a very portable option. It is as large as a phone when folded!
- DJI Osmo Mobile 6: The Osmo Mobile 6 is our top pick for a folding gimbal. It’s lightweight, powerful, and an overall perfect companion for videographers on the go.
- DJI Osmo Mobile SE: Almost as good as the Osmo Mobile 6, but much cheaper.
- ZHIYUN Smooth Q4: This is a great gimbal for mobile videographers. It’s foldable, robust, and the removable LED light will keep clips well-lit at night.
- ZHIYUN Smooth X2: The Smooth X2 is not as capable as others, but it’s definitely one of the funnest gimbals and has a drop-dead price.
- Hohem iSteady MT2: Smartphone gimbals are great, but many of us have multiple cameras. This stabilizer can be used with a smartphone, as well as a GoPro or a Sony RX100.
- MOZA Mini-P Max: With a carrying capacity of 1,000g, the Mini-P Max is an excellent pick if you prefer a larger phone. It can also hold regular cameras and action cams.
Insta360 Flow: Best compact gimbal
In most cases, the best gimbals are the biggest and heaviest on the market. Thankfully, if the ability to travel easily is most important to you, there are options, and the Insta360 Flow might be one of the best.
This small gimbal, when folded, is about the size of a large smartphone (although much thicker, obviously). It has most of the features you’d expect of a larger gimbal, including a magnetic mounting system, a built-in extender rod, and even a trigger. It also adds something most gimbals on this list don’t have, which is a built-in tripod. You simply pull the three tripod feet out of the bottom, and it will prop anywhere. You don’t need to sacrifice your normal tripod, either, as the Flow also has a traditional tripod mount, too.
Unfortunately, you’ll also spend quite a bit on this, but the cost could be worth it if you want something fully featured but really portable.
- Small and light
- Built-in selfie stick
- Built-in tripod stand
- Magnetic clamping system
- Range of motion is limited
- Software not as good as DJI’s
DJI Osmo Mobile 6: The best folding gimbal
DJI’s Osmo Mobile 6 barely missed our top spot, mainly because it is a bit too pricey. The OM 6 features a folding design that earns top marks for portability and sets it apart from most other gimbals on the market. It’s super portable and has a built-in extension rod that turns it into a selfie stick.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 6 comes in at 309 grams right out of the box, and measures 276 x 111.5 x 99mm when completely unfolded. The gimbal packs a 1,000mAh battery, which isn’t great, but you still get about six hours and 24 minutes of battery life. The clamp can also handle its own, as it can hold devices as heavy as 290 grams, and as wide as 84mm.
- Much better folding arm
- Small and light
- Built-in extension rod
- Added display panel and sidewheel
- Slightly larger and heavier than the previous version
- Some features are iPhone-only
DJI Osmo Mobile SE: A cheaper version of the best DJI gimbal
If you like the DJI Osmo Mobile 6, but deem it too pricey, then we’d like to show you something more affordable from the same brand.
The DJI Osmo Mobile SE comes with some of the best features you’ll find on its bigger brother, such as 3-axis stabilization, a portable and foldable body, a magnetic design, and even a very similar control interface. In fact, some people might see it as a bit of an upgrade, as it has a longer 8-hour battery life, as opposed to 6:26 hours of juice on the Osmo Mobile 6. It also happens to have improved mechanical range, especially on the pan and tilt.
Of course, some downsides come with a price cut. It is larger, even if by a bit. It’s also heavier at 352g. It lacks a selfie stick extender, and a rocker replaces the side wheel.
- More affordable
- Small and light
- Better mechanical range
- Added display panel
- Slightly larger and heavier
- Still a bit pricey
ZHIYUN Smooth Q4: Powerful, foldable, extendable, and with a light!
Although ZHIYUN’s Smooth Q4 doesn’t fold quite as small as the Insta360 Flow, it’s a very compact and portable gimbal that can also be folded down.
Great features include a removable, magnetic LED fill light, which is excellent for lowlight shooting. The light intensity can be customized by tapping on the top surface, and it can be used either pointing towards or against the shooter. The unit also features good stabilization, great controls, and an ergonomic handle. Another great improvement over the Smooth Q3 is that the Smooth Q4 can be extended to work as a selfie stick hybrid.
The body is still made of plastic. While it won’t feel as good as aluminum or other metals, it feels pretty solid in hand. Battery life is pretty good, too, at 15 hours on a single full charge. Of course, you’ll still enjoy all the great features you can expect from ZHIYUN’s ZY Cami app. These include Dolly Zoom, SmartFollow, Gesture Control, MagicClone Pano, and more.
- Super light and compact
- Removable LED fill light
- Multiple advanced shooting modes
- Great controls and ergonomic handle
- Plasticky build
- The ZY Cami app is unreliable
- You could do better for the price
ZHIYUN Smooth X2: The best affordable gimbal
If you’re looking for the most affordable gimbals around, ZHIYUN’s Smooth X2 might be right up your alley. It had a $119 MSRP, but you can often find it for as low as $40.
The portable gimbal has plenty of fun to offer. For starters, it comes with plenty of lighting effects, which activate with interaction. Additionally, you can use a removable LED fill light, which you can customize with different color filters.
The unit can be extended by up to 265mm, essentially making it a stabilized selfie stick. And you still get great ZY Cami app features, such as Smart Mode, SmartFollow, and online editing.
- Lightweight folding design
- Extending gimbal arm
- Magnetic LED fill light for dark shots
- Fun design and cool light effects
- You can now find it at very low prices
- Feels less premium
- Short 3.5-hour battery life
- No three-axis stabilizer
Hohem iSteady MT2: The best for using with all cameras
Smartphone gimbals are great, but it’s definitely better to have some versatility. The Hohem iSteady MT2 features more compatibility with smartphones and other cameras, including action cameras and dedicated cameras. Here’s a list of all the cameras the gimbal supports.
The unit is also very technologically advanced, offering AI features, a magnetic fill light, an excellent array of manual controls, and more.
The gimbal only weighs 653g, and it can carry as much as 2lbs. It can pan 360 degrees, tilt 290 degrees, and roll 200 degrees. And if you care about battery life, this one can achieve up to 17 hours, which is quite impressive. However, this is reduced to 6-8 hours if you’re using AI and the fill light.
Just be ready to pay for all these features and versatility. The Hohem iSteady MT2 has a $349 MSRP, making it one of the most expensive units on this list of the best gimbals for Android and iPhone.
- It can handle smartphones, action cameras, and regular cameras.
- Great weight limit
- Nice manual controls
- Underwhelming app
- Very expensive!
MOZA Mini-P Max: Amazing payload
The MOZA Mini-P Max is a beast of a gimbal. It can’t carry as much as the Hohem iSteady MT2, but it isn’t as expensive either, and it may be a better option if you don’t need something as premium. It can hold up to 1,000g of weight. This makes it the perfect gimbal to use with any smartphone, and you can use plenty of full-sized DSLR, mirrorless, and action cameras.
The MOZA Mini-P Max is more accessible at $199 MSRP. It comes with all the bells and whistles, though. You get 3-axis stabilization, it’s not too big, it has a nice ergonomic design and hand position, and really good mechanical range. The pan can reach 360 degrees, while roll and tilt stick with 330 degrees. And get this: it has an estimated 20-hour battery life.
- Can stabilize 1kg of equipment
- Fun effects and shooting modes
- Amazing 20-hour battery life
- Great mechanical range
- Confusing app
- Build quality could be better
It depends on what you’re looking for. About $50 seems reasonable for an affordable gimbal that’s still good enough for most users. Prices can go upwards of about $200 for higher-end models. However, about $100 seems to be the sweet spot between price and quality.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, 2-axis stabilizers smooth out tilt and roll, which means movements going up/down or from side to side. 3-axis stabilizers also steady panning. Which one you need depends on your type of video, but generally speaking, those using a gimbal for selfie shooting or still images won’t need panning stabilization as much. You’ll save some money on 2-axis gimbals, and they also tend to be lighter and smaller. Having 3-axis stabilization offers the best results for video production, though.
Smartphone gimbals make for great tripods. Not only can they hold a smartphone still, but they often have special features for tracking subjects. They will also stabilize your video if there are any vibrations or movements. The only downside is that these require battery power, while a tripod does not. This means that a gimbal can’t be used if you happen to deplete its battery.
You can often get away with using a smartphone gimbal without specific software, especially if all you want to do is smooth out your video. That said, using a gimbal without a specialized app will usually mean missing out on most of the best features and optimizations. These include zooming, remote control, effects, object tracking, etc.
Also, keep in mind there may be some app limitations. Most smartphone gimbals have apps for both iOS and Android, but not all will. And some features might not work on certain platforms.
Given that the gimbal has an app for your smartphone, you should be able to use any phone as long as it fits on the clamp. Gimbal motors should also be strong enough to carry the weight of the smartphone. These details can always be found on the spec sheet.
Sometimes, smartphone gimbals are a bit overkill. You may be happier with something simpler, like a smartphone tripod. Check out our post to see which are your best options.