The Best Cheap Smartphone Gimbals of 2019

A smartphone gimbal is designed to make handheld video look less shaky. 

The technology dates back to 1976 when the "Steadicam" was used to film the movie Rocky. Remember how the camera follows Rocky Balboa as he runs up the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art? The footage is shake-free because the camera was mounted on a gimbal.

A gimbal is like a self-correcting level.

The best phone stabilizers use a 3-axis gimbal, which is like a self-correcting level working in all dimensions at once. This makes a camera seem like it is floating in a bubble. On the other hand, a stabilizer stick without a gimbal is just a monopod. It's not worth it, no matter how cheap it is.

A good handheld smartphone gimbal often costs $100 or more. It's an expensive accessory, but it’s also a wonderful tool for travel, sports and visual storytelling. Remember: A tool is only as good as its operator, so don't expect buttery-smooth video out of the box. It takes practice.

Here are the best-reviewed smartphone gimbals that have sold for $150 or less in the last 12 months:

Good Price: $92 | Great Deal: $79

Hohem's gimbal is sturdy, durable and lightweight, according to several Amazon customers. Many of those customers also praised the included carrying case. Some reviewers say this stabilizer is hard to calibrate; others had connectivity issues with the Hohem app.

Good Price: $132 | Great Deal: $117

The DJI osmo has mostly positive reviews, but even happy customers encountered challenges and frustrations calibrating this gimbal and using the control app. The software isn't compatible with all Android phones, so make sure to read the DJI website carefully before buying.

Good Price: $121 | Great Deal: $99

Several Amazon customers praised the Smooth 4's packaging, build quality and image stabilization, but some Android phone owners had issues with the gimbal's control app. iPhone owners had less technical troubles with the gimbal, but some customers found the Smooth 4 harder to use than they had imagined.

Good Price: $167 | Great Deal: $80

The SteadiCam Volt has positive reviews from Amazon customers who were willing to invest time and energy into set up and calibration. One happy reviewer said that using the Volt is like driving a car with manual transmission: You need to practice before you can use it effectively and comfortably.


John DeFeo