Combining the maneuverability of a selfie stick with the steadiness of a tripod, a camera stabilizer is an essential tool for imparting your videos with seamless movement. It will provide an easy-to-grab support, and these stabilizers come in various forms, from simple cage grips to motorized gimbals. Whether you’re shooting with a DSLR or your phone’s built-in camera (which already have impressive onboard image-smoothing tech), a stabilizer is unmatched when it comes to removing any shakiness and capturing wide, cinematic shots.

Check out quick info below of the top three camera stabilizers from our testing, then scroll farther for full reviews of these and other promising models.

Why Buy a Grip or Gimbal?

Whether you’re looking to create a short film, music video, or vlog entry, there’s bound to be some movement if you’re shooting with your camera in hand. While some jitter is natural, overly jerky, low-quality footage can ruin shots and cause viewers to stop watching—not great if you’re a content creator (or want to be). A gimbal or cage gives you the ability to move smoothly and pan around a scene, even if you haven’t been blessed with surgeon-steady hands.

camera stabilizers
Trevor Raab

Cage grips mount your camera or phone inside of an easy-to-hold structure that naturally fights off shake by evenly distributing weight across both of your hands. These basic devices require more active control since you’ll need to manually turn your camera to capture movement like pans or tilts. However, if your desired shot requires a lot of complex movement or you simply want to use a single hand, gimbals use motors and sensors to level out your camera and move along an axis with the help of AI. With gimbal software, you can even set a motion pattern or track a person or object as it moves. Gimbals often have a more accurate balance, since they adjust automatically without room for human error. The resulting footage is much smoother, but you’re going to pay for the privilege; gimbals cost more than either tripods or cages.

How We Tested

To begin, we researched expert and consumer reviews to pool the most promising gimbals for our testing. Once they arrived, we loaded each stabilizer up with either an iPhone 13 Pro Max or a Canon M50 DSLR camera, depending on the included mounting plate. We then performed three shooting tests. The first was a basic tracking shot as we followed a walking subject from behind on a straightaway that banks into a curve. This helped us evaluate the overall steadiness as well as how each stabilizer handled wide pivots.

camera stabilizers
Trevor Raab
camera stabilizers
Trevor Raab

After our tracking shot test, we moved into a stairwell in the Popular Mechanics office and placed three neon-pink square markers on different points of the walls to serve as targets. We choreographed the same path of movement as we recorded walking up a flight of stairs while zooming, panning, and rotating each stabilizer to see how smoothly they adjusted to quick motion transitions.

For the final test, we used the included software of compatible stabilizers to evaluate tracking as we filmed a static subject in a half-circle motion. Starting from the left side, we made our way to the front of our subject, then slowly walked to their right side. This showed us AI-tracking accuracy, which is important for creators who like to hone in on subjects or record self-facing vlogs centered in the frame while in motion.

We’ve also included some models that we haven’t gotten hands on for testing yet but look promising based on our experience and knowledge of stabilizers. You can find those under Other Great Options below.


DJI Ronin-SC

Type: Gimbal | Weight: 2 lb 7 oz | Max battery life: 11 hours

Ronin-SC Camera Stabilizer

  • Active Track 3.0
  • Relatively affordable

  • Can’t handle heavy lenses

DJI’s Ronin-SC is a high-performance gimbal that affords a number of ways to maneuver your camera thanks to the grip extension. Serving double-duty as a tripod, that extra seven inches of length is great for both low-angle (via an underslung grip) and high shots (by grabbing the bottom of the pole). We assembled the Ronin-SC by aligning the base grip to the gimbal itself, then screwing in the extender to the bottom of the grip. Easy. We immediately noticed and appreciated the light 2.4-pound weight of the high-quality aluminum construction. But that’s a double-edged sword, since it means the SC maxes out at camera payloads of 4.4 pounds. That’s still plenty for everyday shooting, though. With our Canon DSLR attached, the entire setup weighed just 3.3 pounds and was easy to hold thanks to textured grips. If you’ve got filming experience, getting the camera stabilized on the gimbal will be second nature, but adjusting the riser plate and properly balancing the camera lens will take some getting used to for newbies. While the markers for weight and lens positioning are clear, this gimbal isn’t necessarily the best for beginners. It’s geared toward those looking to take their video production to the next level.

As for operation, the device has a responsive precision joystick to control pan and tilt, as well as plenty of buttons. We encountered no resistance in the rotation’s range of movement as we directed our camera up, down, left, and right. The M button switches between customizable profiles. A red circle denotes the record button, which you hit to capture photos and video. Double-tapping the back trigger snaps your camera directly to the center, during which our Canon M50 DSLR camera picked up virtually no jerk. While these are the basic buttons, the DJI smartphone app allows for a much deeper level of control, from detailed calibration to the Active Track 3.0 subject tracking feature. Mounting our iPhone above the camera allowed us to draw a tracking box around our subject in the half-circle test, following as we walked around. While the tracking looked great with our subject centered in the frame, the Ronin-SC was still edged out by the OM 5 below in this regard, given that gimbal was incrementally better at focusing on the subject around the corners.

While we were initially worried that the light weight wouldn’t be hefty enough to ensure stability during quick, jerky movements, this gimbal had the most stable footage in our stair test. Despite the bouncy walk we took going up the stairs, the captured video looked as smooth as if the camera was floating. And in the walking shot portion of the test, the camera followed our subject around the bend without breaking a sweat, with the best stability and turning motion of the entire pool. While competitive gimbals are much more expensive, the DJI Ronin remains light and accessible at just under $300, in the sweet spot for intermediate to pro filmmakers.



Type: Gimbal | Weight: 10 oz | Max battery life: 6.5 hours

OM 5 Camera Stabilizer

  • 8.5-inch extension rod and tripod
  • Magnetic phone mount eliminates need for calibration

  • Expensive for a mobile gimbal

The DJI OM 5 is a powerful and sturdy mobile phone gimbal. Unlike cheaper mobile-centric gimbals we’ve used over the years, the grip’s smooth rubber and foam finish surrounding the metal construction rests comfortably against the palm without straining or making our hand clammy. Instead of securing your phone in a plastic clamp, the OM 5 uses a magnetic metal grip. Not only does it adhere to the gimbal with ease, it grabs on to your phone without scratching it thanks to a padded interior. Most importantly, it eliminates the need for balancing or calibrating the phone, letting you can shoot within seconds. It’s best to think of the OM 5 as a simplified Ronin, with buttons simply for recording and phone orientation, plus a smaller joystick. This simplified operation makes it ideal for beginners, but even advanced filmmakers will still be impressed. We really liked the trigger to switch between modes due to the satisfying click and its comfortable positioning. And despite the OM 5 weighing just 10 ounces, every phone we used in testing—from an iPhone 13 Mini to the gargantuan iPhone 13 Pro Max—remained stable and produced quality shots without jitter.

DJI’s Mimo app is neatly organized and runs you through a cohesive interactive tutorial on how to use the Gimbal, from basic orientation transitions to motion tracking. After getting familiar with the device, we had no issue moving with our subjects as well as our own face. From the app, you can switch video modes to guide your motions in creating spin shots, time-lapses, or dynamic zooms. The ease of use meant the OM 5 put up a stiff fight to be the top pick, but you can’t use the device with a DSLR, and we weren’t impressed by the sub-seven-hour battery life. As with its big sibling above, the included eight-inch extender grip for both high- and low-angle captures also doubles as a tripod so you can set your phone up anywhere.

With the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s camera performance rivaling a DSLR, the footage we captured walking up stairs was just as dream-like as the Ronin’s without any bounce. As we swerved around the corner of the walking test, the gimbal gave some minimal resistance, keeping the subject slightly off center. (This happened repeatedly, as we ran the test multiple times to make sure it wasn’t an anomaly.) Where the OM 5 truly excels is motion tracking, with the gimbal keeping the camera locked to our subject in the half-circle test and our faces as we ran around, with the subject-tracking field we designated in the app centering targets in the frame. You won’t be able to shoot with your phone’s native app to make use of the feature, which is a bit disappointing considering the chops built into some of the new phone lineups this year.


Fantaseal Grip

Type: Grip cage | Weight: 1 lb | Max battery life: N/A (no battery)

Cage Grip Camera Stabilizer

  • 3 shoes to mount accessories like microphone, flash, and phone
  • Easy-to-hold ergonomic grip

  • Range of motion is dependent on physical movements
  • No subject tracking

If you don’t need a motorized gimbal, the Fantaseal cage grip is a basic camera stabilizer that prevents shake with its ergonomic U-shape. This design prevents tremors by distributing pressure between both your hands. It has no buttons and can’t track subjects, relying solely on you to maneuver it. If you have the ability to walk around scenes for your desired shots or need a quick, steady capture, the seamless snap-in process for mounting your camera, phone, flash, and microphone is hard to beat, especially for the price.

Arriving in three separate pieces, the Fantaseal snapped together in under two minutes; the process was as simple as connecting the interlocking sections before inserting two screws. We attached the included phone mount to the top to adjust our M50’s camera settings through the app and transfer recordings to our phone in real-time. While the spongy foam material doesn’t feel as comfortable as the models above, the finger indents ensure it stays grippy and helped relieve the weight on our hands for steadier recordings. The plastic frame keeps the cage light but is less durable, showing some scratches after our two weeks of use. These tradeoffs keep the device to under $50.

The smooth motion transitions from panning to climbing up stairs were quite impressive for a cage with no motor assistance, but we did notice some slight jitter with every other step. This model also performed behind the options above in our walking test, with some slight shake on the straightway portion. This by no means indicates that this stabilizer is bad. The footage is a clear step up from using your bare hands, and this level of stability is perfect for beginners or smaller video projects. However, if you need a consistently steady shot with a rolling free range of motion, you’ll want to look at the gimbals above.



Zhiyun Crane 3S

Type: Gimbal | Weight: 5lb 7 oz | Max battery life: 12 hours

Crane 3S Camera Stabilizer

  • Professional build
  • Can handle large loads

  • Expensive

For serious filmmakers with equipment too heavy to work with the Ronin, the Crane 3S has everything you need to make the most of your shoots. It can hold over 14 pounds, which allows you to use a heavy-duty camera and a large lens without any issues. You’ll also get the benefit of extras like detachable handle options, an updated axis-locking system, an external power input, and the ViaTouch 2.0 motion control system. While this gimbal is arguably too heavy to run around with like where the Ronin SC excels, it excels in handheld or ground shots.


Hohem iSteady V2

Type: Gimbal | Weight: 10 oz | Max battery life: 9 hours

iSteady V2 Camera Stabilizer

  • AI Tracking works across apps
  • Doubles as a power bank and selfie light

  • Finicky software
  • Less durable build

Hohem’s iSteady V2 is an impressive mobile gimbal that undercuts the OM 5 in both price and weight. It even has more features such as reverse charging to serve as a power bank for your phone and an adjustable LED video light on the body for vlogging. While the Hohem Pro mobile app is clunky to navigate, the sensor on top of the phone mount is able to track subjects across apps like your native camera app so you won't be locked to the software. When the iSteady V2 works it works well—the footage is buttery smooth, the included selfie stick and tripod extension is helpful for dynamic shot options, and its more compact to throw into a bag than the OM 5. However the sporadic battery life can affect motor performance negatively and the vertical range of movement is limited. It’s affordable, has tons of features, and keeps your footage steady but sits behind the OM 5 as the best mobile phone gimbal.


Moza Air 2

Type: Gimbal | Weight: 9lbs | Max battery life: 16 hours

Air 2 Camera Stabilizer

  • Long battery life
  • Holds heavy cameras

  • Expensive

For long shooting days, you can count on the Moza Air to last as long as you do. With four batteries, it can run for up to 16 hours—though it does take a hefty five hours to fully charge. It features a three-axis stabilization system (this gives you the the ability to move back and forward, up and down, and side to side) and can handle a heavy DSLR and long lenses weighing up to 9.2 pounds. This newer version of the Moza Air includes features that assess a camera’s weight and compensate accordingly as well as physical controls like a joystick and wheel that let you control it by hand, which led the testers at Digital Camera World to laud its pleasingly tactile experience during handling. Yes, it’s expensive, but ultimately you’re getting what you’re paying for: a long-lasting camera stabilizer that quickly balances your gear for a more streamlined production pipeline.


DJI Osmo Pocket

Type: Camera | Weight: 4 oz | Max battery life: 2.5 hours

Osmo Pocket Camera Stabilizer

  • Affordable
  • Integrated 4K camera

  • Short battery life

The Osmo Pocket gimbal is affordable, compact, and includes a 4K camera built directly into the device. A 1/2.3-inch sensor and a wide f/2.0, 80-degree angle-of-view lens to record up to 4K60 cinematic video and 12-MP still photos on up to a 256 GB microSD card. While perfect for content creators looking to quickly produce video on the fly, it only has 140 minutes of battery life which won’t meet the needs of longer projects. It offers impressive stabilization, activity and face tracking, and Nightshot, for sharp moonlit or lowlight scenes. Plus your wallet will thank you since the Osmo Pocket is a much cheaper option than buying a camera and gimbal separately.