Best Gimbal Stabilizers

A gimbal stabilizer is a must-have for any filmmaker. This device will keep your camera as steady as possible and allow you to capture the best shots (and prevent those embarrassing shakes). It greatly increases the chance that you will get a clean and amazing-looking picture. This is a great first piece of equipment to buy as it will allow you to capture any scene with ease.

Gimbals are the secret to seamless movement in movies. They are a powerful solution that can take your videos to the next level. Gimbals have been around for a while but they have come a long way from the days of shoulder-rigs, Steadicams, and monopods. They have evolved into a new level of smoothness.

Gimbals are being used by everyone from amateurs to professional cinematographers and their use is increasing each day. There are tons of options out there, but how do you know which one is right for you? If you are looking for a gimbal our list of the best gimbal stabilizers on the market can help you with your research, so let’s have a look at the alternatives today:

Best Gimbal Stabilizers

ImageProductOur RatingPrice
DJI Ronin-SC - Camera Stabilizer for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

DJI Ronin-SC – Camera Stabilizer for DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras

9.7
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Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q3 Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphone

Zhiyun SMOOTH-Q3 Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphone

9.5
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DJI OM 4 - Handheld 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer with Grip

DJI OM 4 – Handheld 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal Stabilizer with Grip

9.1
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Zhiyun Crane 2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer for DSLR Mirrorless Camera

Zhiyun Crane 2 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer for DSLR Mirrorless Camera

8.8
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Hohem All in 1 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for Compact Camera

Hohem All in 1 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for Compact Camera

8.6
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3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer for GoPro

3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer for GoPro

8.2
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DJI Osmo Mobile 3 - 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal

DJI Osmo Mobile 3 – 3-Axis Smartphone Gimbal

8
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Zhiyun Crane M2 Crane-M2 Gimbal for Mirrorless Cameras

Zhiyun Crane M2 Crane-M2 Gimbal for Mirrorless Cameras

7.7
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Zhiyun Smooth 4 Professional Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphone

Zhiyun Smooth 4 Professional Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphone

7.4
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DJI Ronin-M Gimbal Stabilizer

DJI Ronin-M Gimbal Stabilizer

7.2
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Last update on 27th September 2021 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What Cameras Can You Use a Gimbal With?

Gimbals can be used with a variety of cameras, from DSLRs to phones. If you are going to buy a gimbal, make sure that it is compatible with your device. Most gimbals allow you to mount various cameras and devices without issue, but some only work with certain types of cameras.

Some gimbals are built specifically for one device, while others allow you to attach various devices. If your budget allows for it, you should get a gimbal specifically designed for each device you own. I bought three different gimbals in the past, one for my GoPro, a second one for my smartphone, and the last one for my DSLR.

Why Use a Gimbal for Your DSLR or Smartphone or Action Camera?

Well, to be honest, if the video is shaky, nobody will watch it or share it. Stabilizing your footage can bring out much better results than your standard camera work without a gimbal.

A gimbal stabilizes your camera by using two or more motors. It compensates for the movements you make when walking, running, or even riding in a car. It does this to keep the horizon level and reduce vibrations. The 3-axis gimbals are the most popular ones because they allow you to stabilize the camera on three separate axes (pan, tilt, and roll).

This type of stabilization is perfect for any type of movement while filming, but not limited to it. Gimbal stabilizers are also great for photographing landscapes, architectural photography, and timelapse. Some models even have dedicated modes that will help you capture the above, but also cover selfies and large panoramas.

When we compare the quality of a shot made with a gimbal to one without, the difference is night and day. In fact, you can combine a gimbal stabilizer with other accessories such as sliders or jibs to create your own professional-grade camera movements.

Electric vs Mechanical Stabilizers

Mechanical

This is where it all started. The Steadicam is the original stabilizer that came out in the 1970s. It is based on a system of springs and gears that are used to balance the weight of your camera. It uses arm-like structures to deliver smooth shots, but it is very difficult to use for inexperienced people. The device needs constant monitoring as it can be quite heavy and tiresome to carry around.

Electric

Gimbals use high-torque brushless motors to balance the camera and deliver a smooth shot. They are very easy to set up and use, perfect for even first-timers. You can quickly attach or detach your device and get it working in minutes. But they tend to be more expensive than mechanical stabilizers, so it is something to keep in mind. In this day and age, it is safe to say that electric gimbals are the future of stabilized camera equipment. But if you are looking for something cheap and easy to use, a mechanical stabilizer for your DSLR is still an option.

What to Consider When Looking for the Best Gimbal Stabilizers?

Gimbal Design

There are two types of design when it comes to gimbals. The first one is the single-handheld design, while the other one is a dual-handlebar setup. Single handheld models are easier to carry around and cheaper, but they can take up quite a lot of space in your bag.

Dual handlebars work best for smaller devices like smartphones, but there are models that work with larger gear as well. Gimbal stabilizers are very easy to use once you set them up. It requires some time to stabilize the gimbal to your system, but after you are good to go unless to change something on your setup.

Ease of Use and Maximum Load

Most stabilizers nowadays can be found in two variants, one that is designed for smaller cameras like the mirrorless cameras that are pretty popular and a second variant that can hold DSLR cameras that are a little heavier. Keep in mind that the lens you are going to use also determines the weight and center of gravity, so it is vital to keep a gimbal that can hold the larger lenses you are going to use.

Most gimbal in the market features 3 axis stabilization which is the norm today. The main thing to consider when buying a gimbal is the weight of your setup. If you are planning on balancing a DSLR, you will need something capable of carrying at least 4-5lbs. Anything less and the tool will not be as useful as advertised.

The great thing about most gimbals is the fact that they can support various devices without much trouble. Some models can even go up to 15 pounds which covers everything from small DSLRs to heavy action cameras like GoPro. There are some extras that you will have to get separately though, so keep that in mind.

You need to know the weight of your setup including any accessories you are going to need like microphones, batteries, lights, handles, etc that can alter the balance of your system is attached at a later stage.

Look for a model that advertises that can handle the maximum weight you plan on using with the gimbal, but keep in mind your future purchases too as you want a future-proof setup.

Battery Life and Charging

It is often overlooked when it comes to gimbal stabilizers but looks for a system that supports interchangeable batteries. This will allow you to swap the battery when you need more juice in the field without bringing along the charger. This is not something that happens often, but having one can take away some stress when shooting on location.

The best practice would be to get a gimbal that comes with two batteries and charges via USB. You will be able to charge one while using the other and by the end of the day you will have plenty of power for all your needs.

The last thing you want is a battery failure when shooting a scene and having to replace it takes a lot of time and effort, so make sure the model you choose has good battery life.

Features

Along with weight limits, some gimbals have other unique features that make them stand out from the crowd. Remote controls are one of them and they can come in handy while filming on the go. If you are looking for something simple to use, a single-handle gimbal will be just fine. If you are filming more technical shots that require changing modes, modes and filters regularly, choose a dual-handlebar design instead.

If you want some more advanced technology on your gimbal you can also look for the latest models of the manufacturers which came with built-in follow focus controls by connecting the gimbal to the cameras. Keep in mind that not all camera and lenses combination will work in this setup, for you better check their manual before purchasing. It is not very common, but having the additional functionality to your tool will give you an edge over someone who doesn’t have this feature.

Balancing

When picking a gimbal stabilizer, one of the most important things to consider is how easy it will be to balance. There are some models that come with built-in tools and custom balancing plates, which makes it easier for you when assembling the thing.

Everyone hates having to spend many hours in order to get the setup balanced and ready for the shoot, so look for a model that gets the job done quickly. The best way to test this is to pick any DSLR camera you have at home and see how fast you can balance it on the gimbal.

The best practice is to get a gimbal that you can balance on your own even if it takes a bit of time as you will have to do this with most models too. No matter how much work the manufacturer does for you, they cannot account for every camera angle as they all have different weight distributions.

2-Axis VS 3-Axis Stabilizer

There are a few different types of gimbals available for purchase and the main difference is how many axes they can stabilize. A two-axis gimbal offers stabilization along with pitch and yaw while a three-axis system adds stabilization to the roll axis. This might not be a big deal at first, but you will see it change your workflow once you have used one for a while.

A two-axis gimbal is an entry-level system that will work fine in most cases but there are some limitations to them. You might not be able to get the same smooth shots as you would with a 3-axis stabilization, but it can be very useful if you plan on using your DSLR camera as a B-camera to your main rig.

A three-axis gimbal will give you a lot more versatility and allow you to use it for different types of shots. You can move around the axis with ease without having to worry about how smooth it is going to be, so they are a good choice if you plan on using this tool for different types of shots. I always opted for 3-axis gimbals if the budget allowed for it and my clients were happy with the results in the end.

Price and Warranty

Gimbals are an investment, so make sure you get one that fits your needs and budget. It is important to note that the price of gimbal stabilizers does not directly correlate with their effectiveness. You can find some great models under $200 and you don’t have to spend a fortune on a device that will work just fine for casual use. If you are a professional filmmaker, the sky is the limit and money should not be an issue when investing in your stabilizer.

When it comes to warranties, some have 1 year while others offer 2 or 3 years depending on the brand and price. Longer warranty periods are usually better because it gives the manufacturer trust in their product which should also mean that you will get quality customer service if anything goes wrong.

Before making any purchase, always read the reviews of other customers who have bought the gimbal stabilizer model you are interested in. This will give you a general idea of how well it works, what are its positives and negatives along with personal experience which can be really helpful in choosing the right gimbal for you.

If you don’t where to start from, we have made a list of some of our favorite models available on the market as a great starting point for your research. We have used them all personally or spent enough time handling them at photo/video expos to give our verdict. Take a look and see if you can’t find something that will help you take your filmmaking to the next level.

FAQ

Is It Worth Getting a Gimbal?

I think that the answer to this should be quite obvious as you just need to look at many YouTube videos or up-and-coming filmmakers on Vimeo to see how they use gimbals. In most cases, a gimbal will allow you to get smooth shots even if your camera was not designed for professional purposes.


Are All Gimbals 3-Axis?

No. There are 2-axis gimbals available but they are not as popular or useful for serious filmmakers who know what they are doing. They might be good enough for casual use, but professionals usually prefer the versatility of a 3-axis model which allows them to get perfect shots even on challenging terrain.


What Type of Gimbal Stabilizer Should I Buy for My DSLR?

This will depend on the type of gimbal stabilizer you want to buy and how much money you can spend. If you plan on using it solely for handheld shots where your DSLR is in front of you, a simple 3-axis model should be enough, but you should also look for built-in modes that might be relevant for your type of shooting.


Is a Phone Stabilizer Worth the Money?

This is also a good question and one that you should ask yourself before purchasing. I personally think that buying a gimbal for my iPhone was one of the best investments I have made, but not everyone may need one. The bottom line is that you should always practice with your equipment to see what its limits are. You can probably get away with shooting freehand for most occasions, but if you are doing it all the time, a gimbal stabilizer might be worth investing in.


Which Gimbal Brand Is Best?

This is a difficult question to answer because everyone has their own preference. Some brands are more popular than others and you will get the most feedback from people who have used them professionally, but that doesn’t mean that cheaper models by other companies won’t work just fine for casual use. I’m a fan of DJI and Zhiyun myself.


Should I Invest in a Gimbal or a Tripod?

This is also a tough question to answer, but it really depends on your shooting style and requirements. A tripod is a much more versatile option, but a gimbal will give you freedom and flexibility that a tripod simply cannot offer. I got my tripod way before I got my first gimbal and I still use both of them a lot depending on the situation.


What Is the Best Gimbal for Filmmaking & Travel?

This entirely depends on your budget and how much you want to invest in a gimbal stabilizer. I personally own two Zhiyun Crane Plus models, but I also recently got myself a DJI Osmo when traveling because it’s much more compact and easy to carry around. If you want something cheaper, but equally effective, I can recommend the FeiyuTech G6 Plus as an entry-level model.