Tripods as a concept are simple: they provide a stable foundation to rest your camera on as you work. Despite that simplicity, though, shopping for one can be complicated as there are many options out there. Finding a quality option whenever trying to purchase on a tight budget can also be tricky.
Thankfully, you don’t need to sacrifice your tripod’s quality just to find an affordable deal. We’ve built our best budget tripod guide to include product recommendations, a buyer’s guide, and answers to frequent questions to help you. Let’s get started!
Best Budget Tripods Guide
Here are our recommended budget tripod options for you to consider.
As a budget tripod option, the Bonfoto B671A has a lot going for it. Overall, the construction on this tripod is very sturdy, and it stays stable as you move the camera and take photos. The weight hook also adds to this factor, which helps keep your tripod in place. The multifunctionality also enables you to set it up in various ways to best suit the situation.
Despite being overall durable, the leg joints on this tripod are plastic, which means they’re less more durable than the rest of the product.
Manfrotto is a similarly well-known company that has made a reliable budget option in the form of the MK Compact Advanced Tripod. While the tripod head is on the larger side, the legs set are still lightweight. The height range can reach between seventeen and sixty-five inches, and you can adjust the angle in three different directions. Two separate levels provide the controls of this lightweight tripod.
On the downside, you won’t find a counterweight hook or a level, features that are available on other budget tripods.
Dolica’s AX620B100 tripod has excellent flexibility across a variety of surfaces. Thanks to this, traveling photographers can know this product will serve them well wherever they set up—including indoor shots. There’s also a weight hook feature to ensure extra stability during use, and the build quality is also durable. In comparison, this budget tripod is even lighter than similar aluminum tripod models.
Note that, while this aluminum tripod has a ball head mechanism, you’ll likely want to replace it if you plan to use an extreme telephoto lens.
If having a compact tripod is an essential feature for you, then Rangers Ultra-Compact offering may have caught your attention. When collapsed, this tripod is fourteen inches in length; when in use, you can achieve a max height of fifty-five inches. The legs are overall sturdy for the quality, and the foam grip is comfortable to handle during regular use.
While there is a center column expansion, it does make the tripod less stable, so this pick won’t be the best option if you need a higher angle to use.
The JOBY GorillaPod 5K tripod provides a unique leg sections design with multiple joints to help you achieve the desired height and angle. These pieces allow for stability without the worry of joints collapsing. While you can use it for photography, shooting video is also possible with this tripod. If you plan on taking shots in even challenging terrains, the JOBY GorillaPod 5K can make that possible.
While the stiff leg joins add to stability, they do take some time to adjust and setup, so this isn’t the best budget tripod if you need to make quick shots.
Vanguard makes its way onto our bets tripod list with the Alta Pro 263AP offering—and this brand’s well-known name isn’t without reason. With a weight hook to help provide stability and rubber feet with extendable spikes, you know this tripod will stand steady. The bubble level also works on three axes. The max height reaches up to 69 inches with the center column extended, making it a good match for taller photographers.
Keep alert that the legs locks’ mechanisms can come loose over time, though, so you’ll need to give this tripod regular maintenance to keep it functional.
While not suitable for everyone’s purposes, the Flip Tripod provides a light and straightforward product that’s easy to carry. The flexible legs allow for simple adjustment of angles, and you can use this tripod for still shots or videography. It is also attachable to helmets and handlebars with the included straps, making a good fit for taking action shots.
The Flip Tripod’s small size will make it a suitable fit for some photographers, but it won’t get the job done if you’re looking for a budget tripod with height.
The K & F Concept DSLR tripod makes an excellent option for those interested in macro photography—but that’s not its only use. The ball head gives it great flexibility for angles, and the top end has some decent stability in the design. You can also use the included bubble level attached to the plate locking mechanism to adjust the angles on your shots. The quick-flip leg joints allow for easy setup.
The one detriment to this tripod is that some parts will come in plastic, though they used to be metal in previous iterations, which dampen their usefulness.
Another short and compact tripod to consider is the Breffo Spiderpodium. As the name suggests, there are eight legs attached to the base platform, and you can adjust them along the provided joints. The design makes it simple to get this tripod into the position you want it, and the compact size makes it excellent for on the go. The tripods design fits well with a variety of smartphone models.
With that in mind, though, this tripod won’t hold up anything much more substantial than a phone. You’ll need to look elsewhere to support a DSLR camera.
Despite its highly affordable price point, UBeesize’s aluminum tripod offering still has plenty of accessories, such as the built-in bubble level and a weight hook to use. The 3-way head gives you angle options while you shoot, and there is a release plate. The included phone mount with Bluetooth connection increases its versatility, and all the equipment fits in the included travel bag.
While impressive for a budget tripod, its weight load capacity can’t stand up to much; look elsewhere for something that can support heavier gear.
It’s not necessary at all from a performance standpoint, MeFoto’s Roadtrip tripods stand out thanks to the seven different color options, adding some extra flair. The three-sixty degree capability allows for excellent panorama shots, and the design also converts into a monopod if you need it. The included bag is also of high quality, and MeFoto also offers a five-year warranty.
On the downsides, the release plate’s catch isn’t the strongest, so you may not want to rely on it to secure your camera.
If you like the idea of the MeFoto Roadtrip tripod but want a lighter option than the aluminum material, there is this carbon fiber tripod available. The tightly locked legs provide excellent sturdiness during use, even with heavy lenses attached. The max height is sixty-one inches, and this carbon fiber tripod still will keep a sturdy hold on your equipment. The ball head is also steady for panning shots.
That said, this carbon fiber tripod’s quality materials make the price creep up for a budget option. Mounting the camera to the included quick-release plate is also tricky.
For hiking enthusiasts (or anyone else wants to travel comfortably with their tripod), Oben’s AC-1321 option is a quality pick for a budget tripod. The flip-lock legs allow for simple setup, and you can also take advantage of the bubble level and weight hook to get better stability and level shots. The ball head allows you to adjust the shot angle quickly. The height ranges from nearly eight inches to fifty-seven.
While the ball head works well for photography, you won’t find the part suitable for creating high quality video pans.
Another carbon fiber built tripod comes from Manfrotto. Aside from its use of sturdy materials, the Manfrotto tripod also has a compact design for easy transport. These two factors make it a good match for people looking for a tripod that can take regular activity, such as traveling or hiking. The ball head is also sturdy, adding further to the stability. The max height for this tripod is fifty-six inches.
Note that only the legs use carbon fiber, rather than the whole tripod. This Manfrotto product also loses some of its stability when extended to its full height.
This tripod has a lot of versatility in that it works with digital cameras, video shooting, smartphones, and even GoPro gadgets. The design is overall steady when in use, and it also has rubber feet to help keep it even more stable. You can adjust the panning in three different ways, and it is capable of 360-degree panoramic shots. The design is also lightweight for additional convenience.
You will have to be cautious as you use this tripod, though, as the 360 swivel handle can tighten hard enough to crack the plastic.
If you have a smaller, lighter camera, then the Velbon CX-300 can serve you well. Weighing in at just under two and a half pounds, this design is simple to carry and transport. This doesn’t limit the height range, as it can settle between nineteen and fifty-seven inches. The legs have rubber tips, and there are also braces for extra support. The pan options go two directions, with a sturdy handle for ease of use.
The downside is that the weight capacity on this tripod is only a little over three pounds, which means it can’t support much more substantial gear.
Amazon’s Basics design provides brings together both budget pricing and a lightweight design into this plastic tripod. It won’t stand up to any intense activity, but it will work during everyday use. There’s a hand crank to adjust the central column, and the flip-lock legs are simple to deploy. You’ll also find an integrated carrying handle right on the tripod for pure convenience.
The crank handle can occasionally be cumbersome to use whenever trying to set up the tripod quickly, and the plastic means the lightweight design has some limitations when traveling.
The Manfrotto B PIXI tripod’s design is appealing, and the tabletop design is simple to use. Because it’s a smaller option, it’s naturally on the lightweight and compact side, meaning you can secure it in your bag with little trouble. While the top doesn’t have a quick-release plate, the design means you can easily screw your camera on and off while holding it in one hand and the tripod in the other.
Note that when taking your camera off via button press, you’ll want to support it, but this is more of a precaution than a real con.
Regetek’s Camera Tripod has plenty of accessories and features integrated beyond just the three-way flexible panning and tilt head. There’s a weight hook to help with counterbalancing, and there are non-slip rubber feet to help keep the tripod stable. You can also use the flip locks to adjust leg height, as well as a handle. If necessary, you can convert this tripod into a monopod.
Unfortunately, working with the pan and swivel options can be somewhat of a challenge to prevent the camera from tilting.
Using the ZOMEI Z699C tripod feels smooth as you adjust the angle for your camera, so it scores points for ease of use. The bubble level by the locking plate also helps. While there isn’t a weight hook included, there is a hole available for you to screw one in, if you want it. The attached carrying handle is also detachable. In terms of setup, the process is quick, and you can even use this option as a monopod.
While the tripod itself performs well for its price range, customer support is overall lacking if you need help with damage or a replacement.
Vanguard’s Altra Pro 263AB tripods allow for a variety of shooting angles, which will make getting just the right shot simple. The pan head operates smoothly, and there are plenty of bubble levels to help even out your images. This budget tripod also stands out for its quick-release plate, which you can tighten without using any tools. Vanguard has included a bag with this kit for simple transport.
While the weight on this tripod helps it stay steady, you won’t find it convenient tote along when hiking or backpacking.
The GorillaPod’s tripods design is unique overall, with multi-jointed legs that can bend at any angle—including wrapping around poles and arms for security in unusual places. It also has a ball head, providing nearly no limit to the angles you can use. Both the wrap-around legs and the connection to your camera are stable, and the ABS plastic, TPE rubber, and stainless steel components will last through regular use.
In comparison to the GorillaPod 5k that we’ve also recommended, the SLR Zoom loses weight-bearing capacity. Even so, that does make it more affordable.
The XILETU T284C+FB1 tripods are easily recognizable thanks to its camo design pieces, but it does more than making an impression. You can rely on this tripod’s ball head feature to allow three-sixty degree panoramic shots. The construction is also durable, and the joined legs allow for inversion, providing a variety of heights and angles. The carbon fiber legs also can detach to make a monopod.
While the camo design is a nice touch, it’s more of an accessory cover than part of the tripod legs itself, so it will indiscriminately move around.
The Oben AC-1441 aluminum tripod offering has a height range of eight to sixty-one inches. Aside from the central column providing height, you can also adjust the legs to three-set angles. Whenever it’s time to set up the tripod, you can complete the process without any hassle, making it more likely you won’t miss the shot you wanted. The design is also compact and lightweight for added convenience.
For all its pros, this tripod is best suitable for lighter weight cameras. Extending the center column to its full height also impacts stability.
Thanks to a combination of its central column and the four-section legs, this tripod’s range extend from nine to sixty-three inches—and the flip locks provide additional stability. The weight is three pounds, making it portable, but it can still support up to eight pounds. Other accessories include the counterweight hook, adjustable leg tips, a ball head, and a compass. Davis & Sanford offer a ten-year warranty.
While the weight capacity won’t support substantial equipment rigs, it will do enough for those with lightweight cameras.
Things to Consider When Buying a Budget Tripod
While we’ve listed out our favorites for the best budget tripods for cameras around, every photographer’s needs are different. Unsure of how to best narrow down the choices? Consider these factors to help fund your best budget tripod match.
The materials used in your tripod influence a few different factors. Durability is a notable one, which you want, so your tripod can last and stay stable through extended use. Additionally, the material will impact the overall weight of the tripod itself and the total price.
Common materials include aluminum, which tends to be reliable yet affordable, while carbon fiber is a top pick for those seeking lightweight equipment.
Load-Bearing Weight Limit
For tripods, the load-bearing weight is a measurement of how much weight the equipment can support. You shouldn’t just make sure it can support the weight of your camera alone; other accessories like battery grips and lenses will make your camera heavier. If a tripod can’t support the weight, it will ultimately collapse, causing extensive damage to your equipment.
A reasonable threshold is to aim for a maximum load-bearing weight rating that amounts to roughly double the combined weight of your camera and your most massive lens. This way, you can account for accessories you may pick up later and try to use them, considering your camera for tripod use.
Tripods can be handy when traveling and taking photos in a variety of locations. Because you want it to be convenient to carry around, lighter tripods are often better. This reason is why carbon fiber is popular as a tripod material: it’s lightweight while still durable. Unfortunately, it does tend to make equipment more expensive to purchase.
Another popular alternative is aluminum. While it’s a bit heavier than carbon fiber, it’s more affordable and still durable.
A general best weight range to aim for with a tripod for cameras is around five pounds—without the head attached. You should also account for other equipment you bring along with you.
It’s also essential to think about the tripod’s legs. Regardless of whether they’re tubed or non-tubed legs, the pieces will often be collapsible for secure storage and transportation. The more leg sections there are, the taller it will likely be. However, the downside is that it will also be less stable as a result.
Additionally, a best tripod will have steady legs and a system to secure the sections in place when you mount your camera.
Tripods for camera use also come in a variety of different height settings. While a very tall tripod may run the risk of being unstable, you also don’t want your equipment to be too short. If it is, you’ll have a difficult time leaning over to check the viewfinder, which will take away a lot of the convenience of a tripod.
A good range to aim for is a tripod with a maximum height that will quickly reach your eye level, unless you need something smaller for table use.
Tripod Head Design
While tripod legs provide the base, it’s the tripod head that connects to your camera and easily controls movement and angles. Depending on the kit, you may need to purchase a tripod head separately. Common tripod head types include
- Pan-tilt head, which allows for horizontal and vertical movement
- Ball head, which have more flexible angle rotations that you can tighten in place
- Gimbal head, which works best for heavy cameras with long lenses, allowing for camera balance and ease of taking fast action photos
Pan-tilt heads are most common on budget-oriented tripods, though you can find other options. Regardless of type, your tripod head should be able to support the same weight as the tripod’s legs. Among budget options, ball heads tend to be some of the best available.
Quick Release Plate
This feature on your tripod makes it possible to quickly handle the tripods’ camera connection. These can also come in different materials, with some more durable than others. This accessory is an excellent option to look for, as it makes tripod use much more convenient.
Finally, the price of a tripod is a factor, especially when looking for the best budget tripods. While you will often get what you pay for in terms of quality, there are still some excellent budget options. When shopping, it’s best to determine your price range first before looking at the available options.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still, have questions about buying tripods? Here are some of the answers to the most commonly asked ones.
What’s the Best Way to Choose a Tripod for a DSLR Camera?
Searching for the best DSLR camera tripod is the same as looking for a tripod for any other camera. However, you should pay close attention to the tripod’s weight limit, as DSLR cameras can have bulky accessories. Note that modern DSLR cameras have a thread at the bottom that will work with a quick-release system.
Are Vanguard Tripods Reliable?
Vanguard is a well-known brand in the tripod and camera equipment world—and for a good reason. Overall, this brand produces durable and flexible tripods. They’re not without faults—some camera attachment pieces could be more secure, but they overall do what you’d expect.
That said, some of Vanguard’s best tripod options easily fall out of the budget category in terms of price. That said, the recommended options on this list provide some solid contenders.
How Much Can I Expect to Pay for a Good Tripod?
The price of tripods can vary depending on the materials, the manufacturer, and other accessories included. Some professional-grade tripods can easily price over $1000. While these will often last and presumably be worth the investment, not everyone will need this level of quality from a tripod (or have the cash on hand to do so).
Unfortunately, going too cheap can run the risk of giving you a piece of equipment that may quickly collapse after a few uses, which isn’t worthwhile for the price you’ll pay. Ultimately the best tripod choice for you will depend on your photography plans and your available budget.