Gimbals eliminate shaky footage and enable you to capture more creative shots as a vlogger. But these amazing pieces of gear are not cheap, so you will want to have done your research before buying.
There are many things to consider, like weight capacity, device compatibility, controls, and other features. In this buyer’s guide, we have done all the research for you, and present the top 5 gimbals for vloggers.
If you want to learn more about vlogging, check out our other articles as well:
- How to Start a Vlog in 2020: The Ultimate Guide
- 101 Creative Vlog Ideas for Youtube
- 8 Essential Tips for Youtubers
Why Get a Gimbal for Vlogging
We have all seen shaky footage before. Especially when the vlogger is walking or the camera is moving quickly. It is very disruptive for the viewer and can even make a video unwatchable.
While there are ways to work around that with what you have, a gimbal opens up new possibilities and makes your life so much easier as a vlogger.
Gimbals are handheld camera stands that stabilize your camera and reduce shakiness from movement through a system of motors and sensors that keep your device stable. Most gimbals also have shooting modes that can allow you to capture moving time-lapses, automatically follow a subject, and capture interesting shots that you otherwise couldn’t without one.
Because of these reasons, gimbals have become a popular tool for vloggers and Youtubers. They can make your video stand out from the crowd and enable you to express your creativity.
What to Look for in a Gimbal
Gimbals today are much more affordable and come in a vast variety of sizes, functions, and features. Below are the main factors to consider when buying a gimbal for vlogging.
First and foremost, you don’t want to purchase a brand new gimbal only to realize it is not compatible with your device.
Some gimbals are made for smartphones only while others can handle heavier cameras like DSLRs. Always check the weight capacity and compatibility list before making a purchase.
2-Axis vs. 3-Axis Gimbals
Gimbals are mainly divided into 2-axis and 3-axis gimbals. As you might have guessed, 3-axis gimbals are better. The main difference is that 2 axis gimbals can only handle pitch and roll, while 3 axis gimbals can also add yaw controls.
With 3-axis gimbals being far superior, there is no point in looking for a 2-axis gimbal anymore, and they are harder to come by. For vloggers, 3-axis gimbals are the way to go.
Weight will also be an important factor when buying a gimbal. Consider the weight on your wrist while holding it or when carrying it in your backpack. While bigger and heavier gimbals are usually associated with better performance, this is not always the case. There many lightweight gimbals on the market that are ideal for travel YouTubers and vloggers on the go.
Of course, you also want a gimbal with great functionality. These are some features to look for:
- Multiple stabilization modes
- Build-in camera controls
- Joy-stick control
- Built-in device charging
- Foldable Handle (more ergonomic)
- Paired smartphone application
Battery and Charging
Battery life is another important factor to consider when buying gimbals for vloggers. What you choose will of course always depend on your situation, but we recommend gimbals with a battery life of at least 10 hours. A great feature found on some gimbals is built-in charging capability, which lets you charge your phone or camera simultaneously while shooting.
You are relying on your gimbal to hold your expensive smartphone or camera. Therefore never buy cheap knock-off gimbals, it just is not worth the risk. Always check for gimbals built with premium materials like nylon reinforced plastic, aluminum, or other metals. These will not only last longer but ensure that your gear remains safe.
Best Gimbals for Vloggers
So without further ado, here is our list of the 5 best gimbals for vloggers currently on the market.
The ZhiYun Crane-M2 is a lightweight gimbal that supports small mirrorless cameras, GoPros, and smartphones. It fits easily into a backpack and its portable, ergonomic design makes it ideal to take with you wherever you go.
There are many great features offered by this gimbal. For starters, it has a quick-release system to get the camera on and off without any hustles. A simple feature maybe, but one every gimbal should have. All the calibration and customization can be done directly through the OLED display menu, without having to use the app. This is great if you are shooting with a smartphone and don’t want to touch the screen while it is on the gimbal.
The M2 also offers many different modes like the Pan Follow, where the camera pans as you turn the gimbal left and right. You also have a full-range POV mode that allows 360° synchronous movement on all three-axis. We also loved the selfie mode, which turns the camera 180° toward the person holding it, a feature definitely made for vloggers in mind.
720g (1.58 lbs.) weight capacity | Mechanical Range: 360 °(Infinite Rotation) | 7h battery life
Verdict – As long as you don’t push it beyond the weight limit, the stabilization and smoothness of this gimbal are excellent. Furthermore, what makes this one of the best gimbals for vloggers are the many different camera modes and the ability to support both smartphones and smaller cameras.
DJI has made quality drones for years, and each one of them has its own built-in gimbal on it; It is probably safe to say they have perfected gimbal technology and is not a surprise they started making stand-alone gimbals with their DJI Osmo series. And they are truly great!
If you are shooting vlogs using your smartphone, then the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is all you need. With a robust clamp, it can hold even the larger smartphones on the market. The foldable frame also makes this a super portable gimbal to carry with you. All of the controls are designed to be used one-handed, a great feature for solo vloggers wanting to capture themselves on adventures. You also get the built-in tripod stand, so you can place it on any flat surface.
The Osmo Mobile 3 has primarily four video modes; Follow, Tilt Lock, FPV, and Lock. You can also make use of the many different story modes, that offer pre-set templates for your videos. Also, you get a maximum of 15 hours of battery with this gimbal. Rarely will you ever need to use up those hours, but you can charge your phone while shooting through the built-in charging capability. This is another feature we found very useful.
Performance-wise, this gimbal really does deliver. Object tracking is almost flawless and even with fast movement, it keeps the smartphone video surprisingly smooth. One of its few drawbacks is that 60fps shooting is limited to iPhones only, and because Android phones are only becoming more popular, it leaves s a bit to be desired. You also have to balance the phone each time you use it, which can get a bit annoying. But after you have done it a couple of times, it will be easy to set up.
200g (7 oz.) ± 30g weight capacity | 15 h battery life
Verdict – The DJI Mobile 3 is in our opinion one of the best gimbals for smartphone vloggers on the market. It is incredibly lightweight, compact, and has great battery life. We were also impressed by the many modes and features, not to mention the excellent face tracking. And you get all of this at a very affordable price.
The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is another smartphone gimbal on this list that offers an alternative to the DJI OSMO Mobile 3. This 3-axis gimbal fits most smartphones, even the 6-inch ones. You can use it as a handheld gimbal or as a tripod stand. While small, and compact, it is on the heavier side though, meaning it can get difficult to carry for longer periods.
With the Zhiyun Smooth 4, you get a lot of menu and customization options. Everything can be done directly on the gimbal, so you do not have to touch your phone at all. Through the official ZY Play app, you can add cool effects like time-lapse and “vertigo,” creating a dolly effect. You also get additional tools like object tracking, time-lapse mode, and more.
One of the features that make this gimbal stand out is the dial that allows you to control the zoom and focus of the camera. Having said that, we did miss the joystick control from this model. You also get a built-in charging capability through the Micro USB port.
75g-210g (2.6 – 7.4 oz.) weight capacity | 12 h battery life | tripod stand included
Verdict – The Zhiyun Smooth 4 is a great option if you are a vlogger on a budget, and already use your smartphone for your videos. This affordable gimbal can make your footage feel more cinematic, and elevate your production quality significantly.
The DJI RSC 2 is an improved and updated version of its predecessor, the ronin-SC. It is build to accommodate most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. With up to 3kg weight capacity, it can handle bigger lenses as well.
While one of the bigger gimbals on the list, the RSC 2 has a surprisingly portable design because of its foldable frame. Taking this gimbal with you on a trip will in other words be no problem. Having said that, the gimbal itself has some weight to it, so it will probably be too heavy for one-handed use.
The RSC 2 has an OLED display with great controls. You can adjust and customize everything through the menu, but you can also use the app if you wish. In addition, there is a convenient thumbwheel on the handle that can let you adjust the camera’s focus. There are many shooting modes and features offered as well. You get a portrait and a landscape mode, active tracking, and more. We also liked the SuperSmooth mode which compensates for “micro-movements” and overall improves the stabilization.
For beginners, the DJI RSC 2 will require a bit of a learning curve to master, but at the same time, if you want to get the shot exactly as you want, it is well worth that price. We also want to point out that the RSC 2 does not work with just any camera, so always research to find if it is compatible with yours.
4kg (8.8 lbs.) weight capacity | SuperSmooth mode | thumbwheel control | 14-hour battery life
Verdict – What makes this a great gimbal for vloggers is its lightweight and foldable neck which makes it very portable. Additionally, it has great battery life, many features and allows for a lot of customization. The RSC 2 is not for the absolute beginner though, as its many controls take some time to learn. We recommend this one primarily for more experienced vloggers.
Finally, we have the most advanced gimbal on this list. The MOZA Air 2 is made for bigger cameras and works great for DSLRs. Overall, it has a 9.2 pounds weight capacity, so it can be used with heavier lenses without straining the gimbal.
On the MOZA Air 2, you will find more advanced features like 12 programmable buttons and a joystick that lets you control the movement by hand. You also get an auto-calibration system, built-in charging to power a piece of gear, and a screw that allows you to mount a screen or mic. Through the LCD screen, you can change every setting like speed, movement reaction, pitch, roll, and yall. You also get some more unique modes like the “inception mode,” where the camera rotates upside down.
All these features make this gimbal a very powerful videography tool, maybe a bit too much for most vloggers. A fully equipt MOZA Air 2 will also be difficult to handle solo, not only is it very heavy, but you have to focus on all the controls.
4.2 kg (9.25 lb) weight capacity | 8 follow modes | 12 customizable buttons | 16-hour runtime
Verdict – Overall, the price of this gimbal reflects its premium quality and features. For most vloggers, most of these features might be a bit overkill. But some care about cinematography or just want to have full control over their shots, and this is why the MOZA Air 2 is on this list.
We had to pick the ZhiYun Crane-M2 as the winner on this list because it simply does it all. For most vloggers, the ability to have one gimbal you can use with your smartphone, compact camera, and action camera is great. There are just so many features packed into this very reasonably priced tool.
Having said that, the best gimbal for you will also depend on what you want to shoot. The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is the best choice for smartphone vloggers, while the Ronin-SC 2 is the way to go for heavier cameras. The real advantage of the ZhiYun Crane-M2 though is the ability to switch between devices, which gives you overall a lot of flexibility,
Whatever gimbal you do decide to get, we always recommend putting some thought before making a purchase, and we hoped this guide helped was of some help along the way.