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The best smartphone tripods in 2019

Best smartphone tripod: The Joby GorillaPod Mobile Rig
(Image credit: Joby)

Looking for the best smartphone tripod to improve your phone snaps? This guide is here to help. Smartphones are at the forefront of camera tech, so it makes sense to get the most from them (take a look at our rundown of the best camera phones right now for our top-in-class examples). 

While many phone cameras now pack optical image stabilisation to smooth out unwanted camera shake, there are still times when a more stable support is in order. Whether you want to shoot a piece to camera without the arm-outstretched vlogging look, or capture a long exposure photo in low light, it’s a good idea to attach your phone to a tripod.

But fear not, this needn’t mean lugging a tripod the size of three scaffolding poles around (if that is what you're after, you need our guide to the best tripods) – there are plenty of ultra-compact tripods on the market designed specifically for phones. The best smartphone tripods are so small they can sit on a table top, with each tripod leg being around 20cm long. This means they can fold down to the size of a 500ml water bottle, so are easily portable, and most can also support a conventional camera should you need that versatility.

How to choose the best smartphone tripod

A phone tripod is only as good as the mechanism it uses to hold your phone. Whereas a traditional camera will have a dedicated tripod mounting point, nowadays you’re lucky if there's a headphone jack on your phone. This means a smartphone tripod will usually be bundled with a mounting clamp that grips your phone, similar to a phone holder for your car. All the tripods on this list come bundled with a phone holder, so they’re ready to use. 

What’s more, phone tripod manufacturers also recognise that today’s phones are much wider than those from a few years ago, so you should be able to mount even the widest XL/+/Max-sized devices with ease.

Best smartphone tripods: Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit

(Image credit: Manfrotto)

01. Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit

A simple but well made phone tripod that nails the basics

Closed length: 26cm | Maximum height: 24.7cm | Maximum load: 1kg | Weight: 215g | Phone holder included: Yes

Good quality build
Slim when folded
Short when in use
Phone holder short on features

Our pick of the best smartphone tripod right now is the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod Kit with universal smartphone clamp. Manfrotto’s PIXI mini tripods have been around for several years and have established a reputation for good quality at a reasonable price. The particular version is a two-part kit comprised of a PIXI Mini tripod and Manfrotto’s Universal Smartphone Clamp. 

This simple, spring-loaded clamp can accommodate a phone up to 84mm wide – more than enough for even a phablet-sized device like a Galaxy Note 10. The clamp’s grippy jaws hold your phone securely, and the clamp itself attaches to a small ball head atop the PIXI tripod, making it easy to tilt your phone up or down for high or low-angle shots, though only with the phone mounted horizontally. 

You can also detach the clamp and mount a lightweight interchangeable lens camera to the ball head instead, increasing the tripod’s versatility. And when it’s time to get on the move, fold the tripod’s legs together and they form an ergonomic handle that makes handheld vlogging much more stable and comfortable.

Best smartphone tripods: Joby GorillaPod Mobile Rig

(Image credit: Joby)

02. Joby GorillaPod Mobile Rig

This smartphone tripod can hold much more than just your phone

Closed length: 33cm | Maximum height: 33cm | Maximum load: Not stated | Weight: 360g | Phone holder included: Yes

Supports a phone plus video accessories
Clamps to poles and railings
Fairly bulky when packed
Rotating phone holder is tricky

Joby’s GorillaPod Mobile Rig looks more like a stick figure than a typical tripod, thanks to its arm-like supports on either side of the phone holder. These can be used to mount compact LED lights or a separate microphone, helping you boost the quality of your footage. The GorillaPod’s extra-flexible legs allow you to instantly bend them to any angle for effortless set-up, and you can even wrap the legs around objects like railings for extra variety in shot compositions and framing. 

Your phone is held securely in Joby’s GripTight PRO Phone mount. This uses a single locking knob to simultaneously secure your phone and to switch between horizontal and vertical positioning – an option lacking in many clamps - though the do-it-all knob means it’s possible to accidentally release your phone when you only want to rotate it. The clamp is mounted on a tilt hinge for extra framing flexibility, and above the holder is a cold-shoe-type mount ideal for attaching a compact shotgun mic.

Best smartphone tripods: Joby GripTight PRO TelePod

(Image credit: Joby)

03. Joby GripTight PRO TelePod

The love child of a mini tripod and a selfie stick

Closed length: 34cm | Maximum height: 79cm | Maximum load: 1kg | Weight: 410g | Phone holder included: Yes

Well-featured phone holder
Multi-function extending column
Slightly precarious at max height
Relatively long when packed

Next in our roundup of the best smartphone tripods is the Joby GripTight PRO TelePod. The trouble with most mini tripods is that they have to be perched on a table if you need extra height, but that’s not always an option. The TelePod can stand tall thanks to its nifty telescoping centre column, which extends up to 79cm. It’s a clever trick, though the three tripod legs are still as short as those on a typical tabletop tripod, meaning it’s not the most stable phone support when your phone is balancing high up. 

Alternatively, you can take hold of your phone and use the TelePod as a monopod support to keep your phone level when recording panning shots. Not only that, but the tripod legs can fold together to form a handle, then, with the centre column outstretched, you’ve got a good quality selfie stick. Joby even includes a Bluetooth remote so you can control your iPhone or Android phone’s camera not just when it’s on the end of the selfie stick, but from up to 90 feet away. The supplied phone holder is Joby’s feature-packed GripTight PRO Phone mount that compliments the TelePod well, with its extensive adjustment and quality build.

Best smartphone tripods: Benro BK10 Mini Tripod and Selfie Stick

(Image credit: Benro)

04. Benro BK10 Mini Tripod and Selfie Stick

Maximum phone tripod versatility for minimum outlay

Closed length: 19.5cm | Maximum height: 91cm | Maximum load: 1kg | Weight: 300g | Phone holder included: Yes

Amazingly cheap
Versatile extending centre column
Unstable max height in tripod mode
Phone clamp is a bit crude

If you like the sound of the Joby TelePod’s tripod and selfie stick versatility, but are less keen on its hefty price tag, Benro may have the answer with its BK10. It performs the same tripod-to-selfie stick transformation for a fraction of the cost, yet it’s still made by a well-respected tripod brand and feels much better made than the bargain price would suggest. With the telescopic centre column outstretched, your phone can rise up to 91cm off the deck, though as you’d imagine, balancing your phone this high when the tripod’s legs are so short is a bit precarious. 

You can’t have everything at this price, and Benro’s phone clamp is very basic. It does hold reasonably securely though, and while it won’t rotate between horizontal and vertical orientation, the tripod’s compact ball head will let you do this. Somehow Benro has also managed to throw in a Bluetooth trigger for remote camera control, and its 30-metre range is easily enough for most shooting scenarios.

Best smartphone tripods: Manfrotto Compact Light Smart

(Image credit: Manfrotto)

05. Manfrotto Compact Light Smart

A full-sized tripod for your phone

Closed length: 39cm | Maximum height: 131cm | Maximum load: 1.5kg | Weight: 840g | Phone holder included: Yes

Very well priced for its size
Taller and more stable than a tabletop tripod
Long when packed
Supplied phone holder isn’t the best

Most phone tripods are so small they end up compromised in terms of support, especially when you use a phone tripod for regular shoots. Manfrotto's Compact Light Smart smartphone tripod has no such drawbacks, as it combines a smartphone clamp holder with a full-size travel tripod, just as you’d use for an interchangeable lens camera. This enables a genuinely usable 131cm max shooting height, as each leg of the tripod has four sections so they spread far wider than the single-section legs on a standard tabletop tripod, significantly boosting stability.

Naturally this does mean that at 39cm long when packed, this isn’t the most compact phone support out there, but it is very small for a ‘proper’ tripod, and at only 840g, it’s also extremely light for its size. The included phone holder isn’t as fancy as the clamp you get with a Joby GorillaPod Mobile Rig, but it does the job, and the same can be said of the basic ball head, which also allows your phone to rotate through 90-degrees to shoot in portrait mode. Factor the price, which is less than some tricked-up tabletop tripods, and this Manfrotto support certainly gives you a lot for the money.

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