Best phone gimbals 2023 – Tech Advisor
Modern phones can shoot excellent quality videos. But if you want to make your YouTube, TikTok, or home videos look more professional, you’ll need one more gadget: a stabilizer.
Some phone cameras already offer OIS, AIS, EIS, and other acronyms, but they can only do so to stabilize shaky hands. The gimbal helps isolate your phone – and therefore its cameras – and lets you get smooth video even when you’re running.
However, you don’t have to run: the gimbal is useful even when you’re standing still, as you can smoothly move left and right or tilt the camera up and down. And you’ll be surprised at the results you can get even if you spend less than $100 / £100.
Most gimbals are stabilized along three axes, often referred to as pitch, roll, and yaw. Or, in terms of photography, tilt, rotate and pan. Many drones use exactly the same type of stabilizer, albeit in a smaller size.
The real benefit of using a gimbal is that your viewers are less likely to feel nauseous when watching videos you capture while moving, compared to just holding your phone and waving it around.
Apart from the hardware, it is also important to consider the accompanying application. While you maybe use the gimbal with your phone’s regular camera app and some of the physical buttons may work, you’ll need a companion app like DJI Mimo if you want to use all the buttons as well as creative modes like slow motion. The quality of apps varies even more than the hardware, with some apps great and others downright awful to use.
Being forced to use a non-standard app can ruin the experience, so it’s a good idea to read reviews like the one below before making your choice.
Of course, the hardware is different too, and you’ll want a lightweight gimbal that’s easy to use, with all buttons and controls within easy reach. Don’t neglect battery life.
The good news is that prices have dropped significantly since phone stabilizers were first introduced a few years ago, so even if your budget is low, you can still buy a good one.
What is the best phone hanger?
Not surprisingly, the list below features many DJI Osmo Mobile models, as well as some models from Zhiyun. These are the big names when it comes to gimbals and they also offer good hardware applications.
While all of them can be good choices, your budget and requirements will determine what is best for you. Do I need a built-in telescopic selfie stick? Looking for a magnetic mount that allows you to quickly attach and detach your phone from the gimbal?
Discounts and seasonal sales can also influence your choice, as they can make models previously out of your budget: you will also find the latest prices below.
1. DJI Osmo Mobile SE – Best value for money
No telescopic rod
Not available in the US
Not available in the US
DJI’s Osmo Mobile SE is a new model, but it’s based on the older Osmo Mobile 4. However, the display, joystick, and buttons from Osmo Mobile 6 have been used, so you get some of the benefits at a lower price.
The display allows you to immediately see what mode the gimbal is in, as well as the battery level. The joystick is much nicer to use, and while there’s no telescopic pole or zoom/focus wheel (like the Osmo Mobile 6), the Osmo Mobile SE has the latest Active Track 5.0 for better subject tracking and adds ShotGuides. which will show you exactly how to get some creative effects.
As with other DJI gimbals, the Osmo Mobile SE makes it easy to shoot smooth video, and the Mimo app is better than we’ve seen from other manufacturers. Just note that it’s not available on the Google Play store: you need to get it from the DJI website, which is a hassle if you have an Android phone.
Included is a tabletop tripod for hands-free use and capturing great action shots.
Read our full DJI OM 4 review.
2. DJI Osmo Mobile 6 is the most compact gimbal
Telescopic selfie stick
Useful zoom and focus wheel
No USB port for phone charging
Can’t adjust zoom wheel sensitivity
Osmo Mobile 6 is one of the smallest and lightest stabilizers out there and this will make it the most attractive option for many people.
It’s more expensive than the Osmo Mobile SE, but it does have a built-in selfie stick and a dial on the side that lets you manually control zoom or focus. You may not need it, but it’s a useful addition if you need it.
Both gimbals offer the option to purchase a magnetic clip with a built-in fill light, but unlike the Smooth Q3 below, the lights can’t be turned to face the subject and the clip is surprisingly expensive.
If the price is not an obstacle, then this is a great suspension. But given that the Osmo Mobile SE is much cheaper and offers pretty much the same features, it’s harder to recommend the Osmo Mobile 6 instead.
Read our full DJI Osmo Mobile 6 review
3. Zhiyun Smooth Q3 – Best for built-in selfie light
Integrated LED fill light
No selfie stick
The Smooth Q3 is a shameless clone of DJI, right down to the design of the removable warning stickers.
However, it also has one feature that DJI stabilizers lacked – that is, before the launch of OM 5. This is an LED fill light, which is handy for illuminating your face or subject in adverse lighting conditions.
It’s warm white and you can’t change it, but you can choose from three different brightness levels, and it spins, unlike DJI, which can only look at you.
Overall, this is a decent gimbal that offers 3-axis stabilization, good battery life, and all at a reasonable price. The only small thing is the ZY Cami app, which just isn’t as good as DJI’s Mimo. But you can use your phone’s stock camera app if you just want to use the basic video modes.
Although we have not tested it, 2-axis smooth X has a built-in selfie stick but costs less than the Zhiyun Smooth Q3.
Read our full Zhiyun Smooth Q3 review
4. Joby Smart Stabilizer – Best for built-in selfie stick.
Built-in selfie stick.
Not the most comfortable
The Joby gimbal isn’t as user-friendly as DJI’s Osmo Mobile SE. You will often refer to the manual to understand how the various modes and features work. But if you’re making videos of yourself for TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms, the Joby Smart Stabilizer does a great job at a good price.
A standout feature is the built-in telescoping “selfie stick” that allows you to be further away from your phone, so it’s useful if your phone doesn’t have a wide-angle front camera like many do.
Read our full Joby Smart Stabilizer review
5. Zhiyun Crane M2S is the best option for multiple devices
Can stabilize various devices
Good battery life
Balancing is uncomfortable
Device replacement is not seamless
While the Crane M2S may not be as versatile as marketing suggests, it can stabilize compact system cameras as well as phones and GoPros (or other action cameras).
Unfortunately, even with the updated Quick Release 4 system, changing cameras still doesn’t go smoothly. But if you want to carry one gimbal for multiple devices, the Crane M2S is one of the best options.
Compared to the old M2, the Crane M2S has a useful 1000 lumens fill light, supports faster charging (only 100 minutes), and provides up to 10 hours of battery life.
We found that when using the Pixel 6 to test, the M2S required us to rebalance the phone when switching from landscape to portrait shooting, which was a problem. The ZY Play app is not as slick as DJI’s and make sure any mirrorless camera is compatible before doing so.
Read our full Zhiyun Crane M2S review