Welcome to our guide to the best phone gimbals you can buy in 2021, a regularly updated rundown of the finest stabilizers for shooting video and photos on your smartphone. We’ll add to and re-evaluate this guide as new mobile gimbals go through our in-depth testing and review process, so be sure to check back regularly for updates. (Looking for more general camera gimbal shopping advice? Check out our how to buy a gimbal guide).
For our money, the best phone gimbal in 2021 is the DJI OM 5. The latest entry in DJI’s long-running Osmo Mobile series, it’s a feature-packed flagship model with a full-on selfie stick built-in, excellent stabilization and object tracking and a clever magnetic clamp system that makes quickly mounting and removing your phone a painless process.
It isn't necessarily the best choice for everyone, though: it’s relatively expensive compared to its predecessor the DJI OM 4 (now sold as the DJI OM 4 SE), which is a more traditional mobile gimbal with significantly longer battery life and a simpler, less fiddly setup. There are also several solid options from manufacturers other than DJI, all of which you’ll find detailed below in our ranked list.
Not sure what makes a good phone gimbal? Check out our explainer further down this page and we’ll take you through the main things to look out for when choosing the ideal gimbal for you.
How to pick the best phone gimbal for you
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Firstly, let’s nail down what a phone gimbal actually is: it’s a handheld device that removes undesirable shake and wobble from videos captured on your smartphone. It does this by detecting unwanted movements using sensors and immediately counteracting them using motors.
For us, then, the main thing to look for is how effectively the gimbal stabilizes: how quickly and accurately it responds to movement and how smoothly it counteracts it. A jerky gimbal is not much use to anyone.
You should also look at the setup process: how easy it is to mount (and unmount) your smartphone on the gimbal, and how easy it is to pair the two devices up so that they work properly. Does the gimbal offer physical controls to ensure you don’t need to touch your phone, and how long does its battery last?
Most gimbals perform additional functions such as enabling eye-catching trick shots, the smooth tracking of moving subjects, wide panoramic photos or long time-lapse sequences. We think these things and how well they work should also be considered, assuming they’re important to you and you don’t just want the absolute basics.
Best mobile gimbals 2022:
With its 21.5cm selfie stick-style extension rod, the DJI OM 5 might not be the most traditional of mobile gimbals. Some will appreciate the extra distance but it comes at a cost: the long battery life offered by the older OM 4 is drastically curtailed here, and the OM 5 can’t act as a power bank for your phone. Still, with DJI continuing to sell the OM 4 (via a modified “SE” edition, which we’ll review soon), consumers at least have a choice.
The OM 5 features a magnetic clamp that makes mounting and unmounting your phone a cinch and, while the gimbal itself is fairly small (100g lighter than the OM 4), its powerful motor does a great job stabilizing larger, heavier handsets. With the Mimo app offering superb, smooth object tracking, gesture controls and trick shot modes, it all adds up to an elegant premium option.
- Read our in-depth DJI OM 5 review
While it’s no longer DJI’s latest or most advanced mobile gimbal, the OM 4 remains on sale at third-party retailers – and it’s still a fantastic three-axis stabilizer for your phone, thanks to strong motors and its pioneering magnetic clamp design, which allows you to attach and detach a phone swiftly and with minimal fuss – no need to struggle with a spring-loaded clamp. The magnet clamp doesn’t hold all cases equally tightly though, so be careful when submitting your precious smartphone to its mercies.
The OM 4 is a more conventional gimbal than its successor the OM 5 and offers more than double the battery life. While it’s not as compact or lightweight as the newer model, it uses the same Mimo app with its excellent object tracking and trick shot modes. Note than the OM 4 is not the same as the newer (and cheaper) OM 4 SE, which we’ll add to this guide as soon as we’ve reviewed it.
- Read our in-depth DJI OM 4 review
Zhiyun might be the biggest name in camera gimbals besides DJI, and the Smooth Q3 is just one of several models for mobile it offers. With a compact sliding design and excellent build quality, it feels broadly on the same level as DJI’s offerings. Even if it doesn’t match DJI’s handy magnetic clamp design, it does come with a built-in swiveling fill light for keeping your subject (or yourself) illuminated, and its stabilization is broadly similar to the OM 4 and 5’s.
Unfortunately, Zhiyun’s ZY Cami app isn’t as intuitive or stable as the DJI Mimo app, feels slightly annoying to use and locks some features behind a “Prime” membership paywall. Thankfully you don’t need to use the app for general stabilized filming (your phone’s own camera app will work), but some of the special shooting modes like dolly zoom do require it, as do object tracking and gesture controls. With a better app, this might be a genuine equal to the OM 4.
Those looking for something a little cheaper than DJI’s models would do well to consider the Hohem iSteady V2 which, while a bit rough around the edges in places, offers effective stabilization, decent AI-assisted object and face tracking and a built-in LED for keeping your face well-lit no matter the ambient conditions.
The handle may be compact and lightweight, but its motors and spring-assisted clamp can accommodate a similar size and weight of phone to the DJI OM 4 and OM 5. Build quality isn’t quite up to the same standards, however: everything’s a bit plasticky and the clamp requires you to twist a screw after unfolding it rather than simply clicking securely into place. The face-tracking isn’t as smooth or sticky as DJI’s either, occasionally jerking quickly or losing you entirely. Still, given the iSteady V2’s lower price none of these things feel like deal-breakers.
Joby’s flexible GorillaPod mini-tripod is a staple of many a vlogger, but the company’s mobile gimbal isn’t quite so iconic: with its Micro USB port and bulky, non-folding design, it comes across as somewhat behind the times compared to the other models here. The Smart Stabilizer does come with its own hard carry case, but while some of these gimbals will fit in a large pocket, this one needs to go in something in the backpack or camera bag range.
Decked out in premium, hard-wearing plastic, the gimbal looks the part and performs well as a stabilizer, with the companion app offering some effective and smooth object tracking. However, do note that despite the Smart Stabilizer’s size and weight, the motor can only stabilize phones up to 210g – a fair bit lighter than the DJI, Hohem and Zhiyun gimbals can manage. It all adds up to the feeling that Joby is lagging behind the curve – even if the inclusion of a built-in extension rod may be useful to some.
If you'd rather use an all-in-one device than rely on your smartphone, this tiny gimbal could be the answer.
This successor to the original DJI Osmo Pocket is a fantastic three-axis gimbal-stabilized camera that really does fit in your pocket. Despite its candy bar-sized form, it’s capable of capturing good quality 4K, 2.7K and 1080p video, eye-catching slo-mo, time lapse and motion lapse sequences and 12MP still photos. Like most mobile gimbals, it also supports face tracking (albeit not when it’s recording at 4K/60fps quality), so it’s a good vlogging camera too.
The battery isn’t user replaceable and lasts about two hours when recording 1080p/30fps – and about one if you opt for 4K/60fps. So if you’re planning a longer shoot you’ll want to invest in a portable power bank to top it up on the go. Another slight issue is the lack of built-in wireless video transfer (you need to physically connect it, or buy an optional wireless module), although the improved four-mic audio setup is a bonus over its predecessor.
- Read our in-depth DJI Pocket 2 review
- Check our our guide to the world's best vlogging cameras