Looking for the best GoPro action camera for you? Whether you want to capture your off-road activities or live-stream your daily adventures, there’s a camera in the GoPro line-up for every kind of action photographer.
GoPro has long been the biggest name in action cameras. Even from the earliest days of its rugged recorders, the manufacturer’s models have been known for their ease of use, class-leading image quality and excellent connectivity. And that’s still the case today: its latest flagship, the GoPro Hero 9 Black, is now the best action camera you can buy, offering accessible controls, clever software presets and sharp 5K footage.
But that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the perfect GoPro for you. The GoPro Hero 8 Black, for example, is a slightly older yet still very versatile action camera, with 4K smarts and superb image stabilization. If you’re looking for a more affordable GoPro and don't need a front-facing screen, it’s well worth considering.
Not sure where to start? We’ve comprehensively tested every GoPro action camera available today, to help you decide exactly which is the right model for your needs and budget. From more recent releases to a range of older options, the list below features the very best GoPro action cameras you can buy right now.
More recent GoPro models have seen the introduction of some genuinely useful upgrades, such as built-in mounting fingers and support for Media Mods. But it’s worth remembering that GoPro cameras have been able to shoot 4K footage since 2014, while 2017’s GoPro Hero 7 Black was the first to offer HyperSmooth stabilization for ultra-steady shots. And all of them have been tough enough to perform in even the most challenging conditions.
Then there’s the more specialized GoPro Max, which can capture immersive 360-degree footage. Exactly which GoPro action camera is right for you will depend on what you plan to shoot and in what conditions, as well as the price bracket you’re considering. If you’re shopping for something simple to attach to your handlebars, you’ll have very different expectations to someone who wants the absolute sharpest, smoothest footage available.
That’s why we’ve ranked our top picks in the list below, based on their overall combination of features, performance and value, and made recommendations for a whole range of users. Read through to the end and you’re sure to find the best GoPro for you.
- The 10 best action cameras you can buy right now
- Why the GoPro Hero 9 Black is secretly a big evolution for action cameras
Best GoPro cameras in 2021:
The most recent addition to the GoPro's Hero catalogue is also the most versatile action cam it's ever made. Tweaked from top to bottom, it retains the pocket-friendly form factor of its predecessors, but adds a full-color front-facing screen for easy framing. Also new is its 23.6MP sensor.
4K recording is still limited to 60fps, but the Hero 9 Black’s headline feature is 5K footage at 30fps: at a 100Mbps bit-rate and in the right lighting conditions, it can capture more detail than any GoPro to date. The option of HyperSmooth Boost in all shooting modes now means you’ll always have the benefit of GoPro’s strongest stabilization setting, while increased battery capacity lets you shoot for longer.
There are a few fresh software tricks, too: HindSight, for example, allows you to save action that happened up to 30 seconds before you hit the shutter. It might not be a radical upgrade over the Hero 8 Black, but now that a firmware fix has mostly resolved issues with auto-exposure and touchscreen responsiveness, the GoPro Hero 9 Black is definitely now top dog. Other older options will represent better value if 5K and a front-facing aren't on your list, but there’s no disputing that this latest GoPro is also the greatest.
- Read our in-depth GoPro Hero 9 Black review
It might no longer be the latest GoPro model, but the Hero 8 Black still offers outstanding value and performance for most people. If you don’t need a front-facing screen or 5K video, the Hero 8 Black remains a stellar action package.
The 4K footage at 60fps is as impressive as what you’ll get from the Hero 9 Black, while HyperSmooth image stabilization is almost identical. That means smooth, detailed footage when the lighting is good – and the option of shooting 1080p at 240fps unlocks stunning slow-mo potential. The Hero 8 Black is versatile, too, with support for GoPro’s Mod accessories, plus the now-familiar fold-out mounting arms.
Time-saving Capture Presets make it easy to use, while smarts such as 1080p live-streaming mean it’s also a very capable all-rounder, especially when pared with the excellent GoPro app. Whether you want to capture travel video or action footage, the GoPro Hero 8 Black is a very compelling all-round package – and potentially better value than its newer sibling.
- Read our in-depth GoPro Hero 8 Black review
It might now be two generations old, but the Hero 7 Black remains one of the best action cameras in the business at its price.
In fact, if you can do without the Mods option offered by the Hero 8 Black, it might be the smarter – and certainly more affordable – buy. Its 4K footage is only fractionally inferior to its sibling, while the original HyperSmooth video image stabilization tech still impresses, serving up buttery smooth footage.
Throw in 10-meter waterproofing, a 2-inch touchscreen, voice control and raw output and you’ve got a GoPro that, even with its superior successors on the scene, is still well worth considering.
- Read our in-depth GoPro Hero 7 Black review
Spherical video might sound like a gimmick, but the real benefit of software trickery from the likes of GoPro and Insta360 is being able to capture everything around you, then choose which traditional 'flat' frames you want to weave together into your final video. In other words, cameras like the GoPro Max let you capture an entire scene rather than one particular view of it – if that sounds up your street then, then the Max is the GoPro for you.
On-camera stitching takes the pain out of processing, while editing tools in the partner apps make reframing footage a whole lot simpler. At 5.6K, video is nothing if not high-res, but there are limitations: because fisheye footage from the front-facing camera has to be flattened for 2D, the quality in this mode leaves something to be desired. Stitching can also become an issue in low-light conditions, while the 50-minute battery life limits how much you can shoot in 360.
All the same, the GoPro Max makes it simple to capture striking and immersive shots – with 360 audio to match – that isn't possible on other GoPros, or most other action cams.
- Read our in-depth GoPro Max review
It's no longer part of GoPro's 2021 lineup, but this mid-range offering from 2018 now offers very good value at it's current price.
While it can't pull off as many fancy shooting tricks as the Hero 7 Black (for example, HyperSmooth stabilization and TimeWarp timelapses), it still offers good value if you're mainly looking for a small, tough action camera that shoots pleasing 4K video.
Despite the lack of HyperSmooth, you still get 4K video recording, plus waterproofing down to 10m, a 2-inch touchscreen on the back and Voice Control that allows you to instruct the camera to perform almost all main functions without you raising a finger. If you don't mind the non-removable battery, it's a fine choice for first-time users.
- Read our in-depth GoPro Hero7 Silver review
GoPro’s entry-level Hero 7 White barely lasted a year before it was discontinued, but you can still find stock at even lower prices than its original launch price. Cheaper than both its Silver and Black siblings, it was never intended to be a flagship; rather, the Hero 7 White is all about nailing the action cam basics on a budget.
There’s no 4K, the battery isn’t removable, the field of view is fixed and it doesn’t have the HyperSmooth stabilization or fancier features of the other Hero 7 cameras (think TimeWarp, GPS or live-streaming). What it does offer, though, is high quality stabilized 1080p footage, a body that’s waterproof down to 10 meters and a slick, easy interface that’s a boon for beginners.
If you’re after an affordable, capable action cam that can deliver on quality with point-and-shoot simplicity, look no further.
- Read our in-depth Should I buy a GoPro Hero 7 White? feature
Best GoPro accessories 2021:
Whether you’re a professional videographer, photographer or simply someone enjoying the convenience of a small camera, GoPros have opened up new possibilities thanks to the help of innovative accessories.
This means the market for accessories is huge, and the options available potentially more diverse than any other camera system. From camera mounts to lights to microphones to filters to 360° time-lapse and more, there are almost infinite ways to pimp your GoPro.
The Manfrotto PIXI Xtreme is a version of the popular mini tripod designed for use with GoPros thanks to the addition of a GoPro tripod mount adaptor. The PIXI Xtreme weights just 197g so you won’t even know you’re carrying it, and with a folded length of 21.5cm it will fit into almost any bag or even a pocket. The extended height of the tripod is 16.5cm, with simple ball head offering 360° rotation for positioning the camera. To get the height you need in some situations the PIXI Xtreme will need to be positioned on a wall or table.
If you're fed-up getting shaky footage from your GoPro movies, you need a gimbal and the Removu S1 is a brilliant choice. The 3-axis stabilising gimbal is designed for use with GoPro’s Hero3, Hero4, Hero5 action cams, as well as its Session cameras. Delivering super-smooth footage and offering three main control modes (Pan, Follow and Lock), the Removu S1 is also rainproof, so you can carry on using it when the elements turn against you. It features a detachable handgrip, a removable battery, wireless remote control and is fully compatible with the GoPro range of helmet, body and bike mounts.
One of the appeals of GoPro action cameras is that they can be mounted remotely. If you want a tough, durable and dependable system, then the Rokk Mini is a great option. At its core is this adjustable mount, which you can then attach a wide range of bases to, including this suction cup pictured here. We tried this combo when attaching a GoPro to the bodywork of a car, with the rigid hold of the cup securely holding the camera in place. To complete the system, you'll need to also invest in a top plate (there's a dedicated GoPro top plate).
With the fantastic options shooting timelapse stills and video with GoPro cameras, a simple way to create dynamic results is to make the camera rotate during shooting. The GoPole Scenelapse allows you to do just that, offering a rotation of 360° over the course of 60 minutes. Simply set up your GoPro, wind the unit and let it do its thing. The GoPole Scenelapse is fully mechanical so no batteries are required, and it features a standard tripod screw on the bottom allowing you to attach it to a mini or full size tripod. On the top is a removable GoPro mount with a high torque thumb screw, so you can attach your GoPro or even a small DSLR or mirrorless camera. The small and easy to use unit weighs just 85g/3oz and is compatible with all GoPro cameras.
The Tenba Shootout 14L ActionPack is designed to allow you to comfortably carry a large GoPro system while you’re participating in an action sport or simply exploring the city or countryside. At just 1.4kg the bag is lightweight and the padded straps with waist belt make it comfortable and secure. Inside the bag are four removable pods, and two wallets, so you can organise your kit and gain quick and easy access to exactly what you need. The capacity of the bag allows you to carry up to four GoPros, mounts, batteries, cables and other accessories etc. Plus there’s enough room to carry a small hydration pouch and food. There’s even a tripod attachment at the bottom of the bag large enough to accommodate a travel tripod.
The GoPro Remo is a waterproof (up to 5m/16ft) voice controlled remote for the Hero 5 Black and Hero 5 Session cameras. This means that while both cameras offer built-in voice activation, the Remo is said to improve voice activation in noisy conditions and allows you to activate the cameras from a short distance, or works as a one button remote from up to 10m/33ft away. The Remo comes with a strap allowing it to be worn on your wrist for convenience. It can also be clipped to clothing. With 13 commands available the Remo certainly adds convenience to shooting but it’s not cheap for what it is. And unlike the older GoPro WiFi remote there’s no screen so you rely on voice commands and scrolling through functions.
One of the problems of travelling with a GoPro is that battery life is obviously finite. You can of course buy an extra battery or two, but if you’re out in the field and away from a power outlet, charging can be difficult. Plus, if you’re shooting a long time-lapse you can’t change batteries part way through. While GoPro does manufacture its own portable power pack, the Anker Powercore 20100 provides a much higher capacity at a seriously low price in comparison. Anker claim the pack can charge smartphones up to seven times, and can even charge a MacBook using USB-C, so plenty of juice for GoPro cameras and you can even charge up to three devices at once! To ensure the safety of your devices the Powercore features smart-charging PowerIQ and current-stabilising VoltageBoost providing the fastest possible safe charge up to 2.4 A. Then there’s surge protection and short circuit prevention.
The GoPro Pro 3.5mm Microphone Adapter allows you to connect professional microphones with a 3.5mm jack to your Hero5 Black or Hero5 Session camera. This allows you to drastically improve sound compared to the camera’s built-in microphone. So whether you want to use a lapel, condenser or shotgun mic etc. this is an essential accessory. The adaptor connects to GoPros via, and is powered by USB-C, allowing for stereo sound to be recorded. It also features a 106dB stereo analogue to digital converter. With the GoPro Pro 3.5mm Microphone Adapter in use the GoPro side door will be open so the camera will no longer be waterproof, but this accessory is geared more towards vlogging than capturing great action sound.
Whether you're skiing, mountain biking, white water rafting, or any other activity, GoPro's chest mount is a great piece of kit to not only capture the action. Fully adjustable to fit a wide range of adult sizes, the placement's great for getting some unique angled shots, though you will have to move your whole body to change the framing.