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Best GoPro camera 2021: the best GoPro action cameras you can buy

Included in this guide:

The GoPro Hero 10 Black action camera sitting on a wooden bench
(Image credit: Future)

Want to know what the best GoPro action camera is? Whether you’re keen to record your off-road activities or livestream your everyday adventures, GoPro has a camera in its line up for all kinds of action photographers.

For a long time, GoPro has been the go-to name when it comes to action models. From its early days of producing rugged cameras, GoPro models have garnered a solid reputation for being consistently easy to use, tough and producing leading image quality. 

Right now, the latest flagship, the GoPro Hero 10 Black is probably the best action camera you can buy, especially if you're upgrading from an existing model. It’s a more refined and even more user-friendly version of its predecessor, and also introduces some new features such as slow-mo frame rates and wired data transfer modes.

That doesn’t necessarily mean however that the Hero 10 Black is the ideal model for you. If you look back through the lineup, you can save yourself a wad of cash but still get your hands on something pretty well-suited to most needs. The Hero 9 black for example still ticks off 4K video recording and high-quality image stabilization - indeed the same can also be said for the even older Go Pro Hero 8 Black, too, especially if you don’t crave a front-facing screen particularly.

All of these different models can be quite confusing for the average user, so if you're not really sure where to begin looking, we’ve extensively tested all of the different GoPros to help you choose the best one for your needs and budget. Our list below shows you the very best GoPro action cameras you can buy right now.

Some of the recent GoPro models have included some exciting and genuinely useful upgrades, including built-in mounting fingers and support for Media Mods. It’s also worth bearing in mind that GoPro cameras have been capable of recording 4K footage since as far back as 2014, with the 2017 Go Pro Hero 7 Black also being the first to offer HyperSmooth stabilization for ultra-steady shots. There’s even specialized models in the list here, including the GoPro Max, which is capable of capturing immersive 360-degree footage.

Knowing exactly which GoPro action camera is the perfect one for you really depends on what it is you plan to shoot and in what kind of conditions, as well as of course the amount you’re prepared to spend on the camera. For example, if you’re in the market for something simple to attach to your handlebars, it’s likely that you will be a different type of customer to somebody whose main concern is capturing the shapes, smoothest footage.

With all that in mind, we have ranked the best GoPro cameras in our list below, which is based on their overall combination of features, performance and value. Make sure to check through the list to make sure you find the best GoPro for you.

Best GoPro cameras in 2021:

GoPro Hero 10 Black

(Image credit: Matt Swider / Twitter)

1. GoPro Hero 10 Black

A fully evolved GoPro sitting at the top of the line up

Specifications
Weight: 153g
Waterproof: 10m
5.3K video: 30fps
4K video: 120fps
2.7K video: 240fps
Stills resolution: 23MP
Battery life : 1,720 mAh
Reasons to buy
+Powerful GP2 processor+New 4K/120p mode+Class-leading stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Same (small) sensor as Hero 9 Black-High price

Although the GoPro Hero 10 Black isn’t a total overhaul of the GoPro Hero 9, the result is a much more user-friendly and refined version of its predecessor making it the most versatile action camera you can buy.

Thanks to the new GP2 processor, you get the most powerful GoPro so far, but in other ways, it’s a relatively minor upgrade and not one of the big leaps between some of the generations we have seen.

The camera is built around the same 23MP 1/2.3-inch sensor as its predecessor, and features the same 10 meter waterproofing. There are some new shooting modes, which includes new 5K/60p, 4K/120p and 2.7K/240p shooting capabilities. The latter of those two bring new fun slow-motion options which are ideal for social media cut-scenes and b-cam footage, particularly as the Quick app for GoPro will take care of the editing for you. 

There’s also a more responsive touchscreen interface, a wired date transfer mode which you can use with your phone and a general boost to image quality. The improvements here may be relatively small, but when it’s building on an already excellent model that’s to be expected.

Overall, the GoPro Hero 10 Black may not be the cheapest on the market, but it’s almost certainly the most powerful and most user-friendly, so if you’re looking for the best you can buy, it’s the one to plump for.

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GoPro Hero 9 Black

(Image credit: Future)

2. GoPro Hero 9 Black

Still a great GoPro, with a decent price saving

Specifications
Weight: 158g
Waterproof: 10m
5K video: Up to 30fps
4K video: Up to 60fps
2.7K video: up to 120fps
Stills resolution: 23.6MP
Battery life: 1,720mAh
Reasons to buy
+Detailed 5K video+Handy front display
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K/120p mode-4K no better than predecessor

The predecessor to the most recent addition to the GoPro's Hero catalogue brings a lot of value for money if you're not absolutely desperate for the latest tech. At the time, it was tweaked from top to bottom, but retains the pocket-friendly form factor of its predecessors, adding a full-color front-facing screen for easy framing. Also new was its 23.6MP sensor - the same one now also found in the Hero 10 Black.

4K recording is 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 have been 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 should definitely be worthy of your consideration. Other even older options will represent better value if 5K and a front-facing aren't on your list.

GoPro Hero 8 Black

(Image credit: Future)

3. GoPro Hero 8 Black

This former flagship still offers fantastic 4K value

Specifications
Weight: 126g
Waterproof: 10m
4K video: Up to 60fps
2.7K: Up to 120fps
1080: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 1-2hrs est
Reasons to buy
+Supreme image stabilization+New Media Mods add skills
Reasons to avoid
-Low-light performance needs work-Stills quality beaten by smartphones

The Hero 8 Black still offers outstanding value and performance for most people, even if it is now two-generations old. 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.

4. GoPro Hero 7 Black

No longer the king, but still action cam royalty

Specifications
Weight: 118g
Waterproof: 10m
4K video: Up to 60fps
1080: up to 240fps
720: up to 240fps
Stills resolution: 12MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs est
Reasons to buy
+Great 4K video+Class-leading image stabilisation
Reasons to avoid
-Can struggle with voice commands-Screen can be unresponsive

It might now be three generations old, but the Hero 7 Black still 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.

(Image credit: TechRadar)

5. GoPro Max

A 360 action camera that’s swell for capturing action in the round

Specifications
Weight: 154g
Waterproof: 5m
5.6K 360 video: Up to 30fps
1440: Up to 60fps
1080: Up to 60fps
Stills resolution: 16.6MP 360
Battery life: 1hr est
Reasons to buy
+5.6K 360-degree video+On-camera stitching
Reasons to avoid
-No slow-mo in 360 mode-Poor in low-light/underwater

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.

6. GoPro Hero 7 Silver

GoPro's mid-range marvel still offers good value

Specifications
Weight: 118g
Waterproof: 10m
4K video: Up to 30fps
1080: up to 60fps
720: up to 60fps
Stills resolution: 10MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs est
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Pleasing 4K video
Reasons to avoid
-Limited image capture control-Artefacts easily seen in images

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.

GoPro Hero 7 White

(Image credit: GoPro)

7. GoPro Hero 7 White

Officially discontinued, but one of the best bargain action cams around

Specifications
Weight: 92g
Waterproof: 10m
1440: Up to 60fps
1080: Up to 60fps
Stills resolution: 10MP
Battery life: 1-3hrs est
Reasons to buy
+Super simple to use+Now very good value
Reasons to avoid
-No 4K video-Non-removable battery

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.

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. 

Trace Action sports tracker

1. Manfrotto PIXI Xtreme Mini Tripod with head for GoPro cameras

Solid support in a small and lightweight package

Reasons to buy
+Small and lightweight+Affordable price
Reasons to avoid
-Low maximum height-Single leg position

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.

Birdie GoPro accessory

2. Removu S1

The world's first rainproof gimbal for GoPro cameras

Reasons to buy
+Water resistant+Hand-held and mountable
Reasons to avoid
-Grip could be more comfy-No record button on grip

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.

3. Rokk mini adjustable mount

A versatile and durable mounting system

Reasons to buy
+Solid and versatile+Wide range of bases and plates
Reasons to avoid
-Quite bulky-Cheaper alternatives

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). 

3DR Solo

4. GoPole Scenelapse

Capture a 360° timelapse with unbelievable ease

Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Great effect
Reasons to avoid
-Limited controls-Best used with a tripod

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.

TurnsPro Time Lapse Camera

5. Tenba Shootout 14L ActionPack

Carry your GoPro gear in style with a dedicated backpack

Reasons to buy
+Designed for action cameras+Rain cover included 
Reasons to avoid
-No space for a small DSLR or CSC-Limited space for non GoPro items

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.

6. GoPro Remo

Voice activation at a distance from your GoPro

Reasons to buy
+Voice activated remote+Small and convenient
Reasons to avoid
-No screen-Noise can affect voice control

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.

7. Anker Powercore 20100

A huge amount of power for a small price

Reasons to buy
+High capacity battery+Can even charge MacBooks
Reasons to avoid
-Charging time can be slow-Not the most compact

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.

8. GoPro Pro 3.5mm microphone adapter

Use professional microphones with your GoPro

Reasons to buy
+Improves sound quality massively+Creates a line input for mic or mixer
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky and awkward-Expensive for what it is

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.

9. GoPro Chest Mount Harness

Get a completely immersive experience

Reasons to buy
+Fully adjustable+Immersive experience
Reasons to avoid
-Need to turn whole body-Can pick-up unwanted wind noise

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.