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8 Different Types of Tripods in 2024 (Our Top Picks)

Last updated: February 6, 2024 - 18 min read
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With so many different types of tripods available to photographers, finding the one that’s right for you can be tricky. And it’s not just photographers. You can find specialist tripods for videographers and creatives of all kinds.

There are all-around tripods that suit everyone, from landscape photographers to portrait artists. Travel tripods are available for the adventurous types. Moviemakers need video tripods. And then there are mini tripods and monopods.

Our top choice is the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod. It’s an all-around type of tripod, so many photographers will be happy with it. But if that’s not the tripod you want, keep reading to see every type available.

Our Top 3 Choices for Different Types of Tripods
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
 

What Are the Main Types of Tripods?

With so many types of tripods available, photographers have never had so much freedom of choice. But the wide selection can make buying a tripod more confusing. It’s difficult to know which is the best tripod for you.

Our article covers all the main types of tripods available. And we give our top recommendations for each tripod category. We have everything from heavy-duty tripods for heavy loads to monopods for photographers wanting to stay mobile.

The table below shows our recommendations for each type of tripod. The section afterward thoroughly examines each tripod type and the top product. Finally, the FAQ section at the end has more tripod-related information.

Best Photography Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
  • Max performance, stability, even on uneven terrain
  • Quick setup, adjustment with secure lock mechanism
  • Creative freedom with independent leg angle positions
  • Lightweight, portable, yet durable with aluminum body
Best Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
  • Pro-level stability but easily carried compact frame
  • Quicker setup with ergonomic quick-release logs
  • Ideal for full-frame DSLRs or mirrorless cameras
  • Weatherproof for use outdoors in any conditions
Best Heavy-Duty Tripod
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
  • Unrivaled stability under demanding circumstances
  • Supports heavy loads 23 times its weight
  • Unique parallel locking system for secure use
  • Converts easily from tripod to monopod to table top
Best Video Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Camera Tripod Kit
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Camera Tripod Kit
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Camera Tripod Kit
  • High-performance, ultra-compact photo/video tripod kit
  • Fluid drag system for precision and control
  • Works with Arca-Swiss, Manfrotto 501PL video plates
  • Optimal portability, reliability with easy set-up
Best Carbon Fiber Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber
  • Feather-light and compact for easy travel
  • Equipped with Manfrotto 494 center ball head
  • Rapid set up and versatile shooting heights
  • Durable construction with 17 lb / 7.7 kg capacity
Best Monopod
Altura Photo Camera Monopod
Altura Photo Camera Monopod
Altura Photo Camera Monopod
  • High-quality lightweight aluminum construction
  • Universal thread mount supports various cameras
  • Ergonomic foam grip for comfortable shooting
  • Collapses to compact size for easy transport
Best Mini Tripod
Manfrotto PIXI Evo Mini Tripod
Manfrotto PIXI Evo Mini Tripod
Manfrotto PIXI Evo Mini Tripod
  • Versatile for entry-level cameras up to 5.5 lb / 2.5 kg
  • Dynamic with adjustable leg angles and sections
  • Compact, lightweight for travel, transportation
  • Strong aluminum, reliable adapto structure
Best Smartphone Tripod
Joby GripTight Tripod
Joby GripTight Tripod
Joby GripTight Tripod
  • Supports up to 1.1 lb / 0.5 kg equipment
  • Adjustable smartphone mount fits 2.2 to 3.6" phones
  • Versatile for uneven ground or wrapping around objects
  • Includes remote Bluetooth shutter triggering

8 Best Types of Tripods

Now, we’ll look at each type of tripod in more detail. We provide info on what each type of tripod is used for. We’ll discuss which types of photographers use each tripod. And there’s a detailed look at the top-recommended tripod in each category.

Look for links to full articles on all the different types of tripods.

1. Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
Brand
Brand
Manfrotto
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Photography tripod
Material
Material
Aluminum
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
3.5 lb / 1.6 kg
Folded Height
Folded Height
15.8 inches / 40 cm
Max Height
Max Height
60 inches / 1.5 m
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
15.8 inches / 40 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
17.6 lb / 8 kg
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Ball head, quick-release plate and leg locks
Best
Best
All-around tripod for photographers

The first tripod on our list is the classic photography tripod. This standard tripod provides a sturdy base for your camera when working indoors or out. Tripods need to be strong, durable, and flexible.

A wide range of photographers use standard photography tripods. They are popular with landscape, portrait, fine art, and food photographers.

The Manfrotto Befree Advanced is our top recommendation for a standard photography tripod. Its solid aluminum construction makes it reliable and strong. And there are plenty of other reasons why it’s one of Manfrotto’s most popular tripods.

It isn’t the lightest tripod on the market, weighing 3.5 lb (1.6 kg). But it is strong, supporting any camera setup up to 17.6 bl (8 kg). That’s strong enough for anything from full-frame DSLRs to medium-format cameras.

Measuring 15.8 inches (40 cm), it’s fairly compact for such a strong tripod. You can easily strap it to your camera backpack and carry it. It has a maximum working height of 60 inches (1.5 m) when fully set up. That is more than most photographers need.

It comes with a versatile ball head. This head allows for a wide range of movement for tilting and panning. And it lets you mount the camera securely at unusual angles. The head also has a quick-release plate for quickly mounting and dismounting the camera.

Quick-release leg locks also make adjusting the height painless. Each leg has three sections, and you can release the lock to move the piece up or down.

The Manfrotto Befree Advanced is a brilliant all-around tripod. It does everything a photography tripod should. And its build quality inspires confidence. You know you can use this tripod time and time again.

See all the best photography tripods in our full article on the subject.

 

2. K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod

K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
Brand
Brand
K&F Concept
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Travel tripod
Material
Material
Aluminum
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
2.4 lb / 1.1 kg
Folded Height
Folded Height
15.3 inches / 39 cm
Max Height
Max Height
64.1 inch / 1.6 m
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
20.4 inches / 52 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
17.6 lb / 8 kg
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Ball head, panning base, bubble level, quick-release plate, carry case
Best
Best
Travel tripod

Travel tripods are not only used by travel photographers. Of course, every travel photographer needs a good travel tripod. But this type of tripod is used by many other photographers, including street, landscape, and nature photographers.

A travel tripod should be compact, lightweight, and easy to carry. However, you must ensure that it can hold your gear. Although travel cameras and lenses are usually lightweight, travel tripods must be strong and reliable.

The K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod is the perfect choice for intrepid photographers. It easily straps onto your travel camera backpack. It even has a custom carry case for easier transportation.

Weighing only 2.4 lb (1.1 kg), the tripod won’t weigh you down. And even though its folded height is 15.3 inches (39 cm), you can mount the camera at any height between 20.4 and 64.1 inches (52 cm and 1.6 m). This gives you incredible flexibility.

The tripod isn’t limited to lightweight travel cameras. With a 17.6 lb (8 kg) load capacity, it can hold full-frame cameras without issue. That gives the tripod a broad appeal among other types of photographers.

A ball head offers excellent mounting versatility. It sits on a panning base, which is helpful when shooting landscapes or panoramic shots.

Quick-release leg locks help you set up and fold away the tripod quickly. The Arca-style quick-release plate on the head makes camera mounting easy.

Travelers will love the K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod, but so will many other photographers. Anyone who needs a lightweight, reliable tripod when working outdoors should consider this one.

If you want more options for your next adventure, see our full article on all the best travel tripods.

 

3. 3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0

3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
Brand
Brand
3 Legged Thing
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Heavy-duty tripod
Material
Material
Carbon fiber
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
4.8 lb / 2 kg
Folded Height
Folded Height
24 inches / 61 cm
Max Height
Max Height
6.4 ft / 1.94 m
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
5.7 inches / 14.6 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
88 lb / 40 kg
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Monopod and boom functionality, weight-balanced locks, rubber feet
Best
Best
Heavy-duty tripod

If you need to support heavy equipment, you need a heavy-duty tripod. These tripods are specially designed to hold incredibly heavy cameras and gear. Although these models usually offer less flexibility, the weight capacities are truly impressive.

3 Legged Thing’s Winston 2.0 is the best heavy-duty tripod there is. And when we say this is a heavy-duty tripod, we mean it.

The carbon fiber frame is incredibly strong and robust. With a maximum capacity of 88 lb (40 kg), it can hold the heaviest equipment without sweat.

It weighs 4.8 lb (2 kg)—a bit heavy. But the extra weight is worth it because this tripod is very strong.

Thanks to the flexibility of the legs, you also get a wide working height range. The maximum height is 6.4 ft (1.94 m), which is higher than most people need. But you also get a very low minimum height of 5.7 inches (14.6 cm) when you spread the legs wide.

The weight-balanced legs help lower the tripod’s center of gravity when loaded. This reduces the chance of it toppling over or accidentally disassembling. Each leg has a thick rubber foot for a better grip on any surface.

An 88 lb (40 kg) weight capacity is more than most photographers need. But if you’re using heavy gear and a standard tripod can’t hack it, then the Winston 2.0 from 3 Legged Thing is exactly what you need.

We list all the best heavy-duty tripods in our full article.

 

4. Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced Tripod

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Camera Tripod Kit
Brand
Brand
Manfrotto
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Video tripod
Material
Material
Aluminum
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
5 lb / 2.3 kg
Folded Height
Folded Height
15.7 inches / 40 cm
Max Height
Max Height
59.4 inches / 1.5 m
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
16.5 inches / 42 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
13.2 lb / 6 kg
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
3-way fluid head, quick-release plate, leg flip locks
Best
Best
Video tripod

Video tripods are specialized to help you shoot video with a mounted camera. They usually have a fluid tripod head that lets you move the camera up and down and side to side. The movements are smooth and easy to control, so you get fabulous tracking shots.

The Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced Tripod is the best video tripod. It’s strong and sturdy and has excellent mounting flexibility. And it’s the perfect tripod for serious filmmakers.

We have to start with its superb three-way fluid head. It allows for smooth, controlled movements when tilting and panning.

This is perfect for shooting tracking shots. And it lets you mount the camera securely at pretty much any angle. The two control handles also give you more subtle control when moving the camera.

The head also has a quick-release plate, so mounting the camera only takes a second. It also has a built-in bubble level to stay level on uneven ground.

It’s easy to transport because it folds to 15.7 inches (40 cm), and the carry case that comes with it makes that even easier. But it’s heavy at 5 lb (2.3 kg), so you probably won’t use this tripod for travel.

It offers a wide working height range, from a minimum of 16.5 inches (42 cm) to a maximum of 59.4 inches (1.5 m). The quick-release flip locks on the legs make it quick and painless to adjust the height.

Videographers will love the Manfrotto Befree 3-Way Live Advanced Tripod. This video tripod combines strength with camera control, giving filmmakers more power.

Serious moviemakers need to see our full list of the best video tripods.

 

5. Manfrotto Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber

Manfrotto Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber
Brand
Brand
Manfrotto
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Carbon fiber tripod
Material
Material
Carbon fiber
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
2.8 lb / 1.2 kg
Folded Height
Folded Height
16 inches / 40.6 cm
Max Height
Max Height
59 inches / 1.5 m
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
16 inches / 40.6 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
19.8 lb / 9 kg
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Ball head, quick-release plate, twist locks
Best
Best
Carbon fiber tripod

Carbon fiber tripods are super-strong but still relatively lightweight. They can cost more than aluminum tripods. But many think the price is worth paying for the extra strength and stability. Our top recommendation is the Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber tripod.

It weighs only 2.8 lb (1.2 kg) but can hold up to 19.8 lb (9 kg), making it incredibly strong. You can use any camera with it, including medium-format cameras, and the tripod won’t overly burden you.

The telescopic legs provide sturdy footing on any terrain. The special twist locks easily lock or unlock each leg section. You can also mount the camera at any height between 16 and 59 inches (40.6 cm and 1.5 m).

A ball head offers even more mounting flexibility. It provides a wide range of movement for both pan and tilt. And the U-shaped groove lets you mount the camera vertically in a portrait position.

A handy carry case comes included. But the folded dimensions also let you strap it to your tripod-friendly camera backpack.

A carbon fiber tripod is worth the extra cost if you can afford it. The Manfrotto Befree Advanced Carbon Fiber tripod should be your first consideration.

If this one isn’t for you, see all the best carbon fiber tripods in our dedicated article.

 

6. Altura Photo Camera Monopod

Altura Photo Camera Monopod
Brand
Brand
Altura Photo
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Monopod
Material
Material
Aluminum
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
0.6 lb / 300 g
Folded Height
Folded Height
16.7 inches / 42.5 cm
Max Height
Max Height
62 inches / 1.57 m
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
16.7 inches / 42.5 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
5 lb / 2.3 kg
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Flip locks, spiked foot
Best
Best
Monopod for photography

While a monopod isn’t exactly a tripod, it does serve a similar purpose. It gives a photographer more stability when taking pictures. But unlike a tripod, a monopod lets you move around more freely when the camera is mounted.

Monopods are popular with sports photographers. They allow them to move around the sidelines while snapping sharp sports images. Wildlife photographers also use monopods for the same reasons. Events photographers and photojournalists also use them.

Our favorite is the Altura Photo Camera Monopod. It’s affordable and does exactly what you need it to. Plus, it’s less cumbersome than a tripod, making it easy to store and carry.

A monopod doesn’t give you the same level of stability as a standard tripod. This monopod can only hold a weight of 5 lb (2.3 kg), a fraction of some of the tripods we’ve seen. But that is still enough for a full-frame mirrorless camera with a large lens.

The monopod comprises five leg sections and offers a wide height range. The limit is 62 inches (1.57 m), which is enough for most users. The sections are loosened and tightened with the quick-release flip locks. And there’s a spiked foot at the bottom for extra grip.

There’s no quick-release plate on the top. But the universal screw is compatible with most DSLR and mirrorless cameras.

You have a padded section at the top for more comfort. And there’s a wrist strap that stops the monopod from toppling over when the camera is attached.

If you’re a photographer who likes to stay quick on your feet, the Altura Photo Camera Monopod is exactly what you need. We have more excellent monopods in our dedicated post on the best monopods for photography.

 

7. Manfrotto PIXI EVO Mini Tripod

Manfrotto PIXI Evo Mini Tripod
Brand
Brand
Manfrotto
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Mini tripod
Material
Material
Aluminum
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
0.58 lb / 267 g
Folded Height
Folded Height
9.8 inches / 20.5 cm
Max Height
Max Height
7.7 inches / 19.5 cm
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
4.1 inches / 10.4 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
5.5 lb / 2.5 kg
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Ball head, independent legs
Best
Best
Mini tripod

The name is fairly self-explanatory, with mini tripods. They are small tripods that can still support full-sized cameras. They are great for tabletop photography. And they are often used by product and food photographers. And they’re handy for shooting stop-motion animation.

The Manfrotto PIXI EVO is the best mini tripod. As the name suggests, it’s super-small. Yet the build quality is excellent, and the tripod is surprisingly strong for its size.

Despite only weighing 0.58 lb (267 g), all the main components are aluminum. That gives it the strength to support camera setups weighing up to 5.5 lb (2.5 kg). Full-frame mirrorless cameras are no problem at all.

You can adjust each leg independently, which helps when mounting the camera on uneven surfaces. Each leg also extends to give you more height options.

The robust ball head provides excellent panning and tilting motion for your camera. You can tilt the camera to 90 degrees in all directions. Using the U-shaped groove, you can mount the camera vertically. That’s useful for portraits, self-portraits, and shooting vlogs.

Mini tripods are one of the more niche types of tripods. But they are an essential piece of kit for many photographers. And with self-portraiture and vlogging on the rise, mini tripods like the Manfrotto PIXI EVO are more popular than ever.

Check out our full list of all the best mini tripods for photographers.

 

8. Joby GripTight Tripod

Joby GripTight Tripod
Brand
Brand
Joby
Tripod Type
Tripod Type
Smartphone tripod
Material
Material
ABS plastic
Tripod Weight
Tripod Weight
0.27 lb / 122 g
Folded Height
Folded Height
12.2 inches / 31 cm
Max Height
Max Height
11.8 inches / 30 cm
Minimum Height
Minimum Height
3 inches / 7.6 cm
Max Load Capacity
Max Load Capacity
1.1 lb / 500 g
Other Key Features
Other Key Features
Phone holder, bendy legs
Best
Best
Smartphone and iPhone tripod

With the rise of social media, far more people are creating content using their smartphones. And to create pro-level selfies and vlogs, you need a reliable smartphone tripod.

They are conveniently sized and take up little space. Yet they hold your phone steady so you can take a picture or record a video. For aspiring content creators, we recommend the Joby GripTight Tripod.

Joby’s unique flexible leg design offers excellent versatility. The legs have a wide height range and can be mounted on any surface. They can even be wrapped around poles and posts.

It comes with a specialist smartphone holder clip. And you can adjust the size to fit your iPhone or Android smartphone securely. The clip also has a cold shoe adapter for attaching accessories like microphones or ringlights.

When packed away, it measures just 12.2 inches (31 cm). And it weighs next to nothing (0.27 lb or 122 g), so it takes up no space in your camera gear backpack. While shooting outside, you can even carry it in a handbag or a big pocket.

iPhone photographers should consider the Joby GripTight Tripod. The build quality, flexibility, and affordability make it the best iPhone tripod for anyone. Everyone from vloggers to self-portrait masters will appreciate it.

We have more of this type of tripod in our post covering all the best iPhone tripods.

iPhone mounted on one type of tripod made by Joby
Photo by Aaron Burden (Unsplash)
 

FAQs About Types of Tripods and Other Stabilizers

If you still need more information on tripods and other stabilization accessories, you’re in luck. We answer some of the hottest questions about tripod photography stabilization tools.

Best Tripod Heads

Selecting the right tripod head can be as important as choosing your tripod. There are several types of tripod head photographers and videographers can choose from. And picking the right one can make or break your next photoshoot.

Tripod ball heads are now the most popular type of head with photographers. The ball joint offers an excellent range of movement when the camera is added. And the movement is also smooth, making minor adjustments more easy. They also let you shoot at any angle.

Panning bases or panoramic heads are great for landscapes. They don’t have the range of movement of a ball head. But they do allow for 360-degree panning. They are the best option for creating panoramic landscape images.

3-way pan and tilt tripod heads provide secure mounting at any angle. They are useful when shooting outdoors on tough terrain. And the 3-way joint system gives you precision movement control.

Videographers like to use fluid heads on their tripods. These heads allow for smooth panning and tilting movement in nearly any direction. They also often have control handles for smoother camera movements. Fluid heads are ideal for shooting tracking shots.

Read more about all the best tripod heads.

What Is the Best Tripod for My Type of Photography

Different types of tripods are better suited to different types of photography. We’ve explored this a bit when looking at each type of tripod. But we haven’t examined the best tripods for each photographic discipline.

Thankfully, we have plenty of articles that look at the best tripods for various types of photography.

Tripods are an essential accessory for landscape photographers. They need the extra stability so they have more control over their exposure settings, particularly the aperture. If you’re a keen landscape shooter, check out all the best tripods for landscape photography.

You can also see all the best tripods for time-lapse photography. You can’t make a time-lapse video without a tripod, so check that article out if you’re interested in that kind of photography.

Tripods are also popular with food photographers. If you’re a culinary photographer, check out our list of the best tripods for food photography.

Macro enthusiasts also need to see the best macro tripods. They make a huge difference in capturing macro images, giving you more exposure and movement control over your camera. 

 

What Is the Best Type of Stabilizer for Video?

As we’ve already seen, specialist video tripods exist. They have a load capacity suitable for larger video cameras. And they are equipped with fluid tripod heads for smooth camera control. But video tripods are not your only stabilization option when shooting video.

You can also try handheld camera stabilizers. They use a counterbalance system to stabilize the camera when shooting moving shoots. These are ideal if you’re recording shoots where the camera needs to constantly move.

Check out our top camera stabilizer recommendations.

Camera gimbals are becoming the go-to stabilization option for videographers. They are less cumbersome than stabilizers, letting you shoot with one hand. The anti-shake technology gives you incredibly smooth footage when shooting moving shots.

Our full article features the best camera gimbals. You can also read about all the best smartphone gimbals we recommend for content creators.

 

Conclusion: Different Types Of Tripods

By dividing up the different types of tripods, it is much easier to find the one you need. As we’ve seen, photography tripods have a wide range of applications.

The heavy-duty tripods are excellent for holding ungodly loads. And we’ve seen more specialist products like video tripods and mini tripods.

The Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod is the best tripod for photography right now. But we also recommend the K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod as a travel tripod. And if you need more strength, the Winston 2.0 from 3-Legged Thing has to be your top choice. 

Our Top 3 Choices for Different Types of Tripods
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
K&F Concept Lightweight Travel Tripod
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0
3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0