A tripod is a photography tool that is used to stabilize the camera. They come in all shapes and sizes, with prices ranging from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. There are plenty of websites, such as Amazon, that offer travel tripods for under $100 from lesser-known brands!
Want to find the best budget tripod? Keep reading!
What's The Best Cheap Tripod?
Manfrotto Compact Action
The Manfrotto Compact Action tripod is not only compact but also versatile and durable. It's very light too, yet still delivers plenty of functionality. Most importantly, it provides great stability and use-versatility at an affordable price.
The Compact Action tripods are feather-light, making them the perfect choice for travel photographers who want something that can be packed up quickly. It can also be extended to a maximum height of just over 53 inches (135.5 cm).
The Manfrotto Compact Action's collapsed height of only 17.38 inches (44 cm) is much smaller than peoples' average height, so it's easy to carry around with you in a backpack or a carry-on bag when traveling by plane. Even though it's small, the weight is 2.64 lbs (1.2 kg).
Overall, it's a great budget option for travel and photography enthusiasts alike. It's stable, lightweight, and durable enough to withstand years of use. For these reasons, the Manfrotto Compact Action is our top pick for the best budget tripod!
This tripod model is durable and made almost entirely out of aluminum, with little plastic included. The Manfrotto MSGira Compact Action has a slightly higher maximum height and load capacity than the previous model, making it more ideal for larger cameras with bigger lenses.
It's important to note that the Oben AC-1321 is priced at just under $100, so it would be foolish to expect a top-of-the-line design. However, though it's not the best budget tripod we've seen, it delivers a good build quality and is fairly sturdy overall.
The Oben AC-1321 3-section tripod’s legs feel thin, especially when they are extended to the maximum height. The last extensions with rubber feet are particularly slim and uncomfortable. The Oben AC-1321 tripod's legs can be extended and locked down with small flip locks that are easy to use and make setup time really quick. However, these same flip locks might not last long because they aren't very sturdy.
The Oben AC-1321 tripod's ball head is removable for easy replacement. It is also well built with a quick-release locking system that is secure and reliable. The mounting plate might be puzzling due to its small size, but it works fine overall and can hold a camera within the weight limit without difficulty.
The GEEKOTO 77″ is definitely not a tiny tripod because its folded size is 19 inches (48 cm), which is pretty long. However, it makes up for this by reaching a maximum height of 77 inches (195.5 cm). This should be plenty, even if you're tall. Additionally, this model only weighs 3.37 lbs (1.5 kg), making it easy to transport nearly anywhere you go.
We chose the GEEKOTO 77″ for this list because it is very budget-friendly at less than $80 while still being a versatile and well-made product. The tripod has a sturdy build and plenty of functionality, including 360-degree rotation on its ball head and panning options to get the perfect shot.
Overall, this brand would be an excellent choice for the budget-conscious traveler. Its low price tag, good build quality, and versatility make it a great option. The GEEKOTO 77″ is highly recommended and would be an excellent addition to any photographer’s gear!
If you want to use the GEEKOTO 77″ as a monopod, simply unscrew the central axis and reassemble the legs into one shaft - a process that is quick and easy, though there are other tripod models that can be assembled faster. The GEEKOTO 77″ has an official load capacity of up to 17.6 lbs (8 kg), which is more than DSLR setups usually require, even when using large lenses.
The Zomei 58″ compact portable tripod is the most affordable, best-budget tripod on our entire list by far. It has a cost that sits well below $40, but it offers an amazing value for its price tag. This small model certainly has its flaws and won’t be everyone's favorite – even among budget tripod buyers – but it should be taken seriously.
The Zomei 58″ has all of the must-have features for photographers. This tripod extends quickly with leg sections that lock into place with plate buckles. There is also a 360-degree knob for panning shots and a fast-loading camera plate. The central column is firmly built and includes a weight hook to hang something from the tripod, adding even more stability.
The Zomei model can have some balance issues if a heavier camera is attached to its head, but the hook can be easily used to secure it in place. Additionally, the lower maximum height of this model helps keep it stable.
We also appreciate how smoothly the head moves around on the Zomei 58″. We didn’t notice any stiffness – and even though the camera mounting plate does attach a bit loosely to a camera for our liking, everything stays perfectly still when it’s actually being used for shooting. The camera head comes with lots of orientation options and is easy to get hang of in no time, even if you're new to using tripods altogether.
Are Cheap Tripods Worth It?
A tripod that costs more and is made with high-quality materials will be stronger and last longer than a cheap one. The latter may work for some time, but it will likely cause problems eventually. In fact, using a cheap model on any camera with more than 10 lbs of weight (4.5 kg) is not recommended at all.
In general, cheap tripods may not be worth it because they may not be as durable or reliable as more expensive options. Cheap tripods may not have the same level of build quality or features, and they may not be able to support your camera as well, which can lead to unstable or blurry images.
It's usually a good idea to invest in a higher-quality tripod, even if it means spending a bit more money. This will ensure that you have a reliable and stable platform for your camera, and it will help you take better photos and videos.
How much should I spend on a camera tripod?
People often purchase the cheapest tripod they can find that will still function well with their first camera. Many people don't invest in a quality tripod because they're unsure of how much they would use it or if it's worth the cost. A decent, basic tripod typically costs between $75 and $150 for both the legs and head.
When should you not use a tripod?
If it's windy and your tripod is wobbling or your camera lens is too heavy and starts to droop, then you lose the advantage of being hands-free. You don't need a tripod. In fact, it can be more of a liability if the wind is too strong.
Also, when you don't need to worry about perfectly straight lines or precise framing, you don't really need a tripod either. If you're shooting video in an area with lots of movement, then it's often better to leave your tripod at home and just use your hands for extra stability and flexibility.
The best budget tripod is the Zomei 58″ compact portable tripod. It has a cost that sits well below $40, but it offers an amazing value for its price tag. This small model has all of the must-have features for photographers and includes a weight hook to hang something from the tripod, adding even more stability.
Although cheap tripods may not be worth it because they may not be as durable or reliable as more expensive options, spending a bit more money on a higher-quality tripod is usually a good idea in order to ensure you have a reliable and stable platform for your camera.