GoPros make great video cameras, but there is no questioning that they were designed to record action. Whether you’re filming extreme sports or a leisurely walking city tour, the GoPro is an obvious choice given its compact size and great video quality.
When we’re recording action, camera shake is always going to be a potential problem. Even with the latest GoPro Hero 7 which features the new “HyperSmooth” electronic image stabilization technology, tackling camera shake with software has its limitations.
A 3-axis GoPro gimbal is the ultimate GoPro accessory to help you record buttery smooth video footage. However, choosing the best GoPro gimbal can be very difficult given the sheer number of different gimbals available today.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll be going through the best gimbals money can buy right now. We’ve not only tested them ourselves, but also aggregated the feedback from other reviewers and users.
Different gimbals suit different needs, so the list is broken down into four different categories: best handheld gimbal, best wearable gimbal, best 2-in-1 gimbal and best gimbal for stabilization.
At A Glance – Best GoPro Gimbals 2019
- Best handheld gimbal: Hohem iSteady Pro 2
- Runner Up: Feiyu G6
- Best wearable gimbal: Feiyu WG2X Wearable Gimbal
- Best 2-in-1 gimbal: Removu S1
- Best gimbal for stabilization: GoPro Karma Grip
Wearable Gimbals vs Handheld Gimbals
Before we take a closer look at our winning picks, let’s talk about the differences between wearable gimbals and handheld gimbals.
Handheld gimbals feature a grip so you can walk around with your GoPro in your hand. It’s the ideal setup if you want complete freedom over camera movements.
But when you’re filming extreme sports, a handheld gimbal might be too cumbersome. For example when you’re out mountain biking, there’s no way you’ll have a hand free to hold up your camera. A wearable gimbal can be mounted to your chest, your handlebars, or just about anywhere you can think of.
There are also a few other subtle differences between the two kinds of gimbal. Being more compact, wearable gimbals feature smaller batteries which don’t last as long as the handheld gimbals which typically fit their batteries in the hand grip. When being worn, they also need to be attached to your body somehow, which might require some additional accessories like a chest harness or shoulder strap.
Best Handheld Gimbal: Hohem iSteady Pro 2
- Feature Rich
- Handy trigger button
- Battery Life
- Cheap build quality
Who’s It For
For those videographers looking to eliminate camera shake without breaking the bank, the Hohem iSteady Pro 2 is an excellent choice. The splashproof gimbal is by far the most popular GoPro gimbal right now and what I’d recommend to the vast majority of buyers.
The iSteady Pro 2 is compatible with the GoPro HERO7/6/5/4/3+/3 and other similarly sized sports cameras, including the DJI Osmo Action, Yi 4K, Yi 4K+, AEE and SJCAM.
Hohem iSteady Pro 2 Overview
Despite its low price tag, the iSteady Pro 2 isn’t short on features. In fact, with four shooting modes, 600° range of motion in the pan axis and a 12 hour battery life, the gimbal has most of the competition beat.
The small handgrip packs in a decent number of controls, including a joystick to electronically adjust the pan and tilt. In addition to the standard buttons you’d expect on a gimbal, there’s also programmable hotkeys which can be set in the Hohem Gimset App.
Of course many of you will be wondering what makes it different from the original iSteady Pro. The new version features an angled gimbal arm which improves torque and makes sure the GoPro’s display remains unobstructed. It also features a trigger at the back of the handle which makes functions like locking-on or snapping far more convenient while filming.
What I Liked
There are simply no other GoPro gimbals that perform as well as the iSteady Pro within a $100 budget. Hohem have brought motorized gimbal stabilization to the casual GoPro user, and haven’t skimped on features either.
I reviewed footage across various zoom levels and playback speeds and compared them with footage coming from the Feiyu G6 and GoPro Karma grip. Honestly, the difference is so slight that it becomes difficult to recommend the latter options given the price difference.
What I Didn’t Like
The iSteady Pro 2 definitely feels like an entry-level GoPro gimbal. It doesn’t have the ruggedness of the other gimbals and its build feels more plasticky than more expensive options. And although very difficult to tell, the motors are very slightly less responsive than some other alternatives which make it less capable when recording fast-paced action.
Read Full Review: Hohem iSteady Pro
Runner Up: Feiyu G6
- Excellent stabilization for the price
- Long battery life
- Compatibility with other action cameras
- Fiddly mounting procedure
Who’s It For
The Feiyu Tech G6 is a solid all-round GoPro gimbal that offers great stabilization performance for the price. It offers superior build quality to the Hohem iSteady Pro 2 while costing significantly less than the GoPro Karma Grip.
GoPro wise, the G6 is fully compatible with all GoPro 3/3+/4/5/6/7 models. It is also compatible with similar sized action cameras like the Yi 4K/4K+, AEE and Xiaomi Mijia. The box also includes a separate frame for the Sony RX0 action camera.
Feiyu G6 Overview
Feiyu are one of the biggest gimbal brands today and the G6 is their flagship GoPro gimbal. Its small and slick IP67 splash proof body packs in a small LCD display and other nifty features like an external mic port and slider to control the roll of your camera.
Despite looking almost identical, the G6 is a big step up from its flawed predecessor, the Feiyu G5. The G5 had some funky stabilization issues with obvious microjitter, but the G6 holds its own against the considerably more expensive GoPro Karma Grip.
Other non-essential but nice new features are its angled arm and additional thread needle on the side of the grip. The angled arm makes it so that the arm rarely obstructs the GoPro’s LCD screen.
The G6’s companion app, Feiyu ON, allows you to link up your smartphone and gimbal over bluetooth and control the gimbal remotely. This means you could remotely pan and tilt the gimbal or even setup motion time lapses while your gimbal and GoPro is in another room.
What I Liked
The stabilization performance on third party handheld gimbals can be hit or miss. Fortunately, the G6 is a top performer and it doesn’t disappoint. When reviewing zoomed in footage, the G6 footage was slightly more shaky than the Karma Grip footage but only marginally so.
The G6 has a bunch of features the Karma Grip lacks, like an informative LCD screen which tells you things like the remaining battery life and current shooting mode. The external mic port will be welcomed by those recording audio-sensitive footage, since motor noise is a very common issue with any motorized gimbal.
Finally, Feiyu went with a 5000mAh removable battery which can last for up to 12 hours on a single charge. You can therefore swap out the battery as you please, although most people will rarely find themselves needing to do so.
What I Didn’t Like
Mounting your GoPro to the Feiyu G6 is a somewhat fiddly procedure, requiring adjustment of hand screws. Attaching your camera is a lot more troublesome than with the Karma Grip, which is a case of simply slotting the camera in its harness.
The Feiyu G6 is very comparable to the Hohem iSteady Pro 2, yet costs $45 more. The signficant price difference makes it difficult to recommend over the Hohem unless money isn’t an issue.
Read Full Review: Feiyu Tech G6
Best Wearable Gimbal: Feiyu WG2X
- Great Stabilization
- Easily Worn
- Can also be used as handheld gimbal using included tripod
- Battery Life
- Might require other accessories if being worn, increasing cost
Who’s It For
For those who want to wear their camera on their chest or on their helmets, getting a wearable gimbal like the Feiyu WG2X is a no-brainer. Wearable cameras are are also more versatile when it comes to mounting–not having a hand grip makes it much more stable when mounting the gimbal to handlebars, RC cars and the like.
The Feiyu WG2X supports the GoPro HERO7 (all models), HERO6, HERO5, HERO4 as well as the HERO Session via the included Session mount adaptor.
Similar sized action cameras like the Yi 4K/4K+, Sony RXO and SJCam, are also supported.
The Feiyu WG2X is an update of the well-received WG2 wearable gimbal. Although on the surface they appear very similar, the WG2X has improved stabilization performance, an angled gimbal arm and the ability to control it remotely.
Its compact design makes it easily worn with chest harnesses or shoulder straps. It can also easily be attached to desktop tripods, selfie sticks and handlebars that fit its universal quarter-inch thread needle.
This wearable GoPro gimbal features three shooting modes: pan follow, following and locked. Unlike other popular wearable gimbals like the Zhiyun Rider-M and Hohem XG1, the WG2X has an unlimited range of motion in the pan and tilt axes (as opposed to 320-degrees).
Through the Feiyu ON App, you can control the WG2X remotely using your phone. This is an especially useful feature for wearable gimbals which are difficult to access when worn.
What I Liked
Most wearable gimbals are very similar, so the only point of differentiation is stabilization performance. The WG2X shines in this area, beating out the likes of the equally popular EVO SS and Hohem XG1. Thanks to its software update, the stabilization is also a noticeable upgrade to its predecessor, the WG2.
The angled gimbal arm, though hardly essential, is a nice touch. When mounted to a chest harness, the gimbal arm no longer blocks the GoPro display.
Included in the box is a small tripod. When you close the legs of the tripod, it essentially becomes a grip of its own meaning you can use the WG2X as a handheld gimbal.
What I Didn’t Like
Being a wearable gimbal, the WG2X has a smaller 1500mAh battery that can be housed within its compact body. This means the battery life will only last around 2.5 hours on a single charge. Unfortunately, this is the case with almost every other wearable gimbal out there.
Unlike the WG2 which was rated IP67 waterproof, the WG2X is merely splashproof and is therefore less water-resistant. It is fine for use in light rain, but attempting to use the gimbal in watersports will most likely result in motor damage.
Read Full Review: Feiyu Tech WG2X Wearable Gimbal
Best 2-in-1 Gimbal: Removu S1
- Great Stabilization
- Removable Battery
- Removable remote control
- Motor noise
- Fiddly modular design
Who’s It For
Want a handheld gimbal with the ability to transform into a wearable gimbal? The Removu S1 is your answer. Its modular design means the grip can be detached, leaving a wearable gimbal that can be mounted just about anywhere. Unlike the GoPro Karma Grip which can function as a wearable gimbal if you put in the effort, the Removu S1 was designed to be a dual-purpose gimbal from the ground up.
The Removu S1 is compatible with the GoPro HERO7/6/5, HERO4/3+/3 and Hero Session cameras using different housing frames (included). It is not compatible with non-GoPro action cameras.
Removu S1 Overview
Removu are a little-known Korean GoPro accessory manufacturer who have engineered something quite special in the Removu S1. Featuring a rainproof modular design, the S1 offers unmatched versatility.
By detaching the handgrip, you are free to mount the gimbal anywhere, just as you would with a true wearable gimbal. Furthermore, the handgrip itself features a removable bluetooth wireless remote control. That means you can remotely control the gimbal even if it’s mounted on your helmet or to your chest.
Unlike most other GoPro gimbal batteries, the S1’s battery is removable. Removu have generously provided a battery charger which can charge up to two batteries simultaneously. The S1 will last for between 3-5 hours on a single charge.
The Removu S1 features three shooting modes (pan follow, following and locked) and can be used inverted for those underslung shots. The remote control is quite fancy, with a helpful LED display and joystick to electronically pan and tilt the gimbal.
What I Liked
Versatility is the Removu S1’s main strength. There is simply no other gimbal that can be used as a handheld gimbal or wearable gimbal. The GoPro Karma Grip might be an exception, but it’s difficult to call that a true 2-in-1 gimbal, since the battery is housed in the grip.
The Removu S1 comes in a very classy design. It feels well built, if a little bulky being the heaviest gimbal in the whole list. Small bonuses like its removable battery and removable remote control are the icing on the cake.
Performance wise, the Removu S1 delivers very smooth footage. It isn’t quite as smooth as the Karma Grip or G6, but it’s definitely one of the better stabilizers out there.
What I Didn’t Like
The biggest issues with the Removu S1 are its loud motor noise and somewhat sluggish follow modes.
Compared to other gimbals, motor noise is more noticeable. This might not be an issue for some, but those doing more audio-sensitive work like vlogging might take an issue with it.
When you pan left and right or tilt up and down, the S1 is a bit slow to follow, even when the follow speed is cranked to the max. It’s not ideal if you’re filming scenes with quick camera movements.
Read Full Review: Removu S1 GoPro Gimbal
Best Gimbal For Stabilization: GoPro Karma Grip
- Excellent stabilization
- Ergonomic design
- Ease of use
- Official Accessory
- Battery Life
Who’s it for?
The GoPro Karma Grip doesn’t come cheap, but those after the best stabilization and native compatibility with GoPros should look no further than GoPro’s very own Karma Grip. Despite being a slightly older gimbal, it still manages to perform better than almost every other third-party gimbal in everything but battery life.
The GoPro Karma Grip is compatible with the HERO4/5/6/7 Black and HERO4 Silver. GoPro HERO4 owners will have to purchase the HERO4 Karma harness. The Karma Grip is not compatible with non-GoPro action cameras.
As one might expect from an official product, mounting the GoPro to the Karma Grip is as simple as opening the harness and inserting the camera.
Karma Grip Overview
The Karma Grip gets its name from GoPro’s Karma drone. Although the Karma drone wasn’t a commercial success, they were able to salvage the drone’s gimbal and pair it to a hand grip—and thus the Karma Grip was born.
GoPro decided to keep things simple with the Karma Grip. It only features two shooting modes (pan follow and following) and lacks extra features like a pan/tilt joystick or selfie mode.
The gimbal has long been considered to produce the best image stabilization of any GoPro gimbal to date. While third-party gimbals play catch up, GoPro have consistently released firmware updates to iron out some of the performance issues that used to exist.
Since the gimbal can be detached from the grip, it can technically also function as a wearable gimbal. However, because the gimbal’s battery is located in the handgrip, you need to purchase the Karma Grip extension cable and keep the grip with you.
What I Liked
The Karma Grip’s biggest strengths are its ease of use and top-notch stabilization performance. It works seamlessly with GoPros and doesn’t involve installation of any third-party gimbal companion apps which other manufacturers use for firmware updates or configuring settings.
While the GoPro Karma Grip is noticeably bigger compared to a lot of its competitors, it feels incredibly nice in the hands. Being able to feel the additional weight in your hands also makes moving the gimbal around feel more controlled.
What I Didn’t Like
Costing significantly more than third-party offerings, the GoPro Karma Grip doesn’t offer the best value for money. GoPro gimbals from the likes of Feiyu and Zhiyun have been closing the stabilization performance gap and typically cost half as much as the Karma Grip.
The Karma Grip also shows its age in its disappointing battery life. Recording at 4K, you can only expect around 2 hours of recording time. One of the reasons for this is that it always simultaneously charges your GoPro camera, meaning the battery is drained from two sources.
Read Full Review: GoPro Karma Grip
Honorable Mention: Freevision Vilta-G
Another 2-in-1 gimbal, the Freevision Vilta-G is a solid alternative to the Removu S1. Top notch build quality, a very comfortable grip, decent stabilization performance and quiet motors are just enough to justify its high price tag.
The Freevision Vilta-G lacks the innovative features found on the S1 like the removable battery and remote control. It’s also not weatherproof, so if you don’t mind the louder motor noise, the Removu S1 is a better choice overall.
Read Full Review: Freevision Vilta-G GoPro Gimbal
Honorable Mention: Zhiyun Smooth 4 Smartphone Gimbal
While technically not a GoPro gimbal, the Zhiyun Smooth 4 is a highly rated smartphone gimbal that can also house a GoPro within its adjustable spring clamp. GoPro mount plate adaptors can also be purchased separately to make sure the GoPro is better secured.
The Smooth 4 isn’t really designed for the kind of activity typically associated with GoPros, since smartphone gimbals are generally not weather proof and have slightly slower follow speeds. But for those who spend a lot of time filming with their phone and only occasionally take out their GoPro, the Smooth 4 is worth a look.
Note that since it is not natively compatible with the GoPro, you won’t be able to use its buttons to control your GoPro. However, it will at least balance your GoPro and stabilize footage.
More Buying Tips
Understanding Shooting modes
The majority of GoPro gimbals feature two or three shooting modes. These are:
Pan-following: The gimbal will react to keep the horizon level, but follow movements in the pan axis (sideways).
Following: The gimbal will follow movements in the pan (sideways) and tilt (up and down) axes, while making sure the footage is stabilized.
Locked: This shooting mode locks the GoPro’s orientation in all three axes (pan, tilt and roll). This effectively means the GoPro lens will always be aimed at the same target.
Some GoPro gimbals (including the GoPro Karma Grip) do not feature the locked mode. If you feel this is an important shooting mode to have, this should weigh into your purchase decision.
Can I Use A GoPro Gimbal As A Smartphone Gimbal?
GoPros are lighter and more compact than today’s typical smartphone. As a result, most GoPro gimbals cannot support such a heavy payload, and their frame housing will not accommodate a smartphone in the first place.
On the other hand, smartphone gimbals are generally able to accommodate GoPros. However, using a smartphone gimbal as a GoPro gimbal comes with its own problems, and is not an ideal setup. Generally speaking, it’s recommended to purchase a GoPro gimbal for your GoPro and a smartphone gimbal for your phone.
Are GoPro Gimbals Waterproof?
GoPros and other action cameras are mostly waterproof these days, but most GoPro gimbals are not fully waterproof. Gimbals feature rotating pivots powered by brushless DC motors, and it is difficult to fully protect these moving parts from water damage if submerged. Many GoPro gimbals, are however, splash proof or weather resistant. Here are how the gimbals in this list fare against the elements:
- GoPro Karma Grip: Weather Resistant (Light rain and snow)
- Hohem iSteady Pro 2: Splashproof (Heavier rain and snow)
- Feiyu Tech G6: Splashproof (Heavier rain and snow)
- Feiyu Tech WG2X: Splashproof (Heavier rain and snow)
- Removu S1: Weather Resistant (Light rain and snow)
- Feiyu Vilta-G: Not weather resistant
- Zhiyun Smooth 4: Not weather resistant
Choosing the best gimbal for your GoPro is a tricky process, but it ultimately depends on how and where you plan to use your GoPro to record footage.
Most people will probably want to go with a handheld gimbal, unless certain the GoPro will be worn. Filming with the GoPro in your hand is the most natural setup, and a handheld gimbal basically becomes a GoPro grip that just happens to stabilize the recordings.
The GoPro Karma Grip (Official accessory) has been engineered to work seamlessly with the GoPro, and features the best stabilization across all the gimbals. However, it is quite expensive and not without faults of its own. The Feiyu G6 is also worth a look, being both cheaper and offering some features missing on the Karma Grip.
On the other hand, wearable gimbals take a bit of fiddling around to get started. You’ll need to think about where to wear or mount it. You might need to purchase some additional accessories to successfully mount the gimbal. The WG2X is our favorite wearable gimbal, thanks to excellent image stabilization and a few neat features that other wearable gimbals lack.
Finally, if you’re keen on the idea of being able to use a gimbal in your hands and worn, the Removu S1 might just be what you’re looking for. Its modular design is a bit fiddly and its motors are louder than other gimbals, but if you can look past that it’s a very capable and versatile GoPro gimbal.
I’m a photographer and the chief editor of Capture Guide. I now live in Santa Barbara, California but spent several years across parts of South America working as a journalist with my trusty old Nikon D7100.