The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.
If you are serious about photography or just starting out in the hobby, the last thing you want is blurry images. Plus, it can get tiring to hold a camera for several hours. One solution is to upgrade your equipment by purchasing a monopod. The one-legged support system will help you produce clearer images. Our buying guide below features some of the best monopods available.
Manfrotto Compact Aluminum 5-Section Monopod
Vivitar 67-Inch Monopod with Quick-Release Mount
Manfrotto Xpro 5 Section Aluminum Video Monopod
Benefits of Monopods
- Portable. As a photographer, you have the option of using a monopod or tripod, but the former is more lightweight and has a lower profile. A monopod is easy to pack in a camera bag or suitcase because it takes up very little space.
- Easy to use. It's much simpler to extend and retract a monopod than a tripod. This makes your job a lot easier, particularly if you're shooting in the city or in the wilderness.
- Affordable. For the most part, monopods are less expensive than tripods. You can get several models for less than $20, and even the best monopods are not very expensive.
- Less obtrusive. While some venues prohibit tripods, monopods are often tolerated instead. That's because a tripod takes up a bit more space and may trip a person in a crowded setting, while a monopod is less likely to do so.
Types of Monopods
Why Trust Us
Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.Learn more
Monopod vs. Tripod
A monopod has one leg, while a tripod has three legs. Both support a camera, are height-adjustable, and are made so you can quickly and easily remove or add a camera. Because of their design, tripods tend to be more stable; however, monopods are easier to carry around, quicker to unfold and adjust, and weigh less, making them a convenient photography accessory for many situations.
This Italian company manufactured its first tripod in 1974. It designs a wide range of camera equipment and accessories, including heads and lighting stands. It distributes its products in more than 65 countries, including the United States. One of its popular products is the Manfrotto Xpro 5 Section Aluminum Video Monopod.
The U.S.-based Opteka has been manufacturing monopods, tripods, converter lenses, filters, and other types of camera equipment since 2002. The company prides itself in using materials and technology that use "micron-unit quality control." One popular product includes the Opteka 72-Inch Photo Video Monopod.
- $20-$50: You don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good monopod. Cheap monopods are great for travelers and are easy to set up and operate.
- $50 to $100: Many monopods fall within this price range. They are compact, easy to carry, durable, and multi-functional. They are great if you want a good-quality device but don't want to spend a lot of money.
- Over $100: The lightest monopods, such as those made of carbon fiber, typically cost a little bit more than lower-quality devices. They often come with additional features and are manufactured by well-known brands.
When shopping for the best camera monopod, the first thing you should look at is its maximum height. This is particularly important if you're a tall person. Make sure it extends high enough so that you're in a comfortable and natural position when you use it. Also, the taller it is, the higher you can raise it above your head for those special shots.
There's no use buying a cheap monopod if it's going to fall apart after a short period of use. That's why you need a device that's made of high-quality material. Most are made of either carbon fiber or aluminum. Aluminum is strong, lightweight, and resistant to corrosion. Carbon fiber monopods are slightly lighter, making them a bit more advantageous.
The last thing you want when you're using a monopod is for the device to collapse. That's why it needs to have a good-quality locking system. This keeps the gadget in place while you adjust the height. The legs of a monopod usually have a twist lock or flip-style lock. The former is more secure, but the latter is quicker to set up.
A high-quality monopod will easily be able to support the weight of your camera and additional accessories, such as a camera lens. The best way to ensure that it will be compatible with your setup is to look at the maximum load rating. At the very least, choose a product that is equal to the combined weight of your camera and lens.
- Grip: Monopods are all designed slightly different, so their grips vary depending on the brand. Cheap monopods typically have grips made of foam, while more expensive types of monopods have textured rubber grips. It's important that you have a good hold of your device even if your hands get sweaty.
- Legs and Feet: Monopods with fewer leg sections are easier and quicker to set up. However, if you want a device that's particularly portable, you may want one with additional collapsible legs because it will be easier to carry around. When you're researching monopods with feet, make sure the feet are not too narrow because they'll be less stable. A monopod with feet may have a fixed rounded foot or additional flip-out feet for extra stability.
- Weight: Depending on their construction, some monopods are heavier than others. While heavy-duty monopods are a bit more stable and durable, they can be more difficult to carry. If you're hiking or plan on keeping the device with you over an extended period of time, you may want one that is more lightweight and compact.
- Accessories: If you are a more experienced photographer, you can get better-quality images using a monopod and its corresponding accessories. Some of these features are built-in, while others can be added on. They include a swivel head, a quick-release mount, a tilt head, and hand or shoulder straps.
Best Monopod Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This value-priced, five-section monopod is designed for small and compact camera systems. It can support up to 3.3 pounds and comes with a wrist strap, so you are less likely to drop your device. It's made of aluminum and weighs less than one pound.
This monopod is simple, lightweight, and sturdy. It's perfect for times when a full tripod is not practical. It features clasps instead of twist locks and fits into a small or medium camera bag. It is compact when folded, so it's very convenient to carry around. Overall, it's well-made and very functional.
One of the downsides with this monopod is that the legs are rather thin and a little too flexible when they’re fully extended. Also, it is not as durable as some rival heavy-duty monopods. In addition, the main screw component may fail after a short period of time.
A good monopod allows you to rest your camera at a moment's notice, making the difference between snapping a blurry mess and nailing the shot. If you're in the market for a monopod but want to cut down on bulk, take a closer look at the Vivitar 67-inch monopod. It is great to have when you're traveling because it is compact and lightweight.
Weighing just 14.4 ounces, it extends to 67 inches. When fully closed, it is 21.3 inches long. We love the quick-release plate that holds your camera in place to ensure it takes great footage. The four-section leg locks with rubberized feet make for enhanced stability.
However, this monopod is much lighter than other models in its category and sways too much when you walk. In addition, the quick-release mount isn't well-constructed and may not last very long.
The compact Manfrotto Xpro 5 monopod includes a FLUIDTECH base, which helps it move smoothly in all directions. It features a quick power lock that enables users to set it up quickly. It also has 3/8-inch and 1/4-inch screws to accommodate various devices. It has an ergonomic grip and aluminum d-shaped tubes that foster greater control during movement.
This device is very sturdy, not very cumbersome, and is easy to use. It is tall enough to operate over a crowd and needs little balance to stand alone with a video fluid head attached. The panning motion as well as the footpad are buttery smooth, and it extends to a great length. The monopod is also smaller than many rivals, and opening and closing the flip locks is quick and easy.
However, the monopod is a little heavy, and the fluid foot gets sluggish in cold temperatures. There have also been some complaints that the legs have too much play in them, and can move at the slightest touch. In addition, the feet are a little narrow and should be wider for more stability.
- When using a monopod, attach the camera using the mount. Before you release the camera, make sure it's securely fastened to the monopod.
- After you secure the camera, extend the monopod to the proper length and position it to get the shot. You may need to use the ground or your stomach, or raise it above your head to get it into the right spot.
- After you position the monopod, you must angle the camera. Look for a model that has a ball joint on top because that will make it easier for you to set the right angle.
- The last thing you need to do is take the shot. You can set the camera to automatically take the shot if you need to position the device above your head.
Q: What is the purpose of a camera monopod?
A: Monopods stabilize your camera when you take a photograph. They help steady a camera that has a heavy lens and can also be used if you want to use a camera to pan over the subject matter.
Q: Do I really need a monopod?
A: If you have a hard time keeping your hands steady when you take a photo, a monopod can be very helpful. It also allows you to use a slower shutter speed or lower ISO as well as a smaller aperture. However, it will not provide the same stability as a tripod.
Q: How do I choose a monopod?
A: There are several features you should consider when buying a monopod, including the load capacity, height, weight, and accessories.
Our pick for the best monopod is the Coman 73.2 inch Professional Monopod. It works with a variety of different cameras, and it's compact yet durable.
For a smaller and more budget-friendly option, consider the Vivitar 67-Inch Monopod with Quick-Release Mount.
MORE TO READ
Best Trail Cameras: Capture Animal Movements on Film
Get great images day or night with these trail cameras
Best GPS with Backup Cameras: Maximize Your Visibility
Know where you’re going with these top GPS units with backup cameras
Best Wireless Trailer Hitch Cameras: See What’s Behind You
These top wireless hitch cameras will increase your field of view
Best RV Backup Cameras: Enhance Your Field of Vision
Get a better view of blind spots when reversing your RV with these backup cameras