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Best Budget Tripod [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 30/06/2021

If you're a real estate photographer looking to keep your camera stable, a tripod is a must-have piece of equipment. In this article, you will learn our choices for the best budget tripod and what to look for in order to choose one that is right for your needs and fits within your budget. 

Our Top Budget Tripod Reviews

Finding a great tripod can be an overwhelming task whether you are a professional photographer or just a blossoming amateur. We've selected some of the best budget tripods for your camera based on durability, functionality, and portability.

Brand
Best Overall
Joby Gorilla 5K Kit
Best for the Money
Manfrotto Compact Light
Best Lightweight Tripod
AmazonBasics 60-Inch
Product
JOBY GorillaPod 5K Kit. Professional Tripod 5K...
Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminum 4-Section Tripod...
Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
Maximum Height
37 cm
131 cm
158 cm
Material
Aluminum
Aluminum, Techno polymer
Aluminum
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Joby Gorilla 5K Kit
Product
JOBY GorillaPod 5K Kit. Professional Tripod 5K...
Maximum Height
37 cm
Material
Aluminum
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Manfrotto Compact Light
Product
Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminum 4-Section Tripod...
Maximum Height
131 cm
Material
Aluminum, Techno polymer
Rating
Price
Best Lightweight Tripod
Brand
AmazonBasics 60-Inch
Product
Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
Maximum Height
158 cm
Material
Aluminum
Rating
Price

Best Overall Budget Tripod: Joby Gorilla 5K Kit

The Joby GorillaPod 5K has legs composed of multiple joints that enable you to wrap the tripod around objects or on uneven ground, offering an astonishing versatility.

JOBY GorillaPod 5K Kit. Professional Tripod 5K...

The kit can be used in a variety of ways. Because of its 11-pound weight restriction, it can safely accommodate professional DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Since it is lighter than other models like the Manfrotto 190XPRO, the tripod's compact shape makes it easy to store or transport when traveling.

The GorillaPod 5K's joints and legs are rubberized in some areas to help with grip and stability on uneven terrain. The tripod's rest is made of aluminum and a special ABS material that is both robust and stable.

The top of the stand contains 3/8"-16 thread adapters which can be detached to reveal 1/4"-20 screws, letting you use it with your gear or mount it to a ball head for further shooting possibilities. The biggest disadvantage of this tripod is that it can be difficult to adjust the legs.

 Pros 

  • Versatile and useful for holding many types of cameras
  • For travel, the size and weight are ideal in comparison to the Manfrotto 190XPRO tripod, which is somewhat substantial
  • Made from long-lasting materials that are robust

Cons

  • Unlike a regular tripod, it does not extend in height
  • Getting the wrapping mount to stay put can take some time
JOBY GorillaPod 5K Kit. Professional Tripod 5K...
  • Flexible: Grip it, wrap it, stand it, wrappable legs allow you to secure professional camera...
  • Efficient: Arca-Swiss system compatible quick release plate stays connected to camera for instant...
  • Accurate: Numbered scale on base lets you accurately repeat 360 Degree pans, secondary knob locks...

Best Budget Tripod for the Money: Manfrotto Compact Light

The Manfrotto Compact Light is an excellent tripod for photographers who are new to the profession or who want to improve their skills. It has a special joystick head and a single wheel that allows you to quickly fix the camera. 

Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminum 4-Section Tripod...

The tripod's ball head contains a single knob for controlling all ball movements and a quick-wheel for attaching a camera to the 1/4"-20 threaded stud. To preserve your tripod during transport, it comes with a padded carrying bag unlike the Manfrotto 190XPRO, which lacks a bag to keep the tripod safe after use.

Unfortunately, it does not have a bubble, and when the legs are fully extended, it loses stability. However, the center column is constructed of metal and can be turned upside down for more comfortable macro shooting at ground level.

 Pros

  • One adjustment wheel instead of three makes it simple to use
  • Because plastic does not rust, it is long-lasting
  • When fully closed, it is lighter and compact in comparison to the Manfrotto 190XPRO tripod, which is bigger and heavier 

Cons

  • The ball head is permanently attached and isn't very powerful
  • The tripod can only support a load of 3.3 pounds

If you know your price point, you might also be interested in the best tripod for under $100.

Manfrotto Compact Light Aluminum 4-Section Tripod...
  • Extremely compact so you can take it anywhere
  • Ball head with one knob to lock all adjustments
  • Quick and easy camera connection with the wheel attachment

Best Lightweight Budget Tripod: AmazonBasics 60-Inch

This AmazonBasics 60-Inch is highly recommended for those who prefer portability and it is relatively economical. This compact tripod from AmazonBasics has a 3-way head with swivel and tilt actions, as well as a couple of built-in bubble levels for real estate shooting. Its adaptability and compatibility are outstanding.

Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag

This low-cost tripod is suitable for DSLR cameras, video cameras, and GoPro cameras. It can support a total capacity of 6.6 pounds, although it is recommended that you keep your weight around 5 pounds to avoid compromising stability. It will assist beginners in refining their photographs by enabling smooth transitions between photos.

The tripod is lightweight and adjustable, with rubber feet for increased stability when being used. The only drawback of this tripod is that it lacks the two-tone, color-accented appearance of higher-end models. The tripod also includes a basic crank-up height adjustment, making it simple to achieve the ideal height.

 Pros

  • It is very affordable
  • Great core functionality
  • Extremely light, as opposed to the bulkier Manfrotto 190XPRO and easily portable

Cons 

  • The accessory kit is barebones
  • In comparison to the SLIK Pro 700 DX, the build quality is somewhat lower
  • The range of motion is a little restricted
Amazon Basics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
  • Lightweight tripod with adjustable-height legs and rubber feet
  • Compatible with most video cameras, digital cameras, still cameras, GoPro devices, smartphone...
  • Recommended max load weight is 6.6 lbs (3kg) for optimal performance

Best Portable Budget Tripod: Manfrotto Element Traveller

The Manfrotto Element Traveller is great for professional photographers looking for a compact portable tripod that is dependable. It is lightweight hence you can easily move with it around, unlike the bulkier Manfrotto 190XPRO. This is a low-cost, small, and long-lasting aluminum alloy tripod kit that is also very versatile.

Manfrotto Element Traveller Small Aluminum...

This tripod is an excellent choice for its Compact System Camera that can support up to 8.8 pounds. The metal ball head has an independent 360° pan capability for smooth movements and transitions when framing a shot.

When using zoom lenses, the tripod's ball head incorporates an Arca-type fast release mechanism with a 1/4"-20 camera thread on the head, assuring that your gear is well-balanced. To promote stability, this lightweight tripod has a spring-loaded clip at the base of the central column. This allows you to add more weight if necessary.

The biggest disadvantage is that it does not have a retractable leg that can be used as a monopod. It also does not collapse exceptionally low to the earth and does not provide tilt or pan drag.

 Pros

  • Legs have adequate strain to remain compressed while carrying with only one leg
  • For chilly conditions, one leg has a foam grip
  • Easy to assemble than the Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminium  that is difficult to adjust

Cons

  • Sticky to fold up and extend
  • Stability at only full extension
Manfrotto Element Traveller Small Aluminum...
  • When compactness is a must, easily fits in backpacks, suitcases
  • Three independent leg angles adapt to the worst terrain
  • Telescopic column increases maximum height

Best Low-Level Budget Tripod: Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CB 

The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CB is a strong and adaptable tripod that can hold up to 15.4 pounds of any gear. This tripod, which stands up to 68.2" tall, can be used for a variety of purposes. The Multi-Angle Center Column, which can be positioned horizontally atop the tripod and adjusted to the ideal position, expands its creative potential even more.

Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CB 100 Carbon Fiber Tripod...

The bundled BH-100 ball head enables effortless camera adjustment with one hand while adjusting camera settings with the other. In addition, the head features 360° pan capabilities and two bubble levels to ensure that your shot is level.

Furthermore, an Arca-type fast release plate allows you to quickly attach or withdraw your camera from the tripod. The multi-angle center column enables you to position the camera in any direction to get unusual shots. 

In contrast to the Manfrotto Element Traveller, the tripod's rubber feet provide a more stable grip on the ground. The carbon fiber tripod and aluminum ball head are both lightweight and portable. The main disadvantage is that the folded size is bigger than we would like because the legs do not fully swing up for storage.

Pros 

  • The central column rotates 180 degrees  
  • Setup is quick and simpler than the Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminium that is difficult to adjust

Cons

  • When folded down, it is relatively long
  • The supplied bag is not cushioned
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CB 100 Carbon Fiber Tripod...
  • Incorporates the Vanguard Multi Angle Center Column (MACC)
  • 4 labeled multi leg angle selections (20°, 40°, 60°, 80°), ¼ turn lock/unlock twist lock legs...
  • The Alta BH-100 head is built with magnesium alloy which provides lightweight construction and...

Best Sturdy Budget Tripod: SLIK Pro 700 DX

The SLIK Pro 700 DX is ideal for professionals seeking a stable tripod to film long exposures and accommodate large camera setups in the studio or on location. Flip-style leg locks are simple to use and allow for quick setup and height changes.

SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod with 700DX 3-Way,...

The tripod's legs are built of an aluminum, magnesium, and titanium alloy to minimize weight while preserving strength and integrity. The tripod offers the longest reach of all the tripods on this list, at 75 inches. To top it all off, the 3-way pan-head has a quick release that makes switching from a tripod to handheld a breeze.

The Pro 700DX is slightly larger and heavier than its carbon fiber version. The 3-position adjustable angle leg locks allow you to attach each leg at a different angle, making it easy to install on uneven terrain or slopes.

The SLIK PRO 700 tripod is easy to assemble; with secure yet quick-release flip leg locks that do not snap back at you when locked. With a single finger movement, each leg lock can be opened or closed.

 Pros 

  • Its legs are constructed of aluminum, titanium, and magnesium, which makes them extremely sturdy
  • The pan and tilt video head rotates 360 degrees
  • It's well-made and easy to use, as opposed to Amazon's Basics 60-Inch tripod, whose construction is not the best
  • It's ideal for high or low-angled photos because of its extremely adaptable center column

Cons 

  • It comes with a standard video head that cannot be used because it is not a fluid head
  • Because of its extra-durable materials, it is not as easy to handle and travel as the AmazonBasics 60-Inch tripod, which is exceptionally light
SLIK Pro 700 DX Tripod with 700DX 3-Way,...
  • Load Capacity: 19.8 lb
  • Max Height: 75.0", Min Height: 16.1"
  • Folded Length: 29.9"

Best Video Budget Tripod: Manfrotto BeFree Live Lever Kit

The Manfrot­to BeFree Live Lever is a lightweight video project tripod gear designed for videographers who need desirable outcomes. It meets the increasing demands for a compact, ergonomic portable tripod which is easily transportable. It is designed to record video with DSLR cameras, quad cameras, and small video recorders weighing up to 8.8 pounds.

Manfrotto Befree Travel, Light Weight, Fluid Drag...

The Befree Live tripod is compact and easy to move due to the inverted foldable leg construction and the associated traveling bag, unlike the Manfrotto 190XPRO, which lacks an included bag to keep the tripod safe after use.

It has an ergonomic angle adjuster with three different angles to choose from. The tripod's sturdy core ensures optimal stability. It has an Easy Link for attachments as well as a hook for attaching a weight for stability.

The ball head isn't of the highest quality, and there's no pan or tilt drag adjustment, but it's smooth and produces excellent results. The leveling ball joint of the Befree Live tripod ensures the excellent structure of the camera even though the tripod will be on a rough surface.

 Pros

  • Folds up nicely
  • Easy to set up
  • It is lighter than the Manfrotto 190XPRO, which is heavier hence it is portable

Cons

  • There is no way to alter the pan and tilt drag
  • There is no counterbalance adjustment
Manfrotto Befree Travel, Light Weight, Fluid Drag...
  • Video tripod kit built for travel performance
  • Pl. travel lever secures maximum stability and easy setup
  • Amazing smooth footage with be free live fluid video head

Best Entry Level Budget Tripod: Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum

The Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum tripod is the ideal tripod and head kit for beginning photographers. This clever tripod with the headset is built to professional standards and will not let you down, even in the most difficult situations. And it's made to last. It's made of tough but lightweight aluminum, so it's easy to transport and sturdy when up.

Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit...

This tripod's three-section legs are equipped with flip locks that allow you to modify the length for every leg separately. The locks are easily adjustable, which helps in the maintenance of a tight lock during the life of the tripod.

This tripod's four-leg degrees allow for a multitude of configurations. One of the tripod's legs has rubber feet to make it simpler to handle, while rubber feet keep it steady on slick surfaces. The accompanying 804 3-way pan or tilt head includes detachable grips that decrease the total size when not being used.

An integrated spring aids in head tilting by compensating for larger lenses and off-center loads on cameras. The 200LT-PL quick-release mechanism is included to make connecting and detaching your camera from the head simple. The main drawback is that the head is difficult to adjust.

Pros 

  • High-quality Italian design
  • Has an aluminum structure that is lighter than the Manfrotto 190XPRO
  • There are four possible leg angles

Cons

  • It would have been lovely if the structure had been made of carbon fiber
  • Head is difficult to adjust, as opposed to the Manfrotto BeFree Live Lever Kit, which is simple to set up and modify
Sale
Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminum 3-Section Tripod Kit...
  • Premium Italian design
  • Adjustable aluminum Leg Locks
  • Robust aluminum construction

Best Versatile Budget Tripod: Manfrotto 190XPRO

The Manfrotto 190XPRO is a versatile and sturdy tripod ideal for serious photographers looking for a firm platform. The 190 series is a major step up from inexpensive entry-level tripods without the cost of higher-end options, striking an appealing mix of price and performance.

Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod...

Its compact design makes it easier to transport than the Manfrotto 190XPRO, which is heavier. This tripod's legs extend and adjust quickly, and then each leg section may be efficiently blocked or released utilizing its optimized and effective Quick Power Lock levers.

The 190XRPO also has a strong magnesium ball head with a quick-release camera plate which can be used with a range of devices. It has a triple locking system for maximum camera stability, and also a friction system to ensure a load of your gear is well balanced.

Additionally, polymer-based rings enable for easy, steady camera shake while eliminating the sticky oils found in prior products. If you are unfamiliar with Manfrotto tripods, this type of tripod can be difficult to set up. We recommend that you practice with this tripod before using it for your shoots.

Pros

  • It has easily expanded and adjustable legs as well as rapid power lock levers
  • For a short space, the tripod's lower section has been placed above the casting and connected on leg angles to ensure optimum stability 

Cons

  • The legs are long and cannot be packed in luggage for travel
  • There is no free or provided bag to keep the tripod safe after usage unlike the Befree Live tripod which is supplied with a traveling bag for easy transportation
Manfrotto MT190XPRO3 Aluminum 3-Section Tripod...
  • Solid and fast set up with the new Quick Power Lock System
  • Easy Link plug for instant accessory connections
  • Built in rotating bubble level

Features to Consider When Selecting a Budget Tripod

Tripods exist in a variety of shapes and sizes. Choosing the finest budget tripod for your DSLR camera requires careful consideration of the type of photography you do, the features that are most important to you, and the price. When looking for the best budget tripod, keep the following factors into consideration.

ProductStabilityTripod HeadLocking Mechanism
Joby Gorilla 5K KitRubberized joint rings and feetBall HeadTwist Lock
Manfrotto Compact LightSilicone Rubber PadsBall HeadFlip Lock
AmazonBasics 60-Inch LightweightRubber feetPan/tilt HeadFlip Lock
Manfrotto Element TravellerRetractable legBall HeadTwist Lock
Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CB Rubber feetBall HeadTwist Lock
SLIK Pro 700 DXRubber feetPan/tilt headFlip Lock
Manfrotto BeFree Live Lever KitRetractable hook Ball HeadFlip Lock
Manfrotto 290 Xtra AluminiumRubber feetPan/tilt headFlip Lock
Manfrotto 190XPRORubber feetBall HeadFlip Lock

Stability

A tripod's weight does not always correspond to its stability. There are numerous tripod systems that are both durable and weighty but lack the necessary stability when utilized in a variety of weather conditions. When properly assembled, a tripod must withstand not only wind but also minor bumps and bangs.

Some tripods are equipped with a retractable hook like the Manfrotto BeFree Live Lever Kit or replaceable spikes in the tripod foot. If you're shooting out, these offer extra stability by digging into the dirt or soft ground. Tripods also include a retractable hook in the central column that allows you to hang weight to support the tripod.

Quick-Release System 

Most contemporary DSLR cameras include a base thread that enables cameras to be securely mounted to a tripod. Even though it can be rotated to secure or detach the camera, the threaded connection technique is inconvenient and time-consuming.

It is vital to select an attachment system that has a quick-release system that is also strong and safe like the Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CB which has an Arca-type fast release plate that allows you to quickly attach or withdraw your camera from the tripod.

Tripod Head

One of the tripod's main important components is the tripod head. This head is responsible for maintaining the DSLR camera into position and regulating motion blur. Whenever selecting a tripod or tripod head, ensure that it can support the same weight as the tripod legs.

These three major types of tripod heads on the field are the Ball Head, Pan-Tilt Head, and Gimbal Head. Pan-Tilt Head can be configured with only single controls for lateral motion or several controls for both horizontal and vertical movement.

There is only one adjustment on the Ball-Head that allows you to relax or tighten the grip. Finally, the Gimbal Head is developed specifically for lenses with over 300mm. Joby Gorilla 5K Kit has a Ball Head and Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminium has a Pan-Tilt head.

Tripod Legs Design

Tripod legs are classified into two types: non-tubular and tubular. If you select a carbon fiber tripod, you will get a tubular form with a threaded twist-lock system to fasten the feet. Tripods made of aluminum, steel, or basalt may have different leg shapes as well as a flip-locking system.

Man taking photos while his camera is on a tripod

The total capacity that the tripod legs can withstand is usually used to design them. Tubular legs are the strongest and also most stable.

Locking Mechanism

Almost every tripod compresses into a smaller size when not in use to save space. To keep the legs extended where you want them, there are two basic locking systems. Flip locks are easier to use, but they might become loose and ineffectual with time. Examples of tripods with flip locks are Manfrotto Compact Light Tripod and Manfrotto 290 Xtra Aluminium.

Twist locks are slower to lock into place, but the amount you twist them determines how tightly they are locked. You don't have to worry about one getting unusably loose at the worst possible time because of this essentially self-adjusting system. Examples of tripods with twist locks include Manfrotto Element Traveller and Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263CB. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A 3-way Head?

A 3-way head is essentially a pan head with the ability to modify each of the three axes independently: you can pan, tilt up/down, and tilt sideways using different levers. 3-way heads can be controlled very precisely, making them ideal for macro photography, nature photography, and architecture. 

What Is A Ball Head?

A ball head is a plastic and metal device mounted on top of a tripod that improves stability and allows the photographer to rotate the camera faster and more precisely.

Conclusion

A quality tripod, unlike cameras and even lenses, is an investment that lasts a lifetime. We hope that this article will help you choose the ideal best budget tripod for your DSLR. 

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