Phone Tripod Hero ImageSource: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central

Best Phone Tripod Android Central 2020

Tripods aren't just for DSLR and mirrorless cameras when they can also play a pivotal role in mobile photography. The best tripods are made to help capture scenes in the brightest or darkest conditions for any phone you latch onto them. Manfrotto's PIXI Mini with Universal Clamp offers the best traditional tripod functionality in a "mini" form made for phones. This guide will help you find the right fit for your device and the images you want to compose.

Best Overall: Manfrotto PIXI Mini with Universal Clamp

Manfrotto Pixi With Clamp HeroSource: Manfrotto

Manfrotto is a household name for anyone in the know about tripods, and the PIXI Mini is one that should last a long time. The combination of stainless steel and aluminum with a technopolymer coat gives it a sturdy build. The ball-locking head is maneuverable for easier angling up to 35-degrees, and the low center of gravity at a height of 5.3-inches makes it simpler to use in tighter spaces. For long exposure shots, this tripod should hold up well.

The key to all this is the Universal Smartphone Clamp. This is not to be confused with Manfrotto's PIXI Clamp, which is a little more versatile, thanks to more rugged grips and an extra 1/4-inch screw thread. The Universal Clamp sports good springs, with each end using a rubber pad that is thick, yet soft and wide enough (3.2-inches) to handle most phones, even if they have a case. You could try to get creative with the thread on the clamp's rear by positioning the phone flatter on its back. However, it lacks the third thread the PIXI Clamp has that would simplify mounting a light or microphone on top of the phone.

They weigh less than eight ounces put together for a lightweight kit you can easily throw into a bag or carry as a handheld grip while out shooting. You also have the option to remove the mount and attach a DSLR or mirrorless camera up to a weight of 2.2 lbs.

Pros:

  • Solid and lightweight build materials
  • Handles a wide range of phones
  • Multiple threads on the Clamp

Cons:

  • Legs won't go lower than 45-degrees
  • The Clamp could use an extra thread

Best Overall

Manfrotto PIXI Mini with Universal Clamp

Ready to shoot and ready to last

The Italian brand known for making solid tripods makes a short and sweet one for phones built to handle most situations.

Best Value: Ubeesize Tripod S

Ubeesize Tripod S Lifestyle HeroSource: Ubeesize

It may not be fair to call this a 'poor man's GorillaPod' but the same spirit is there with the Ubeesize Tripod S, which comes with malleable legs that can snake around branches and poles. It has a higher center of gravity at 10.6-inches high when the octopus-style legs are straightened. They are made of metal and coated with rubber and foam to contour a little easier when wrapped around surfaces, as well as adding comfort when holding them in your hands.

While Ubeesize considers this tripod to be "rugged", its durability really depends on where you take it. The metal ball joint, coupled with the lightweight legs means this tripod is really only for phones and small action cams. That would explain why the company throws in a GoPro mount, too.

The mount has a good level of flexibility in that it can stretch up to 3.75-inches, accommodating most phones and cases. The included Bluetooth remote is primarily aimed at taking selfies, vlogging and landscape shots, which is great for setting up unique angles, but also comes in handy for long exposure shots at night where you need to avoid touching the phone.

Pros:

  • Flexible legs
  • Included Bluetooth remote
  • Good price

Cons:

  • Not ideal for panning
  • Legs don't straigten easily
  • Mount is basic

Best Value

Ubeesize Tripod S

Flexible in both deployment and price.

This is a more affordable way to bring some literal flexibility to how and where you capture the images you line up on your phone.

Best Versatility: IK Multimedia iKlip Grip

Ik Multimedia Iklip Grip Lifestyle HeroSource: IK Multimedia

IK Multimedia advertises the iKlip Grip as being compatible with phone screens ranging from 3.5- to 6-inches, but that doesn't factor in how much bezels have been disappearing on devices. The mount stretches out up to 3.58-inches, making it compatible with larger models, including the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and its 6.9-inch display.

Rather than just a tripod, the iKlip Grip is actually a quartet of accessories. It can work as a handheld stabilizer, extended selfie stick (up to 19.7-inches) or attach to a larger tripod through the detachable mount's 1/4-inch screw thread. The mount can also hold the phone in landscape or portrait orientations, and comes with a Bluetooth remote for hands-free still photo and video capture.

There's a lot to like about the whole package, not least because it negates having to accessorize an accessory with other attachments. IK Multimedia does have an iKlip Grip Pro that uses a better grip and adds a clip holder for the Bluetooth remote to keep it within your thumb's range.

Pros:

  • 4-in-1 accessory package
  • Handles more phones than advertised
  • Works in landscape and portrait

Cons:

  • Legs don't stretch or elongate
  • Selfie stick weaker at full length
  • Pro might be better for $10 more

Best Versatility

IK Multimedia iKlip Grip

More than just a tripod and mount.

When sightseeing or a photo session calls for more than a tripod, this package of built-in accessories combine to answer the call.

Best for any surface: Joby GripTight ONE GorillaPod Magnetic Mounting Kit

Joby Griptight One LifestyleSource: Joby

Joby's GorillaPod tripods are renowned for their ability to stand on almost any surface, or wrap around almost any suitable object. The GripTight ONE comes with some diverse reliability, thanks in large part to the magnetic feet that can affix it to most vertical or uneven metal surfaces. Coupled with the tough and foldable legs, this tripod should be able to capture photos and video from plenty of interesting angles.

The mount stretches out up to 3.6-inches, so it can handle most phones (with cases), and includes the option to orient it in landscape or portrait mode. Joby throws in a Bluetooth remote to help take selfies or group shots from wherever you see fit, but it also serves as a great way to shoot long exposures or worm's-eye majestic shots where it might be hard to touch the screen.

One potential issue over time is that the ball head doesn't have a handle to adjust tension. It articulates well on its own, and keeps a phone stable, but it's hard to know how tight it will be after years of use. The mount does come off, revealing the 1/4-inch screw mount for other mounts or cameras (though weight support is limited to 11.5 ounces).

Pros:

  • Magnetic feet
  • Flexible legs
  • Bluetooth remote

Cons:

  • No tension adjustment for ball head
  • Not ideal for cameras
  • Pricey

Best for any surface

Joby GripTight ONE GorillaPod Magnetic Mounting Kit

Take it with you anywhere and everywhere.

There's no need to agonize over what surface to shoot from when a tripod like this is built for that.

Best for vloggers: Joby GorillaPod Mobile Vlogging Kit

Joby Mobile Vlogging Kit Lifestyle HeroSource: Joby

What do you get when Joby adds flexible arms to go with the trio of flexible legs? This unique-looking vlogging kit that is clearly aimed at any would-be citizen journalist or social media influencer. The Mobile Vlogging Kit is essentially a bundle that combines the company's Mobile Rig, Beamo Mini LED and Wavo Mobile microphone.

Basically, the extra two items hook up to the articulated arms to create an all-in-one setup that would make it easier to shoot anywhere. The top of the mount also has its own 1/4-inch thread to attach a third item to the full rig. Joby includes a GoPro mount and cold shoe for the Beamo, though neither of them are fixed to the arms. You can take those mounts off and attach other items you'd prefer to use.

The arms and mount also come off entirely, making it easier to use this as a straight-up tripod. Moreover, it's easy enough to point a phone in one direction, like up ahead, and a GoPro toward yourself. Or you could set up two lights to flank a phone or camera when shooting an object or someone else. While a stretch to consider it a pro-level rig, it's versatile enough to simplify creative scenarios.

Pros:

  • Bundled with Mini LED and Wavo mic
  • Arms are removable
  • Works fine as a standard tripod

Cons:

  • Needs USB-C adapter for mic
  • No magnetic feet
  • Expensive

Best for vloggers

Joby GorillaPod Mobile Vlogging Kit

Doing more than one thing at the same time.

For the enterprising influencer or YouTuber needing some kit in the field, or at home, this kit is a pretty good place to start.

Best Mount: Joby GripTight PRO Phone

Joby Griptight Pro PhoneSource: Joby

You may already have a tripod that you like to use, but aren't sure you have a mount you can trust. The GripTight PRO Phone has been Joby's more pro-level phone mount going back a couple years, and it still really only has one job to do: secure a phone in place. Unlike Joby's other mounts, like the GripTight ONE, this is tougher and tighter. The spring has enough give for up to 3.5-inches wide, but that's about it. You may run into trouble if you have a thicker case on your device.

Not only that, but you'll have to watch how you place it so that it doesn't cover the power or volume buttons because of its wider footprint. It can articulate a phone at 90-degrees, taking care of both landscape and portrait orientations. But it also tilts up to 150-degrees, meaning you won't have to remove the phone or twist the mount laterally when you don't want to.

Pros:

  • Works with anything that has 1/4-inch mount
  • Tight clamp for added security
  • Fits majority of phones

Cons:

  • Bulky design and build
  • Might cover side buttons
  • Thicker cases are problematic

Best Mount

Joby GripTight PRO Phone

Holding still whenever necessary.

This thing isn't supposed to just mount your phone, it's also supposed to provide peace of mind when you do.

Bottom line

Finding the right phone tripod really boils down to what it is you're trying to achieve. More seasoned mobile photographers will probably have figured that out going in, but sometimes, creative opportunity knocks when you least expect it. That's why this list is varied. The Manfrotto PIXI Mini with Universal Clamp will be the best option for most situations, and with a wide range of phones.

And if you don't want the clamp anymore, you can always attach another. Even when closed, the tripod acts as a decent handheld stabilizer. It doesn't have flexible legs, or a Frankenstein-like rig to attach supporting gear, but it's well-made, dependable and can work with many DSLR and mirrorless cameras to boot.

Good and supportive gear can always help take better photos, as is learning some of the fundamentals in using your phone's camera. You can learn how to get started with this Smartphone Photography eCourse.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.

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