The 10 Best Phone Tripods
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in December of 2015. Take your Snapchats, Instagrams, and TikToks to the next level with a handy phone tripod. They'll let you and your friends pose for stable self-portraits without having to squeeze into the frame, and work with either your phone's self-timer function or an included remote control. We have included a wide range in this ranking, many of which double as selfie sticks and have Bluetooth connectivity. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 13, 2021:
Sometimes you go to take a selfie and your arms are simply too short to either capture the whole group or to leave both subject and background in focus. Putting a little distance between you and the camera can not only fix these issues, but it also can result in a more natural-looking photo that is less contrived, without you and your friends beaming directly into the lens at close quarters. Most of the items we've included in our ranking also include a wireless remote, so you can activate the shutter at your leisure and take multiple shots as desired, instead of waiting for the countdown timer and hoping that nobody is misbehaving.
When updating our list, a few items caught our eye, starting with the UBeesize 10-Inch that looks like the outer edge of a vanity mirror with its multifunctional ring lamp, which bathes the subject in three different tones of light. Each of these has a number of different brightness settings, ensuring you get just the right illumination when promoting products or speaking to the camera.
We also liked the Atumtek 51-Inch and the Yoozon Bluetooth. These are both similar enough in features, but useful in different scenarios. For example, the former has a long reach, to help capture more scenery or subjects and makes a good regular tripod for filming in low light or for large panoramas (something that is even more useful given the major improvements in mobile lens technology). The latter doesn't offer such an impressive reach, but, as such, is more compact and easy to carry on your person. Both options have Bluetooth remotes incorporated into their handles, which can be removed for shooting at a distance or left in to use the devices as regular selfie sticks.
December 27, 2019:
Because of occasional issues with long-term durability, we have decided to remove the Maono AU Z04, as well as the Accmor AC-13TR and the LifeStyle Designs 4-in-1 due to availability problems. We've also opted to replace the KobraTech Mini with the UBeesize 12 Inch; they're quite similar, but the latter has slightly better construction and so is better for the long term. There's also the popular Joby Gorillapod 1K, which is similar but does not come with a phone mount. For an all-in-one choice, we still like the simple but effective Square Jellyfish, but note that the metal version is the best value (the plastic mount can't take tons of abuse). Finally, we added the unique Kenu Stance, which works with your iPhone's Lightning port. This means, of course, that you can't use a Lightning cable to charge your phone at the same time, a drawback for some users.
Switchpod Handheld The Switchpod Handheld was created to work with a range of devices, including smartphones and DSLR cameras, and to be light enough to take virtually anywhere. It unfolds in a flash and is extremely robust despite the minimalist design, but expect it to be a little heavy on the wallet. switchpod.co
Pocket Tripod Pro You'd have to search far and wide to find a tripod much more compact than the Pocket Tripod Pro, which is so small that it can even fit inside your wallet. But it is big on usability thanks to a folding design that works in both landscape and portrait modes. pocket-tripod.com
A Perfect Love Triangle
Make small adjustments to the positioning of your fingers and you'll notice that the paper always rests flat on all three points, even as it changes its own orientation.
Suzy's in love with Jeff, but he's in love with her best friend Anna, who loves him back, but isn't sure whether her love for Jeff is greater or more important than her love for her bestie.
It's a classic love triangle, and it's a tough geometric combination to challenge. It also has a lot to do with tripods.
Mathematically, three legs is enough. You could, I suppose demand, four legs, or even a dozen, but it turns out that it would actually decrease your stability if you added any more legs.
Why is this? Well, you see, it only takes three points to define a plane in basic geometry. I was an English major, so I'm going to employ a little practical experiment here to make my point clear.
Take a piece of paper (the plane) and rest it on the tips of your thumb, index, and middle fingers (the three points). Make small adjustments to the positioning of your fingers and you'll notice that the paper always rests flat on all three points, even as it changes its own orientation.
Now, add a fourth finger to the mix. In order for the plane to keep in touch with all four points, it begins to bend, to distort, to lose stability.
So, when it's time to balance our expensive phones and cameras on something, a good triangle seems like the best bet.
In Defense Of The Selfie
Millennials take a lot of flack for taking selfies.
A now uncountable number of "think pieces" (page fillers for a 24-hour internet news cycle that is forever desperate for hits) has been written on the topic with titles like, Are Selfies Ruining Your Relationships? or 10 Ways Selfies Are Ruining Society.
Trends in advertising have locked in on young humanity's need to see ourselves reflected in the pool.
Very few of these pieces rely on anything more than anecdotal data, statistically anomalous occurrences of death or injury resulting from sheer stupidity, or–my personal favorite–fear of a changing world.
The thinking among large swaths of Generation Xers and older is that the Millennials are self-obsessed, lazy ne'er-do-wells completely and utterly dependent on the technology of their day.
There is, admittedly, some small truth in this. Trends in advertising have locked in on young humanity's need to see ourselves reflected in the pool.
But that need isn't completely sated by advertising and the media, especially if you're not a young white male.
Traditionally, the most elusive and sought-after target of the US consumer market has been 18-24-year-old white males. Funny thing is, that demographic takes far fewer selfies than its female counterpart.
One probable reason for this? Selfies gratify a part of us that seeks representation in media. The only group consistently, overwhelmingly represented in US media from advertising to film and television, is male, almost always white, and between the ages of 18 and 35.
For the rest of the world, selfies are a way to tip the scales of media representation, a way to empower oneself to say, "I'm here, too. I'm a person, and I matter."
Three Legs For A Long Time
While the selfie itself is a relatively recent phenomenon, the tripod goes back at least as far as ancient Greece.
I'm sure not too many people think about it while they're putting their selfie tripod in just the right place, but the oracle at Delphi, named Pythia, sat herself on a three-legged stool when reading into the future and the nature of the universe for Apollo. Mythology is pretty cool like that.
Do you need a highly expensive counterbalance vest for your selfies?
Knowing what we know about the Greeks co-opting a majority of their mathematics from the Persian Empire and Arabic scholars in Egypt, it's pretty safe to assume that the stability of a three-legged seat was known throughout the Middle East for centuries leading up to its recording in Greek literature, pottery, painting, and sculpture.
Tripods as we think of them today developed as stabilizing instruments for land survey equipment. In the middle of the 19th century, photographers took the leveling scope off the surveyor's tripod and replaced it with a large-format camera.
Since then, the tripod has been the preferred device for camera stability in still photography and video, though filmmakers got a new toy in the 70s called the steadycam.
Do you need a highly expensive counterbalance vest for your selfies? I'm going to say no, unequivocally. Would a tripod be nice, though? Absolutely.