Best tripods 2024: For astrophotography, landscapes, travel, video and more

Having one of the best tripods in your kit is very important if you take your photography seriously. Whether it's to steady your camera on those long exposures, or helping you reach new angles, tripods have a lot of uses — and if you're heading out into the world (or the studio) with your camera, you shouldn't hesitate to take a tripod along with you.

While most tripods all have the same aim — to keep your camera steady and secure while you're shooting — they aren't all made equally, and some will be better at a particular job than others. For example, if you shoot in particular terrains, you'll find that some tripods are better equipped for the job than others.

We've taken everything into account when rounding up our picks of the best tripods, and most of the tripods on this list have been tried and tested by our own experts. In each section below, you'll find the pros and cons of each one we've selected, and we've noted the areas they're strong (or weak) in. 

We've also rounded up the best travel tripods if you're primarily looking for an ultra-portable option. Some models also support additional accessories like interchangeable feet to handle different types of terrain when shooting outdoors. You'll want to make sure that any tripod you buy is suitable for the kit you intend to use, including your camera, lens and any other accessories. Combine with one of the best cameras or best mirrorless cameras and start snapping.

Kimberley Lane author image
Kimberley Lane

Kimberley Lane is a landscape & seascape photographer living in South Wales. Originally using photography as a way to cope with health issues, she aims to portray a feeling of calm and peace through her images. Her work has been featured in a number of national photography magazines.

The quick list

Best tripods we recommend in 2024

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Best overall

Benro Mach3 TMA37C

Best overall: This is a serious bit of kit for serious astrophotographers

Specifications

Material: Carbon fiber with magnesium castings
Leg sections: 3
Weight: 4.1 lbs / 1.86kg
Max load: 35 lbs / 15.9kg
Max height: 63.58-inch / 161.5cm
Folded height: 24.6-inch / 62.5cm
Ball head or pan/tilt head: Can purchase either separately

Reasons to buy

+
Kit includes spiked feet and short center column attachment
+
Intuitive, no fiddling
+
Sturdy leg locks make it easy to use  

Reasons to avoid

-
Have to buy the head separately
-
Only one leg has a foam grip
-
Doesn't fit into the carry bag with the geared head attached 
Buy it if

✅ You need durability: If you use your tripod a lot and need something that's going to withstand tough terrain and adverse conditions, this will suit you well.

✅ You want something that will last: The exceptional build quality means this tripod will last you for years.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't have a big budget: This is a serious bit of kit with a serious price tag, so if you don't have the budget for something as pro-grade as this, there are cheaper alternatives.

❌ You're a casual user: This tripod could well be overkill if you only use your tripod every now and again or if you're a beginner.

The bottom line

🔎 Benro Mach3 TMA37C An impressive tripod built to withstand anything you throw at it, it can cater to multiple shooting styles and is a fantastic choice for anyone who is serious about photography. As expected, for such a high-end tripod, there is a high end price tag to match. ★★★★½

The best of all the best tripods on the market has to be the Benro Mach3 9X CF TMA37C: A professional bit of kit that is sure to be the envy of any photographers. It's not cheap, but it's well worth the cost if sturdiness and durability is what you're looking for.

This is a premium tripod that can be used on all types of terrain and in all types of weather thanks to its spiked feet. If you're typically an outdoor shooter, then, whether astrophotography or wildlife/landscape photography, the Benro Mach3 is an excellent choice. 

There are two versions of this tripod on the market: One made of carbon fiber and another made of aluminum. Unsurprisingly, the carbon fiber version is the more expensive of the two, but both are surprisingly lightweight and equally durable. If you're looking for something extra-portable, though, the carbon fiber model is the lighter of the two.

The short center column of the Benro Mach3 means you can shoot low to the ground without any issues, giving extra flexibility when setting up creative shots. The downside, though, is that you'll need to buy a tripod head separately, making it even more of an expense — but it at least means you can purchase a head that suits your shooting style.

If you have the budget for it, there are few better tripods on the market than the Benro Mach3 9X CF TMA37C. This is an excellent bit of kit for professionals and enthusiasts alike, which will last for years to come.

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Benro Mach3 9X CF TMA37C
AttributesNotes
DesignChunky but surprisingly lightweight.
PerformanceDurable, reliable and incredibly capable.
FunctionalityOffers a range of configuration options.

Best for portability

Best for portability: A narrow, novel, and night-friendly support for full-frame cameras and even smartphones

Specifications

Material: Aluminum/carbon fiber
Leg sections: 5
Weight: 3.44 lbs / 1.56kg (aluminum) / 2.81 lbs / 1.28kg (carbon fiber)
Max load: 20 lbs / 9.1kg
Max height: 51.25 - 60-inch / 130 - 152cm
Folded height: 15.4-inch / 39.1cm
Ball head or pan/tilt head: Ball head

Reasons to buy

+
Narrow design
+
Hidden smartphone mount
+
Easily supports full-frame gear 

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks height compared to other models
-
Requires hex key
-
High price 
Buy it if

✅ You want to travel with it: More than just being lightweight, it's specifically designed with travel in mind, and it folds down neatly with no protruding parts, and fits effortlessly into a suitcase or backpack.

✅ You shoot with your smartphone: It features a novel smartphone mount, so users who create content with their smartphone will be covered.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: This tripod is on the more expensive end of the market, so may be inaccessible to anyone on a budget.

❌ You want a tall tripod: This isn't the tallest tripod we've tried, despite having 5 leg sections, which may be annoying for taller users.

The bottom line

🔎 Peak Design Travel Tripod An impressively compact tripod that's built with travel in mind, folding down into a super sleek package that you can take anywhere. It's not the tallest, or the most affordable, but we think it's worth the money. ★★★★½

The Peak Design Travel Tripod topped our list of the best travel tripods and also stands as a worthy runner-up here. It has an elegant and well-thought-out design ideal for travel photographers or astrophotographers who need to journey to a remote location to escape light pollution.

Unlike other travel tripods we've tried, the Peak Design tripod folds down with no gaps between the legs, making it easy to pack in your luggage or camera bag. It measures only 3.1 inches (7.9 cm) in diameter when folded down, and the aluminum version is also relatively light at 3.4 lbs (1.6 kg). It's also available in a carbon fiber version, but at 2.8 lbs (1.3 kg) you're not saving a lot of weight for the extra money, so we feel the aluminum model is better value.

In our Peak Design Travel Tripod review, we praised how small and compact the ball head design is, noting it's small than almost any other tripod on the market. There are no extra levers or knobs sticking out anywhere, which keeps things nice and tidy (and easy to transport!). The camera plate, on the other hand, isn't quite so good, as you'll need a hex tool in order to attach it — if you're shooting astro in the dark, it's a very fiddly task that you probably could do without. 

Once it's all set up, however, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is extremely secure, with its feet feeling very sturdy at the bottom of the legs. It's not quite as tall as some other tripods on this list, but we love the versatility of it — it's capable of shooting just 5.5 inches (14cm) from the ground. Oh, and if you want to shoot with your phone's camera, there's a handy smartphone mount in the center column, which is a nice touch. 

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Peak Design Travel Tripod
AttributesNotes
DesignNarrow, space saving design.
PerformanceEasy setup and takedown.
FunctionalityNot as tall as some tripods.

Best for multiple disciplines

Best for multiple disciplines: For joint astro and landscape photographers, it's a joy to handle

Specifications

Material: Carbon fiber
Leg sections: 5
Weight: 3.1 lbs / 1.41kg
Max load: 30 lbs / 14kg
Max height: 54.7 - 73.2-inch / 138.9 - 185.9cm
Folded height: 16.14-inch / 41cm
Ball head or pan/tilt head: Ball head

Reasons to buy

+
Great build quality
+
Tactile bubble grip knobs
+
Light and portable  

Reasons to avoid

-
Slight 'falling into place' with longer lenses
-
Hex key plate attachment 
-
Higher price point for this type of tripod
Buy it if

✅ You often use your tripod: For frequent use over multiple photography disciplines, this tripod will serve you well. 

Don't buy it if:

You don't want to spend loads: While we do think it's worth the higher price point given the quality, it might not be the best option if you don't want to spend a lot.

The bottom line

🔎 3 Legged Thing Punks Brian tripod with AirHed A premium tripod with the price tag to match, but a fantastic option if you're looking for durability and quality. It can support heavy loads and folds down incredibly compact. ★★★★½

The Punks Brian tripod from 3 Legged Thing seems to have found the perfect balance between being one of the tallest tripods we've reviewed (nearly 74 inches when fully extended), while also being one of the most compact when folded up (at only 16 inches). This makes it remarkably versatile, appealing to taller people who still need something that is easy to carry around with them.

It has a very premium feel, with its eight layers of 100% pure pre-preg carbon fiber ensuring that it is light enough for everyday use, while also being incredibly sturdy. The five leg sections twist and untwist into place, and we particularly liked the textured rubber grips that you can find on all the knobs and leg twists. This makes it especially easy to use with cold hands or in damp weather conditions.

This tripod is also an excellent choice for anyone who plans to be shooting on a variety of different terrains since 3 Legged Thing offers a range of interchangeable foot accessories, including spikes, elevated spikes and claw grips. They've also made the center column detachable so that it can be used as a monopod, which can be handy for more awkward shots or selfies.  

If we're being picky, we found the hex-key-enabled connector plate a little inconvenient until we were used to using it, but the whole tripod is well constructed, and you also get a nylon drawstring bag for the tripod and microfiber bag for the AirHed. Although it falls into the higher price range, we think it's worth it for the quality feel and versatility that you get.

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3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian
AttributesNotes
DesignLight and portable.
PerformanceHex key can be challenging in the dark.
FunctionalityMultiple leg positions.

Best lightweight option

Best reasonably priced lightweight option: The lightest aluminum travel tripod you're likely to find

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 4
Weight: 3.28 lbs / 1.5kg
Max load: 19.48 lbs / 8.84kg
Max height: 59.45-inch / 151cm
Folded height: 15.7-inch / 39.9cm
Ball head or pan/tilt head: Ballhead

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight aluminum build
+
Excellent build quality
+
It doesn't droop with full-frame DSLR

Reasons to avoid

-
Not space-efficient
-
Relatively large when collapsed
-
Not full height 
Buy it if

✅ You have heavy kit: We found it to be very sturdy and can hold loads of up to 19.48 lbs / 8.84kg.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a travel tripod: Although it's an incredibly lightweight tripod, it is fairly large when collapsed so it wouldn't be the best option for traveling.

The bottom line

🔎 Manfrotto BeFree Advanced aluminum An incredibly lightweight tripod at a very reasonable price that ticks all the boxes, but it wouldn't be the best option for travel due to its larger size when collapsed. ★★★★½

When you're moving around with a tripod, being lightweight is super important. And for that reason we can't praise the Manfrotto BeFree Advanced aluminum tripod enough: It's one of the lightest aluminum tripods around, proving you don't always need to fork out for carbon fiber to get something super light. 

More impressively, though, is just how well built this tripod is. It has an excellent build quality, with its solid center column offering a lot of support thanks to its own fastening mechanism. While it doesn't hold the biggest load of all the tripods on this list (just under 20lbs), your camera alway feels reassuringly secure on top of the Manfrotto BeFree Advanced.

The build quality and security comes at a slight cost, though, as this isn't the most compact travel tripod out there. It's a small price to pay, and one we'd say is probably worth it, thanks to the high-end features like wraparound twist-lock rings on the leg choices, and an aluminum 200PL PRO base plate. So unless you absolutely need a really compact tripod for travel, it's a trade worth considering.

One of the best features of this tripod is its versatile ball head, which allows you to position your camera at any angle and has a firm locking mechanism to keep your camera safe and secure in whatever position you set it in. This, alongside the four-section legs offering three different angled positions, makes it a very flexible tripod for framing your perfect shot.

At 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg), it's barely heavier than most carbon fiber rivals, making it excellent value for money. Although, as is often the case with travel tripods, some compromise has been made on the height to keep the weight down, so it may not be best suited to taller people since it only reaches 59 inches (150 cm) when fully extended.

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Manfrotto Befree Advanced Tripod
AttributesNotes
DesignLightweight but large when collapsed.
PerformanceEasy and quick setup.
FunctionalityStrong center column.

Best affordable option

Best affordable option for hobbyist or beginner photographers looking for a reliable tripod

Specifications

Material: Aluminum & carbon fiber options
Leg sections: 4
Weight: 3.75 lbs / 1.55kg
Max load: 17.6 lbs / 8kg
Max height: 63-inch / 160cm
Folded height: 16.9-inch / 43cm
Ball head or pan/tilt head: Ball head

Reasons to buy

+
Portable & lightweight
+
Sturdy enough to hold decent setups
+
Easy to set up and take down

Reasons to avoid

-
No 90-degree rotating central column
-
Dips slightly when fully extended
Buy it if

✅ You're on a budget: This is a decent option for anyone on a budget. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the higher-priced models, but it'll do what you need it to do.

✅ You're a beginner: It's easy to setup and take down, and there are no complicated bits to contend with, making it a good option to get started with.

✅ You want to shoot video or panoramas: The smooth 360-degree panning on this tripod is a standout feature that will appeal to videographers.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to shoot at unusual angles: This tripod doesn't shoot low to the ground, and the central column can't fold down to 90-degrees.

The bottom line

🔎 Manfrotto Element MII For beginners, this would be a great option that won't break the bank. If you want something simple that does the job with no complications, it would suit you well. ★★★★

The Manfrotto Element MII is a fantastic entry-level tripod that's ideal for hobbyists, beginners or anyone on a tighter budget. It's a lightweight aluminum build that is easy to set up and operate and has an attractive patterned design on two of the legs, with the third leg being encased in a rubber grip for easy carrying.

We think this tripod offers a perfect balance since it is both sturdy and lightweight. In our Manfrotto Element MII review, we found it light and compact to carry around, but it also withstood some very windy coastal conditions even with a relatively light camera setup on board. It also comes with a detachable hook that can be screwed into the bottom of the central column for added weight, should you need it.

There's no fiddly procedures involved in setting up the Manfrotto Element MII: Thanks to its twist locks and legs that open very quickly, it's a painless and stress-free process. We also like that the tripod's ball head has built-in spirit levels for shooting both landscape and portrait orientations — although a small downside is that the camera obscures them once it's in place. So you'll need to make sure you check you're level beforehand.

The main drawback of the Manfrotto Element MII is that the central column doesn't allow for any rotation, meaning you can't shoot at 90 degrees. Depending on your photography style it might not be an issue at all, but it's worth noting. On the other hand, the 360-degree panning function on the tripod is excellent: It's silky smooth and very useful for shooting videos, panoramas or tracking moving objects.

If you're looking to upgrade, the Manfrotto Element MII also comes in a carbon fiber version, which should be even more lightweight than the one we tested, and there's also a version with Bluetooth remote control if that appeals to you.

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Manfrotto Element MII
AttributesNotes
DesignAluminium or carbon fiber variants.
PerformanceSturdy but lightweight.
FunctionalityEasy to put up and take down.

Best for versatility

Best for versatility: The Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod is a popular choice for outdoor and landscape photography

Specifications

Material: Aluminum (also available in carbon fiber)
Leg sections: 4
Weight: 3.66 lbs / 1.66kg
Max load: 33.1 lbs / 15kg
Max height: 59.8-inch / 152cm
Folded height: 17.7-inch / 45cm
Ball head or pan/tilt head: XPro ball head

Reasons to buy

+
Fast-operating M-lock mechanism
+
90-degree column for horizontal positioning 

Reasons to avoid

-
No hook for adding stability
-
Not all models have a carry bag
-
Doesn't come with a strap
Buy it if

✅ You need portable and sturdy: Despite being lightweight at only 4.1 lbs, it can handle an impressive maximum load of 14.3 lbs.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a tight budget: This isn't the most expensive option on the market, but there are cheaper options available if you're on a tight budget.

The bottom line

🔎 Manfrotto 190 Go! Aluminum tripod This tripod is lightweight, portable, easy to put up and down and has a whole load of different options to choose from in regards to build and construction. Though it may be too pricey for casual photographers. ★★★★½

Manfrotto's 190 Go! range of tripods are designed to be quick and easy to operate, with signature 'M-lock' twist locks that help you to set up your tripod in a matter of seconds. In our Manfrotto 190 Go! review we tested out the carbon fiber version, but the aluminum version, being both cheaper and lighter, is an appealing prospect for anyone who's looking for quality on a tighter budget. It weighs just 3.66 lbs (1.66kg), but you can still mount an impressive 33.1 lbs (15kg) of kit on it and we had no problem mounting a heavy-duty DSLR setup nice and securely.

This tripod offers great flexibility, since the leg positions can be adjusted to four different angles at 25, 46, 66 or 88 degrees. The center column can also swing out horizontally at 90 degrees, making it easy to take shots from close to the ground at a minimum height of 3.5 inches (9cm). This can be particularly useful for macro shooting or for landscape photographers looking to capture an alternative perspective.

One particularly neat feature of the Manfrotto 190 Go! tripod is its 'Easy Link' attachment. You'll find it hidden underneath a rubber cover in the top casing, and it allows you to attach a bunch of useful accessories, like an LED light reflector. Whether you shoot in the studio or outside, it's something that will come in handy for many photographers.

This is still a very pricey tripod, and so casual photographers might be put off, but if you do have the budget for it, it's an excellent piece of kit. Its lightweight build and versatile features make it a valuable competitor to more expensive carbon fiber models. 

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Manfrotto 190 Go!
AttributesNotes
DesignAluminum and carbon fiber variants.
PerformanceSuper easy to assemble.
FunctionalityChoose from different construction, heads and leg sections.

Best for awkward positions

Best for awkward positions: A solid, sturdy and versatile option for mirrorless and DSLR cameras

Specifications

Material: Aluminum
Leg sections: 3
Weight: 5.38 lbs / 2.44kg
Max load: 15.4 lbs / 7kg
Max height: 68-inch / 172.7cm
Folded height: 28.15-inch / 71.5cm
Ball head or pan/tilt head: Ball head

Reasons to buy

+
Multiple positions, including low to the ground 
+
Solid and stable
+
Easy to put up and take down in the dark 

Reasons to avoid

-
Required hex key
-
Heavier than other similar models on the market
Buy it if

✅ You want to shoot in different positions: This tripod is capable of getting itself into many weird and wonderful positions, with the legs splaying out to almost 90º to the center column. 

✅ You're on a budget: If you need a sturdy tripod that won't break the bank, this is a great option.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want something lightweight: This tripod is heavier and bulkier than many others on the market, so it's best suited to backyard astrophotography or if you're not going to venture far from your car.

The bottom line

🔎 Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB If you don't plan on walking too far with it, it's a great affordable option that provides a lot of versatility with the ability to shoot very low to the ground, is sturdy and reliable. ★★★★

If you like getting creative with your photography, shooting from a number of different angles and positions, the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB is a great choice of tripod. Almost every part of this tripod adjusts, from its legs, which can go from 25 degrees to almost 90 degrees, and the central column itself can be retracted and angled at 90 degrees from the legs. Set it up in just the right way, and you can point your camera directly at the sky from just 10 inches above the ground.

If you're an astrophotographer, then, the Alta Pro is a fantastic choice, making it easy to create long-exposure shots of the night sky. Capturing something like a star trail will be made easier than ever without having to worry about judder coming from a sudden gust of wind, for example. It also helps that it's pretty easy to set up, with the leg adjustments being a simple case of pushing just one button.

While this tripod offers great versatility and stability, the downside is that it is quite heavy and bulky to carry around. Weighing in at over 5 lbs and still measuring 30 inches long even when fully folded down, this isn't a tripod that you want to be transporting very far on foot and it won't fit in any airline carry-on cases.

Another slight annoyance we encountered in our Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB review was that instead of the convenient D-ring we're used to, the connector plate on this tripod comes with a fiddly screw fitting that requires a coin or tool to tighten and untighten. Although they provide you with a tool to do this, it did feel like an unnecessary faff when better options are available.

Overall, this is a highly versatile tripod that makes getting a good astro shot easy, but it's probably best suited to people who like to engage in astrophotography from their backyard or who are able to drive most of the way toward their destination spot.

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Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB
AttributesNotes
DesignVery flexible legs.
PerformanceClip legs easy to put up and take down in the dark.
Functionality90º central column gives a good range of movement.