Best Monopods Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Still photography is a craft (or a hobby) that is a game of a million “toys”. There is always a new piece of gear to buy, whether it’s a lens, a flash, a bag, or a strap, there are luckily (or horrifyingly, depending on your outlook) a never-ending list of awesome things to compliment your arsenal.
Tripods have been one of the biggest and most lucrative accessories for camera-toting folk since the beginning of time — photographic time, that is — and there are thousands of different variations.
- AmazonBasics Carbon Fiber
- Weighs Less Than a Pound
- Neewer Aluminum Alloy
- Three Way Swivel
- AmazonBasics 67-Inch
- Soft Rubber Foot
Sometimes, three legs is too many. In general use cases, a camera person would use a tripod in a scenario where being stationary is the key. But somewhere along the line, a still photographer needed the removal of their handshake, without the need to set up a shot for a short duration. Monopods (mono meaning one) is a tripod with a single leg. These were probably conceived by someone who decided to only extend a single leg from a tripod in order to ground your camera for a split second, rather than a while.
As with the key to any sort of photography accessory, there is an important and distinguished array of options. Things that can make your job easier, things that help you with your job, and even monopods that do the simple task of attaching your camera to the end of a stick that you can place an end on the ground, giving you a better chance at a stable shot.
10 Best Monopods
1. AmazonBasics Carbon Fiber
There’s no need to continue to lug around accessories for your shoots that simply weight you down. If you’ve never been to an event and seen that one camera operator that brought their entire kit, dragging themself across the ground, because their bag is a shocking one hundred plus pounds, the Carbon Fiber monopod by AmazonBasics is hardly a handful of feathers. Weighing in at under a single pound, this monopod will be the versatile tool you need, and you’ll barely even notice it’s there when you’re not using it.
Five and Dime
Most consumers think that having a name like AmazonBasics, and a history as an authority of the cheap and flashless, means that their products can’t reign supreme. But the Carbon Fiber Monopod by AmazonBasics is truly neither of those things. It might surprise you that an inexpensive monopod has the ability to extend fully up to five feet high. It’s unheard of. But it’s true here. A fairly inexpensive product that goes beyond the expectations those have when shopping on that end of the price scale.
Cost and Value
The AmazonBasics Carbon Fiber Monopod could either sit at the child’s table in the room with extremely premium, and over the top monopods. Or, it can sit upon the throne among the budget, or the simplified perfection. At around fifty dollars, this is the lightest, and best monopod on the market today. Basic or otherwise. Period.
Carbon fiber strength
22 lbs. load limit
No bells or whistles
Slightly above budget price
2. Neewer Aluminum Alloy
Is it weird that after introducing this list with a bit of smack talk about tripods, and then following that up with a bit of overly defensive dance against said thing at the beginning of this list entry, that we would then jump right into the fact that this product is also a tripod? Yeah, sure it does. Because that’s kind of counterproductive. However, the fact that this monopod can slide right into a tripod and become a stand-still tool is amazing. Two in one tools will also oust those with a single function.
Three Way Swivel
Tilting upwards, downwards, left, right, and even turning its own horizon is the only way to shoot. There’s something about shooting in the twenty-first century that shocks me when a tripod or camera mount doesn’t swivel in three ways. It makes for far easier shooting, and can work up to some beautiful shots from the head of a mount. Most wouldn’t think about the swivel capacity of a mount when considering their options, but it makes a huge difference, and you deserve the best tool.
Cost and Value
Two items into this list and we’ve already designed an average price. The price tag of the Neewer Portable Tripod Monopod, means that you get far more than the AmazonBasics option -- for the same price. Does it do that much more, at the same speed or quality? Not in the slightest. But you get a more functional set of tools here.
3-way swivel head
Comes with tripod
Monopod reaches 5 ft.
Not light - 4 lbs.
Lock mechanic not long lasting
3. AmazonBasics 67-Inch
There’s something beautiful about simplifying a process or piece of equipment to the point where the task at hand is easily completed, without all of the fuss of a million things that you might not need potentially getting in your way. Like me, when I travel, I just like to keep things simple. Unlike me when I travel, you should definitely plan (and don’t forget) to bring this monopod along when you leave your abode.
Indoors and Out
It’s not very often that we take a look at and sit in awe of the little feet of a product. Especially when it’s a monopod and there is only one little circle of rubber (usually) to softly connect your monopod to the ground. But with the AmazonBasics 67-inch Monopod, you get a soft rubber foot for the indoors, and hidden spikes below the rubber for the more rugged terrain of the grand outdoors. Potentially, this might even just be a great walking stick for those expert hikers looking for a pole to walk with.
Cost and Value
The 67-inch Monopod from AmazonBasics is the budget option to end all conversations about budget complaints. Sure, it’s not as compact, and the load max taps out at just over six and a half pounds, but it’s all the monopod you would need if you’re seeking for a steady arm to snap some stills.
4. Altura Photo Ball Head Combo
Whether you think you need it or not, having both a monopod and a ball head is going to really change your photography game. While some monopods feature a camera attachment that is sturdy, strong, and immovable, this one allows for a little wiggle room. You’re going to be able to take all the smooth panoramas you want when you purchase this one piece of equipment. That’s right: while other monopods would require you to purchase a separate ball head for swivel action, this one comes as a combo.
Whether you’re a professional portrait photographer or a tourist looking to up your Insta-game, this monopod and ball head combo is going to be easy to grab and go with. Many monopods require you to be constantly holding on to them, leaving you scrambling to find a free hand to hold that much needed between-appointments coffee. By giving you a wrist strap, Altura Photo has also given you the gift of a helping hand. Literally! You don’t need to hold on to this monopod, nor do you need to worry about strapping it securely to the outside of your camera bag. It fits safely around your wrist!
Cost and Value
This monopod is absolutely one of the cheaper ones on our list. While some photographers might be shocked that a monopod under $20 would make it into a top ten discussion, we respectfully disagree. This is a product that’s going to upgrade even the most seasoned photographer’s photos. While it’s not as indestructible as other monopods, it certainly will get the job done. We feel that this is a great choice if you want to test out a monopod and see if it’s for you.
Comes with ball head
Mount has threads which are universal
“Terrific” customer service
Can be difficult to open and close
Some reports of the tightening tab unattaching
5. COMAN KX3232
And we don’t mean “adjustable” like the way a one-size-fits-all halter dress is “adjustable”. We mean so adjustable that you’re able to not only attach/unattach the pan bar, but you’re also able to choose whatever height you want. While you need to choose between 26” - 73”, we think that that’s more than enough range for a monopod.
Continuing on the adjustable train, this monopod features both swivel capacities, pan capacities, and revolve capacities. COMAN has included on this monopod a patent vertical lock, which will let the monopod stay in place even if it’s revolved somewhere funky around the fulcrum. This is also a great time to mention that this monopod holds up to 13 lbs of weight. This makes the vertical lock a huge asset, as weaker monopods (or heavier cameras) might end in a lot of tears, broken camera lenses, and regret.
Cost and Value
This monopod is definitely a pricier piece of equipment, but we think it’s absolutely worth it. Not only do you end up getting a monopod, but you also end up getting several add-ons to the monopod that will make even the most well-equipped camera buffs green with envy. This monopod also comes with a carrying bag, which means you don’t need to spend the time fussing with your current equipment carrying set up. All that’s to say that we feel the benefits far outweigh the cost of this piece of gear. You’re definitely getting a good value with this one.
Pan handle can be done to the right or the left of the head (changeable sides)
Comes with carrying bag
Comparable to professional gear
Can stand on its own (when utilizing base legs)
Multiple color options
Reports of upper columns seizing up
Might fall if camera is attached (when standing independently)
We can all do with a helping hand sometimes. Support systems are necessary to succeed, but we so often end up getting them pulled out from under us due to unforeseen circumstances. When this happens to your monopod, it could mean camera death. Luckily for you, there’s no chance of this monopod coming out from underneath your sweaty, shaking palms. This monopod’s support system is built into it, and all you need to do is pop it open! The stabilizing legs keep it from wobbling or slipping, which means you’re ultimately getting a more stable photo.
Customers are always right, which is why we had to take a look at some of the reviews for this monopod. When a product looks great in the write up, the next step is to always look at other people’s experiences. When we looked for this product, we found overwhelming positivity. One review stuck out, where it mentioned how one of the biggest assets of this monopod is that it’s totally unobtrusive. The reviewer mentions how they bring it to their son’s basketball games and are able to record right there in the stands. It’s as steady as a tripod, but without infringing on anyone else’s bench space.
Cost and Value
This monopod is an excellent product. It’s perfect for the home videographer who wants to capture their kids’ big moments. While the price tag might be a little high for some, we feel this is a fair price for a parent who’s wanting to invest. The compact nature of it means you’ll use it much more than a full tripod, which means you’re going to get more bang for your buck out of using it in the long run.
Comes with a carrying pouch
Not appropriate for large, heavy cameras
Some reports of fluid head leakage
7. DIGIANT MP-3606
What, you thought we wouldn’t talk about one of the main words in the title? Think again! We had to save this feature to give it a full section all on its own. There’s as many monopods out there as there are photographers, which is why it’s important to give many options. By offering a telescoping monopod, DIGIANT is able to bring you a monopod that shrinks down to something super compact, while still being able to extend swiftly and easily. Plus, you don’t necessarily need to pull it out from the bottom. You can pull up on this monopod and it’ll extend that way as well!
We’ve talked about monopods being able to swivel before, but that’s usually done by moving your feet in a tight circle around the monopod and hoping it doesn’t kick out from underneath the camera. All those moments of fear are going to disappear when you get your hands on this monopod. While swiveling the head of the monopod is a common practice, it’s less common to find a base that swivels. The swiveling base is a benefit because you’re able to capture full, smooth panoramas that go all the way around, rather than just the size of your arm span.
Cost and Value
So many monopods are prone to breaking, which is usually mentioned in the reviews. While we found a few that discussed the telescoping capacity slipping or jamming, overall the response was incredibly high. We’re willing to believe that those were merely a few faulty products rather than indicators of the quality of the monopod. What we really like about the price of this monopod is that you can choose to purchase accident protection when you’re purchasing the product. As any wildlife photographer knows, accident protection insurance can literally save your career. Or, at least it could get you a new monopod! We believe that that alone is worth it.
Wrist strap and bag for a variety of effective carrying methods
Detachable tripod feet
Very sturdy, even with heavy cameras
Above average price tag
Plastic locking mechanisms
8. Manfrotto Lightweight
If there is one thing that Manfrotto is extremely well known for, it’s their abundance of high-quality additions for all of their camera monopods and tripods. So, as this stands, the Element Monopod is pretty bare bones, but if you can save by buying the paired down version of the car, then you can definitely afford all sorts of upgrades as time passes. It’s truly a wonderfully smart route to take. Eventually you can get to the end set-up you desire most with all of the additions on offer from Manfrotto, but with a cheaper price of entry here.
The thing about race cars is … I’ve milked this car thing too long haven’t I? Okay. Well the thing about sports cars is, they have to be light. The Manfrotto Element Monopod is near the top of it’s class within the weight category at just over one pound. The Aluminum body provides an extremely sturdy shaft, while adding very little to your overall carrying load.
Cost and Value
A premium grade monopod for less than the average price of a monopod? That’s how you spell value. Manfrotto is often considered one of the best brands on the market, and for them to attempt to make an introductory monopod with the express purpose of finding an entry level price is much more than they would ever have to. This is a model built for you. Not for them.
Plenty of add-ons
Premium build quality
Simplified, and stripped down
9. Manfrotto Xpro
Did you just flinch a little bit? That’s okay. Most photographers will wince at the word “fluid” in conjunction with cameras regardless of the reason it is said. And rightfully so. Nothing spells sadness quite like a wet camera body. The Fluidtech here, however, is something you’ll love, and soon won’t want to live without. The claw-footed base of the Manfrotto Xpro Monopod has a hinge where it connects to the pole, meaning that even when grounded, the monopod can tilt smoothly in all directions, making for some fabulous shots without sacrificing the stability of the ground.
Unlike most tripods, monopods, or camera mounts that have a single pin located near the center of a square head, the Manfrotto Xpro Video Monopod is equipped with the Manfrotto 500PLONG Video Camera Plate atop the art. This means that the head is perfect for mounting video cameras, or camcorders that have an uneven distribution of weight. The long rectangular mounting plate will make fixing those longer recording devices on top.
Cost and Value
Remember that time, only a few seconds ago (assuming you’re reading this in sequential order) when it was mentioned that Manfrotto is historically a luxury accessory manufacturer? Yeah, well the price tag reflects the quality of materials, the design, and the pedigree. A fairly hefty price take will net you one of, if not the most, premium monopods on the entire planet.
Swivel base stand
Video camera head
Hardcore locking mechanisms
Doesn’t collapse very small
10. Altura Photo
Sure, the Altura Photo 62-Inch Camera Monopod isn't going to win the award of the smallest collapsible product -- it sticks all the way down to a small not quite seventeen inches while telescoping all the way to sixty-two inches. But it will take the crown for the lightest monopod on this list. Spec sheets on the Altura 62-Inch Monopod state that it weighs in at only six-tenths of a pound when completely standalone. Five feet of pole at less than sixty percent of a pound in weight? That’s nutty.
Not only does the Altura 62-Inch Monopod have a rubber foot with a retractable steel tooth for grip on rugged terrain, but it also uses the universal threading mount for all camera and recording devices. We haven’t mentioned it much in this list, but the fact that you can generally buy any camera mounting or stand equipment and it will almost always fit the camera gear that you have. No matter the make of your DSLR, or your camcorder, the universal mounting screw will almost always fit.
Cost and Value
It’s the cheapest option on our entire list. It’s one of the cheapest options on the market as a whole. All while being designed and manufactured by a very well respected company, with a longstanding pedigree for well-made products. You will get a nearly flawless, however, simplified it may be, monopod that is far greater than it has any right to be.
5 ft. max length
Doesn’t collapse down very small
There’s a dizzying amount of camera and video recording accessories on the market. It’s a sea out there guys. And to mix analogies greatly — and poorly — there’s always room for more vehicles in the ocean. We’ve listed some cream-of-the-crop, and fairly pricey monopods, some very worthwhile middle of the road options, and a few for the budget folks that still get the intended job done.
If you can’t find an amazing product on our list — which we dare you to — then know that there are a billion options out there for you. We’ve plucked some very special pieces from the waterfall and put them up against each other.
Mobile photographers need a monopod with them at all times, the single leg stability comes in handy far more than a tripod will.
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Monopods
Propping up thousands of dollars worth of your money-making camera equipment is no easy task, and you shouldn’t leave it up to some unknown random brand to uphold.
It’s important to consider the type of materials used to build these contraptions, and the quality of said building materials prior to attaching your beautiful gear to the top of them. Regardless of where you go in the world, most of the monopods available globally are not going to be detrimental to your gear, but you might not make it through some trials of shooting with the cheaper versions.
Premium builds will include things like Carbon Fiber body materials, that will greatly decrease the carry weight of the monopod, and also things like flip lock sliders — the twist to lock ones never stay put, regardless of when premium companies put them on their monopods.
Though some of our options might be paired down versions of monopods — often the simplest things in life make everything way easier to deal with — there are plenty of brands and models that add a little bit more to the monopod game.
Like everything else, it’s important to discuss, and boil down all of the things you might need on your photography adventures. Do you need the flashy external quirks that a base unit might not have? Then there are definitely some quality options for you here. Otherwise, it’s perfectly acceptable (more so in some circles) to take the road smoother paved.
When it comes to tripods, and monopods alike, the only real variety you should shop around for is the head of the mount. Everything else isn’t going to make your job any easier, and plenty of astounding monopods come with very little in the bells and or whistles department. However, it was important to us to go through the marketplace and find exemplary monopods that display both the extraordinary additions and ones that do a wonderful job at the ordinary.
As with every market, there’s a median price for a generally awesome monopod. If you’re heading along the average path, you’re going to be looking at a price point that hovers around the sixty to one hundred dollar range.
Budget monopods — be careful here, because, once again, you do not want to go too cheap here considering the amount of money you’re going to be attaching to the top — can go as low as a twenty spot. We suggest not going much further south of twenty dollars as you will very quickly get into the space where everything is made of plastic, and all of that plastic can easily break.
On the premium end of the scale you’re looking at a few hundred dollars. These monopods will be of utterly perfect build, with the types of materials that improve carry weight, secure your camera or lens better, or give you the ability to do a little extra with your time.
There is a wide range of viable options, far more in the reasonable sense than a lot of other types of accessories, so if you’re just starting to shop for a monopod, you have a bit of research in front of you. Luckily, we’re here for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will it fit my camera?
A: Yes. If you’re shooting with a globally recognized camera, or your video capture device is something made by one of the big five, your gear will fit on top of the monopods listed. All of them. The universal mounting screw is just that, it’s universal. There isn’t a camera on the market made by the big guys that don’t include a spot on the bottom for the universal mounting screw. If you do happen to find a monopod or other accessory that doesn’t include a specifically mentioned universal mounting screw, then you’re probably looking at something possibly knocked off, and could be rather dangerous.
Q: How tall is it?
A: That’s a bit of a tricky question to answer. As with most mono or tripods, the extent of the length of the arms provided with the product isn’t consistent within the marketplace. You’ll find a lot of monopods roughly around the five foot in max length, but there will be variants like closer to six feet, or five foot one 4 inches. Everything is different in this accessory world, and it’s key that you pay close attention to the dimensions specified in the product description to find the one with the height that you want.
Q: How much money should I spend?
A: To be honest, spend as much as you can. Other than the camera and lenses themselves, there aren’t a lot of photography accessories (non-mechanical) that you need to spend a great deal on. But the more you spend, the better every aspect of your monopod will be. Straps and monopods are the two places in the use and safety of your gear that no corner should be cut if you have the means to avoid doing so.
Q: Is the weight important?
A: On its own? No. However, if you’re using a monopod to capture still photographs, chances are you’re on the go. Moving around is a common part of taking stills — even in a studio you’re still bombing around a bunch of gear, if only a few feet — and the lighter you can make your overall load with everything you need to do your job strapped to your back or on a trolley cart, the happier you will be overall.