2021’s Best Phone Tripods Under $30

Whether you’re taking photos of products for sale, taking long-exposure photos, attending meetings from home, or just on a quest for the perfect selfie, a tripod for your cell phone can make a world of difference.

What To Look For In A Tripod

  • In your quest for the best phone tripod, think about the ways you would like to use your phone while it’s on the tripod. Do you take lots of selfies? Do you like to be outdoors on rugged or uneven terrain? Are you most likely to take portrait-style photos indoors?
  • Some tripods are small enough to fold down and fit in a pocket. Others are bigger and can extend to 4′ tall or more. Some have bendy legs to twist around posts, branches or railings. Many convert from stand-alone tripod to selfie stick simply by folding up the legs.
  • Vloggers might be especially interested in tripods that have cold shoes on the clamps to hold ring lights and microphones. Keep that feature in mind when shopping for a tripod to use while vlogging.
  • If your phone has a heavy or thick case on it, the tripod’s clamp may not open wide enough to accommodate it or be strong enough to support it. If that’s the case, you may need to buy a bigger clamp or take your phone out of its case when using the tripod.

What Can A Phone Tripod Help Me Accomplish?

  • In this era of working from home, distance learning, and videoconferencing, a tripod can make your experience much more comfortable and enjoyable by helping you look your best and freeing your hands to take notes, gesture, or demonstrate.
  • Using a tripod – whether for your phone, action camera, or still camera – can make a world of difference in the quality of your images. The most obvious way is that you yourself can be a part of the photos. You might use the shutter timer or use a Bluetooth remote to take the photo once you’re in place. No more having to take two group photos (to switch out photographers) to make sure everyone has had their photo taken!
  • A tripod eliminates camera shake. Blurry photos caused by a “camera jiggle” or not being held securely in someone’s hands can ruin a perfect shot.
  • Long-exposure photos will be easy for you when you don’t have to hold your phone and hope you aren’t jostled while the exposure is being captured. Panoramic photos, too, become easier when you need only rotate the tripod head, rather than try to turn your body as well as keep the camera level with the horizon at the same time.
  • When you’re using a tripod, you can also use helpful accessories such as a ring light or an external microphone. Some tripods come with “cold shoes” for seating those accessories so that they are right where they need to be in relation to your camera for the most flattering lighting and clearest sound.
  • Travelers enjoy having a small tripod to hold their phones on an airliner’s lap tray, for watching movies, reading, or working puzzles during a flight.
  • Perhaps you’re not sure you really need a tripod, but you’d like to get one to see if you like it… Or if you already know you want one but need help choosing, try out one of these budget-friendly phone tripods to help you achieve your goals.

Best Adjustable Mount Tripod: Xenvo SquidGrip Flexible Cell Phone Tripod

The thing I really like about this tripod is the all-metal ball head. Ball heads are amazing for adjusting camera angles to whatever angle you need or want. With not one but TWO ball joints on the Xenvo SquidGrip and a 360° rotating center column, you’ll be able to point your camera anyhow you like. And if that wasn’t good enough to make you want to run right out and buy one, how about the universal SuperGrip phone mount that will hold all current models of phones? Want to use a GoPro? No problem; a GoPro mounting attachment comes with it.

The sleek flexible legs on the Xenvo SquidGrip set it apart from other flexible tripods with ball legs (see the GorillaPod below). The “Neo-Rubber” legs are smoother and more flexible than other tripod legs, and when used as a selfie stick, those slim legs are more comfortable to hold than ball legs. The legs on the Xenvo allow you to position your phone on irregular surfaces, too.

The no-questions-asked lifetime warranty on the Xenvo SquidGrip is unparalleled in any of the tripods I studied for this article. What do you have to lose?

Cons: This is the most expensive tripod on my list. It barely squeaks by under my $30 price limit, and perhaps the price will go up sometime later. (If it does I’ll have to edit my post!) The one complaint people seem to have with the Xenvo is that the phone grip isn’t as strong as they wish it was. Keep an eye on your phone until you’re familiar with using the tripod, and if it doesn’t work out for you, take advantage of that no-questions-asked warranty they advertise.

Best Flexible Tripod: Joby GripTight One GorillaPod With Smartphone Mount   

It doesn’t get much cuter than a GorillaPod, with the super-bendy legs that make it look more like a toy than a tool. But trust me, this tripod is ready to work. The flexible legs with rubber feet allow you to set your phone on an irregular surface such as the hood of a car or the big boulder at the state park. Fold up the legs and use the tripod as a selfie stick. Snap that selfie, slip the tripod in your pocket, and be on your way to the next adventure. The phone grip opens to 3.5″ and claims to hold any phone, in or out of a case.

Cons: It’s small. The flexible legs can be made to wrap around something if you need to, but it can’t grip something large like a thick tree limb. When used as a selfie stick, there isn’t a lot of added length and those nubby legs aren’t the most comfortable thing to grasp for a long time, so stick it in your backpack when you’re done.

Manfrotto Pixi Mini with Universal Clamp

What I really like about the Pixi Mini is that the phone mount can be used as a phone stand when it’s not attached to the tripod legs. The grip on the phone mount is also soft enough to resist scratching your phone. The legs themselves are very sturdy and when folded together, can be used as a selfie stick. This is a great little tripod whether you use the legs or just the phone mount’s pop-out stand. I’d recommend this one best for people working from home or distance learning.

Cons: Larger phones may need to buy the tripod alone and buy separate larger phone clamp. Your phone can only be held in landscape position – horizontal, not vertical. The legs are either fully open or fully closed – there is no way to adjust them for stability on uneven surfaces.

Best Long Selfie Stick Tripod: UBeesize Selfie Stick Tripod with Remote

 This tripod deserves a mention as being the best tripod/selfie stick combo I’ve come across. You can extend this baby over 4′ long and if that isn’t a tremendous help with a group selfie, I don’t know what is. Don’t worry about how you’re going to snap the picture either, because this tripod comes with a Bluetooth remote that can be used up to 30′ away with both Android and IOS phones. A GoPro adapter is included with the set and UBeesize offers a one-year warranty.

Cons: The tripod can be unwieldy to use as a selfie stick and can’t be put into a pocket or purse when collapsed fully. The mount has limited adjustment for camera angles.

 Best Budget Tripod: UBeesize 51″ Phone Tripod TR50 with Remote  

Here’s what I like about this tripod right off the bat – the legs extend from the top. Why is that important, you ask? When the legs stretch out from the top of the tripod, the base of the tripod is more stable. This is especially important if you’re shooting photos outdoors when there is any wind blowing. With a tripod extending as tall as this one does – 50 inches – I don’t want it tottering on an unstable base created by having the legs so low they’re better described as “feet” and a pole with no lateral support. This tripod’s legs lengthen from the bottom in three sections, leaving the top of the tripod (and my valuable camera) supported in a secure manner. Our heavy camera tripod extends the same way, and I’d ask for no less for my phone when I can get that feature at such a great price. The legs can extend independently of one another and there are no set locking points, which means the tripod can sit on uneven terrain. While I want this tripod for my iPhone X, it’s nice to know I can also use it with small cameras as well, as long as there is a threaded hole to screw it into place on the mount. Three-way pan head tilts, rotates and and switches from landscape to portrait mode quickly and securely. The included Bluetooth remote works with both Android and IOS phones; simply pair the remote with your phone and you’re good to go. The mounting head also includes a cold shoe mount for accessories such as a microphone.

Cons: This tripod is lightweight. If you need a rugged, active-lifestyle tripod this may not be the one for you. It won’t stand up to a lot of rough handling, so don’t expect this one to be indestructible. The legs can feel loose until the locking mechanisms are clamped down, which then eliminates the wiggle. This can be unnerving until you realize that the legs will be fine.

So, which tripod did I buy for myself?

It was a close contest between the Xenvo SquidGrip and the UBeesize TR50. If you don’t need the height, I’d strongly recommend the Xenvo SquidGrip for the double ball joints and the lifetime warranty. But…..

I bought the UBeesize 51″ tripod. Why? Well, the short answer is, I needed the height. I’m not much of a selfie-taker, so I didn’t need something to hold in my hand, but I did need something I could securely set up outdoors on occasion. My light box usually sits on my kitchen island, and when I’m taking photos of my own hands demonstrating a craft inside the light box, I need my camera to be tall enough to “see” into it at that height. The height adjustments and the top-down leg extension are just the right things for the types of photos I take.

 

 

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