Best GoPro Gimbal Stabilizers in 2020
GoPro action cameras literally changed the video content space, allowing just about anyone to start sharing their adventures, be it travels, bike rides, swims, and whatever else they fancied. GoPros make great everyday cameras and have built-in stabilization technology, called HyperSmooth, which begs the question, do you really need a gimbal stabilizer for GoPros?
Does a GoPro camera need a gimbal?
This is a valid question, especially now that the latest GoPro HERO8 Black comes with the newer, HyperSmooth 2.0, which, to be honest, results in super-smooth footage (video below).
But HyperSmooth 2.0, or even HyperSmooth 1.0 doesn’t mean a gimbal for GoPro is useless. Apart from physical stabilization, a gimbal facilitates dynamic filming and becomes a necessity if you want to create cinematic experiences.
Typically a GoPro camera is mounted on your equipment or self, and that works as long as you want a POV adventure video, but is not practical for everyday filming or vlogging.
So, if you want to use your GoPro for casual filming and not just POV videos, getting a GoPro gimbal is a good idea. Now let’s get on with choosing the best GoPro gimbal for your budget and needs.
We will begin by listing our picks and then moving onto buying considerations to help you make a decision.
Table of Contents
- Does a GoPro camera need a gimbal?
- #1. GoPro Karma Grip [Native GoPro Gimbal]
- #2. Hohem iSteady Pro 2 [Budget 3-Axis Gimbal]
- #3. FeiyuTech WG2X 3-Axis [Wearable Gimbal]
- #4. Removu S1 [Versatile 3-Axis Gimbal]
- Considerations before buying a GoPro gimbal
#1. GoPro Karma Grip [Native GoPro Gimbal]
Given that the Karma Grip is a native 3-axis gimbal for GoPros, and is actually a good, user-friendly product, it is first on our list. If you’re tied into the GoPro ecosystem, and have multiple GoPro cameras and mounts, adding the Karma Grip to your collection is a good move (if it doesn’t break the bank).
However, the Karma Grip is NOT compatible with the latest GoPro HERO8. It works out of the box with HERO7 Black, HERO6 Black, and HERO5 Black, while you can buy an additional Karma Harness to hookup your HERO4.
The Karma Grip is a handheld gimbal, but can also be worn on body mounts, such as the Chesty and Seeker, with the included Mounting Ring.
Balancing or calibration on the Karma Grip is automatic, stabilization is great, but in terms of other features, the Karma Grip is on the simpler side, giving you basic on/off, recording and HiLight toggles along with a tilt-lock (not a full lock). It is weather-resistant and usable in snow but is NOT waterproof, so you can’t submerge it in water or any other liquids.
If you’re looking for a reliable, quick-setup gimbal for your GoPro camera, Karma Grip is a good choice. You won’t have any complaints about stability and smooth footage, but the battery life and lack of additional features available in comparative third-party gimbals (which are much cheaper) may bother some users.
If you’re interested in getting the Karma Grip, you can find it slightly cheaper on Amazon, compared to the official GoPro site.
#2. Hohem iSteady Pro 2 [Budget 3-Axis Gimbal]
Hohem’s iSteady Pro 2 gimbal for action cameras is among the cheapest (you can get some great deals under $100) 3-axis motorized gimbals on the market with tons of features.
For the price, you’d be surprised that the iSteady Pro 2 is splashproof, features 600 degrees of motion during panning (for the inception mode), a joystick to control your GoPro’s pan and tilt and four motor modes, pan-follow, pan and tilt follow, all-follow and all-lock modes.
There’s even a temporary all-lock toggle which is very useful when you want to focus on a particular object without having to wait and switch modes.
On the compatibility front, the iSteady Pro 2 continues to shine, supporting all GoPros from HERO7 down to HERO3, along with other action cameras such as the DJI Osmo Action and YiCam.
You can also use Bluetooth to connect your gimbal to your smartphone and use Hohem’s app to remotely control the iSteady Pro 2 and update the firmware.
Overall, the stabilization is very decent, battery life is great at around 10 – 12 hours, the gimbal is light and supports camera charging, external microphones and shooting in light rain (it is splash-proof).
For this price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find more features on a gimbal – on the downside, the Hohem iSteady Pro 2 doesn’t feel quite as premium as the Karma Grip, but you can’t really complain about that when it costs around three times less.
#3. FeiyuTech WG2X 3-Axis [Wearable Gimbal]
Wearable gimbals are great for camera-mounted action and adventure videos which can benefit from additional stabilization. The Feiyu WG2X is the newer version of the WG2 and has better stabilization performance and connectivity options.
Features on wearable gimbals are limited due to the nature of their use, so the focus is typically on stabilization and connectivity. The WG2X can connect with your smartphone via Bluetooth, for remote operation, and can also be connected to your GoPro using WiFi. When connected to the camera, the WG2X supports shutter control and mode switching options.
Unfortunately, the WG2X is only splash-proof, so you can’t really take it underwater, but it should be fine for use in light rain.
Like all wearable gimbals, the battery life on WG2X is short (about 2 – 3 hours) due to a smaller battery unit (1,500 mAh).
The WG2X comes with a tripod stand, which can be closed for handheld operation (a good touch) and is a well-built gimbal that is light but not fragile.
#4. Removu S1 [Versatile 3-Axis Gimbal]
The Removu S1 is a very versatile GoPro gimbal featuring a modular design, allowing you to use it as a handheld, mounted or wearable gimbal. The S1 supports GoPro-compatible mounts and works with nearly all GoPro cameras, from HERO7 down to HERO3 and HERO Session (but you need to use an additional rainproof housing for HERO4, HERO3+, and HERO3 cameras).
Stabilization is great on the S1 and it features pan-follow, all-follow and locked modes. However, its highlight is the versatility it offers. You can strip it down to fit your needs and even detach the wireless control module for remote operation when the gimbal is worn or mounted.
Battery life and price are the only two negatives here. The gimbal is priced on the higher end and lasts around 3 – 4 hours. On the bright side, you can buy Removu’s smart battery charger as an additional accessory, allowing you to charge up to two batteries and the gimbal’s remote control.
While Removu S1 is a decent gimbal on its own, it is hard to recommend to casual GoPro users. Unless you find yourself needing a versatile gimbal you can wear on your person, use for handheld filming and mount on your helmets/bikes and such, it may not be worth parting with the cash Removu is asking for the S1.
Considerations before buying a GoPro gimbal
Our gimbal picks above fit varying budgets and needs. Your personal choice, however, depends on how you intend to use your GoPro (not your gimbal) because the gimbal is simply an accessory to help you make better videos with your action camera.
Handheld Gimbals vs Wearable Gimbals
While self-explanatory, there are some finer points differentiating handheld gimbals from wearable ones. If you want to use your GoPro for casual filming on the move, getting the best angles and perspectives with complete freedom, you need a handheld gimbal.
On the other hand, if you want to film your adventures, be it a bike ride, a tough trek, a POV travel vlog and such, you will want a wearable gimbal, like the Feiyu WG2X
Handheld gimbals are versatile, but not practical for filming yourself during activities. However, they offer better battery life and more creative room, compared to wearable gimbals.
Your GoPro Model
All gimbals don’t support every GoPro model, so you will have to check for compatibility before you purchase one. For example, none of these gimbals work with the new HERO8, and if you are looking for a gimbal for HERO Session, your options are further narrowed down.
Gimbals offer various shooting modes, with the most common ones being pan-follow, all-follow and all-lock modes. These allow you to lock your camera’s orientation across a single or multiple axes and are helpful when you want to shoot cinematic sequences.
Some gimbals, such as the Karma Grip listed above, only allow limited orientation locks, which can be deal breakers for some users. If shooting modes are important to you, it is best to double-check supported modes on your shortlisted gimbals.
For a GoPro camera, the Karma Grip is by far the simplest gimbal to use. When it comes to third-party gimbals, you may have to fiddle a bit with camera mounts, housings, calibration and stabilization which, though not deal breakers, may discourage some users.
If you plan on shooting for long hours, your options will be narrowed down by battery life, unless you are comfortable charging and swapping batteries on the go, or in the case of the Karma Grip, buying additional grip handles for battery backup.
Finally, your budget will be the deciding factor in your gimbal purchase. If money is not a concern, you could easily go with the Karma Grip or the Removu S1, but if you’re on a budget, Hohem’s iSteady Pro 2 offers great value for its price.
And with this, we wrap up our guide on the best gimbals for GoPro cameras in 2020. If you have any other suggestions, tips or feedback, drop a line below or use the contact form.