Written By:
Jeff

10 Best Monopods For Video​

Published On:
July 19, 2021
best monopod for video
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Stable footage is paramount when capturing video. For the viewer, there isn’t much worse than shaky, unstable footage. You know what I’m talking about… it’s the footage that’s clearly handheld, and you can’t help yourself but say, “damn… that’s just bad…”. Well – monopods fix most of these problems.

Many videographers face the problem when choosing one is just that – there are so many on the market that choosing one becomes daunting… almost like a chore.

Well, you no longer need to fret. We’ve got you covered. We’ve tested, researched, and questioned users of 10 of the best monopods for video on the market today. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to make an educated decision on which monopod would work best for your video needs.

After you're done with this, head on over to hour related article, 'Shutter Speed For Video', if you have any doubt whether your shutter speed settings are correct for cinematic and/or slow-motion video.


Let’s get to it!

The Structure Of This Article​

Before we dive straight into the best monopods for video - let's discuss what makes a monopod great.  These aspects include

  • Durability
  • Reliability
  • Brand Trust
  • Warranty

Also, to make this article a bit easier for you to navigate, read, and understand - I have included a table of contents and a comparison table below.

The comparison table is in 'best to worst' order (even though the 'worst' is still very acceptable).  I have shuffled the monopods order below the table (the detailed info section).  I continue to add to and change this article over time as I test other monopods or talk with someone in detail about one that I haven't used yet.

Best Monopod For Video Comparison Chart

Monopod
Material
Height
Fluid/Ball
Payload
Price
Carbon Fiber
6.2 ft (190cm)
Neither
66lbs (30kg)
Carbon Fiber
4.85 ft (148cm)
Neither
132lbs (60kg)
Carbon Fiber
5.25 ft (160cm)
Neither
15lbs (6.81kg)
Aluminum
5.9 ft (150cm)
Ball
17lbs (10kg)
Aluminum
6.6 ft (203cm)
Fluid
13.8lbs (6.2kg)
Aluminum
5.75 ft (175cm)
Fluid
11.25 (5.1kg)
Carbon Fiber Composite
5.5 ft (168cm)
Fluid
6.6lbs (3kg)
Carbon Fiber Composite
5.75 ft (175cm)
Fluid
8lbs (3.6kg)
Aluminum
6.6 ft (203cm)
Fluid
13.3lbs (6kg)
Aluminum
5.1 ft (157cm)
Ball
14lbs (6.3kg)

Fluid Head Or No Fluid Head?​

best monopod for video

Have you ever wondered how videographers get such smooth pans and tilts?

It's actually not that difficult at all when you have a fluid head.

The biggest difference between a regular tripod head, and a fluid one, is the smoothness and control across panning and tilting.

Perfect, right?  Well... here's a couple of things to think about when mounting a fluid head to a monopod:

  • Added weight and bulkiness.
  • Significantly less weight capacity on a fluid head

I have included a few monopods with a fluid head.  But, you have to be ok with the fact that a fluid head adds more weight, a larger head (with an arm sticking out) - and can be, at times, a pain to use in some circumstances.  You'll also find the weight capacity is much lower on a fluid head (sometimes over half). But, again, I am not saying it is wrong (and I have used a fluid head many times on a monopod) - be aware that it's not always needed.

Floating Ball At The Feet/Base​

best monopod for video

As explained in the image above - good monopods have a free floating lockable ball built into the base (or have the option to attach one).

This is very similar to a ball head.  This allows you to not only adjust angles and lean with the tripod in any direction - but it also allows you to spin and turn the tripod to follow/track your subject.

  • Is the motion going to be as buttery smooth as a fluid head? No.
  • Will it ever be as good as a fluid head if I practice enough? Yes, it can.

This will take practice (like anything else) - but the benefit of not having a fluid head is:

  • Less moving parts and parts to break/fail
  • Much lighter without one
  • Less bulky/streamline
  • It's cheaper not to have one

Again, I am not saying it's a bad thing to use a fluid head.  They're great - and they'll give you a great advantage over capturing footage than if you didn't have one.

What I am saying is you don't have to have one -  You'll do great without one, if that's what you choose.

Lets dive into the monopods now, shall we?

Affordable To Mid-Tier Monopods​

As stated a little earlier in this article - this first section will be affordable to mid-tier monopods for video.

You'll be able to gauge if one of these monopods will fit your video needs or if you'll need to step up to the pro level.

Benro Aluminum 4 Series With S4 Video Head​

Benro is a great company that has done very well since its debut on Amazon a few years ago.

I have used many of their products, including their tripods and geared heads.  All have been fantastic and most of which I still use for landscape and product photography.

This specific model (the 4 series with the S4 head) - is an excellent 'starter' monopod with an excellent fluid head included.

Features and Benefits:

  • The S4 Video Head allows 360-degree panning/rotation, and the A48FD Monopod with 3-Leg Locking Base features 4x aluminum tubes that extend to about 68.5".
  • The mounting plate has a reversible 1/4"-20 and 3/8"-16 threaded mount for attaching a video head directly to the camera.
  • Each leg (on the feet) comes fitted with three rubber feet of adjustable length along its lower sections.
  • The monopod also includes two padded hand grips and foam grip pads for extra comfort when carrying it around. 
  • 3-year Warranty (5 years if you register online)

Negatives:

  • Legs aren't sturdy or wide enough to rely on them to stay upright. Do not get comfortable doing this - it will eventually fall over.

Overall: This is the 'go-to' monopod for beginners or those wanting to try it out and see if they like it—solid construction on both the monopod and fluid head.

Benro Aluminum 4 Series With S6 Video Head

Another Benro!

The reason I have included another version of the Benro monopod - is that it falls below $250 and has some significant upgrades from its baby brother, the S4.

This is the S6 - and as you'll see here shortly with the features - there are some significant upgrades from the S4 that may tip the scales towards something more capable but isn't going to break the bank (like a Sirui or Gitzo). 

At first glance, there isn't really anything different compared to the S4. However, the height is slightly longer with the S6 (6 inches) - because of the larger fluid head.

The real difference is in the head itself.

Let's look at a comparison of both heads against each other.

As you can clearly see - the S6 head is a significant jump in payload/performance - for a relatively low increase in price.

Yes, the S6 is slightly larger (and over a pound heavier) - but, you're getting nearly 5 pounds of additional payload capacity.

The Cons...

Honestly, the cons are the same as the S4 version.

The head is better on this model - but that's the only difference.  Seeing as the monopod itself is the same - the cons to the monopod would remain the same as well.

The Benro Monopod With The S6 Head Needs To Be Considered!

I'm a longtime fan of Benro.  They make solid camera equipment for beginners to intermediates that last the user a long time if taken care of.

This is not only for their monopods but their fluid heads, ball heads, tripods, and geared heads.  They're a solid and trusted brand in the photo/video space.

You can't go wrong purchasing this or any of their other products.

Steadicam AIR-15

This is a monopod I stumbled across about a year ago, and by just looking at it - it doesn't seem too special.  That's until you look at the level next to the foot.

Once I did a little investigating and figured out what it did - I was super impressed and ultimately purchased one.

If you reference the image below, you may know exactly what it does by just looking at it.

It's equipped with a foot release for the lower section.  That's right.  You can fully extend the top section and control all height adjustments with your foot from that point forward.

It's an awesome feature, and after thinking about it, I'm surprised that no one else had come up with it before. However, from what I've heard from the company itself - there was a lot of R&D and patents that had to be made/approved along the way, which may be why no one pursued it.

It can support up to 15 lbs and reaches a little over 5 feet.

best monopod for video

Now For The Cons...

I'm sure you noticed right out the gate that there isn't a 3 legged base. Referencing back on what we spoke about earlier (R&D and cost) - the company also stated it wouldn't be cost-effective to create a base and have it fold and fit into a bag - so it's doubtful we will ever see one for this model.

The 5.25 ft height leaves a little bit to be desired as well.

Lastly, it doesn't come with a head - you'll have to purchase it separately.  

Should You Consider The Steadicam AIR-15?

I am recommending it - but not to everyone.

The selling feature is obviously the foot lever height adjustment.  I mean, it's the only reason I picked one up.

So, if you find yourself making height adjustments often and don't want to mess with twist locks or clamps - go for it.  The build quality is great and works exactly how it should.

On the other hand - if you don't see yourself needing the easy height adjustment - pass on this and consider something else.  The last thing you'd want to do is spend $350+ (with head) on something you would use or use how it was intended.

Three Legged Thing Alan 2.0

I hope you've heard of Three Legged Thing (sometimes referred to as 3LT or TLT). One of the top three brands for tripods/monopods - without a doubt.

From their awesome and consistent craftsmanship - to awesome customer service, you can't go wrong.

I've used both a monopod and a tripod extensively in the Real Estate Photography industry and have used TLT for a lot of it.  Not a single issue.

What this monopod has going for it is size vs. payload ratio.

Weighing in at just over 1lb (and only 16 inches long when folded) - it can support a whopping 60kg or 132lbs.

Doing the math on that - it can support 110x its own weight.

Not only that - something this strong can easily create boom-style movements fully extended—no need to worry about it breaking.

best monopod for video

Now For The Cons...

The cons are about the same as the Steadicam (yet a but less expensive).

  • You'll have to purchase the head separately.
  • You won't get legs if you purchase the least expensive version.  Although better than Steadicam - you can purchase them separately (or as a bundle as seen above).
  • Less than 5 feet of extension (this is how they're able to get such a large payload, along with build quality, of course).

Highly Recommended

For what it is, Three Legged Things monopod is the strongest on this list (and not even close to being the most expensive).  I highly recommend all of their products - and again, they rate higher than a lot of the top brands out there (heaps better than Manfrotto) if taken care of (beaten around a little bit) - this will last you years without needing to replace it.

Gitzo Monopod (Only)​

This used to be my end-all-be-all of monopods.  Incredibly strong, crazy durable, and backed by a company that's been building camera equipment for the better part of 20 years...

And then Three Legged Thing released the Alan 2.0

But, that doesn't mean this doesn't remain an amazing tripod - because, believe me, it does.

What it has over TLT is height.  You get about a foot and a half more in height.  This is great for tall (and don't want to hunch or kneel) - or if you like boom-style shots with a monopod.

The Negatives

We will knock the price right off the bat.

  • Yeah, it's nearly 3x more than a TLT (and almost everything else on this list).
  • You also don't get a head.  You need to purchase that separately.
  • Lastly, no stable legs.

Not For Everyone...

Look, this monopod might be a bit much for some of you.  I get it.  Believe me; I don't even own one (tested/rented/borrowed). But, with everything everyone has been through over the last couple of years - it's completely understandable.

Just know - in the future - consider buying Godox (or TLT).  You won't find a 'tougher' brand.  I know quite a few real estate photographers that have used the same tripod for more than 15 years.  This is over 250 days out of the year.

You also won't find a longer-lasting brand that remains to deliver the highest quality product amongst those who are cutting corners to save money, as we speak.

I recommend this to those who need a monopod to last them.   It would help if you also were using something like this very often - it's about the only way you can justify it.

Sirui P-224SR With VA-5 Video Head​

The Sirui P-224SR with the V5 video head falls in the mid-tier level of video monopods covered in this article.

Sirui is an 'upper class' (if you wanna call it that) manufacturer of camera gear/tripods.  With that being said, you may have never heard of them... Don't let that worry you; they're a solid/reputable brand.

To solidify the brand and how reputable they are - they're the company that makes very affordable, well-performing anamorphic lenses.  Their lenses have had great success over the last year and a half (ish) and are doing equally well in the tripod department.

What I like about Sirui is an industry filled with twist-lock tripods/monopods - they stay true to offering clamp locks.

Clamps, while they may be as secure as the twist (over time, plastic clamps can get weak) - they're so much faster to adjust.  I absolutely love them.

You'll also get a great video head along with the monopod.

The Cons

There isn't really anything that I can say negative about Sirui. 

You know the feeling when you're trying to find something wrong with something - and you really can't... then you get that confused/frustrated look on your face?  That's about where I am with Sirui.

It's just solid for what you pay.  Are you getting Gitzo quality?  No - but you aren't paying Gitzo premium either.

If you're looking for an affordable monopod/fluid head combo that's solid and adjusts very easily - look no further.

Sirui P-426SR Carbon Monopod​

This is another Sirui monopod that I've had the pleasure of using (a buddy of mine owns one).

A friend of mine is a diehard fan of theirs ever since their anamorphic lenses hit the market.

They have treated him great whenever he had questions or needed replacement parts on a product.  They even sent him a brand new base (3-foot stabilizer at the bottom of the monopod) - when all he needed was a new pin for one of the legs.  After that point, he was hooked.

I have to agree that this monopod is friggin' solid.  It feels as if you could literally throw it anywhere and into anything - and it would take the beating (like a Gitzo).  You will find it's quite a bit heavier than the other monopods on this list because of that (almost 10lbs, without a camera).

So, What's So Much Better About This One Vs. The One Mentioned Earlier?​

Aside from having the same features as the previous model - you have added features of the monopod itself and the video head.  Those include:

  • Stainless steel spike for when you don't want to use the 3-foot base.  This is good for an area where you can't use the base but need the added protection of driving the spike into the ground.
  • The video head is smoother, the tension spring is stronger, and there is fluid resistance.  Meaning the head won't fall forward and will completely stop once adjusted correctly.  This is a high-end feature that can be fine-tuned.  This will allow you to not only protect your camera from flipping forward violently but dial in a fluid resistance setting that'll support your camera without touching it (or tightening a knob).  

As stated in the previous Sirui model that I mentioned - you're not only purchasing a high-quality item, you're purchasing from a brand that does nearly anything to keep you as a customer.

That says so much more than a great product from a company that doesn't care about me as a customer.  Seriously - start considering Sirui as a company to buy from - you won't regret it.

Manfrotto XPro W/502 Head

I haven't been much of a fan of Manfrotto over the last 3-5 years.

I believe their quality and customer service have tanked - with numerous returns, callbacks, and claims from customers - do you blame me?  A couple of years ago, I paid $90 for a light stand that wasn't any better than one from amazon basics for $16... I'm serious.

But then you have the Xpro Monopod... and I don't know what to say.  I mean, their quality is shitty now, but in the tripod/monopod department, they're doing just fine.

I saw one first hand a few months ago.  It was excellent and fluid for a friend of mine who paid for it.

As long as I have been recommending this monopod - I think I had 1 person send it back.  It was through Amazon, so I'm not able to see the reason why... but with ~50 of these monopods purchased with only 1 being sent back is pretty damn good - especially considering their reputation these days.

Other than the quality issues of other products (mentioned earlier), I don't have any negatives to say about it.  It hits all the points at a great price point.

IFOOTAGE 71" A180

When you hear iFOOTAGE - you may think it's a cheap knock-off camera gear brand trying to make it among all the other average players... I don't blame you(if you were) - I sure was.  That was until I did some extensive research - and boy - that'll be the next monopod I try (this monopod was added by me in Sept 2021).

Regardless, I hope to shed a little light on a product and brand you may have thought negatively about - and show you that they're trying to change the monopod game.

There are a few aspects of the A180 that are patented.

One is the quick release of the camera plate.  It's small - but rapid releases from the ball.  This would allow you to swap out cameras and heads quickly and easily.

The ball also allows you to take it off the top of the monopod and mount it to the base legs.  This would act as a mini-tripod (like a tabletop).

The clamps are metal and clamp down very securely (unlike cheaper plastic models).

All of this is pretty innovative in a market that seems to have done all it can do... but it's guys like iFOOTAGE (and peak design) that continue to think of new ways to do something so basic.

I recommend adding the iFOOTAGE fluid video head to your order (seen above).  

You'll then have a great monopod with an awesome ball and video head - for a little less than $300.  You can not beat that.

I highly recommend iFOOTAGE...

I can't wait to get my hands on this model really soon (hopefully before Thanksgiving) - I'll be able to take it with me on our yearly family vacations.  Their previous model was rock solid - but fundamental (about 5 years ago) - this one on a whole other level.

K&F Concept 62'' Tripod With Detachable Monopod​

This is the least expensive monopod on the list... but don't think of it as cheap - and don't think of it as just a monopod...

That's because this K&F Concepts 'monopod' is actually a tripod.  It can convert into a monopod when you need it to.

Sporting a ball head is a very capable monopod/tripod combo at a very inexpensive price point.

I have known K&F for quite a long time.

Early in my videography days, I purchased a few sets of K&F's ND and VND filters.  They're actually pretty solid for affordable massed produced filters.  Check out our related article, Best Variable ND Filters, to learn more about that (and when you would use one if you don't know already).

Anyway, this tripod/monopod combo is no different.  Well built and reliable.  This model is new (released in 2020) compared to its previous model (released in early 2017).  It has all new locking rings (around center column) - same sturdy construction and overall aesthetics. 

What I Would Change

Remember, we're coming in at a $79 price point here... but, if I could change a few things, they would be:

  • Carbon fiber option
  • More height
  • The base for the monopod

All well and good, right?  Well, if I was to ask for that and K&F actually delivered on it, do you know what would happen?  The price would be more than double.

For what this is - it's fantastic.  If you can look past no having carbon fiber, fluid head, and only about 5 feet of height... pull the trigger.  It's a great package.

Different Ways You Can Use A Monopod For Video (Video Format)​

I thought it would only be fitting to include a video on of a few different ways to use your monopod - you know, to stand out among the rest.

It's brought to you by... you guessed it... Perter Mckinnon himself.  Worth your time to watch!

Whew! Those Are The Best Monopods For Video In 2021!​

Yeah, that was a long one!

But we got through it!  And at this point, you should have a much better understanding of monopods in general, what to look for, and the average price point for what you need!

By now, you can make a much better, educated decision on the best monopod for video and which one would work best for you.

If we had to choose one 'affordable' and one 'overpriced' monopod, and one Pro level, it would be:

Thank you for reading, and please feel free to leave any feedback or questions in the comments!

You can find us on Facebook and Instagram as well! Don't forget to check out our other related articles, Shutter Speed For Video, Best Variable ND Filters, to learn more about those topics if you aren't confident in those areas.

Until next time, be safe and take care!

Sincerely,

JnR

Frequently Asked Questions

Is monopod good for video?

Absolutely. Monopods are great for both photography and video. They add a great deal of stability - and it allows you to do movements you wouldn't normally be able to do handheld (or with a gimbal) - such as overhead extension/boom shots - as well as panning and 'leaning' in and out of shots.

What is a good monopod?

Manfrotto is a very reputable brand - that has made a name for themselves over the years for both durability and reliability. Neewer is a great affordable brand. Gitzo is the most rugged and reliable brand on the market right now (although, quite expensive)

What lens should I buy as a beginner?

Yes! A monopod adds stability and support to any camera/lens combo. More importantly, it adds stability for long focal lengths, to ensure you get sharp images that you normally wouldn't get if shot handheld. They also help with the weight of large lenses - which would leave you fatigued after long use if you were using it handheld.

What height monopod do I need?

Generally speaking, you want a monopod that extends to at least 60 inches (5 feet). If you're considering using one for boom style shots (for video), a strong 6+ foot (72+ inch) monopod like a Gitzo, is recommended.

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