What’s the Best Monopod for Video 2021?

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If you don’t have time to read the article, then the best monopod for video is the COMAN KX3232, thanks to its wealth of features for video recording, all in a relatively low price.

After shooting video handheld for even a short period of time, you quickly realize that stability is the key for solid video that does not show any blur.

Many people look to tripods to get this stability, but monopods for video are both lighter, more versatile and can help you get steady shots in places where tripods can’t.

Monopods are simpler to setup and don’t have the weight penalty of a tripod, meaning that you are far more likely to take one with you than a tripod, and consequently get sharp, clear video.

New models of monopod specifically designed for videographers are being released at regular intervals, meaning that there are now even more excellent choices than in the past, with many top videographers like Peter McKinnon making extensive use of monopods to create some of their most successful videos.

This article covers only the best monopods for videography, looking at key criteria such as maximum height, panning smoothness, ease of use and overall cost, to give you several options to help you decide which is right for you.


Best Monopod for Video

The Best Monopod for Video in 2021

My Top Pick

The Best DSLR Monopod

  • Extends to a massive 73-inches in height
  • Packs down to only 26-inches
  • Includes a fluid head and fluid ball joint for super smooth panning and tilting
  • Three fold out feet for rock solid stability
  • Fantastic value for money
Many monopods suffer from a poor height extension, but this is not the case with the Coman, which extends to over 6-feet tall, meaning no stooping or kneeling to reach your camera.
The fluid head and fluid ball joint both allow 360-degree panning and a high degree of tilting, while the three feet give rock solid stability on even the most uneven ground.
For the relatively low price, you will struggle to find another monopod that has some many useful features, paired with very high build quality.

Video Monopods Quick Comparison

Compare the top models of video monopods in the table below, with full reviews further down this article.

Monopod

Max. Height / Packed Height

Head

Max. Payload

Check Price

COMAN KX3232 

 

[Top Pick]

73.2″ (186cm) / 26″ (66cm)

Fluid Head

13.2 lb / 5.99kg

64″ (163cm) / 21.5″ (54.6cm)

None

13.2 lb / 5.99kg

66.9″ (170cm) / 24″ (61cm)

None

13.2 lb / 5.99kg

3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0 

 

[Best for Pros]

58.3″ (148cm) / 17.32″ (44cm)

None

1.3 lb / 0.6 kg

Amazon Basics 67-Inch Monopod

 

[Best Budget Pick]

66.9″ (170cm) / 21.5″ (54.6cm)

None

6.6 lb / 3 kg

53.1″ (135cm) / 17.5″ (44.5cm)

Ball Head

2.2 lb / 1 kg


What Should You Care About in a Video Monopod?

There are a few important criteria that you should be thinking about when comparing monopods for videography. I have taken these points into account when reviewing each monopod, so you can skip straight to the reviews to see the results, or use this list as the basis for your own research.

The most important criteria of a monopod for video are:

  1. What is its maximum height?
  2. Does it use a fluid head or a regular head?
  3. Does it have feet for stability?
  4. Are the leg locks flippable or twistable?
  5. What is the maximum weight that it can support?

Maximum Height

Monopod max height

The more budget monopods for video tend to be limited in their maximum heights. Extending 5 feet might be ok for some, but will mean that most people have to crouch or kneel to be able to effectively use their monopod.

This is obviously not ideal.

You will be much better served by choosing one that extends to your eye level, as it makes the monopod far easier to use. Maximum heights are listed in the full reviews below.


Fluid Head or Regular Head?

Monopod fluid head

Probably the main reason that you are looking for a monopod for your video recordings is for the smooth panning motion that you see others getting.

This is not only because they are using a monopod for stability, but also because their monopod has a fluid head, rather than a regular head.

Fluid heads allow for smoother panning and tilting, and are a great help for any videographer.

But, there are downsides to using fluid heads with monopods: they are both heavier and larger, and cannot take the same weight, so are better suited to smaller DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

The best monopod heads are all fluid heads, but this does not mean that they are the best for all situations. If you are wanting to travel light, or use your monopod more unobtrusively, then a regular head is ideal.

And it is possible to largely replicate the smooth panning effects of a fluid head by simply locking your regular head and panning the entire monopod, provided it has a fluid ball in the base.


Monopod Feet and Fluid Bases

video monopod angle adjustments
(Image Credit: iFootage)

Many of the better monopods come with optional feet that form a tripod when extended and give you excellent stability. When using the feet, you don’t have to hold the monopod to keep it upright.

These monopods also often feature a fluid ball in the base, just above the feet. This allows you to pan, tilt and move the monopod in much the same way as using a fluid head, although the angle of rotation is around the base of the monopod rather than the base of the camera.

With practice, using the fluid ball in the monopod base can offer panning as smooth as using a fluid head.

This approach saves you both money and weight over using a fluid head, but is slightly harder to use, meaning that you will need to set aside some time to practice.


Leg Lock Types

Monopod leg lock types

There are two types of leg lock common in monopods and tripods: leg locks that flip open and closed, and inline locks that twist to open and close.

The former are more bulky but are easier to tighten, particularly when your hands are cold, but the latter are both lighter and take up much less space.

Neither are bad choices, but many people prefer either one or the other, so it pays to try and have a go with both types in a store if you are unsure.


Maximum Supported Weight

Monopod max weight

One of the key differences between a monopod vs tripod for video is in the maximum weight they can support. Although tripods are designed for heavy DSLR systems with long lenses, monopods tend to have lighter max supported weights. These are noted for each model in the full reviews.

Note that even those models that can support higher weights are harder to use when under full load, so it is usually better to try to keep your camera setup as light as possible when using a monopod.


Monopods for Video: My Reviews

  1. COMAN KX3232
  2. Vanguard VEO 2S AM-264TR
  3. Avella C324D
  4. 3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0
  5. Amazon Basics 67-Inch Monopod
  6. Manfrotto Compact Extreme

COMAN KX3232

My Top Pick
Specifications:
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Sections: 5
  • Extended Height: 73.2″ / 186 cm
  • Packed Height: 26″ / 66 cm
  • Max Load: 13.2 lb / 5.99 kg
  • Weight: 3.9 lb / 1.77 kg
  • Head Type: Fluid Head

With a massive height extension that takes the Coman to over 6-feet, this monopod is suitable for even the tallest users, and is one of the highest monopods that you will find.

It has a fluid ball in the base allowing it to pan 360-degrees or tilt up to 45-degrees in any direction, or to be locked in place with the feet extended for rock solid stability.

If that wasn’t enough, the Coman also comes with a fluid head on top that gives 360-degree panning and -75-degree to +90-degree tilt on its own, meaning that you have total control over the level of stability and movement that you want.

The leg locks even include a key to tighten or loosen them depending on your needs, which is not common among these more budget models of monopod.

Although this is not an outright cheap monopod, the full feature set is incredibly good value for money, with models from Gitzo costing several times the price of the Coman for essentially the same experience.

  • Pros:
  • Includes fluid head and fluid ball in base for 360-degree panning and fantastic tilting performance
  • Three fold out feet for rock solid stability
  • Extends to well over 6-feet high
  • Fluid head can be mounted directly on feet for low-level work
  • Fantastic value for money for the feature set
  • Cons:
  • Pretty heavy at 3.9 lb including the head
  • More bulky and doesn’t fold up too small, although does include a carrying case
COMAN KX3232

Vanguard VEO 2S AM-264TR

Specifications:
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Sections: 4
  • Extended Height: 64″ / 163 cm
  • Packed Height: 21.5″ / 54.6 cm
  • Max Load: 13.2 lb / 5.99 kg
  • Weight: 1.96 lb / 0.89 kg
  • Head Type: None

Having three extendable feet on the bottom of the monopod helps a great deal to provide a solid, stable platform for your photography and videography.

The feet do not really impact the weight, or the cost of the monopod, which is remarkable value for money considering the quality of the product, although the lower cost is largely down to this being manufactured from aluminum rather than the more premium carbon fiber.

The Vanguard doesn’t pack up quite as small as competitors like the 3 Legged Thing, and does not have a head, meaning that you either must buy one separately, or make do with simply attaching your camera to the top of the pole.

But a head is not really necessary with this model, as the base has a fluid ball with twist lock to either keep it fixed, or allow movement even when the feet are extended.

This gives the Vanguard enough functionality to be used in pretty much every situation, and means that there is really nothing to not recommend about the 264TR model.

  • Pros:
  • Good height extension
  • Very stable with feet extended
  • Lightweight, but can easily carry a DSLR setup
  • Twist locks work well, with no slippage
  • Includes phone holder and Bluetooth remote for selfies
  • Cons:
  • No head
  • Aluminum, so is heavier than carbon fiber models
Vanguard VEO 2S AM-264TR

Avella C324D

Specifications:
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Sections: 4
  • Extended Height: 66.9″ / 170 cm
  • Packed Height: 24″ / 61 cm
  • Max Load: 13.2 lb / 5.99 kg
  • Weight: 2.07 lb / 0.94 kg
  • Head Type: None

As one of the cheapest carbon fiber monopods around, there are a few quality issues with the build of the Avella that stop it from gaining top spot in this article, but it remains excellent value for money if you want something light and relatively cheap, as a first step beyond the budget monopods.

In particular, the screw holding the lower ball joint is not as good at holding heavier camera gear solid as some competitor monopods, but if you are using mirrorless for video, or some other lightweight setup, then this shouldn’t be an issue. This is probably due to the lower fluid ball offering a 90-degree tilt, rather than the more common 45-degree tilt, so there is an advantage in tilt level with the Avella.

The height extension is very good however, and if you are willing to leave out the feet, you can buy the Avella C325 model which is otherwise identical for a lower price, which represents very good value for money.

  • Pros:
  • Large height extension
  • 90-degree tilt possible
  • Large feet for extra stability
  • Solid leg locks
  • Cons:
  • Lower fluid ball joint is not as strong as it should be
  • No head
  • Surprisingly heavy for carbon fiber
Avella C324D

3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0

Best Pro Pick
Specifications:
  • Material: Carbon Fiber
  • Sections: 5
  • Extended Height: 58.3″ / 148 cm
  • Packed Height: 17.32″ / 44 cm
  • Max Load: 130 lb / 60 kg
  • Weight: 1.3 lb / 0.6 kg
  • Head Type: None

Despite not being near the top of my list, the Alan 2.0 from Three Legged Thing is definitely one of the best monopods for video if you rate functional ability over budget.

It has unsurpassed stability, with a rubber boot extending beneath the three feet to prevent flex when using a heavy camera or lens setup. And with a max load capacity of 130lbs, this is by far the best choice for those wanting to shoot videos with long lenses, such as wildlife videographers.

Panning and tilting is very smooth and easy using the lower fluid ball, and means that you don’t miss having a separate head. This also keeps the weight low, and combined with the small packed height of just over 17-inches, the Alan 2.0 is also the top choice for a travel monopod.

The only real reason for other tripods being recommended over this one is the higher price and the lower max height extension. But if neither of those are a problem for you, then the 3 Legged Thing is without a doubt the best video monopod.

  • Pros:
  • The most stable and smoothest panning monopod of any seen here
  • Massive load capacity, suitable for even the longest lenses
  • Superior build quality from a well-known tripod brand
  • Folds very small, suitable for plane carry on luggage, and weighs very little
  • Rock solid leg locks and ultimate stability from the three feet and rubber boot
  • Cons:
  • Expensive
  • Not great height extension
3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0

Amazon Basics 67-Inch Monopod

Best Budget Pick
Specifications:
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Sections: 4
  • Extended Height: 66.9″ / 170 cm
  • Packed Height: 21.5″ / 54.6 cm
  • Max Load: 6.6 lb / 3 kg
  • Weight: 0.98 lb / 0.44 kg
  • Head Type: None

Ok, the Amazon Basics monopod is both very cheap and has a number of bad reviews, but for my money this is still the best budget monopod for video. This has been available for a number of years, and certainly did suffer from some manufacturing defects, though those now seem to have been fixed, meaning that you can ignore most of the 1-star reviews you see.

For more recent reviews, you can see the K&F Concept model, which is exactly the same as the Amazon model, but with a different brand name on the side and an extra $10 added to the price.

What the Basics model does well is in providing a solid base (without feet) for lighter camera equipment and lenses. There is no head or fluid ball in the base, meaning the entire monopod must be moved for panning and tilting. This won’t give you the same experience as using a fluid head, but with practice and the right ground conditions, you can approximate a fluid head panning effect.

Height extension is very good, and packed height is small, along with a low weight. If you are looking to dip your toes into the water of monopod-based video recording, then the Amazon Basics model is a very good entry point.

  • Pros:
  • Very cheap, and a good entry point to monopod use
  • Very good height extension and small packed height
  • Low weight and easy to carry
  • The same as the more expensive K&F model, only re-branded
  • Cons:
  • No fluid head or fluid ball
  • Can’t handle heavier equipment
Amazon Basics 67-Inch Monopod

Manfrotto Compact Extreme

Specifications:
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Sections: 4
  • Extended Height: 53.1″ / 135 cm
  • Packed Height: 17.5″ / 44.5 cm
  • Max Load: 2.2 lb / 1 kg
  • Weight: 0.71 lb / 0.32 kg
  • Head Type: Ball Head

This Manfrotto monopod is not without its flaws, but does serve well as a basic, entry-level model.

It offers a very small packed height of around 17-inches, but only extends to around 53-inches as a consequence. It is also lightweight, making it very suitable for carrying around all day – it’s clear that this has been designed more as a selfie stick than a true monopod.

This is confirmed by the low max weight that the ball head can support, of only 2.2 lbs. The ball head is liable to fail if you try to go over this weight limit, meaning that it is really only suitable for the lightest mirrorless cameras.

Build quality seems lower than would be expected from a well-known tripod brand like Manfrotto, but if you are looking for more of a selfie stick than tripod, this is a good choice.

  • Pros:
  • Cheap for a Manfrotto product
  • Small packed height
  • Lightweight, so is easy to carry around
  • Value for money
  • Cons:
  • Ball head is flimsy and liable to break under heavier load
  • Short max extension
  • Rubber boot does not stay screwed on very well
Manfrotto Compact Extreme

Final Thoughts: Which Monopod Should You Get for Video?

Monopod for video

Hopefully this article has given you a few ideas about the factors that you need to pay attention to in order to choose the right monopod for yourself.

For my money, the best monopod is the COMAN KX3232, with its wealth of features including a fluid head, all for a remarkably low price.

The best monopod on a budget would be the Amazon Basics 67-Inch Monopod, thanks to its dirt cheap price.

While the best professional monopod is the 3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0, with it’s unbeatable build quality and super smooth panning action.

But whichever you choose, you can be sure that any of these will make very good monopods for video that will serve you well for many years to come.


Read More:

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Hi, I'm Tim Daniels, photographer and photo trainer, founder of Lapse of the Shutter and creator of the totally free Lightroom Develop System. I've travelled to (probably) 30 countries over the last few years, taking photos and licensing them around the world, and creating lots of free photography learning resources. Read More ...

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