A tripod doesn’t have to be cumbersome and expensive to be useful – even a pocket-sized version will take your photography up a notch. Not only does a tripod help to shoot pin-sharp images and stable video, giving them a much more professional look, it also allows you to experiment with long exposures, time-lapse and low-light photography (and, of course, selfies). 

However, if you search for “tripod” on Amazon, it throws up more than 10,000 similar-looking products with names like GX600B200. To save you from doing so, we have trawled through hundreds of listings and reviews, tested dozens of tripods with camera gear that stretched their capacity, and whittled the options down to 10 incredibly useful and good value products for amateur photographers. 

Here's a quick guide to the basics: 

Load capacity

This is the advised maximum weight of your camera gear for optimal stability (but many tripods can cope with heavier loads). For compact and action cameras the tripod often only needs to be able to support between 100g and 400g. Mirrorless system cameras and bridge cameras usually weigh between 500g and 1kg. A small DSLR with a standard lens weighs roughly between 1kg and 1.5kg, so if your DSLR is on the heavier side or you're planning to use long lenses, consider a tripod that supports heavier gear. 

Tripod head

There are two main types of tripod heads. Ball heads lock the camera in place using a ball in a joint and are very quick and intuitive to use. Pan and tilt heads use leavers, which give you precise control over each plane of movement. If you’re serious about shooting video, you’ll need a fluid pan and tilt head for steady panning shots.

Leg locks

Tripod legs are either locked by small leavers or by twist locks, which can take a bit longer to get used to but tend to be more robust.

Tripod kits

Entry-level tripods come as kits, but if you have specific requirements, you can buy the legs and head separately, which is what most professionals do.

Benro Slim Carbon Fibre Tripod Kit with N00 Ball Head: £98.99, Amazon

This is one of the cheapest carbon fibre tripods on the market and really punches above its weight. It’s well designed and feels surprisingly solid, considering it only weighs 1kg, making it perfect for travelling and using at home. It supports 4kg of weight, ideal for mirrorless system cameras and entry-level DSLRs. It also has a weight hook, which is useful for windy conditions or when extra stability is needed.

It extends up to 146cm, which is relatively tall, yet folds down to a slim 50cm package. Three leg positions add flexibility and allow low-level shooting positions and the two spirit levels help you to level your camera.

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Adonit PhotoGrip: £44.99, Amazon

If you have a good quality smartphone camera, choosing an accessory for it might be an easy way of getting more creative with your photography. This photo grip is designed to make a smartphone handle like a camera with the shutter release on top. It can be used as a stand, or you can screw it into the tiny tripod that comes with it (or any tripod with the standard ¼ inch thread). 

What’s more, it has a Bluetooth shutter remote, which is nicer to use than a timer and can be charged via USB. A mini precision disc stylus, neck strap and carry pouch makes this the perfect package for an ambitious smartphone photographer.

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Joby GorillaPod Magnetic Mini: £18.95, Joby

This nifty accessory for compact and action cameras shows that a tripod needn’t be large to be useful. At only 37g and not even 10cm long, it fits in a small handbag or could live in a glove compartment. You can use it as a stand, wrap around a door handle or attach its magnetic feet to a fridge or car. Of course, you can also use it for mics, LEDs or other accessories up to 325g (but nothing heavier if you’re relying on its magnets).

Do you like the look of it, but need something more substantial? Joby has a broad range of GorillaPods, supporting loads of up to 5kg.

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Benro PocketPod: £10.79, SRS Microsystems

This is an excellent table tripod, perfect if you haven’t got space for a normal-size version. It only weighs 160g but supports up to 1.5kg and even coped well with a DSLR and long lens (and, of course, smaller cameras).

The twist lock is nice to use and rock solid. You can also use it as a grip for your camera, and it comes with a clamp for smartphones, making this a very handy, and good value, accessory, indeed.

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AmazonBasics 127cm Lightweight Tripod with Bag: £11.99, Amazon

This basic travel tripod is perfect for compact or action cameras on a tight budget. It only weighs 570g and has a three-way tilt and pan head and leg flip locks. It extends to 127cm and supports 500g.

Sure, it feels a bit flimsy but considering its price, it’s excellent value. If you need more height or want to use a more substantial camera, it’s worth having a look at the other tripods in this range.

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Manfrotto Compact Light: £48.95, Manfrotto

This light (840g) and compact (40cm when folded) travel tripod has a ball head with only one knob, making it quick and easy to adjust. It has a maximum load capacity up to 1.5kg and even worked well with our DSLR and long-lens combo, although it’s conceived for smaller cameras.

You screw the camera directly into the tripod, using a dial, which makes it a bit more time-consuming to switch between tripod and handheld shooting, but it also means that the quick release plate can’t be lost.

All of this makes it a good value, simple and no-fuss solution for compact and mirrorless system cameras. It’s worth noting that it has a relatively small mount surface, which is sufficient for compact cameras, but for optimal performance with larger cameras you may need to use the adapter, which is included.

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Velbon ​Ultrek Travel Tripod: £79, Camera World

This tripod allows for the legs either to be locked into symmetrical positions or extended up to 180-degree angles, supporting low-level positions and giving you more flexibility.

It only weighs 786g and folds down to less than 30cm, yet it can support up to 1.5kg, which makes it perfect for mirrorless system cameras (and at a push, light DSLRs). It extends to 135cm height and has twist locks. Fixing the plate on to the camera is a bit fiddlier than most, but once the camera is on, it’s solid. 

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Velbon Videomate 638: £74.95, Wex

Weighing nearly 2kg and supporting cameras up to 6kg, this tripod feels sturdy and is one of the lower-cost options available for shooting video. The fluid pan and tilt head operates smoothly. It has a spirit level and flip locks and works equally well for stills photography as it does for video.

However, it’s quite bulky – even folded up it still measures 67cm tall and is quite broad. 

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Manfrotto 290 Light with BeFree Fluid Head: £109, Wex 

This is a first-class video tripod for vloggers and mobile journalists. It has a small, yet high-quality three-lever pan and tilt head.

At 1.8kg it’s sturdy without being too cumbersome, and it can take a load of up to 4kg, suitable for lighter camcorders and larger DSLRs. It has twist locks, a sliding plate to balance camcorders and folds down into a relatively slim and easy-to-store package. 

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3-Legged Thing Punks Travis: £122.40, Fotosense

This versatile tripod does not only look cool but is also exceptionally well designed, which makes it a pleasure to use. You can, for example, mount the camera above or below the centre column (for low-level shots or macro) and the legs can be fixed at different angles.

You can even fit different feet (available for purchase) for different terrains, and the centre column can transform into a monopod or boom for sound or light. 

The ball head also has a pan function, which allows you to follow the action on a horizontal plane. Although it’s not a fluid head, it almost feels like one and we managed to get relatively smooth panning footage with it. 

It supports a hefty 18kg of camera gear, and with a maximum height of 1.65cm, it’s one of the taller tripods, yet it folds down to a slim, 45cm, 1.6kg package. This tripod is perfect if you’re serious about photography and want to keep your options open.

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The Verdict: Best camera tripods under £150

The Benro Slim Carbon Fibre Tripod Kit with N00 Ball Head is a well-designed and versatile tripod and at this price, excellent value.

If space is tight, a Joby GorillaPod easily fits into a backpack and will open up a wide range of photography techniques.

For video, the Manfrotto 290 Light with BeFree Fluid Head is hard to beat, and it works just as well as a stills tripod.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.