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Published Apr. 1, 2021

You may feel embarrassed buying a selfie stick because you think it’s a silly Millennial prop. But a well-made selfie stick is a game-changer for taking photos and videos from all the necessary angles. You only have two hands and the best selfie stick adds a strong, dependable photography assistant to your camera bag. They’re sold everywhere, from high-end camera stores to thrift shops. Some are flashy, some are simple. When searching for the best selfie sticks it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options and features, but weed out the dollar-store junk and you will find an essential accessory for your camera phone, GoPro, and even lighter DSLR camera. 

How we picked the best selfie sticks

We started with a list of dozens of different sticks and filtered out the obvious garbage (of which there was quite a bit). Then we relied on hands-on experience, editorial reviews, spec comparisons, and user feedback to determine which models make the grade. Even though the writers and editors at PopPhoto take everything camera-related very seriously, we understand that selfies are a huge part of photography’s place in culture. The picks on this list range from cheap and simple to advanced and even pro-grade. We’re always looking for better options, so we’ll update this as we find more robust models.

The best selfie stick is much more than a popsicle stick and tape

You need a great #selfie stick. No, you need the best #selfie stick. Once the symbol of uncool, street-crowding tourists, the #selfie stick has evolved into one of the most important and handy instruments in your social media toolbox (or camera bag). OK, enough with the hashtags. The best selfie stick is not a joke. Call it a photo stick, if it makes you feel better. But whatever you call it, you will call on it, because the best selfie stick is packed with features way beyond  those of dorky phone accessories. 

Bluetooth

A Bluetooth selfie stick can become your entire portable camera studio, giving you the controls and comfort to make vlogs, shoot extreme sports videos, engage in impressive Zoom meetings, and, yes, take selfies, too. Built-in wireless typically allows creators to push a button on the stick and take a picture or start a video. That gets rid of the need to collapse the stick and poke the screen or touch a button.

Capacity

But quality matters. Buying a flimsy model at the grocery store or yard sale will result in frustration and dropped cameras. You need something robust enough to handle your gear and nimble enough to use it anywhere and everywhere you need to go. And you want something that doesn’t look like it came from the gift shop at the bus station. You should look for comfort, useability, and durability. Sticks meant for smartphones and very compact cameras won’t hold up your more robust rig and you definitely shouldn’t try.

What type of camera is going on it?

How you use the camera matters. Someone recording rants or burger reviews from inside a parked SUV won’t need the same durability and rigidity as a skydiver with a 360-degree camera. Luckily, there are options that cover the basic needs of most photographers and videographers without piling on the complexity. And for those who love a feature-rich investment, there are plenty camera sticks designed just for you, too. Here are our suggestions for how to (photo) stick the landing when selecting your phone accessories.

Length

The longer the arm, the more people and/or place you can pack into the shot. Most selfie sticks have a reach less than 100 centimeters (about 3 feet). That’s great for most uses, but there are selfie sticks that nearly double that distance, giving you and your subjects room to breathe. 

The extra size comes with a few drawbacks, namely sore arms. As high school physics class taught us, the farther the object from the pivot point, the greater the force needed to balance the object. Even a lightweight smartphone begins to feel like a bowling ball once your mount extends beyond the 3-foot mark. Lightweight GoPro cameras work nicely on a long-distance accessory, but these selfie sticks are not ideal for heavy camera bodies. And when fully extended, the stick can begin to shake and wiggle. Long selfie sticks are best for those with steady hands or high-functioning stabilizers. 

Once you get the balance right, however, the long reach can add a greater sense of scale, more headroom, and offer a cinematic look. For photographers who shoot with wide-angle lenses, the added length can come in handy. Plus, a long stick can be used to see hard-to-reach places in your home. Be sure the model offers simple controls because when you go long distances, a camera stick must be quick and easy. And for those who need more than 6 feet of extra arm length, there are selfie drones that give you all the space you need.  

Best long-reach: BMZX Bluetooth Long Selfie Stick

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: Extended fully, this stick measures a full 118 inches, which is all the reach you’ll ever need.

Specs:

  • Collapsed length: 23 inches
  • Extended length: 118 inches
  • Weight capacity: 1.2 pounds
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds

Pros: 

  • Long enough for any purpose
  • Fairly sturdy
  • Works with phone or GoPro mount
  • Bluetooth
  • Tripod legs

Cons:

  • Big, even when collapsed
  • Can get unwieldy when fully extended

If size matters, the BMZX Super Length Lightweight selfie stick gives you the best social distance. When fully extended, this skinny beast reaches 118 inches. The BMZX is an easy-to-control Bluetooth selfie stick that supports GoPros, iPhones, and Android devices (and, like those devices, the Bluetooth stick, and/or accessories, will need to be charged before you go on location). The aviation aluminum pole screws tight and the grip feels good in your hand. Great for surveying hard-to-reach spaces like crawl spaces or roofs, it can be used for much more than group shots at the pumpkin patch. 

Best tripod: Texlar 48″ Selfie Stick Tripod

Texlar

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Why it made the cut: Extendable tripod legs and a useful height range make this model very versatile.

Specs:

  • Collapsed length: 8 inches
  • Extended length: 48 inches
  • Weight capacity: Not provided, but holds a large phone or small camera just fine
  • Weight: 8.5 ounces

Pros: 

  • Bluetooth controller included
  • Relatively sturdy tripod legs work for static shots
  • Folds to 8 inches collapsed

Cons:

  • No given maximum capacity, though it holds a large phone just fine.

You don’t always want to have to hold your selfie stick. This 48-inch model has a set of retractable tripod legs that can stably support it, even when it’s fully extended and loaded with a large smartphone. That makes it useful for vlogging and other kinds of video creation. The included Bluetooth remote has a range of up to 33 feet, so you can stick it in your pocket while the stick is in tripod mode and remotely start and stop the video to make your content. The manufacturer doesn’t suggest a maximum capacity, but it’s plenty sturdy to support even the largest phones like the half-pound iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Best stabilizing: DJI OM 5

Why it made the cut: This advanced stabilization system does a lot more than selfies.

Specs:

  • Collapsed length: 10.4 inches
  • Extended length: 18.8 inches
  • Weight capacity:  21 ounces
  • Weight: 10.2 ounces

Pros: 

  • Advanced stabilization that’s leaps and bounds above anything else on the list
  • Useful in a variety of video situations beyond selfies
  • Advanced DJI app for control
  • Clever magnetic clamp makes mounting simple and secure

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Not as long as other options

DJI’s smartphone stabilizer is a lot more expensive than the other models on this list, but that’s because it does so much more. The OM 5 is a full-fledged camera stabilization system, which employs a smartphone mount that attaches magnetically to a precise gimbal that counteracts your hand’s shaking in real-time. This is DJI’s fifth iteration of its advanced smartphone gimbal and it works for near pro-grade productions. And in true selfie stick format, it has a telescoping rod built in that adds an extra 8 inches of reach while maintaining full stabilization. It’s an investment, but if you’re serious about smartphone video, you can’t go wrong with it.

Best invisible: Insta360 Selfie Stick

Amazon

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Why it made the cut: Use it with an Instant360 camera and it will disappear from your footage.

Specs:

  • Collapsed length: 11.4 inches
  • Extended length: 47 inches
  • Weight capacity: Made specifically for Insta360 cameras
  • Weight: 5.6 ounces

Pros: 

  • Very sturdy and rigid
  • Works with an array of Insta360 action cameras and mounts
  • will appear invisible in Insta360 footage
  • Light

Cons:

  • Some features aren’t applicable when using a different camera

This invisible selfie stick isn’t much more than a simple rod with a tiny mount at the end, and in that’s a good thing. For action shots and 360-degree video, you do not want something clunky or complicated. The Insta360 stick has one job: be skinny. And it gets the job done. The top and bottom screws are standard ¼ inch, but check your camera first to make sure this stick is compatible. This one is strong and durable, and a great cost-effective tool for extreme sports enthusiasts. 

Best budget: Vproof Selfie Stick

Vproof

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Why it made the cut: It’s basic, but it’s extremely cheap and works with most normal-sized phones.

Specs:

  • Collapsed length: 6.53 inches
  • Extended length: 26 inches
  • Weight capacity: 7 ounces
  • Weight: 4 ounces

Pros: 

  • Extremely light
  • Very compact
  • Bluetooth control

Cons:

  • Not advised for use with the heaviest phones

Sometimes you don’t need something fancy and you just want a cheap option. This selfie stick fits the bill. It can hold up to 7 ounces, which means most typical phones are fine, but giant flagship devices are too chunky to ride. The include Bluetooth controls can start and stop video or take a picture from up to 33 feet away. The battery is good for up to 10,000 actuations, but it’s not rechargeable so you’ll have to replace it when it runs down. Despite its shortcomings, this option is extremely light and portable, which makes it handy to throw in the car or your bag as a backup.

FAQs

Q: Can selfie sticks damage your phone?

Short answer: Yes, selfie sticks and drones may damage your phone. The mounts and attachments can scratch the exterior of your phone. And if not attached correctly, the phone will slip and fall. However, trying to hold the phone or camera with just your arm can be just as, if not more cumbersome. You could drop it while holding your phone in your hands. Ultimately, use whatever method you feel comfortable with and, when in doubt, have a sure-handed friend be your biological camera stand. 

Q: How do I connect my selfie stick to my phone?

The best selfie stick is much more than a metal rod. It has built-in Bluetooth features. It makes taking pictures easy for those of us without arms the length of an NBA player. First, pair your phone with the Bluetooth selfie stick. This is usually done by pressing the stick’s button until your smartphone “finds” it in the Bluetooth menu. For most phones and sticks, that’s all you need. Once paired, the button on the stick will control the camera on the phone. For sticks with more features, you may need to install a specific app to use all the bells and whistles. Do not throw away the box, as there may be a website or QR code on the packaging that directs you to everything you need. 

Q:

In what countries are selfie sticks banned?

South Korea has banned the accessory for security concerns. Using one can result in a year in prison. Countrywide bans are rare, but selfie sticks are prohibited in certain tourist areas, such as the entire city of Versailles, France; at the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; and in Rome’s Colosseum. Here in the states, Disney theme parks have banned selfie sticks since 2015, and don’t try to bring them into stadiums or arenas. Before you extend a camera stick, check the area’s rules and regulations. Selfie sticks are not as forbidden as drugs or firearms, but they are prohibited more than you may think.   

The final work on the best selfie sticks

Selfie sticks may never get the respect they deserve, but true photo fans know quality camera sticks are more than silly phone accessories. They actually help the user take better photos and videos. GoPros and smartphones sometimes need a helping hand to truly capture a moment, and even a simple, collapsible selfie stick could help turn a so-so video into a viral hit.

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