Joby GorillaPod Buyers Guide
If there’s one compact tripod that stands out among the myriad of other options available in 2019, it’s the humble Joby GorillaPod.
Billed as the ‘original flexible tripod‘, the GorillaPod has spawned thousands of imitators, but still remains head and shoulder above its competition.
It seems that creating a cheap knock-off that resembles the original may be easy, but replicating its strength, durability and functionality, is not. Accept no imitations – this is the one and only flexible mini tripod you’ll ever need.
|GorillaPod 5K KitDurable aluminium sockets provide ultimate in stability and durability. High quality adjustable ball head ideal for securing heavier setups.||View Price|
Designed to fit lightweight smartphones, action cameras and point & shoot cameras, all the way up to heavy-weight DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, the number of GorillaPod options can be a little overwhelming.
I’ve created this guide to help you select the right option for you. I’ll also introduce a few other devices that can be attached to GorillaPods. Let’s get stuck in!
Best GorillaPods in 2019
|GorillaPod 5K Kit||View Price →|
|GorillaPod 3K Kit||View Price →|
|GorillaPod 1K Kit||View Price →|
|GorillaPod 500||View Price →|
|GorillaPod 325||View Price →|
What is a GorillaPod?
A GorillaPod is a flexible mini tripod with legs featuring rubberized ball joints, designed to bend and wrap, allowing you to mount and support a camera, light, or anything with a compatible 1/4″ tripod mount hole in a variety of places.
Yes, that’s right – don’t think that GorillaPods are limited to supporting only cameras – I use mine to mount a flash (via a cold shoe), a mini LED light such as the Manfrotto Lumamuse, or even a large LED panel like the Manfrotto Lykos BiColor.
A GorillaPod also allows you to quickly mount a light on a fence post, table leg, door handle, or anywhere which would normally require a more cumbersome light stand.
In short, the Joby GorillaPod is designed to be used in places that are impossible for a traditional tripod to stand. The fact that it can fit in a jacket pocket is another huge bonus.
How to Choose a GorillaPod
For the sake of simplicity, I’ve ignored the Video and SmartPhone models of the GorillaPod, choosing to focus on the models most suited for stills photographers.
(Clicking the video above will take you straight to the products I’ve reviewed here.)
I’ve also assumed you’ll need the ‘GorillaPod Kits’ where available – a ‘Kit’ refers to the GorillaPod legs plus tripod ball head.
While the legs are available separately, I can’t think of a good reason why you’d want to buy a GorillaPod without the head (which included with the Kit).
There are 2 main factors to consider when choosing a GorillaPod.
1. Maximum Weight of Object(s) to be Supported
The main thing you need to work out when selecting a GorillaPod is the combined weight of the object you want it to carry.
I say ‘combined’, since often you’ll need to take into account a camera body plus lens, or even additional video equipment like lighting, mics, and monitors.
If you’re using a large zoom lens, it’s also worth choosing a stronger GorillaPod model than the combined weight of your camera + lens, since the weight of zoom lenses often extend away from the centre point of the tripod.
Once you have the total combined weight, you can see how it lines up with the maximum capacity of each GorillaPod.
The 5 main products in the GorillaPod line up are named after their weight capacity, as measured in grams – if you measure in imperial, this can be a little confusing at first!
To add to the confusion, the GorillaPod product names were changed in 2017:
GorillaPod Maximum Weight Capacity
In general, if you own a compact camera or anything weighing less than 500g (1.1 lbs), you can opt for the GorillaPod 325 or 500.
If you own a mirrorless camera or DSLR, or plan to attach other accessories to the GorillaPod, the 1K, 3K or 5K are most suitable.
Pro Tip: If in doubt, always go for the GorillaPod rated one higher than your considered max weight capacity. i.e. even if you own a lightweight Sony a6000, I’d still recommend choosing the GorillaPod 1K, just in case you ever attach a heavy lens.
2. Means of Attachment
The second thing you may need to consider when selecting a GorillaPod is how you’d like to attach it to your camera or other device.
Fortunately, there are only a couple of options to choose from here:
i) Fixed – the GorillaPod head screws in directly to the tripod hole on the base of your camera. To remove your camera, you need to unscrew the entire GorillaPod.
ii) Removable – the GorillaPod features a quick-release tripod plate which attaches to your camera/device, allowing it to be quickly removed from the GorillaPod (much like a regular camera tripod).
Pro Tip: The main advantage of a removable base plate on a GorillaPod is for when you need to quickly attach or remove your camera. Unless you need to be able to do this, just choose a GorillaPod based on the max weight capacity.
Joby GorillaPod Reviews
A GorillaPod is a mini tripod with legs that can be bent and wrapped around various objects, such as street poles, table legs, fence posts, etc.
All GorillaPods perform this core functionality very well, as long as you select your GorillaPod based on the maximum weight you expect it to hold.
As we’ve established this functionality, I won’t go into it further in each of the GorillaPod reviews below.
Instead I’ll concentrate on the other features that define each model, in an effort to help you choose the right one for you.
(FKA GorillaPod Focus)
Weight: 739 g (1.6 lbs)
Max Capacity: 5 kg (11 lbs)
Dimensions: 6 x 6.5 x 30.5 cm
Material: ABS Plastic, Stainless steel, TPE, Aluminium
High quality machined aluminum sockets for the ultimate in durability and strength. Built for the professional photographer in mind.
This is the macdaddy of all GorillaPods – the one Casey Neistat and all other famous YouTubers use to support their vlogging rigs.
It’s also the one used by many stills photographers, particularly professionals.
Why? Well because the GorillaPod 5K Kit is the strongest of the lot, and is most likely to be able to provide the securest, most reliable support for any equipment with a 1/4″ tripod mount hole in its base… as long as its combined weight is under 5 kg (6.6 lbs), of course.
While the smaller GorillaPods tend to feel a little like well-engineered toys, the 5K Kit feels like a serious piece of gear.
Weighing in at 739 g (1.6 lbs), it has a reassuring heft to it. The sockets are machined aluminium, and the ball (resting in the ball head’s socket) features a red anodized coating for the ultimate in strength and fluidity in movement.
The removable ball head supports an Arca-Swiss quick release plate, allowing you to attach it to your camera and keep it there as long as you wish, ready to be secured quickly to the top of the GorillaPod 5K using a tightening knob at the side.
An additional knob tightens and loosens the rotation of the entire ball head, with measurements marked on the sides for panoramic shots.
Another knob controls the ball in the socket, with a cutaway placement for portrait orientation shots.
The GorillaPod 5K is the model I’d recommend to any pro photographer or videographer, regardless of the weight of the gear you need to support – it’s the strongest, securest and most reliable tripod of the lot.
Having said this, I understand Peter McKinnon uses a similar set up with a wide angle lens and mic for his vlogs, so it can be done ;-)
The width of the GorillaPod 5K Kit‘s legs when collapsed also provides a reassuringly thick and contoured grip for when hand-holding your entire set up – one of the added benefits of choosing this top-spec mode.
(FKA GorillaPod SLR Zoom)
Weight: 393 g (0.86 lbs)
Max Capacity: 3 kg (6.6 lbs)
Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.5 x 38.5 cm
Material: ABS Plastic, Rubber, Stainless steel, Steel, TPE, Aluminium
Premium flexible tripod with built-in bubble level. Built for the professional photographer in mind.
At around half the price of the 5K Kit (see latest price here), the 3K is a popular choice for both professionals and enthusiast photographers and videographers alike.
(Confusingly, there’s also a GorillaPod 3K Pro Kit, featuring machined aluminium sockets like the 5K model. It actually costs more than the 5K Kit, which I don’t completely understand…)
The build of the GorillaPod 3K may look similar to its big brother on first inspection, but looking closer reveals a couple of key differences – most notably, the plastic sockets of the 3K vs the aluminium sockets of the 5K.
Obviously, the 5K needs to support more weight, hence the stronger socket material. Aluminium is also more durable than plastic, so one could assume it would last longer too.
On the flip side, the GorilllaPod 3K is a lot lighter, and has a neat little bubble level built in to the ball head which can aid in getting a level shot – something that can be a bit of a challenge when using GorillaPods as regular tripods on a flat surface.
The GorilllaPod 3K also features a handy quick release tripod plate, allowing you to keep the plate attached to your camera indefinitely, ready to click in place to the GorillaPod when needed.
Whereas the 5K has a twistable knob to secure the quick release plate in place, the 3K offer a simple push-clip – definitely faster to use in practice, but not as secure as a tightening knob.
This means that you need to make sure you’re careful that the clip has ‘clicked’ into place when attaching your camera onto the GorillaPod 3K – if you rush this stage, you’re in for a drop.
One big benefit of the GorilllaPod 3K over its beefier big brother is that hand-holding the entire set up will obviously be less taxing, due to the reduced weight of the tripod.
(Usage of the 3K assumes a lighter camera attached to it, so regardless of the difference in weight of the GorillaPod itself, you’re in for a lighter experience whatever the case.)
All in all, the GorilllaPod 3K is a great value for money flexible tripod if you’re sure that all you’ll ever be attaching to the end of it will be less than 3 kg (6.6 lbs).
The built in bubble level sets it apart from the other models in the range too, and proves particularly useful for table top shooting.
Weight: 197 g (0.43 lbs)
Max Capacity: 1 kg (2.2 lbs)
Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.5 x 25.6 cm
Material: ABS Plastic, Stainless steel, TPE, Zinc-Aluminum, Aluminium
The original flexible compact tripod plus ball head for advanced compact and mirrorless cameras, or any device featuring a 1/4″ tripod mount screw socket.
This is the original GorillaPod that launches a thousand cheap Chinese knock-offs – I’ve bought one of the fakies in the past, and quickly regretted it!
You’ll see lookalikes on sale at markets and all over eBay, but beware – they may look similar at first glance, but the build and quality is definitely inferior. You’ll find that bending the legs repeatedly will result in the balls snapping out the sockets very quickly indeed.
As with the 3K, the GorillaPod 1K also features premium grade ABS plastic sockets which ensure longevity, fluidity in movement and security.
The 1K is also surprisingly light at only 197 g (0.43 lbs), making it ideal to have a couple stashed in your camera bag at all times – this is what I do, usually to support flashes or mini LEDs like the powerful but tiny Manfrotto LumeMuse.
As mentioned before, I’d err on the side of caution if you camera set up is close to the maximum capacity of the GorillaPod 1K, and pay a little more for the 3K, or even the 5K, for additional peace of mind.
That said, the GorillaPod 1K does a fine job in securing devices weighing within its max carrying capacity to thin poles, posts and anything else you can find that fits the bill.
I’ve attached a lightweight Godox flash to a GorillaPod 1K and wrapped the legs around a door handle during a bridal prep in the past – worked a treat for some quick off-camera flash!
At less than $30 (latest price here), the 1K is great value for money, and cheap enough so that many photographers often carry a couple, since they’re the kind of thing you frequently lose!
One thing to note is that there’s no quick-release plate to attach to the base of your camera or other device – you simply screw the entire GorillaPod head directly into the 1/4″ screw hole.
On the plus side, this makes attachment simple – there’s no initial fiddling around with base plates. However, you still need to screw the head into your chosen device, and removing it takes more time.
If you’re looking for a simple, great value for money flexible tripod that can be used in a variety of ways and still pack up small enough for your back pocket, the GorillaPod 1K is definitely for you.
Weight: 79 g (0.17 lbs)
Max Capacity: 500 g (1.1 lbs)
Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 20.5 cm
Material: ABS Plastic, Stainless steel, TPE, Aluminium
Super compact flexible tripod stand for lightweight compact cameras, point & shoots and 360/action cameras.
This is a new size GorillaPod that hasn’t previously been available – a beefed up version of the 325, coming up next in the review.
The GorillaPod 500 has been made to support high-end compact and point and shoot cameras, such as the Sony RX100 series or Canon PowerShot G series cameras – anything up to the weight of 500 g (1 lb).
There’s no separate knob to tighten the ball socket in order to secure the ball head at different angles. Instead, the ball head is already in a tightened state, requiring you to simply twist it around in the socket to fix it into different positions.
There’s also a cut-away section to allow fast and easy portrait orientation positioning of your device.
There’s not much more to say about the GorillaPod 500 – it’s a simple bit of kit that allows you to stabilize or secure your compact camera in places that wouldn’t normally be possible.
At around $25 (latest price here), it’s affordable and excellent value for money.
Weight: 49 g
Max Capacity: 500 g (0.11 lbs)
Dimensions: 4 x 4 x 20.5 cm
Material: ABS Plastic, Stainless steel, TPE, Aluminium
Featherlight compact flexible tripod for point & shoot and small cameras
For lightweight compact cameras weighing less than 500 g (1.1 lbs), the GorillaPod 325 is the tiny little flexible tripod for you.
With all the same features of the 500, but weighing in at a featherlight 49 g (0.11 lbs), this is one tiny little gadget, small enough to have in your jeans pocket all day, ready for fast deployment.
One thing to note – even if own a lightweight compact camera such as the Ricoh GRIII, I’d actually recommend you buy the aforementioned GorillaPod 500 rather than the 325, just to give me a bit of additional strength and stability when bending the GorillaPod around objects.
However, that’s not to say that the build quality of the GorillaPod 325 isn’t great – it’s just that everything feels that much smaller. Perhaps it’s just my big hands…!
Whatever the case, at less than $15 (see latest price here), the GorillaPod 325 is an absolute steal, and something that would make a great stocking filler for a child whose main Christmas present is a compact camera.
One seldom touted benefit of a GorillaPod, particularly one as compact as the 325, is that it provides a more substantial hand grip for shooting than using the camera alone.
For our children at least (currently 2 and 4 years old), gripping their cameras using a GorillaPod seems much easier and more fun for them.
GorillaPod Rig Upgrade
Since it’s more for the video shooters than us stills photographers, I didn’t conduct a full review of GorillaPod’s interesting ‘Rig Upgrade’.
Consisting of various arms, cold shoe mounts and GoPro mounts that jut off from the side of the original GorillaPod, you can create a complete mobile rig for lighting and recording external sound and video, all at once.
It also makes you look like some kind of half-man-half-robot cybertron from the future 🤖👍🏼
Find out more information on the Rig Upgrade here.
I hope this article has helped you in choosing the right Joby GorillaPod for your needs.
If I can leave you with 2 final pieces of advice: first, I strongly recommend against buying a fake GorillaPod… of which you’ll find many. Be sure you’re getting the genuine article by using the links on this page, or by shopping at a reputable camera shop.
The second piece of advice is to invest in at least one GorillaPod higher in maximum weight capacity than you require.
(If you’re a professional, or an amateur who really values their equipment, I’d recommend you only look at the 3K or 5K.)
This will provide a little bit of leeway in the security of your set up, while also allowing you the option to attach a heavier lens, or other accessory in the future.
With that said, it’s hard to go wrong with any of these flexible and fun tripods that can help expand your creative vision by allowing you to place cameras, lights and a myriad other decives in locaiton not normally possible.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.