Smartphone Stabilizer: An Introduction

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Pictured: the KumbaCam iPhone gimbal and LanParte smartphone stabilizer

The iPhone gimbal smartphone stabilizer has changed the game.

Once upon a time you had to spend big bucks on expensive equipment to capture cinema-quality video. Not anymore.

Nowadays, with the advent of smartphones like the iPhone and accessories like the iPhone gimbal, you can record in 4k resolution straight out of the box! Processors are lightening fast, lens glasses are crystal clear and megapixel sensors are enormous. Smartphone video is damn near impeccable.

But here’s the catch: just because you can shoot high-quality video on your smartphone doesn’t mean it’ll be watchable. It will just be high definition. That’s because if there’s one factor that separates amateurs who shoot video on smartphone and professionals who shoot video on smartphone, it’s stabilization.

Nothing is more distracting to your viewers than shaky smartphone video. And sure, smartphone video stabilization software can help. But when it comes to professional-looking smartphone video, prevention trumps correction any day of the week. A selfie-stick (i.e., monopod) can help. But not with much.

If you’re standing still during shooting it’s great. But once you start to move you’ll be right back to the shaky shots. The solution? A smartphone stabilizer. The fact is, it’s not about your camera anymore. It’s about you, the camera operator, your environment and your equipment. Namely, the type of iPhone gimbal you choose.

What Is An iPhone Gimbal?

iphone gimbal smartphone stabilizer

Pictured: the KumbaCam iPhone gimbal in box (I took out the USB cable and counterweight)

A smartphone stabilizer or smartphone gimbal is designed to make your smartphone video appear more fluid, smooth and professional by eliminating shaky camera movement. It’s the perfect companion for action shots of all types, including but not limited to: biking, running, skiing, motorcycling and more.

How does a smartphone stabilizer accomplish this? Smartphone stabilizers utilize 3-axis brushless motors and sophisticated software to counterbalance movement and give smartphone video that clean “floating” or “flying” appearance versus the bouncy, shaky footage you’re probably used to. The iPhone gimbal will remedy all of that.

Most of the smartphone stabilizers are the market are super easy to use with zero learning curve involved. Simply snap your smartphone into the camera phone stabilizer and you’re all set. From there you turn on the smartphone stabilizer or iPhone gimbal and the motors will do the rest of the work. It’s that simple.

How Does An iPhone Gimbal Work?

A good quality phone stabilizer or iPhone gimbal will utilize “a 3-axis motor”.

  • Tilt axis motor: when you nod your head up and down, you’re tilting. A tilt/pitch axis on a phone stabilizer is what will keep it steady during sudden or fast tilting maneuvers.
  • Pan axis motor: when you look left or right, you’re panning. A pan axis on a phone stabilizer is what will keep it steady during sudden or fast panning maneuvers.
  • Roll axis motor: imagine when you’re running down the street. Your smartphone is likely bouncing both up and down, and left and right. This smartphone stabilizer will protect against those movements in tandem.

All of these motors are run by a computerized control box, typically located in the handle wand or behind the smartphone clamp that holds the phone in place.

This control board is what manages the constant weight distribution and counterbalancing to ensure that buttery-smooth footage we all know and love!

In short: if you’re looking to shoot professional looking video on an iPhone or other smartphone, you need an iPhone gimbal or some kind of smartphone stabilizer. Period!

To demonstrate just how awesome, check out the footage below of me walking up a friend’s porch with and without the iPhone gimbal. As you can see, a smartphone stabilizer makes a huge difference even for simple shots like this. It will make your footage much more cinematic.

Walking without an iPhone gimbal:

Walking with the smartphone gimbal:

Smartphone Stabilizer FAQ

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Pictured: LanParte smartphone stabilizer, battery charger, extension rod and other accessories

Although they’re designed to be ready to use right out of the box sometimes you have to trouble shoot your phone camera stabilizer. Technology isn’t perfect and neither are we. Here are the most common issues people have with their phone stabilizers.

Why won’t my smartphone stabilizer stabilize? 

The most common problem is that the phone stabilizer isn’t.. well, stabilizing! Thankfully, this is a simple fix and likely due to a low battery. Make sure to charge your batteries thoroughly after using it and right out of the box. Also, be sure the screws and bolts are tightened and your smartphone is securely fastened into the phone clamp.

Why won’t my phone fit in the smartphone stabilizer clamp? 

Sometimes, for whatever reason, a smartphone won’t fit into the smartphone stabilizer clamp. It happens. You can fix this problem by trying it with or without a phone case. Most phone stabilizers come with different size clamps to accommodate the wide variety of devices available. If you still aren’t having any luck, contact the seller ASAP for a solution.

How long will my smartphone stabilizer battery last? 

Battery life varies by manufacturer. The iKan smartphone gimbal lasts 2-3 hours. The KumbaCam smartphone gimbal lasts 3-7 hours. The LanParte smartphone gimbal lasts 3-4 hours. Consult your owner’s manual for specifics on battery life for iPhone gimbal or smartphone gimbal.

What’s The Best Smartphone Gimbal?

iphone gimbal smartphone stabilizer

Pictured: LanParte smartphone stabilizer (left) and KumbaCam iPhone gimbal (right)

There are a large plethora of options when it comes to the best iPhone gimbal or smartphone stabilizer. Thankfully, we’re here to help you save valuable time and money by sharing comprehensive iPhone gimbal and smartphone stabilizer reviews.

These are the top 2 iPhone gimbals/smartphone stabilizers:

  1. KumbaCam smartphone stabilizer
  2. LanParte smartphone stabilizer

Why is KumbaCam the best smartphone gimbal?

  1. KumbaCam has superior construction. KumbaCam makes their iPhone gimbal and other stabilizers with aircraft-grade aluminum. Compared to it’s plastic counterparts, the KumbaCam just blows them away. It feels lightweight but not cheap. Heavy but not cumbersome.
  2. KumbaCam has less parts to keep track of. Although the LanParte is easier to customize with smaller size clamps and other components (and it also comes with a sturdy, great looking case for easier storage and portability) there’s just way too much to keep track of. No assembly required.
  3. KumbaCam is easier to recharge. Although the LanParte gimbal comes with a battery charger, the batteries have to be recharged externally. With the KumbaCam smartphone stabilizer, all you have to do is plug it into any portable power pack or USB charging port. That’s it.

But don’t get me wrong, the LanParte has a lot of good things going on too.

  1. LanParte is cheaper. At only $259.99 compared to the KumbaCam’s $349.99, you’re saving big.
  2. LanParte has a GoPro clamp. Any iPhone gimbal or smartphone gimbal is really going to shine during action shots. By including the GoPro accessory adapter you can attach the LanParte damn-near anywhere -whether on a helmet, to your chest or to a set of handlebars- and get smooth footage.
  3. LanParte is detachable. This is another big positive. It’s not completely detachable or wireless but it allows you much greater flexible for shots. All you have to do is mount the smartphone gimbal to whichever GoPro accessory and tug the wand in someplace secure, and you’re good to go.
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Pictured: LanParte iPhone gimbal GoPro accessory adapter (bottom of device)

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Pictured: LanParte iPhone gimbal detached from base via included wire (bottom of device)

Ready to buy an smartphone gimbal?

So you’ve made up your mind and decided you absolutely need one of these.

Awesome! If budget isn’t an issue and you plan on doing lots of hand-held footage, I’d absolutely recommend the KumbaCam smartphone gimbal. If you’re looking to mount your smartphone to a GoPro accessory and detach the base from the wand I’d say go with the LanParte.

Both are are a ton of fun to use and will work wonders on your footage. Both also have applications you can download to use in sync with your smartphone or iPhone. They also come with comprehensive instruction guides should you get stuck (I give KumbaCam the edge in the instruction manual department).

Click here to buy the KumbaCam smartphone gimbal. 

Click here to buy the LanParte smartphone gimbal.


Full disclosure: KumbaCam and LanParte each sent me a smartphone gimbal free to review. Every link on this post is an Amazon affiliate link. Assume every product reviewed was free and every link is for a commission because hey, a blogger’s gotta eat somehow!