Best GoPro camera in 2024

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for one of the best GoPro cameras, let us start by saying you’re making the right choice. When it comes to the best action cameras available, GoPro cameras are without doubt up there among the best. 

But hang on, with so many models available, which one is right for you? The latest GoPro Hero12 Black, surely? Well, not necessarily. It’s not quite as simple as the newest one is the best for everyone.

Obviously, price is a big factor here, and many of the older models are now much more affordable than the newest ones. For your budget then, you might end up finding that an older GoPro is best. It also depends on the features you need. The GoPro Max, for example, offers 360-degree video, which is something not found on other models in the lineup.

Luckily for you, we’ve tested every GoPro still available to buy, so you’ve come to the right place for advice. In this article, we’ve rounded up the five latest models of GoPro, from the Hero9 Black to the very latest Hero12 Black, comparing their features, strengths and weaknesses. 

All you need to do now is read on to see the best GoPro cameras for your needs.

The quick list

Here's a quick overview of the three best GoPro cameras you can buy right now based on our testing and reviews. These aren't the only ones we'd recommend, though, so keep on scrolling if you want to see our in-depth analysis of all the top GoPro cameras.

Best GoPro camera: Specs compared

We know all the numbers and specs can be a little overwhelming, so we've laid them all out side by side in this table to make it easier for you to compare the details. Remember, though, specs aren't everything and don't necessarily make a camera right for you, so keep reading to see our full analysis of each GoPro.

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GoPro Hero12 BlackGoPro Hero11 BlackGoPro MaxHero10 BlackHero9 Black
Price
$399$499$399$349$349
Video Resolution
5.3K/60 fps5K/60 fps5.6K/60 fps (spherical), 1080p/60fps (rectilinear)5K/60 fps5K/30 fps
Photo Resolution
27MP27MP16.6MP (spherical), 5.5MP (rectilinear)23MP20MP
DisplayFront and rearFront and rearRear onlyFront and rearFront and rear
Slo-Mo120 fps (4K), 240 fps (2.7K)240 fps (2.7k)2x / 60 fps (3K)240 fps (2.7k)240 fps (1080p)
LivestreamingYes (1080p)Yes (1080p)Yes (1080p)Yes (1080p)Yes (1080p)
HDRYesYes (1080p)NoYesYes
Motion StabilizationHypersmooth 6.0Hypersmooth 5.0Max HypersmoothHyperSmooth 4.0Hypersmooth 3.0+ Boost
Microphones
33633
Water Resistance
33 feet33 feet16 feet33 feet33 feet
Battery1720 mAh1720 mAh1600 mAh1720 mAh1720 mAh
Size2.8 x 2 x 1.3 inches2.8 x 2 x 1.3 inches2.7 x 2.5 x 0.98 inches2.75 x 1.9 x 1.6 inches2.75 x 1.9 x 1.6 inches
Weight150 grams150 grams154 grams150 grams158 grams

The full list: the best GoPro cameras in detail

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

(Image credit: Future)
The best GoPro overall

Specifications

Max Video Resolution: 5.3K/60 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 27 MP
Touch Screen: Yes (2)
Battery Life: 1:10 (5.3K/60p)
Water Resistance: 33 feet
Size: 2.8 x 2 x 1.3 inches
Weight: 5.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Bluetooth support for audio
+
Cheaper than previous model
+
Outstanding video performance
+
Horizon lock feature
+
Intuitive to operate

Reasons to avoid

-
Specs largely unchanged from Hero11
-
Premium editing features paywall

The GoPro Hero12 Black is the best GoPro you can buy — and in fact, we've listed it at the top of our best action cameras round up too. While it's largely unchanged from its predecessor, it costs $100 less than the Hero11 did at launch — something we were happy to see given such a moderate specs boost.

Vdeo performance has been boosted over the Hero11, despite having the same resolution sensor: the Hero12 shoots 5.3K/60p versus the Hero11's 5K/30p, for higher resolution, smoother footage. There's now also support for bluetooth headphones, so you can use your wireless earbuds to record clean audio without the need for a separate microphone.

Water resistance is the same, as are the design, screens and dimensions. Horizon stabilization and image stabilization are again unchanged, but these were fantastic in the Hero11 anyway, so that's no bad thing. Unfortunately, premium editing features are again locked behind a paid subscription.

Read our full GoPro Hero12 Black review.

The next best GoPro camera

Front view of GoPro Hero 11 Black

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The next best GoPro

Specifications

Max Video Resolution: 5K/60 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 27 MP
Touch Screen: Yes (2)
Battery Life: 1:38
Water Resistance: 33 feet
Size: 2.8 x 2 x 1.3 inches
Weight: 5.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Innovative editing features
+
Larger image sensor
+
Amazing motion stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Can’t edit video on-camera
-
A bit big for mounting on a helmet

The GoPro Hero11 Black has a large 1/1.9-inch image sensor with an 8:7 aspect ratio. This squarish format lets you capture expansive views, but more importantly, gives you much more flexibility when editing the video afterwards. In the GoPro Quik app, you can output your video in a number of formats, including the TikTok-friendly 9:16 ratio. 

What also makes the Hero11 Black great is its fantastic image stabilization — you can literally rotate the camera all the way around, and it will keep the horizon level. New shooting modes also let you capture star trails and try your hand at light painting, and GoPro's Quik app makes editing your videos a real pleasure.

The GoPro Hero11 is now no longer the newest and best model, so it takes our spot for the next best GoPro behind the Hero12. One of the things that makes the newer Hero12 so great is that it launched for $100 lower than the Hero11 at launch. However, you should be able to pick up a Hero11 for less than a Hero12 now that the latter is out, so if you need to save a few dollars, the Hero11 is still a great choice.

Read our full GoPro Hero11 Black review.

The best 360 GoPro camera

Best GoPro cameras: GoPro Hero Max

GoPro Hero Max (Image credit: Future)
The best 360 GoPro camera

Specifications

Video Resolution: 5.6K/60 fps
Phone Support: Android/iOS
Water Resistance: Splashproof
Battery Life: 1 hour
Storage: MicroSD/256GB
Size: 2.9 x 2.6 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 4.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent video quality
+
Motion-smoothing
+
Intuitive menus

Reasons to avoid

-
Needs tripod
-
Expensive

While not the best GoPro camera overall, the GoPro Max does have a major point of difference from the others — namely its ability to shoot 360-degree video. Unlike most 360 cameras, the GoPro Hero Max has a small display on its back that lets you view what its cameras are looking at. We didn't find it quite as handy as we'd expected, but the large display does make it easy to navigate and change the Max's settings without having to use your smartphone. 

The GoPro Hero Max also has a HyperSmooth stabilization feature, so your bumpy video will look nice and smooth, and image quality from the camera — up to a max resolution of 5.6K/30 fps — lives up to GoPro's typical high standards. Plus, GoPro's app is loaded with features, including the ability to livestream video from the Max.

However, the GoPro Hero Max's design requires the use of a selfie stick, and lacks a tripod mount, so you have to use it with one of GoPro's accessories. GoPro's subscription offer is available here too, and brings the price down to $399 from its RRP of $549.

Read our GoPro Max review.

The best older GoPro camera

GoPro Hero10 Black review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best older GoPro

Specifications

Max Video Resolution: 5K/60 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 23 MP
Touch Screen: Yes (2)
Battery Life: 1:41
Water Resistance: 33 feet
Size: 2.75 x 1.9 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 5.3 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image stabilization
+
Removable lens
+
Media “Mods” add functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy

The GoPro Hero10 Black supports video recording as high as 5.3K/60 fps, as well as 2K video at 240 fps, and 4K video at 120 fps. On top of that, it has a larger 23MP image sensor, and manages to shave off a tiny bit of weight.

What's most impressive is the Hero10's upgraded image stabilization; in our testing, we found that the camera can be tilted by as much as 45 degrees while still smoothing things out. However, this puts a serious dent on battery life, which is unchanged from the Hero9. But, you can use the same battery, as well as the same accessories, as before.

Plus, thanks to firmware updates over its lifecycle, the Hero10 Black can record longer clips in situations where there's limited airflow to cool the camera. The company says that users will be able to record up to 63-minute clips at 4K/60 fps. Price-wise, GoPro has heavily discounted the Hero10 since launch and it's now available for $249 direct from GoPro. That's a massive $150 cheaper than the newest Hero12. Given the cost versus performance, we think this is the best older GoPro around.

Read our full GoPro Hero10 Black review.

A decent GoPro if on sale

best GoPro cameras: GoPro Hero9

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A great choice if you can find a deal

Specifications

Max Video Resolution: 5K/30 fps
Max Photo Resolution: 20 MP
Touch Screen: Yes (2)
Battery Life: 1:41
Water Resistance: 33 feet
Size: 2.75 x 1.9 x 1.6 inches
Weight: 5.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Front-facing screen
+
Removable lens
+
Media “Mods” add functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy

With the GoPro Hero9 Black, GoPro not only took the criticism of the Hero8, but also added a much-needed feature: a front-facing display. This small screen now shows a live preview, making it much easier for selfie artists and bloggers to frame themselves in videos and photos.

In addition, the Hero9 has a removable lens, so you can once again add filters, such as GoPro's new Max Lens Mod, which enables you to take really wide and stabilized video. It can also shoot at resolutions up to 5K, and its larger battery performs better in colder temperatures. Having tested it extensively, Our sole criticism is that it's pretty heavy, so you'll certainly notice it if you attach it to a helmet. Overall, we'd still consider this to be one of the best GoPro cameras, but only if you can find it with serious money off. The Hero10 is the oldest model still officially sold by GoPro, but you can still find a new Hero9 easily online. The issue is that GoPro now sell the Hero10 for only $249, which is often less than this camera goes for on Amazon. As such, we'd advise only picking up a GoPro Hero9 if it's at a sizeable discount and is selling for lower than newer models.

Read our full GoPro Hero9 Black review.

What to look for when buying a GoPro camera

Front view of GoPro Hero 11 Black

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Design

While all of the best GoPro cameras (with the exception of the Max) share a similar design, there are a few differences, especially between newer and older models.

With the Hero8 Black, GoPro redesigned the camera so that the mounting "fingers" — used to connect the camera to GoPro accessories — are built directly into the bottom of the camera. This way, you don't need to attach a case if you want to mount the camera to a selfie stick or some other device.

All GoPro models have a rear display which you can use to frame your shot and adjust settings, as well as a front-facing LCD that shows your recording time, battery life, and more. However, the Hero9 and onwards have color displays on the front, which can also be used to frame yourself in a shot. 

Video and image resolution

Both the GoPro Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black can shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second, as well as slo-mo video at 1080p/240 fps. The GoPro Hero9 Black was the first GoPro that can shoot video at 5K resolution, albeit at a max framerate of 30 fps. The Hero10 ups that to 60 fps. The GoPro Hero11 can shoot 5K/60 fps, while the Hero12 can shoot 5.3K/60 fps — both models can shoot 4K/120 fps slow motion.

On the stills front, the Hero12 and Hero11 take 27MP stills; the Hero10 takes 23MP stills; the Hero9 takes 20MP stills; while the Hero8 Black and Hero7 Black are both limited to 12MP.

The GoPro Max is in a class of its own, as it shoots 5.6K spherical videos, but only 1080p/60fps rectilinear video and only 30 fps slow motion (slowed down 2x from its maximum 60 fps).

Image stabilization

One of the defining features of the best GoPro cameras has been electronic image stabilization, which goes a long way towards smoothing out shaky action cam footage. GoPro calls its technology HyperSmooth; hyperbole aside, it's very effective. Newer (and pricier) GoPro models have more advanced versions of HyperSmooth.

If you're taking really shaky video, though, we recommend the GoPro Max; because it's a 360 camera, and recording everything around you, it's the best at maintaining a level horizon no matter how much the camera bounces around.

Which GoPro accessories should you buy?

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

(Image credit: Future)

We've got a separate guide to the best GoPro accessories, but if you're still deciding which is the best GoPro camera to buy and just want an idea of how much extra you might need to budget for add-ons, here's a brief overview: 

  • GoPro Volta: GoPro has just released this combined handle, remote, battery and tripod and we'll be giving it a try very soon. The company claims it can triple battery life, while the remote functionality works whether it's attached to a camera or wirelessly via Bluetooth. For $130, it looks like a great addition to a GoPro.
  • Mounts: You're almost certainly going to want to attach your GoPro to something, whether it's a helmet, a bike or a snowboard. Neewer makes an inexpensive (about $30) 50-piece kit that includes dozens of options. 
  • Audio upgrades: Sound isn't the GoPro's strongest suit, but you can improve it by adding GoPro's own Media Mod, or an external microphone for as little as $40.
  • Batteries: You can never have too much juice — after all, you don't want to be stuck halfway up a mountain with a dead GoPro. For $10 you can buy an extra battery plus a charging case that you can take on the go.
  • Carrying case: The more kit you have, the more useful this will be. Amazon sells a good option for just $11.

Of course there are dozens of other GoPro accessories, including waterproof cases and floatation devices, screen protectors, extra lighting, extra displays and more. Check out our full list of the best GoPro accessories for more. 

Can you use a GoPro as a webcam?

GoPro Hero12 Black being usedl.

(Image credit: Future)

Simply put: yes. Aside from being great action cameras, there are actually a few other things that GoPros can do. For a start, GoPro has software that lets you use GoPros after the Hero8 Black as webcams. Follow our guide to how to use your GoPro as a webcam for more details. 

GoPro also launched livestreaming for its cameras back to the Hero7 Black (including the GoPro Max). However, in order to use this feature, you must be a GoPro Plus subscriber, which costs $49.99 annually. The subscription also provides unlimited cloud storage of GoPro footage, no-questions-asked camera replacement, and up to 50% off GoPro accessories. 

How we test the best GoPro cameras

Man holding GoPro Hero 11 Black

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The only way to test a GoPro camera properly is to put it through its paces in the outdoors, so that's what we do. We take it to a ski slope, or out on a bike, or to a beach, and we use it in the kind of situation anyone buying it would do. We also make sure to test it in a variety of lighting conditions, and to specifically evaluate features such as motion stabilization so we know how well it performs.

We then look closely at the footage, and any stills we've taken, to compare the quality to that of rival devices or previous models. Finally, we consider the camera's controls, design and build, including aspects such as how easy it is to operate with gloves, and also evaluate the manufacturer's battery claims against what we found in our testing.

More from Tom's Guide

Be sure to check out all of our camera picks:

Now that you've decided on the best GoPro for you, you'll definitely want to check out our roundup of the best GoPro accessories, so you can get the most out of your rugged pal. If you're still not sold on adventuring with a GoPro, then we also have guides to the best action cameras, best waterproof cameras, best 360 cameras and best drones. If you're looking for something a little more conventional than an action cam, why not check out our guides to the best DSLR cameras and best mirrorless cameras (or read up on DSLR vs. mirrorless if you haven't decided between the two). For something a little more casual, check out the best point-and-shoot cameras and the best instant cameras. If you'd like to see our favorites from every category, then you'll want to read our guide to the overall best cameras.


It's also important that you have somewhere to store all of your stills and videos, as well as somewhere to edit them. That's why we've also put together guides to the best photo organizer apps and the best photo storage sites, as well as the best photo editing software, best photo editing apps and best video editing software.

Mike Prospero
U.S. Editor-in-Chief, Tom's Guide

Michael A. Prospero is the U.S. Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide. He oversees all evergreen content and oversees the Homes, Smart Home, and Fitness/Wearables categories for the site. In his spare time, he also tests out the latest drones, electric scooters, and smart home gadgets, such as video doorbells. Before his tenure at Tom's Guide, he was the Reviews Editor for Laptop Magazine, a reporter at Fast Company, the Times of Trenton, and, many eons back, an intern at George magazine. He received his undergraduate degree from Boston College, where he worked on the campus newspaper The Heights, and then attended the Columbia University school of Journalism. When he’s not testing out the latest running watch, electric scooter, or skiing or training for a marathon, he’s probably using the latest sous vide machine, smoker, or pizza oven, to the delight — or chagrin — of his family.