Best 360 cameras in 2024

Insta360 X3 display
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The best 360 cameras are perfect for action video enthusiasts or content creators. As the name suggests, 360 cameras capture a panorama of everything around you, to help immerse your audience in the video.

The best 360 cameras also provide silky smooth footage, thanks to the fact that they can detect the horizon automatically and level out your video, even if you’re filming down a bumpy ski slope, or tumbling through a sky dive.

Although they’ve not been around long, these cameras have come on leaps and bounds in just a few years. They’re now much smaller than the 360 cameras of old, as well as featuring advanced tracking technology and smartphone connectivity. So how do you know which 360 camera is right for you? Simple: just read on.

The best 360 cameras you can buy today

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A photo of the Insta360 X4 mounted to motorcycle handlebars with green foliage and a pink blossoming tree in the background

(Image credit: Peter Wolinski / Future)
The best 360 camera you can buy

Specifications

Video Resolution: 8K / 30p
Phone Support: Android, iOS
Water Resistance: 10 meters
Battery Life: 73 mins (8K); 135 mins (5.7K)
Storage: MicroSD
Size: 4.86 x 1.8 x 1.48 inches
Weight: 7.16 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
8K 360 recording (2.7K reframed)
+
Great battery life
+
Invisible selfie stick mode
+
Large screen
+
Awesome Insta360 app

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
Bulky

The Insta360 X4 is the best 360 camera you can buy (and the best 360 camera ever made) right now. It offers 8K/30p recording, which equates to 2.7K resolution when reframed in 16:9. This is a big step up over previous iterations and action cameras, which could only reframe at 1080p. 

The stablization is fantastic, the internal mic is decent, build quality is excellent and the X4 has a bigger screen than the X3, which is bright and responsive. It also comes with some nifty new features, including MeMode, which allows you to achieve the invisible selfie stick effect in 16:9 at 4K/60p in camera. It's also waterproof down to 33ft (10m) like its predecessor.

The best thing about the X4 (aside from the increased resolution, of course) is its battery life. The X4 has an upgraded battery versus the X3, which equates to over 50 minutes longer at 5.7K (135 minutes in total). It shot 8K footage for 73 minutes in testing, which is very impressive. When used as a 4K single lens action camera, we got over 110 minutes at 4K/60p, which is much better than even the best action cameras around.

Read more in our full Insta360 X4 review.

Insta360 X3 display

Insta360 One X3 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The next best 360 camera

Specifications

Video Resolution: 5.7K
Phone Support: Android, iOS
Water Resistance: 10 meters
Battery Life: 81 minutes
Storage: MicroSD
Size: 4.5 x 1.8 x 1.3 inches
Weight: 6.3 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent image-stabilization
+
Water resistant
+
Fun and useful software features

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit heavy
-
Can be tough to discover some features

The Insta360 X3 is the best 360 camera for most people. That's because, like its predecessor (the X2), the X3 has the most innovative software and features in addition to being a great piece of hardware. 

The X3 is water resistant to 10 meters (33 feet), and has a much larger touchscreen display than its predecessor, which makes previewing video and changing settings on the fly easy. It also has a decent battery life of up to 80 minutes.

The X3 has fantastic image-stabilization feature that will make even the bumpiest videos look smooth, and can capture 5.7K video at 30 fps, and 4K video at up to 60 fps. Its FlowState image stabilization algorithm helps smooth shots, and a TimeShift feature lets you slow down or speed up specific segments of your videos. 

Read our full Insta360 One X3 review.

Insta360 One RS in snow

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
This 360 camera has a modular design

Specifications

Size: 2.8 x 1.9 x 1.3 inches
Weight: 82 minutes (5.7K@30fps)
Battery life: 5.3K @ 30fps = 65 minutes
Max video resolution: 5.3K @ 30 fps
Max photo resolution: 6080x3040 (2:1)
Water resistance: 16 feet

Reasons to buy

+
Innovative modular design
+
Multiple lens options including 360 lens
+
Reversible screen for front facing option
+
Impressive in-camera stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Small screen size
-
Needs frame for mounting
-
Bulky 

For those looking for a 360 camera with more of a traditional action camera design, the Insta360 One RS is your best bet. Like its predecessor, the Insta360 One R, this innovative camera has a modular design that lets you swap out its 360 lens for a wide angle 4K camera or a camera with a 1-inch sensor. What's more, the camera has some other pretty cool features, including video stabilization and a comprehensive app that has a lot of powerful editing tools.

We like that the One RS' display can be turned around so you can frame yourself in videos, but its small size relative to the GoPro makes it much more difficult to navigate on-screen menus. And, like older GoPros, you'll need to use a frame to mount it to anything. But, this is one versatile 360 camera.

Read our full Insta360 One RS review.

Best 360 cameras: GoPro Hero Max

GoPro Hero Max (Image credit: Future)
A 360 camera with some great software

Specifications

Video Resolution: 5.6K/30 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

-
Hard to hold in one hand without tripod
-
Expensive

Unlike most 360 cameras, the GoPro Max has a small display on its back that lets you view what its cameras are looking at. While it's not as handy as it seems, the large display does make it easy to navigate and change the Max's settings without having to use your smartphone. 

The GoPro 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 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. At $499, it costs more than the Insta360 One X2, but the GoPro Max delivers.

Read our GoPro Max review.

Best 360 cameras: Ricoh Theta Z1

Ricoh Theta Z1 (Image credit: Ricoh)
A high-quality 360 camera, for a price.

Specifications

Video Resolution: 4K (30 fps)
Phone Support: Android/iOS
Water Resistance: None
Battery Life: 1 hour
Storage: 19GB/built-in
Size: 5.2 x 1.8 x 1.2 inches
Weight: 6.4 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Good low-light images
+
Sturdy, easy-to-use design
+
Third-party plug-ins increase functionality

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Storage not expandable
-
Requires two apps to edit video

One of the issues with 360 cameras is that, because of their relatively small sensor size, they're not that great when it comes to low-light photography and videos. If you need a 360 camera for that purpose — and price is no object — then you should consider the Ricoh Theta Z1. This well-built device uses two 1-inch, backside-illuminated CMOS sensors, which helps deliver some of the best images we've seen from a 360 camera, especially under less than ideal conditions. 

Additionally, the Theta Z1 has dual microphones, which delivered great audio, and the camera's motion stabilization was pretty effective too. The Z1 uses an Android-based operating system, and Ricoh is letting third-party developers create plug-ins for the camera, increasing its functionality. However, this camera lacks expandable storage, it has a relatively short battery life, and you need to use two different apps if you want to edit photos or video. But if you prize image quality above all else, this is the camera to get.

Read our full Ricoh Theta Z1 review.

best 360 cameras: Vecnos Iqui

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A pen-sized 360 camera

Specifications

Weight: 2.1 ounces
Photo resolution: 5760 x 2880
Video resolution: 3840 x 1920/30fps
Internal storage: 14.4GB
Battery: 720mAh (approx. 100 photos, 30 mins video)
Size: 5.5 inches (length), 0.75 inches (diameter)
Weight: 2.1 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Sleek design
+
Responsive
+
Takes good photos

Reasons to avoid

-
Overly simplistic app

The Vecnos Iqui is a 360 camera designed for those who want to take photos or videos at a moment's notice. The camera starts up in a flash, and snaps pics just as quick. Its small, pen-like shape makes it a cinch to store in your pocket, too. 

Iqui’s app then takes your photo and turns it into a mini-movie, which you can then share with the rest of the world. While the quality of its images aren't up to the level of the Insta360s' or the GoPro's, the Iqui's ease of use will make it attractive to the influencers of the world. However, we wish there was more you could do in its app.

Read our Vecnos Iqui camera review.

Best 360 cameras: Samsung Gear 360

Samsung Gear 360 (Image credit: Samsung)
Best 360 camera for those on a budget

Specifications

Video Resolution: 4096 x 2048 (24fps)
Phone Support: Android/iOS
Water Resistance: Splashproof
Battery Life: 1 hour
Storage: MicroSD/256GB
Size: 1.8 x 1.8 x 3.9 inches
Weight: 4.6 ounces

Reasons to buy

+
Works with both Samsung and iOS phones
+
Can be used without phone
+
Good photo quality for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't work with any Android phones except Samsung's
-
Limited features when used with iPhone
-
Poor desktop software

Samsung was one of the first companies to make a truly useful 360 camera, and though it's been several years since it released anything new, its Gear 360 camera from 2017 still remains a fairly useful and functional device. The Gear 360 has a fun, lollipop-like shape that makes it easy to hold in one hand, and can even withstand a few splashes. It also has a tripod mount, if you want to attach it to your bike or something else.

The Gear 360 takes good photos and videos (up to 4K in size), and livestreams to Facebook and YouTube, too. However, there are a few big caveats: it only works fully with Samsung smartphones (from the Galaxy S6 and up), and while it works with the iPhone 7 and later, not all of the camera's features are supported. If you have a Samsung smartphone, though, the Gear 360 is a fun accessory.      

Read our full Samsung Gear 360 review.

What to look for when buying a 360 camera

When shopping for a 360 camera, you'll find that they tend to fall into two camps: small, pocketable stick-style devices, and larger squarish (or circular) cameras. The former, such as the Insta360 One X, tend to be less expensive, and are designed for more casual and impromptu shooting. In the second category are cameras such as the GoPro Hero Max, which are larger and more expensive, but tend to produce higher-quality video. Generally, the design of the latter type of 360 camera also means you'll have to attach it to a tripod or some other mount if you want to capture good footage.

Be sure to think about how you plan to use a 360 camera before you purchase it; if you want to get some fun selfies with friends, then the stick-style cameras will fit your needs well. If you want to capture hair-raising exploits when you go skydiving or skiing, then a larger camera may be the better option.

How we test 360 cameras

You get a lot of weird stares and comments when you test 360 cameras. By now, people are used to seeing action cams like the GoPro, but both the shape and way you mount 360 cameras immediately draws attention.

As they need to capture a full 360 degrees of action, most 360 cams are designed with more than one bulbous lens. And, if you don't want half of the image to be the side of your head, you have to mount the camera pretty far from your body.

You'll also want a selfie stick. With few exceptions, the shape of most of these cameras made them hard to securely hold in my hand.

All of the cameras work with a smartphone in a similar manner; when you turn these cameras on, they all create a Wi-Fi hotspot, which you then connect to with your phone. From there, you open the companion app, and use your phone's display as a viewfinder. For the most part, connecting the cameras to my smartphone was an easy process, and the video feed from the cameras was relatively smooth and stutter-free.

Be sure to check out all of our camera picks:

Best cameras | Best DSLR cameras | Best action cameras | Best waterproof cameras | Best point-and-shoot cameras | Best instant cameras | Best mirrorless cameras | Best cheap cameras | Best GoPro camera | Best GoPro accessories | Best drones | Best iPhone lenses | Best iPhone tripods |DSLR vs. mirrorless | Best Nikon accessories | Best Sony a6000 accessories


The best apps and software for editing, managing, and sharing your photos:
Best photo organizer apps | Best photo storage sites | Best photo editing software | Best photo editing apps | Best photo collage apps

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.