Best Action Cameras 2018

Editor's choice

Best Overall

GoPro Hero7 Black

Product Use case Rating
GoPro Hero7 Black Best Overall 4.5
Yi Lite Best Value 4.5
GoPro Hero5 Session Most Compact Action Camera N/A
Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Best for Data Junkies 4
Best Value
Yi Lite
Most Compact Action Camera
GoPro Hero5 Session
Best for Data Junkies
Garmin Virb Ultra 30

Action cameras aren’t just ruggedized and protected against the elements, they offer ultrawide viewing angles to capture the full experience of ski runs, skateboard tricks, snorkeling adventures or just pet antics (several companies make harnesses for your dog). And after testing a number of action cameras in a variety of conditions, including a mountain biking trip and a rafting adventure, we have action cam recommendations for every budget.

The GoPro Hero7 Black ($399) is our pick for the best action camera overall, because it offers the best video quality, has excellent image stabilization, is waterproof to 33 feet without requiring a protective shell, has a built-in touch screen and responds to voice commands. If you're looking for something a bit less expensive, the Yi Lite ($99) is our current favorite budget action cam. For less than $100, you get electronic image stabilization, a responsive touchscreen, and 4K video at 20 fps—though you'll want to stick to 1080p.

Looking for something in-between? Although we haven't tested it yet, the GoPro Hero7 White ($199) has some of the same features as the Hero7 Black, such as a waterproof body and a touchscreen, but shoots video at a max of 1080p/60 fps and lacks image stabilization and livestreaming.

Looking for a camera that can capture everything around you? Check out our best 360-degree cameras.

Latest News & Updates (September 2018)

  • GoPro has released three new action cameras: The GoPro Hero7 Black ($399), the GoPro Hero7 Silver ($299), and the GoPro Hero7 White ($199). The top model records video at a max resolution of 4K/30 fps, has a 12MP camera, takes 8x slo-mo video, and has other features such as image stabilization and livestreaming. The Hero7 Silver has a 10-MP sensor, records 40K video at 30 fps and 2x slo-mo capture; the Hero7 White uses that same 10-MP sensor as the Silver but captures 1080p video. Both the Silver and White lack image stabilization and livestreaming capabilities.
  • As a result of its new cameras, GoPro will be phasing out the cube-like Hero5 Session ($199), so if you like its design, you may want to get one before inventory runs out.

MORE: Which GoPro is Right For You?

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