Best Action Cameras 2018

Editor's choice

Best Overall

GoPro Hero6 Black

9/10
Superior
$396.89Amazon
Product Use case Rating
GoPro Hero6 Black Best Overall 9
Yi Lite Best Value 9
GoPro Hero5 Session Most Compact Action Camera N/A
Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Best for Data Junkies 8
Best Value
Yi Lite
$99Amazon
Most Compact Action Camera
GoPro Hero5 Session
$199Amazon
Best for Data Junkies
Garmin Virb Ultra 30
$399.99Amazon

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 Hero6 ($399) is our pick for the best action camera overall, because it offers the best video quality, 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 a camera that can capture everything around you? Check out our best 360-degree cameras.

Latest News & Updates (July 2018)

  • Drift introduced the Ghost X ($129.99), an inexpensive action cam that the company claims will provide up to five hours of battery life. It doesn’t shoot 4K or 1080p/60fps, but it does capture full HD 1080p video at 30fps video recording, which should satisfy many consumers. It shoots 12-MP photos and can capture timelapse videos. It also has Wi-Fi, a low-light mode, and lets you adjust the ISO sensitivity.
  • Removu, which makes a variety of accessories for GoPros and other imaging devices, has come out with the K1, an action cam that comes with a gimbal, a powerful stabilizer accessory pros use to capture smooth, jitter-free footage. The new all-in-one action cam/gimbal can shoot 4K-resoluion video (at 30fps) with its f/2.8 lens and captures footage on a 1/2.3-inch, 12-megapixel CMOS image sensor. In addition, it can capture 1080 slow-motion video (120fps) as well as time-lapse movies, burst photo modes, panoramas, and more. It also has an LCD, a 3.5mm mic input, can connect to a mobile app, and unlike most action cams, includes a variety of buttons and controls to quickly changes settings on the action cam. The K1 costs $429.

MORE: Which GoPro is Right For You?

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