Action cameras have been designed to capture photos and video, including underwater. They also have a rugged build, ensuring that they can survive your adventures without damage.

Image stabilization is another essential feature you need to know about when shopping for an action camera. The same goes for the ability to use the gadgets with a mount or a grip.

Image quality and ease of use are the most important things to consider when shopping for an action camera. If you're planning to use it mounted, it's also important to consider the camera's ecosystem of mounts and accessories. Lastly, if you plan to take your action camera for a swim, keep a close eye on its depth rating.

Every action camera on this list will require a microSD card to store content, so make sure you budget for one. If you plan on shooting 4K video, buy a microSD card with at least 64 GB of storage or (preferably) more.

Check 0ut our favorite action cameras below so you never miss your most memorable moments.

Learn More About Our Top Five Picks:

1. GoPro HERO6 Black Action Camera - Check Price

Best Overall

GoPro

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Pros: Compact and good-looking, great set of photo and video-recording features, intuitive interface, lots of optional accessories to choose from

Con: Expensive

Bottom Line: GoPro's best camera has intuitive controls and excellent image quality, which makes it our best overall pick.

Key Features

  • 4K video capture at 60 fps, 1080p video capture at 240 fps
  • 12 MP still images, optional RAW format capture, 30 fps bursts
  • Digital video stabilization
  • 2-inch touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in GPS
  • Waterproof up to 30 feet without housing

    GoPro's range-topping HERO6 Black is the best action camera worth your attention today. It has a sleek yet rugged design, an intuitive touchscreen interface, and an amazing array of photo- and video-capturing capabilities. It also comes with the best selection of optional accessories in the industry.

    When it comes to available options for capturing video and still images, the HERO6 Black is truly second to none. The gadget can record 4K video with stereo sound at up to a brisk 60 fps, as well as Full HD footage at up to 240 fps, among many other formats.

    The camera has GoPro's most sophisticated digital image stabilization. However, it's important to note that it's not available when recording 4K content at 60 frames per second.

    The still photography capabilities of the device include the ability to capture bursts of 30 shots, as well as a dedicated wide dynamic range mode. Advanced photographers will appreciate the option to save images in RAW format for in-depth desktop editing.

    You can transfer photos from the camera over Wi-Fi or by removing its microSD card (not bundled in the retail package). GoPro has a duo of mobile apps to help you make the most out of the gadget — one for previewing and sharing content, and another for editing it.

    The HERO6 Black has a 2-inch color touchscreen, which makes navigating through its features and previewing content a breeze. Other highlights of the camera include the ability to control it with voice commands, built-in GPS, and a user-replaceable battery.

    2. YI Lite Action Cam - Check Price

    Best Budget Buy

    YI

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    Pros: Affordable, easy to use, good set of photo and video-recording features

    Con: Not waterproof without a housing

    Bottom Line: This budget-friendly pick has a good set of features for its price, but you should note that it's not waterproof out of the box.

    Key Features

    • 1080p video capture at 60 fps
    • 16 MP still images
    • Digital image stabilization
    • 2-inch touchscreen
    • Wi-Fi connectivity
    • Waterproof up to 132 feet when put in the bundled housing

      Priced only a tad above $100 with a waterproof housing, the YI Lite is a great starter action camera for buyers on a tight budget. It has sleek design, intuitive touchscreen controls, and impressive battery life for its price tag (a tad over two hours between charges).

      The YI Lite is equipped with a high-quality Sony image sensor, which allows it to capture Full HD video at a rather smooth 60 frames per second, as well as sharp 16 MP still images. There's a plethora of shooting modes to choose from, including time-lapse, slow-motion, and burst image capture, among others.

      The gadget has Wi-Fi connectivity, so you can connect it to your smartphone. You can view, share, and edit the content you captured via a free mobile app.

      It's imperative that you order the YI Lite action camera with the manufacturer's official waterproof case because the device isn't water-resistant without it.

      3. GoPro HERO5 Session - Check Price

      Best for Mounting

      GoPro

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      Pros: Incredibly compact, handy voice controls, good video quality

      Con: Some might find the controls a bit limited

      Bottom Line: The HERO5 Session offers great image quality in an ultra-portable form factor.

      Key Features

      • 4K video capture at 30 fps, 1080p video capture at 90 fps
      • 10 MP still images, 30 fps bursts
      • Digital video stabilization
      • Available voice controls
      • Wi-Fi connectivity
      • Waterproof up to 30 feet without housing

        The GoPro HERO5 Session delivers 4K video recording in an ultra-compact form factor with a no-frills design (there's no touchscreen to distract you). Combined with the manufacturer's superb selection of accessories, it makes the camera our favorite option for mounting (on a helmet, bike, car, etc.).

        The camera's 4K video recording capabilities top out at 30 frames per second. There's also the option to capture Full HD video at a snappier 90 fps, as well as 10 MP images in bursts of up to 30 fps. Like all GoPro cameras, the HERO5 Session has digital image stabilization.

        Like its more capable HERO6 Black relative, the HERO5 Session can reach depths of up to 33 feet without a housing. The camera also has Wi-Fi, so you can download your videos to your favorite mobile device (via an app).

        4. Sony FDR-X3000 Action Camera - Check Price

        Best Image Stabilization

        Sony

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        Pros: Exceptional image and audio quality, great waterproof rating with the included housing

        Con: The controls could be better

        Bottom Line: Thanks to optical image stabilization, the Sony FDR-X3000 can capture excellent photos and video.

        Key Features

        • 4K video capture at 30 fps, 1080p video capture at 120 fps
        • 12 MP still images, 10 fps bursts
        • Optical and digital video stabilization
        • Built-in LCD display
        • Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in GPS
        • Waterproof up to 197 feet with the bundled housing

          What sets the Sony FDR-X3000 action camera apart from all of its competitors is the presence of optical image stabilization. This means that there are actual hardware components to make up for the camera's shaking — not a software algorithm.

          Combined with an excellent Zeiss lens, the optical image stabilization helps the FDR-X3000 deliver 4K video and 12 MP images that are arguably the best in its class. You can record high-resolution footage at 30 fps, as well as a rather cinematic 24 fps. Full HD video recording is also available at up to 120 fps.

          The quality of the sound captured by the FDR-X3000 is also superb, thanks to a built-in stereo microphone. There's also the option to easily connect the camera to an external microphone.

          The camera has an impressive set of wired and wireless connectivity features that include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth with NFC for easy pairing, and GPS — as well as microUSB and microHDMI ports.

          The FDR-X3000 can also go as deep as 197 feet when equipped with its bundled housing. Users can connect the camera to a live-view wrist remote for easy control while mounted.

          It's worth noting that compared to GoPro's finest offerings, the Sony FDR-X3000 has inferior controls. The camera lacks a color touchscreen, so navigating through its shooting modes and settings isn't as intuitive. You can't preview content on the camera, either.

          5. Garmin Virb 360 Action Cam - Check Price

          Best for 360-Degree Video

          Garmin

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          Pros: Rugged body, high-resolution spherical video and images

          Con: Expensive

          Bottom Line: The Virb 360 has a rugged body and a great set of features, but it'll cost you.

          Key Features

          • 4K video capture at 30 fps (stitched internally), 5.7K video at 30 fps (via desktop software)
          • 15 MP spherical photos
          • Live streaming capabilities
          • Available voice controls
          • Bundled tripod/grip
          • Waterproof up to 33 feet

            The Garmin Virb 360 camera is designed to capture 360-degree video thanks to a pair of image sensors. Shockproof and water-resistant to 33 feet, the gadget can capture stitched 4K video at 30 frames per second, externally processed content with even higher 5.7K resolution, and 15 MP still images. Live-streaming capabilities are also available.

            The Virb 360 can also record 360-degree audio via a quartet of microphones. You can control the device with your voice, or via the intuitively placed buttons.

            In a manner befitting a rugged camera, the Virb 360 packs a plethora of sensors. They include a barometer, an accelerometer, a compass, and a GPS chip, among others. The coolest bit about having them onboard is the ability to overlay their data in your videos, making them even more engaging. Garmin has bundled the Virb 360 with a tripod that also doubles as a grip.

            A price tag that's just a tad shy of $700 makes the Garmin Virb 360 a serious investment. However, if you're looking for a rugged camera to capture your adventures from every angle, this is your best option.


            More Options Worth Considering:

            6. Olympus Tough TG-Tracker - Check Price

            Best for a Rugged Body

            Olympus

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            Pros: Rugged body, good image quality, the built-in sensors and LED light are handy

            Con: The mobile app experience could be better

            Bottom Line: If you're looking for a ultra rugged option, buy this pick for all your rough-and-tumble adventures.

            Key Features

            • 4K video capture at 30 fps, 1080p video capture at 60 fps
            • 8 MP still images
            • Digital video stabilization
            • Tilting 1.5-inch display
            • Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in GPS
            • Waterproof up to 98 feet, crushproof

              The Olympus Tough TG-Tracker is an excellent option from one of the most storied names in photography. The camera has the ability to capture 4K video at up to 30 fps via an ultra wide-angle lens, as well as 8 MP still images. Like most action cameras, the TG-Tracker has digital image stabilization.

              The rest of the camera's key highlights include five built-in sensors (GPS, a compass, a barometer, an accelerometer, and a thermometer) and Wi-Fi connectivity. In addition to being waterproof up to 100 feet, the camera is also shock- and crush-resistant, as well as freezeproof.

              The camera has buttons for navigating through its features, as well as a tilting 1.5-inch display for previewing content. You can also use the screen to check out data from the camera's sensors. Unlike any of its competitors, the TG-Tracker also has a built-in LED headlight that's really handy while exploring in the dark.

              You can download and share videos from the camera to your phone via an app. However, the overall experience is far behind the best in this price range.

              7. GoPro Hero (2018) - Check Price

              Best for Great Features at an Affordable Price

              GoPro

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              Pros: Great design and ergonomics, excellent set of image- and video-capturing features, easy to use, fantastic selection of accessories

              Con: Can't capture 4K video

              Bottom Line: The affordable GoPro HERO is the best action camera in its price range.

              Key Features

              • 1440p video capture at 60 fps, 1080p video capture at 60 fps
              • 10 MP still images, optional RAW format capture, 10 fps bursts
              • Digital video stabilization
              • 2-inch touchscreen
              • Wi-Fi connectivity
              • Waterproof up to 30 feet without housing

                The affordably priced GoPro HERO is the best action camera that $200 can buy you today. It has the same sleek design and superb ergonomics as the company's range-topping HERO6 Black, coupled with a superb set of image- and video-capturing capabilities for its price point. Of course, the action camera is also compatible with the vast ecosystem of GoPro-compatible mounts.

                The GoPro HERO can capture 1440p and Full HD video with excellent quality at a brisk 60 frames per second. We really wish it could record 4K video, but at this price point, this isn't a deal-breaker.

                The gadget is as intuitive to use as the much pricier GoPro HERO6 Black. It offers a convenient 2-inch touchscreen, as well as voice commands, though it lacks the advanced exposure and zoom controls of its pricier sibling.

                You can connect the GoPro HERO to your smartphone and easily transfer and share your videos. The excellent GoPro mobile app also allows you to edit them.

                Read More:

                The Best 360-Degree Cameras for Capturing Your Surroundings

                The Best Travel Cameras to Bring on Your Next Trip

                These Waterproof Cameras Are Worth Your Attention

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