GoPros have long been the gold standard of action cameras. The company was crucial in popularizing portable, rugged cameras for recording up-close-and-personal action videos and currently produces a range of models to suit different budgets. That said, brand recognition doesn't come cheap, and other companies have made strides in this arena, with some offering action cams with many of the same features at a substantially lower cost and others branching out to produce portable cameras with more and more innovative designs.
We've bought and tested over 80 cameras in our lab, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best GoPro alternatives to buy. If you don't care much about which brand to buy from, you can check out our picks for the best action cameras, period. On the other hand, if you prefer to shoot action video from afar rather than mounting a camera for POV shots, you can also look at the best cameras to shoot sports videos. Want a vlogging camera instead? Our article on the best cameras for vlogging has you covered.
The DJI Osmo Action is the best GoPro alternative we've tested. It's one of the few GoPro competitors to rival the exceptional build quality of GoPro cameras, with a sturdy construction that can withstand temperatures as low as 14°F (-10°C). It's also waterproof down to 36 ft (11m), which is even better than the latest GoPros, which are rated waterproof to a depth of 33 ft. Aside from that, little design touches like a built-in heatsink and cooling vents are incorporated to help prevent overheating. That's an area in which its successor, the DJI Action 2, really falls short, so if you can get your hands on an original Osmo Action, it's still a great action cam.
Like the GoPro HERO10 Black, the Osmo Action has a second front-facing Live View screen, so you can easily monitor yourself while recording. While frame rate and resolution options are more limited compared to newer action cams, it can still record 4k video at up to 60 fps and 1080p at up to 240 fps, giving you plenty of flexibility to shoot smooth action and super slow motion. Though it's been replaced by newer models, the original Osmo Action is still the best non-GoPro action cam we've tested and a great buy if you're looking for a more affordable alternative.
If you're on a tighter budget, check out the AKASO Brave 7 LE. It doesn't have as many frame rate options as the DJI Osmo Action and doesn't feel as well-built, but it's more affordable, and it still comes with a front-facing live view screen to help you monitor yourself as you record. There are several mounting accessories included in the box, as well. It also comes with a protective case that lets you submerge the camera underwater to a depth of 131 feet. If you forgo the case, the camera has an IPX7 rating, so you can still submerge it down to a meter for about 30 minutes.
Its video stabilization feature can be inconsistent, but overall, it does a great job smoothing out camera shake, albeit with a significant 1.6x crop. Unfortunately, it's also limited to 4k at 30 fps and 1080p from 30 fps to 120 fps, giving you fewer frame rates to shoot different video styles. Still, this is a solid and well-built option for those on a tighter budget.
If you're after something even cheaper, the AKASO V50X is a simple action camera that offers decent value for its price. It's super lightweight, and while it doesn't feel as premium as a GoPro or higher-end alternatives like the DJI Osmo Action, it does come with a protective case to give it added durability. You'll need the case if you plan on shooting underwater footage since, unlike the AKASO Brave 7 LE above, the camera alone isn't IPX-rated. With the case on, however, you can shoot down to a depth of 131 feet, which is excellent.
The trade-off with this camera is its frame rate options. It can only shoot a max of 60 fps in 1080p, and it's limited to 30 fps in 4k, which leaves you few options for shooting high-speed footage or super slow-motion shots. On the upside, it has effective stabilization and decent battery life, and unlike other cheaper GoPro alternatives, it gives you the option to adjust the camera's field of view, making it a solid overall action camera for the price.
While it isn't quite an action camera in the same sense as our other picks, the DJI Pocket 2 is a fantastic GoPro alternative for vloggers or content creators who prefer to shoot action footage handheld. This little pocket camera has a unique built-in gimbal that stabilizes the camera along three axes, letting you capture incredibly smooth handheld video. You get a few different configuration options, too, so you can lock the horizon or prevent the camera from tilting back and forth.
Like the DJI Osmo Action, the build quality is excellent. The camera also has an active tracking feature that can lock onto a specific subject and automatically follow their movement. On top of that, it can shoot 4k up to 60 fps and includes a slow-motion capture mode in 1080p. Plus, it uses a larger sensor than most action cams, resulting in higher-quality video, especially in low light, making this a great vlogging and action video tool for those who want to shoot stabilized handheld footage.
GoPros are already highly portable, but the Insta360 GO 2 is the world's smallest action camera. It doesn't look like a conventional action cam, but its tiny oval design makes it incredibly easy to stick almost anywhere. It even comes with a magnetic clip pendant that you can use to hang off the front of your shirt. There's also a horizon lock feature, and stabilization ensures your footage comes out looking smooth.
Beyond that, the Insta360 app gives you access to tons of extra features, including a built-in editing suite, filters, and specialized shooting modes. Unfortunately, it's limited to 1080p and 1440p resolution—no 5k or even 4k like the latest GoPro cameras. Frame rate options are also more limited, though it does have a dedicated slow-motion mode. Overall, it's a fun video tool with unmatched portability for on-the-go vlogs and adventure videos.
Apr 13, 2023: Removed the DJI Osmo Pocket from Notable Mentions.
Feb 03, 2023: Added the Insta360 GO 2 as the 'Best Portable GoPro Alternative'.
Dec 06, 2022: Reviewed article for accuracy and clarity; no change to recommendations.
Oct 12, 2022: Restructured categories to better reflect market conditions and updated article for clarity. Also added the Sony RX0 II to Notable Mentions and removed irrelevant Notables.
Jan 27, 2022: Verified that picks still represent the best choice for their given categories.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best non-GoPro action cameras for most people to buy, according to their needs. We factor in the price, feedback from our visitors, and availability (no cameras that are difficult to find or almost out of stock in the U.S.).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here's the list of all our action camera reviews—we've left GoPro cameras in there, so you can compare how alternatives stack up. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no single perfect camera. Personal taste, preference, and shooting habits will matter more in your selection.