The 9 Best Action Cameras to Buy in 2018

Capture all your action-packed adventures like never before

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The Rundown

  • Best Wi-Fi Upload: AKASO EK7000 at Amazon, "Connects via Wi-Fi to your iOS or Android mobile device with its dedicated app where it can grab your pictures and videos."
  • Best Design: YI 4K at Amazon, "It’s best feature, the touchscreen, is made with a Gorilla glass retina that resists scratches and dents."
  • Best Budget: APEMAN at Amazon, "Included accessories are a helmet mount, bike handle mount and waterproof case, so you’ll be ready to take this on any adventure."
  • Best for Beginners: SJCAM SJ6 at Amazon, "Doesn’t sacrifice video quality, allowing aspiring videographers to capture cinematic 4K visuals."
  • Best Adventure: GoPro HERO7 Black at Amazon, "Rugged hardware is waterproof down to 33 feet."
  • Best 360-Degree Capture: Ricoh Theta V at Amazon, "Features a 4-channel microphone that supports 360-degree spatial sound recording."
  • Best 4K Video: Sony FDR-X1000V at Amazon, "A splashproof action camera that shoots in an ultra-wide field of view (up to 170 degrees) using its top-notch ZEISS lens."
  • Best Mini: MATECam at Amazon, "Can shoot single photos, burst photos and has a time-lapse mode that allows it to be programmed to shoot photos automatically."
  • Best for Kids: VTech Kidizoom at Amazon, "A durable action camera that's made to handle drops and tumbles. It comes with three mounts that attach to bicycles, helmets and skateboards."

Our Top Picks

Best Wi-Fi Upload: AKASO EK7000

Don’t want to have to go through the hassle of manually uploading your photos or having to pay for a cloud service? AKASO has you covered with their EK7000 action camera. It connects via Wi-Fi to your iOS or Android mobile device with its dedicated app where it can grab your pictures and videos.

The AKASO EK7000 is a 4K Ultra HD Action 12-megapixel action camera. At a 4K resolution, it can shoot up to 25 fps and 50 fps at 1080p. A unique feature is the 2.4G wireless wrist remote control, which allows you to capture videos or pictures with the press of a button. The EK7000 also sports two rechargeable 1050mAh batteries, both of which can record at a constant 90 minutes.

Amazon users who own the action camera love it for its low cost and waterproofing up to 30 meters. More critical reviewers mention that the expandable memory compatibility is lacking and the audio quality is mediocre.

Best Design: YI 4K

The YI 4K is the sleekest and sexiest action camera on the list. It boasts a beautiful, 2.19-inch LCD touchscreen with a 640 x 360 high-resolution display for easy previewing and shooting. The YI 4K is a high-end 12-megapixel action camera that can shoot at a 4K resolution at 30 fps; 1080p at 120 fps; and 720p at 240 fps. It’s best feature, the touchscreen, is made with a Gorilla glass retina that resists scratches and dents. The YI 4K also has built-in Bluetooth and 5Ghz/2.4Ghz Wi-Fi support, so you can connect a remote control and upload and edit your pictures wirelessly with its dedicated camera app.

Best Budget: APEMAN

The APEMAN Action Camera is Amazon’s No. 1 best seller in SLR Film Cameras and is the most affordable introductory action camera on the list. Included accessories are a helmet mount, bike handle mount and waterproof case, so you’ll be ready to take this on any adventure.

The APEMAN Action Camera features a 1080p and 12-megapixel Full HD camera with a 170-degree ultra wide angle. This means you’ll be able to capture high-quality pictures and videos of whatever action you have right in front of you. The APEMAN is also water resistant up to 30 meters and can support a microSD card up to 32GB for further memory expansion. Its back features a 1.5-inch LCD screen that can display a variety of languages and an HDMI output, so you can show your clips on a TV.

Many users on Amazon believe that the APEMAN is the definitive best action camera on a budget for its high-resolution picture and video quality, as well as multiple accessories that are adaptable to the most demanding of activities. Its cons include lackluster audio pickup​ and a relatively cheap body material.​​

Best for Beginners: SJCAM SJ6

The SJCAM SJ6 has an intuitive touch-screen interface, making it an ideal purchase for beginners. Even though offers user-friendly controls, the SJCAM doesn’t sacrifice video quality, allowing aspiring videographers to capture cinematic 4K visuals with a 25Mbps bit rate and 24fps. Additional features include digital stabilization, slow-motion, time-lapse capture (available in HD and low-resolution output options), and mic compatibility should you be shooting a concert or some other event you'd want clear audio for. Admittedly, the SJCAM model doesn’t have the absolute best video quality, but it’s still quite good, considering its affordable price tag.

The SJCAM also comes with a number of accessories, including a variety of mounting arms, tripod adaptors, and a waterproof case that can withstand 10-meter depths. The battery is also fairly strong, allowing for about 75 minutes of filming at 4K resolution. 

Best Adventure: GoPro HERO7 Black

When it comes to adventure, few action cameras can handle all-weather conditions like the GoPro Hero7 Black. The rugged hardware is waterproof down to 33 feet making it the perfect companion for capturing footage in conditions where a smartphone won't do.

This newest GoPro model incorporates the same 12-megapixel sensor and wide-angle lens as the previous model but adds something new. Say hello to SuperPhoto. In lieu of separately selecting HDR photos when shooting scenes, it’s automatically done for you. The camera now detects when there is low light and reduces frame noise for the best possible photo.

The HERO7 Black captures 4K video footage at 60fps and gets a huge boost from at least one new piece of technology called HyperSmooth. Equivalent to using a separately attached gimbal, HyperSmooth is a combination of both hardware and software that reduces shaky movement in your recorded video.

That all of the action can be streamed via Facebook Live to show off to family and friends is just icing on the cake of adventure.

Best 360-Degree Capture: Ricoh Theta V

VR and 360-degree video technology is still in such an early stage of development, but fortunately, the consumer-market has just reached a happy medium between quality and price. The Ricoh Theta V is a user-friendly model that still delivers top visual quality with 30fps at 3840 x 1920 pixels. Still images also boast a resolution of 14MP. Ricoh has made several improvements to their latest model, including a significantly longer battery life — now 80 minutes — and more sophisticated audio-capture quality. The Theta features a 4-channel microphone, that supports 360-degree spatial sound recording. There’s also a 3.5mm jack on the bottom of the camera where you can attach an additional mic if necessary. With 19 GB of memory, the Theta V records up to 40 minutes of footage or 4,800 high-resolution still photos.

The Theta also offers user-friendly controls via its mobile app, as well the industry's first wireless playback remote for a 360-camera. Basically, that advancement in tech allows users to replay their captured footage on a larger screen.

Best 4K Video: Sony FDR-X1000V

If you’re looking for outstanding 4K video and full 1080 video at 120 fps, this is your best bet. The Sony FDR-X1000V impresses with first-rate video quality and SteadyShot image stabilization.

The Sony FDR-X1000V is a splashproof action camera that shoots in an ultra-wide field of view (up to 170 degrees) using its top-notch ZEISS lens. It can be controlled by its included LiveView remote or dedicated app and has a built-in stereo for quality sound pickup (there's even a wind noise reduction feature). One of the most common troubles with action cameras is its video formatting, but this action camera solves that dilemma by saving files in MP4 format, which is perfect for anyone who wants to avoid file conversion when editing down the line.

One of the most unique features of this action camera is its ability to live stream video. Using the Ustream app, you’ll be able to broadcast your action-packed life live to the world. Of course, you’ll need to be near a good Wi-Fi connection for the best video upload quality.

Best Mini: MATECam

Weighing no more than .11 pounds and measuring 1 x 1.6 x 1.6 inches, the MATECam is a waterproof (up to 30 meters) 16-megapixel action camera that’s capable of shooting 4K video resolutions at 24 fps and a full HD 1080P at 60 fps. It can shoot single photos, burst photos and has a time-lapse mode that allows it to be programmed to shoot photos automatically. With its expandable memory slot, you’ll be able to add up to 128GB on a Class 10 MicroSD card.

Like other action cameras on the list, it can capture a 160-degree wide-angle perspective, so you’ll get a wide field of view with any shot. With its built-in Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to upload your videos and pictures via your mobile devices and computers. Many owners of the MATECAM use it as a dash cam for their car due to its motion detector sensors that make it automatically shoot and continuous loop record, so you’ll always get footage.

Best for Kids: VTech Kidizoom

Is your young one an adventurer? Are they often trying to do tricks on their skateboard or bike? For under $40, you can get them to capture all their rad moments with the VTech Kidizoom Action Camera. It’s specifically designed for kids four to nine years old.

The VTech Kidizoom Action Cam is a durable action camera that's made to handle drops and tumbles. It comes with three mounts that attach to bicycles, helmets and skateboards. The Kidizoom also includes a wrist strap, so the camera will keep attached to your kid’s arm when they’re playing. And it comes with a waterproof case that protects it in up to six feet of water.

Amazon users say it’s the best one on the market for kids and that it provides them with their own ability to film whatever adventure they see fit with easy-to-use controls. More critical reviewers mention that the photo quality isn’t the best and the mounting gear is of mediocre craftsmanship.