Action cams like the GoPro are super popular and versatile. But you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good action cam. In fact, you can buy one for less than $200.
As with any camera, more money equals higher quality. There’s no avoiding that and, to be sure, the top-tier offerings from GoPro are pretty fantastic. But what features do you really need in an action camera? If you’re just looking for durability, 4K, mounting gear, or underwater hardware, then you don’t need to spend more than $200.
There are a variety of budget action cameras on the market, and they all have their ups and downs. Some have high-resolution video but skimp on battery life or durability. Some have waterproof features at the expense of frame rate or Wi-Fi. You have to figure out what features you need from an action camera before shopping for a budget action camera.
But we’ve done most of the work for you. We’ve taken the time to find the best budget action cameras, and to describe their perks and shortcomings. All you need to do is figure out which budget action camera is right for you.
Crosstour 1080P 12 MP Underwater Camera ($40)
The Crosstour is an extremely cheap action camera, but it has a lot of great features. It’s water-resistant, when used with its protective case, and can be sunk to a depth of 98 feet, which is perfect for watersports or diving. It can be controlled remotely from your phone (over Wi-Fi), and it comes with two 1050 mAh batteries, so you can recharge one while using the other. The Crosstour is also packaged with a 2″ LCD screen for on-the-go footage review, and 18 mounting accessories for helmets, bicycles, wrists, and other surfaces.
Surprisingly, the Crosstour doesn’t need to sacrifice photo quality for all of these features. It shoots 1080p video, it has a 12 MP camera, and it’s camera sports a 170-degree wide angle lens. Not bad.
Campark ACT74 4K 16 MP Camera ($55)
The Campark ACT74 is very budget friendly, and it’s sort of like the Crosstour’s older brother. It’s water-resistant, when paired with the included case, and can go as deep as 98 feet. It’s packaged with two 900 mAh batteries, multi-functional mounting accessories, and it can be controlled by your phone via Wi-Fi.
For just $55, the Campark ACT74 actually has a pretty impressive 16 MP camera. It can shoot 4K video at 30 FPS, and its 170 degree wide angle lens can be adjusted for a variety of viewing angles. This is a great camera for anyone that wants to shoot sporty 4K video at a super low price. Really, this action cam’s biggest downfall is that it doesn’t come with a remote control.
AKASO EK7000 4K 12 MP Camera ($60)
If you need a high quality, budget-friendly action cam that works with a remote control, then you should take a look at the ASAKO EK7000. It’s water-resistant to a depth of 100 feet, and it’s packaged with two 1050 mAh batteries and a mess of mounting accessories. It also comes with a remote control that fits on your wrist, so you don’t have to press any buttons on the camera by hand at the last second.
The ASAKO EK7000 shoots 4K video at 25 FPS, and or 2.7K video at 30 FPS. Its 12 MP camera sits behind a 170-degree wide angle lens that can be adjusted for just about any viewing angle. This is a great camera for the adventurous outdoorsy type, and hey, it’s only 60 bucks.
AKASO EK7000 4K30FPS Action Camera Ultra HD Underwater Camera 170 Degree Wide Angle 98FT Waterproof Camera
AKASO V50 Pro Native 4K 30fps 20 MP Camera ($120)
Now we’re getting into the more expensive budget action cams. The AKASO V50 action camera costs $120, but it’s loaded with features that rival expensive cameras like the GoPro. Like other action cams, the ASAKO V50 is water-resistant to a depth of 90 feet. It comes with two 1100 mAh batteries, and a bunch of mounting equipment that can fit most cameras, even GoPros.
Unlike other budget action cams, the ASAKO V50 is fitted with a small touch screen, so you can quickly review video on the go. It has a 20 MP camera that shoots 4K video at 30 FPS, and it has built-in image stabilization software, so your video won’t be too shaky. It has a 170-degree lens that can be adjusted to any viewing angle, and a remote control for hands-free control.
Refurbished GoPro HERO5 4K 12 MP Camera ($180)
Yeah, GoPro is still the king of action cams. You can get a refurbished GoPro HERO5 for just $180. The HERO5 is a great little camera, but it surprisingly lacks some of the features of the other budget action cams that we’ve looked at.
It’s only water-resistant to a depth of 30 feet (but it doesn’t require a protective case to achieve that), it comes with mounting hardware but only one battery, and it doesn’t come with a remote. It can shoot 4K video at 30FPS, and it has a wide angle lens, but it only has a 12 MP camera.
The defining feature of the GoPro HERO5 is the ability to preview and trim video on the spot. When you want to film something specific for a sporty montage or a Youtube video, it blows the other budget action cams out of the water.
GoPro HERO7 White 1080p 10 MP ($190)
If you aren’t into refurbished cameras, but you still want a GoPro, then you could always buy the GoPro HERO7 White. It’s the budget edition of GoPro’s new HERO7 cameras. While it may not be as powerful as the refurbished HERO5, it’s a neat little camera with some modern features.
The HERO7 White has a 10 MP camera with image stabilization features (by not the premium HyperSmooth stabilization found on the top-tier HERO7 Black), and it shoots video in 1080p. It’s waterproof to a depth of 33 feet, and although it doesn’t come with a remote, it is packed with voice control and Bluetooth features. If anything, these voice control features make the GoPro HERO7 White infinitely more hands-free than most budget action cams.
The HERO7 White can also be controlled by a touch screen. Unlike most budget action cams, the HERO7’s touch screen is quick and responsive, and it has built-in zoom control features that are easy to control, kind of like a cellphone camera. Among GoPro fans, the HERO7 has been trashed a bit because of its limitations (compared to the top offerings from GoPro) but for a budget shopper who wants the polish of newer GoPro designs and user interfaces without shelling out $400 for a top-of-the-line model, it’s pretty tempting.