Budget-Conscious Tripod Dolly Models for Smooth Panning

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A quality tripod dolly is a convenient accessory for any photographer or videographer.

Tripod dollies make tripods more mobile because they have wheels.

If you want the best tripod dolly, here are six affordable recommendations.

1. NEEWER Professional Aluminum Alloy Tripod Dolly

The NEEWER Professional Tripod Dolly is a universal dolly that fits almost any tripod. It includes a triangular base with large wheels and leg mounts to keep the tripod legs secure.

The legs of the dolly are thick and extendable. You can adjust the legs from 10.8 inches to 15.7 inches to accommodate different tripod sizes.

As with most tripod dollies, the legs fold together, making it easier to store or transport the dolly. It also includes a large handle and comfortable grip for carrying the dolly. With a total weight of just 4.36 pounds, you should have no problem transporting this dolly to your next shoot.

The wheels are standard ball-bearing wheels with locking mechanisms. They should roll easily over most surfaces, including carpet, but may struggle in rocky terrain or grass.

Pros

  • Affordable price for a tripod dolly
  • The aluminum alloy legs are durable and lightweight
  • The legs include mounts for securing the dolly

Cons

  • The wheels may not roll easily on bumpy terrain

2. Manfrotto 127 Video Dolly with Three-Inch Wheels

The Manfrotto 127 Video Dolly has three-inch wheels, making it a top choice for those who film outdoors. A tripod dolly with big wheels helps you easily roll over bumpy terrain with minimal camera shake.

The base and legs are constructed from lightweight aluminum. They also fold for easier storage and transport, but the dolly weighs slightly more than some other options. It also lacks a handle for carrying the dolly.

The main advantages of this dolly include its larger wheels and stable base. You should not worry about your tripod tipping over or getting stuck in the dirt.

Pros

  • One of the more durable tripod dollies
  • Has larger wheels for rolling through difficult terrain
  • Includes rubber stops for greater stability

Cons

  • One of the more expensive tripod dollies
  • Does not include a carrying handle

3. Davis & Sanford W3 Universal Folding Dolly

The Davis & Sanford W3 Folding Dolly is a convenient but basic dolly for tripods. It has a standard folding design with a carrying handle and lockable wheels. However, it uses less expensive ball-bearing wheels with simple flip locks.

The leg mounts are adjustable, ensuring that this dolly should work with any tripod. You can quickly tighten or loosen the leg mounts to remove or add the tripod.

Pros

  • Easy to fold and carry
  • Includes adjustable leg mounts
  • Takes up minimal space when folded

Cons

  • The wheels may not roll smoothly on rough terrain

4. NEEWER Professional Heavy Duty Tripod Dolly with Rubber Wheels

The NEEWER Professional Heavy Duty Tripod Dolly closely matches the NEEWER Professional Aluminum Alloy Tripod Dolly.

As with the previous NEEWER dolly, this option has leg mounts, adjustable legs, and a folding design. However, instead of aluminum alloy legs, this dolly has heavier metal.

The dolly is a little heavier, weighing 5.3 pounds, but it should also hold up better when used in rough environments. It also has slightly larger wheels. Instead of two-inch wheels, this dolly is equipped with 2.75-inch wheels with nylon tires.

The nylon tires may wear with repeated outdoor use. Luckily, as with most dollies, you can easily replace the casters. The wheels use the standard thread on most casters for dollies and office chairs.

Pros

  • Durable base and legs
  • Folding design with large handle
  • Includes a storage bag

Cons

  • It weighs a little more compared to other dollies.

5. Ikan EI-7003 E-Image Lightweight Tripod Dolly

Due to its heavy load capacity, the Ikan EI-7003 E-Image Tripod Dolly is a top recommendation for the best budget tripod dolly. The dolly weighs 6.75 pounds, making it one of the heavier dollies on this list. However, it can hold up to 88 pounds, significantly more weight than other options.

This dolly may be one of the most secure choices if you have heavy gear. It also has lockable leg mounts for keeping the tripod from moving around.

Despite the heavier weight of this dolly, the legs are surprisingly thin. The legs also fold for convenient storage. This dolly takes up less space when folded than the top tripod dollies.

One drawback is the leg mounts. Instead of adjustable mounts, the mounts are fixed and feature a flip-lock. The base should support the average tripod, but some smaller tripods may not reach the leg mounts.

Pros

  • Includes three-inch wheels for smoother movement
  • Has the highest load capacity
  • The slim design takes up less space when folded

Cons

  • The leg mounts are not adjustable
  • Relatively heavy compared to other dollies

6. VIDPRO SK-22 Professional Skater Dolly for DSLR Cameras

The VIDPRO SK-22 is the best tripod with wheels for shooting from low angles or on a tabletop. Unlike the other options, this dolly does not have a triangular base for supporting tripods. The base and wheels resemble a small roller skate.

Instead of adding a tripod, mount the camera on the base and use the provided articulating arm or grip to maneuver the dolly. This allows you to track shots from a lower angle than other dollies.

Pros

  • One of the lightest dollies available
  • The articulating arm provides a greater range of movement
  • The mounts support any camera or camcorder

Cons

  • Does not support a separate tripod
  • Only suitable for low-angle or tabletop applications

How to Find the Best Dolly for Tripods

Here is a list of things to consider when searching for the right dolly for your video tripod:

Compatibility with your tripod: Ensure the dolly is compatible with your tripod’s legs and feet.

Some dollies have universal clamps that fit many tripod leg sizes, while others are designed for specific models or brands.

Here are some budget-friendly tripod options.

Weight capacity: Check the maximum weight capacity of the dolly. It must be able to support the weight of your tripod, camera, and any additional equipment you may mount on the tripod.

Build quality and materials: Look for a dolly made from durable materials that can withstand regular use. Aluminum and steel are common for their strength-to-weight ratio.

Wheel quality: The wheels should be smooth rolling, with bearings that provide fluid movement. Larger wheels can handle uneven surfaces better than smaller ones. Some dollies have lockable wheels to ensure stability during static shots.

Adjustability: An adjustable dolly can be modified to fit different tripod sizes and may come with extendable arms or legs.

Portability If transporting the dolly frequently, consider its weight and whether it folds into a more compact form for easy carrying. Some dollies come with a carrying case.

Terrain adaptability: Consider the types of surfaces you’ll be working on. For smooth indoor surfaces, standard wheels might suffice.

However, if you plan to shoot on rough terrain, look for a dolly with larger wheels or off-road tires.

If it’s too rough, a tripod dolly might not be the right choice. Maybe tracks or a gimbal is better.

Additional features: Some dollies offer cable guards, which prevent the wheels from getting tangled in cables or the ability to attach tracks for a smoother roll.

Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend. Dollies can range from very affordable to quite expensive, depending on the quality and features.

Buying too cheap is too expensive.

– Me – talking from experience 😉

While finding something within your budget is essential, investing in a quality product can save money in the long run due to increased durability. I always say that buying too cheap is too expensive.

Once you’ve considered these points, you can begin shopping around. Camera and video equipment retailers, both online and brick-and-mortar, should have a selection of dollies.

Closing Thoughts

Feel free to ask for a demonstration or to see if you can test a display model with your tripod to ensure it meets your needs.

Remember, the best dolly is one that not only fits your technical requirements but also feels right for your workflow and shooting style.

If you’re new to tripods, I recommend you read this guide before purchasing.


Author

    by
  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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