360-degree video captures a world of possibility, bringing the panorama of life into your camera. Whether you want to use the footage for VR, are trying to capture your outdoor sports in all their glory or need security footage to keep your house safe, a 360-degree camera is a great option. The ones on this list are excellent entry points, no matter what your needs are. Just make sure to consider things like what kind of battery life and resolution you need before you buy.
Best Overall: Samsung Gear 360-Degree VR Camera
This camera wins our best overall pick. Even though it weighs just about half a pound and is priced at less than $100, the Gear 360 video quality is unmatched at this price point with near 4K resolution videos and 30 MP still photos. It achieves seamless 360-degree shots with front and rear cameras that each capture 180 degrees horizontally and vertically.
Use the Gear 360 Manager app to share instantly on social media or Samsung VR. With F2.0 lenses, this camera shoots great video even in low light and it is water-resistant. Unfortunately, the Gear 360 manager app only works with Galaxy devices, but you can also edit and share using a computer and the free editing software with no problem. Optional lens covers and an underwater housing are available to purchase separately.
Best for Beginners: Blurfix 360-Degree Action Video Camera
This tiny camera allows you to shoot 360-degree video at 30 frames per second. Use it with a smartphone or a microSD card for standalone use (note that the app only works with iOS devices at this time, however). For the price, it also includes a high-quality microphone and long-lasting battery life, thanks to the included 1350mAH lithium battery. It comes with a tripod, USB cable, and camera pouch. Choose from silver, gold, gray or rose gold.
Best Surveillance Camera: SamHity IP Camera Wifi Surveillance Camera
This little device is our top pick for 360-degree surveillance cameras. Small but mighty, its wireless 2.4 GHZ camera provides a 360 panoramic view of the area where you install it with great HD video quality and included night vision. Use the app with iOS or Android to quickly and easily gain remote access to the camera with your smartphone.
You can also set it up to enable motion detection or to send alarm alert messages through e-mail. It even comes equipped with two-way audio, so you can hear and talk to family members even when you are far away. It records for ten continuous days and stores the information in a 128 micro SD card that is easy to remove. Expect a long lifetime, as the light will last for 50,000 hours.
Best for Social Media Sharing: NeuTab Panora 360-Degree Action Sport Camera
This tiny 360-degree action camera is our pick for best social sharing device. This lightweight camera is small enough to fit in your pocket, but creates wide-angle and panoramic photos and videos that can be used on a VR platform as well. With one click you can instantly share your videos on social media.
Work independently with just the camera or use with your smartphone in wireless or wired mode for full controls. We loved that it has an impressive continuous working time of about two hours for such a small device. It shoots in image resolution of 1920 x 960 at 30fps. Express yourself with a choice of silver, gray or rose gold.
Best Durability: 360fly 360-Degree HD Video Camera
Dustproof, shockproof and water-resistant to 33 feet, this camera is designed with an active lifestyle in mind. Portable and mountable, this camera provides full 360-degree video with 1504 x 1504 resolution, 32 GB of internal memory and 2+ hours of battery life. Though you can’t share directly from the camera, the footage is VR-compatible and free 360fly iPhone and Android mobile and desktop director apps make it easy to shoot, edit, share and even livestream from your smartphone or other device.
For the price, this camera also comes with some great accessories, including a camera adapter with tilt mount and flat baseplates, microphone plug and strap, power cradle and USB cable, as well as a rechargeable internal lithium battery.
Best Playback Options: GoXtreme 360-Degree VR Camera
This camera is our top pick for best playback options. You can choose from one of three playback and view modes, including 360-degree panorama, Little Planet for a globe-style perspective or virtual reality for use with VR glasses (sold separately). This camera allows you to capture high-resolution video at 30 frames per second and 4MP still pictures, plus the built-in Wi-Fi allows you to instantly download, view and share your pictures and videos.
You can also transfer them to your smartphone or computer for easier editing and sharing. Though this option is a little more expensive than our other picks, the lithium battery is rechargeable, and you have the option to purchase a waterproof case that makes the camera safe to use down to 90 feet.
Best Budget Action Camera: Zision 360-Degree Panoramic Action Camera
Though the battery life isn’t as good as some of our other choices at only 90 continuous minutes, the tiny size and built-in image stabilization make up for that. Like many of our other picks, this camera helps you create VR-ready video with 1080P video resolution and lets you use your smartphone as a camera remote with the accompanying app.
Plus, it’s waterproof to an impressive 98 feet and compatible with a range of different mounting accessories, so you can easily affix it to a helmet, tripod or anywhere else to help you get that perfect shot.