What is the Best Cold Shoe Flash Bracket? | Never Break A Speedlight Again
We’ve all heard that devastating thud of a speedlight falling, taking down your beloved $100 – $1,000 light along with your umbrella. You slowly walk over to see what the damage is and see a huge crack, running through your cold shoe bracket, or even worse…a cracked speedlight.
Here lie just a few of my fallen flashes – gone too early and all because of a flimsy cold shoe mount. Feeling triggered? Well, we’ve just about had enough of these accidents happening consistently and decided it’s time to compare speedlight umbrella mounts to see which one reigns supreme and will secure your flashes through it all in the Ultimate Cold Shoe-down.
Speedlight Umbrella Mount Contenders
- Westcott Triple Threat Speedlite Bracket ($30)
- Amazon’s Top Choice: FOTYRIG Camera Flash Speedlite Mount Light (2 for $15)
- MagMod MagShoe ($60)
- Manfrotto Lite Tite Swivel Umbrella Adapter ($32)
- Phottix Varos Pro M Multi-Function Flash Shoe Umbrella Holder ($25)
Cold Shoe Flash Bracket Security & Durability
When shopping for a cold shoe mount, the top priority should be whether or not it can securely fasten your flash no matter what. While screw knobs like you see on most flash brackets have done the job for years, over time they have the potential to get stuck or lose their springs/knobs, inevitably leading to a fallen flash.
The Phottix speedlight umbrella mount is easily the strongest build, made of aluminum/fireproof plastic. In contrast, the Manfrotto Lite Tite is one of the highest-reviewed on B&H with 434 reviews with a 5-star average. The swivel and the cast metal structure are its major selling points, making it the sturdiest exterior build on our list. But a glaring downside is that the round head isn’t made for speedlights but more for video lights, making it a tough sell for photographers.
The MagShoe, on the other hand, is one of the top performers in this category because it has a fastening lock that doesn’t budge if you were to nudge your light stand. Although it comes at a much higher price point, that’s some serious stability; and honestly you, quite literally, get what you pay for. Another bonus point for the MagMod Magshoe is that it gives you a 1/4-20 Adapter with your purchase, which is incredibly useful for Godox AD200 owners. This makes mounting a strobe simple and as easy as mounting a speedlight.
Cold Shoe Flash Bracket Ergonomics
Most cold shoe brackets come with a twist knob to adjust the mount head so you can angle your speedlight up or down. This is probably the most varied category for results because each of these flash brackets operates differently. The Manfrotto Lite Tite has a lever that lets you rotate the flash bracket almost 180-degrees, but it requires two hands to adjust, which isn’t the worst-case scenario but it is something to note.
The most innovative, by a landslide, is the MagShoe with its one-handed usability and ergonomic grip. You can tell that there was so much thought put into how to make a photographer’s life easier with the creation of this product, especially since it can be hand-held or placed on a light stand and operate identically.
Cold Shoe Flash Bracket Prices
While Amazon’s top choice from FOTYRIG is the cheapest on the list, it isn’t the most versatile nor is it the most durable.
You will likely end up having to buy 2 more within the next year and a half depending on how much you use your flash brackets or how many hits they take. Like any other gear purchase, this is an investment you’ll want to think through, measuring how it will pay off in the long term. Having a more durable flash bracket could potentially save you money because they secure your flashes. Think about it this way, if you buy a new cellphone and decide you don’t want to get a case to protect it, you’re still the chump that has to pay out of pocket to fix that cracked screen. So, the real question isn’t about how much money you are willing to spend on a flash bracket, but how much money do you want to save on future speedlight purchases?
Dual Cold Shoe Mounts (Bonus)
While this category only applies to a smaller group of professionals who have more than 2 speedlights, it’s still worth discussing for those that want to grow their kit. The only cold shoe mount on our list that applies is the Westcott Triple Threat Speedlite Bracket. While this triple-headed tool can successfully mount 3 flash heads, securely fastening them might be an issue over time, and the unit we’ve had in the studio is now permanently stuck onto our light stand.
Another popular dual shoe mount contender is the Cheetahstand 3 Speed Light Hot Shoe and Umbrella Holder. However, its construction feels like a plastic prototype for the Westcott, making it tough to stand behind. Our studio unit is also broken, with the top mount having broken off through normal use.
While none of the other cold shoe mounts on our list fall into this category, the MagShoe offers the ability to mount 2 lights if you attach the MagRing. Now, technically this is a different product so it shouldn’t count, but as you progress through your career you may see the need of adding more speedlights to get more power, and the MagRing helps you do that without having to buy another light stand or cold shoe mount.
And the Best Cold Shoe Flash Bracket is…
MagMod’s MagShoe is the winner due to its versatility and overall protection exceeding its competitors in nearly every category. When you lock your speedlight into this flash bracket, there is no budging or worrying about whether or not it’s coming out. While it’s the most expensive (by far) on the list, it will inevitably save you money because you won’t have to replace parts or the entire unit for several years due to the solid construction and engineering. Also, you can save your speedlights from early retirement with its robust build and durability.
We’d love to know what your favorite cold shoe mount is in the comments below! Let us know why it works for you and feel free to share this comparison for those shopping around for a new cold shoe mount to secure their flashes.