Updated on

When you’re climbing with ropes, whether sport, trad, or toprope, you need carabiners for so many different reasons. From belaying to rappelling, clipping bolts to racking trad gear, every climber’s kit includes a variety of carabiners, and different ones are better for different applications. Here at The Adventure Junkies, we will help you determine the best carabiner for your needs.

For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out the Best Belay Carabiners.

Climbing Gift Guide
Climber gift guide mobile

 

Quick Answer - The Best Carabiners

  1. Petzl Attache 3D
  2. Black Diamond Neutrino
  3. Edelrid HMS Bulletproof
  4. Wild Country Helium
  5. Black Diamond RockLock
  6. Petzl Spirit
  7. EDELRID Pure Slider
  8. Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLock
  9. C.A.M.P. USA Nano 22
  10. DMM Phantom

 

Comparison Table - Best Carabiner

PictureNameGateWeightLockingPriceRating
Petzl Attache 3DScrew Gate56 gramsYes$$4.5
Black Diamond NeutrinoWiregate36 gramsNo$4.7
Edelrid HMS BulletproofScrew Gate82 gramsYes$$$4.9
Wild Country HeliumWiregate82 gramsNo$$5.0
Black Diamond RockLockScrew Gate89 gramsYes$4.7
Petzl SpiritBent Gate39 gramsNo$$4.9
EDELRID Pure SliderStraight Gate42 gramsYes$$4.8
Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLockAuto-Lock56 gramsYes$$$4.7
C.A.M.P. USA Nano 22Wiregate22 gramsNo$4.5
DMM PhantomScrew Gate42 gramsYes$$5.0
PictureNameGateWeightLockingPriceRating
Want to learn more about a technical term? Check out our Features Explained section below.

Need buying advice? Take a look at these Things to Consider.

Reviews - The Best Climbing Carabiners

Petzl Attache 3D

Specs
  • Gate: Screw Gate
  • Weight: 56 grams
  • Locking: Yes
Features
  • Small Size and I-Beam Construction Makes It Extremely Lightweight for a Locker
  • Security Stripe to Easily See When It is Unlocked
  • Rope Feeds Smoothly on Wide Contact Surface

BEST FOR: VERSATILITY

The Petzl Attache 3D Screw-Lock is a very useful carabiner that you’ll be glad to have at least a couple of on your rack for belaying, anchor building, and pretty much any situation you need a locking carabiner. The Attache is small for a locker and extremely lightweight thanks to its aluminum I-Beam construction, making it an excellent choice for multi-pitch applications.

One of the most useful features of the Attache is a red security stripe which is visible when the carabiner is unlocked, but covered up when it is locked, which makes it simple to visually check and provide peace of mind. One annoyance about the Attache is that the screwgate can get stuck closed if you overtwist it when you lock it.

Black Diamond Neutrino

Specs
  • Gate: Wiregate
  • Weight: 36 grams
  • Locking: No
Features
  • Color-Coded to Match Black Diamond Cams
  • Large Gate Opening for Easy Clipping
  • Freeze-Proof Gate for Use in Alpine Conditions

BEST FOR: RACKING CAMS

The Black Diamond Neutrino carabiners are a classic on a trad rack. They are color-coded to match Black Diamond cams, so it’s very easy to identify the piece of protection you’re looking for when you’re pumped out and need to place some gear quickly. You can buy them individually or in a “rack pack” which contains one of each color to go with all of your cams.

The Neutrino has a large gate opening, making it easy to clip, and a wide contact surface for the rope, so it slides smoothly through. The Neutrino is also extremely durable and the gate will not freeze in alpine conditions. However, the Neutrino is on the heavy side for a racking carabiner.

Edelrid HMS Bulletproof

Specs
  • Gate: Screw Gate
  • Weight: 82 grams
  • Locking: Yes
Features
  • Stainless Steel Insert to Prevent Wear
  • Keylock Nose for Easy Clipping & Unclipping
  • Made of Lightweight Aluminum

BEST FOR: DURABILITY

The Edelrid HMS Bulleptroof Screw carabiner is designed for ultimate durability, thanks to a special stainless steel insert which prevents wear from both rope friction and bolt hangers. These carabiners are excellent for constructing anchors, especially when you’ll be lowering or setting up top-ropes where the rope friction would cause wear.

Since stainless steel is heavy, the rest of the Edelrid HMS Bulletproof Screw carabiner is adapted to keep the weight down with a proprietary H-profile design and aluminum construction. A keylock nose design also makes this carabiner quick to clip and unclip. The price of the Bulletproof carabiner is made up for with its long lifespan.

Wild Country Helium

Specs
  • Gate: Wiregate
  • Weight: 82 grams
  • Locking: No
Features
  • Hook-Free Clean Nose Makes Unclipping a Breeze
  • Wide Gate Opening for Easy Clipping
  • I-Beam Construction Reduces Weight

BEST FOR: ALL-AROUND

The Wild Country Helium is a non-locking wiregate carabiner that handles as well on a trad rack as it does as part of a quickdraw when you’re clipping bolts. The I-beam construction of the Helium keeps it fairly lightweight even though it is a full-size carabiner. This gives it a wide gate opening which makes it easy to clip the rope. A unique feature on the Wild Country Helium is a clean hook-free nose which makes it exceptionally easy to unclip.

The Helium is also rated extremely strong for a lightweight carabiner which will put you at ease when you’re taking whips. However, the great features of the Helium put it a bit on the pricey side for a non-locking carabiner.

Black Diamond RockLock

Specs
  • Gate: Screw Gate
  • Weight: 89 grams
  • Locking: Yes
Features
  • Rounded Edges Allow the Rope to Feed Smoothly
  • Stays in Place on Belay Loop with Square Hinge End
  • Curved Spine Creates Wide Gate Opening

BEST FOR: BELAYING & RAPPELLING

A large, locking carabiner, the Black Diamond RockLock Screwgate is well-designed for belaying and rappelling. A slight curve in the spine gives it a wide gate opening so you can quickly set up your rope and belay device. The rounded edges of the RockLock mean the rope feeds super smoothly, which you’ll definitely appreciate when you’re rappelling or lead belaying, especially with a tube-style belay device such as an ATC.

The RockLock is fairly heavy, due to its large size and construction, so it is not your best choice when weight is a factor, such as for multi-pitch trad climbing. But it is an excellent option for single-pitch cragging or the gym.

Petzl Spirit

Specs
  • Gate: Bent Gate
  • Weight: 39 grams
  • Locking: No
Features
  • Thumb Grooves on the Gate Make Clipping Easy
  • Keylock Nose to Keep from Snagging
  • Thicker Metal on the Bottom to Reduce Wear from Rope

BEST FOR: SPORT CLIMBING

The Petzl Spirit has great gate action that makes it super satisfying to clip on your sport project. The bent gate version is ideal for the rope side end of a quickdraw, and it is designed to keep the webbing of a dogbone in place. Plus, it is thicker on the bottom side, which makes it extra durable to handle wear from the rope running through.

Although the keylock nose is now common on carabiners, the Petzl Spirit was the first carabiner to feature this non-snag nose, and the design stands the test of time. Although the Spirit might not be the cheapest or lightest carabiner, it is impeccably constructed, and you’ll be happy to clip it at the crag.

EDELRID Pure Slider

Specs
  • Gate: Straight Gate
  • Weight: 42 grams
  • Locking: Yes
Features
  • Easy to Unlock When Clipping
  • Spring-Loaded Gate Closes Instantly
  • Lightweight Aluminum Construction

BEST FOR: EXTRA SAFETY ON LEAD

The Edelrid Pure Slider is a unique auto-locking carabiner that is designed to serve a very specific purpose  – providing peace of mind on lead routes with falls that could lead to the rope unclipping from a standard non-locking carabiner. Using the Pure Slider on the rope side end of a quickdraw will add extra security in these situations. The locking mechanism is a slide gate, which makes it easy to open when you’re leading a climb, but prevents it from opening if the rope runs over it in a fall.

This locking mechanism is less secure than a screw gate, so the Pure Slider is not the best choice for other situations where you need a locker, such as building anchors or belaying. But having one or two on your harness will make you feel safe when you really need it.

Black Diamond Magnetron VaporLock

Specs
  • Gate: Auto-Lock
  • Weight: 56 grams
  • Locking: Yes
Features
  • Easy to Unlock with One Hand
  • Shape Increases Friction When Rappelling
  • I-Beam Construction Makes it Lightweight

BEST FOR: SECURITY

The Black Diamond VaporLock Magnetron is an excellent carabiner that gives you the extra security of knowing you’ll never forget to lock it, due to its magnetic auto-locking technology. Although it might require a small learning curve to figure out how to open it quickly and smoothly, once you get the hang of the magnetic gate action, the VaporLock Magnetron is ideal for any situation where you need a locking carabiner that you know is locked.

However, the locking mechanism can freeze in extreme weather, so if your main discipline is alpine climbing, you will want to choose another locking carabiner instead.

C.A.M.P. USA Nano 22

Specs
  • Gate: Wiregate
  • Weight: 22 grams
  • Locking: No
Features
  • Extremely Lightweight
  • Color-Coded to Correspond with Cams
  • Deep Basket to Allow Rope to Move Smoothly

BEST FOR: LIGHTWEIGHT

The C.A.M.P. USA Nano 22 will let you rack up without weighing you down on long trad multi-pitch and alpine climbs. Though it could almost fool you with its extremely small and thin design, the Nano 22 is a full-strength climbing carabiner, and it is great for racking cams and other trad gear. In fact, you can get a whole color-coded set to correspond to the colors of your cams, which will make it easy to find the right gear on your harness while you’re climbing.

In order to make it so light, the Nano 22 is quite small, and it can sometimes be a struggle to handle. But if weight is important for your objectives, you can’t find a better carabiner.

DMM Phantom

Specs
  • Gate: Screw Gate
  • Weight: 42 grams
  • Locking: Yes
Features
  • Extremely Lightweight for a Locking Carabiner
  • Smooth Screw Gate Action to Lock & Unlock
  • Keylock Nose for Snag-Free Clipping

BEST FOR: ANCHOR BUILDING

The DMM Phantom is a small, lightweight locking carabiner that is ideal for building anchors or using to clip in with your personal anchor system. The screw gate action of the Phantom is super smooth, making it quick to lock and unlock whenever you need to, and the keylock nose makes clipping and unclipping snag-free.

Because the Phantom is so small, it does not have a large gate clearance, so it can’t handle clipping multiple ropes. It is also not designed for belaying or rappelling, but is an excellent choice for just about anything else you need a locker for.

 

 

THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A CARABINER

Carabiners have so many applications in climbing, and it’s important to choose the right carabiner for each situation. You’ll want a different carabiner for belaying and rappelling (larger locker) than you will for racking your trad gear (small and lightweight non-locker). REI offers some in-depth info on different kinds of carabiners, and Climbing provides more knowledge about the history and safety standards of carabiners.

LOCKING VS NON-LOCKING

The two major categories of carabiners are locking and non-locking, and both have their intended purpose. You need a locking carabiner for belaying, rappelling, building anchors, and any other situation where it is imperative that the carabiner gate not open. Non-locking carabiners are primarily used for protection when leading, whether as part of a quickdraw on sport, or clipping gear on trad.

 

SIZE & WEIGHT

Depending on your style of climbing, size and weight may be more or less important. Larger carabiners usually are easier to handle and have larger gate openings for the rope, but they take up more room on your harness. Larger carabiners are best for belaying and rappelling.

If you’re trad climbing, particularly on multi-pitch, weight can make a difference because you’ll have a lot of carabiners on your rack. In that case, you’ll want to prioritize lightweight carabiners over others.

 

DURABILITY

Although carabiners tend to be cheaper than most of your other investments in climbing gear, you still want them to last as long as possible. Friction from ropes can wear lightweight aluminum carabiners quickly, so you should always check your carabiners to make sure they are still in good condition. The Edelrid Bulletproof carabiners have a stainless steel insert that makes them much more durable than most.

 

 

FEATURES EXPLAINED

AUTO-LOCKING

A type of locking mechanism that doesn’t require manual locking.

SCREW GATE

A mechanism on a locking carabiner that screws closed.

WIRE GATE

The gate is made of a loop of wire which reduces weight.

BENT GATE

The shape of the gate is bent to make clipping rope easy.

STRAIGHT GATE

The gate is constructed from a straight piece of metal which is durable and versatile.

KEYLOCK NOSE

The nose of the carabiner is at the top of the gate opening, and a keylock nose is smooth without a notch.

I-BEAM CONSTRUCTION

The outer edges of the carabiner are broader than the interior. This reduces weight while maintaining strength.

READ MORE

For more of our top climbing gear recommendations, check out these popular articles:

About The Author

Kate is a climber, creator, and community builder. After falling head over heel hooks for climbing in a gym in Boston, she moved to Golden, Colorado because “the mountains were calling.” Now Kate spends as much time as possible exploring the crags of the Front Range and beyond, usually with her camera in hand. She’ll climb just about anything, from leading fun sport to projecting boulders to following multi-pitch trad (as long as it’s not slab).

Related Posts

10 Shares
Tweet9
Pin1
Share
Email
Flip