There’s a confusing array of carabiners on the market. Do you need a screw-gate or a snap-gate? A tiny lightweight carabiner or a hefty chunk of metal? Why are some $10, but others $30? How do figure out what’s the best carabiner for you?

The Adventure Junkies will help you choose the right carabiner for your type of climbing, whether you’re building up a rack from scratch or just adding a few extra pieces. We’ve listed the ten best carabiners for the job. You’ll need different types depending on if you’re using it to belay with, as a multi-purpose carabiner or just for racking your cams.

 

QUICK ANSWER: THE BEST CARABINER

  1. Petzl Attache 3D
  2. Black Diamond GridLock Magnetron
  3. DMM Belay Master 2
  4. Black Diamond RockLock
  5. Mad Rock Ultra Tech
  6. Black Diamond Positron
  7. Petzl Spirit
  8. Metolius FS Mini II
  9. DMM Spectre 2
  10. Wild Country Helium 2

 

 

FREE BONUS! Click here to download the AJ Quick Starter Guide To Climbing

 

THE BEST CARABINER – A COMPARISON

PICTURE
CARABINER
BEST USE
WEIGHT
STYLE
GATE OPENING
PRICE
RATING
PICTURE
CARABINER
BEST USE
WEIGHT
STYLE
GATE OPENING
PRICE
RATING
Petzl Attache 3D
Belay
56g
HMS Screwgate
24.0 mm
$$
5.0
Black Diamond GridLock Magnetron
Belay
78g
Belay Specific
21.0 mm
$$$
4.0
DMM Belay Master 2
Belay
100g
Belay Specific
18.5 mm
$$$
4.0
Black Diamond RockLock
Belay
89g
HMS Screwgate
21.0 mm
$
4.4
Mad Rock Ultra Tech
General
56g
Screwgate
18.0 mm
$
4.7
Black Diamond Positron
General
56g
Screwgate
21.0 mm
$$
4.8
Petzl Spirit
General
45g
Screwgate
18.0 mm
$$
5.0
Metolius FS Mini II
Racking Gear
23g
Snapgate
17.5 mm
$
4.9
DMM Spectre 2
Racking Gear
32g
Snapgate
25.0 mm
$
5.0
Wild Country Helium 2
Racking Gear
33g
Snapgate
27.0 mm
$$
5.0

 

 

CARABINERS 101

 

7 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST CARABINER

 

1. SCREW-GATE OR SNAP-GATE?

This is the most basic decision when choosing a carabiner. The general guideline to go by is: if it’s involved in a belay, you need a screw-gate.

Your belay carabiner itself needs to be a screw-gate. It’s better to use a HMS style carabiner for belaying, as the rope will run more smoothly over the wider end. Some screw-gates are specifically designed to be used for belaying.

The carabiners used at an anchor should also be screw-gates. These include the ones attaching your sling or cordellette to the bolts or gear at the anchor, and the one attaching you to the cordellette.

Snap-gates are used both on gear and as quickdraws. Quickdraws tend to be purchased already made up, though you can make your own. If you buy some cams or nuts, though, you’ll need to buy some carabiners to rack them on too.

 

2. WEIGHT AND SIZE

How heavy your rack is can really influence your climbing, especially with a massive trad rack on? No one wants to be weighed down by tons of metal when they’re run out and pumped. The difference between light and heavy carabiners may only be a couple of ounces, but with 20 hanging off your harness, that adds up.

The downside of light gear is that it tends to be less durable and is often smaller in size. This can make carabiners difficult to use with gloves on – a definite concern if you enjoy winter or alpine climbing.

 

3. THE GATE OPENING

The gate opening measurement is simply how big the gap is when you push the gate open. If this is bigger, it tends to mean the carabiner is easier to clip and unclip. The size can influence this too.

 

4. STRENGTH

All the carabiners listed here and on sale for climbing are more than strong enough. They’re required to meet a minimum UIAA strength of 22kN when closed, along the long axis. But across the short axis or with the gate open, this strength will be much less. Be very careful not to cross load your carabiners as this will reduce their strength to about one third.

 

5. COLOR

For screw-gates, the color doesn’t generally matter. For racking cams, it’s best to have a carabiner that matches the color of your cam to make it easier to find on your climbing harness.

 

6. NOSE STYLE

All carabiners have either a keylock nose or a non-keylock nose. A keylock nose has a small notch to allow the gate to slot into it. Non-keylocks do not have this.

Keylocks have two main disadvantages: they’re slightly weaker and they tend to catch on gear and slings. Non-keylocks are becoming much more popular and are highly recommended.

 

7. WIRE-GATE OR SOLID-GATE

This decision only applies to snap-gate carabiners. Gates are made of either a piece of wire or a solid metal bar. Wire performs better in the winter as it is less likely to freeze shut, and they are usually lighter. Wire-gates tend to be more expensive and most have a keylock style nose that can snag on gear.

 

carabiner to use for climbing

Photo by istockphoto.com/portfolio/Rumo

 

CARABINER REVIEWS

THE TOP 10 BEST CARABINERS

 

1. BEST CARABINERS FOR BELAYING

PETZL ATTACHE 3D

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | REI

WEIGHT: 56g

STYLE: HMS Screw-gate

GATE OPENING: 24mm

PROS: Very lightweight, large gate opening, red marking to show if the screw-gate is undone

CONS: Some users reported the screw-gate getting stuck (this can be avoided by not over-tightening it)

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND GRIDLOCK MAGNETRON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 78g

STYLE: Belay Specific

GATE OPENING: 21mm

PROS: Innovative dual magnet locking gate, separation for belay loop and rope

CONS: Cannot be used ski touring (due to magnetic interference with transceiver), separation can be fiddly to use

 

 

 

DMM BELAY MASTER 2

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 100g

STYLE: Belay Specific

GATE OPENING: 18.5mm

PROS: Tried and tested plastic separator to prevent cross loading and accidental unscrewing

CONS: Heavy

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND ROCKLOCK

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 89g

STYLE: HMS Screw-gate

GATE OPENING: 20mm

PROS: Versatile, large easy to use size

CONS: Heavy

 

 

 

 

2. BEST CARABINERS FOR GENERAL USE

MAD ROCK ULTRA TECH

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 56g

STYLE: Screw-gate

GATE OPENING: 18mm

PROS: Low price, smooth locking system

CONS: None that we’ve found

 

 

 

BLACK DIAMOND POSITRON

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 56g

STYLE: Screw-gate

GATE OPENING: 21mm

PROS: Large gate opening, very versatile

CONS: None that we’ve found

 

 

 

PETZL SPIRIT

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 45g

STYLE: Screw-gate

GATE OPENING: 18mm

PROS: Very lightweight, red marking to show if the screw-gate is undone

CONS: Quite expensive for a smaller screw-gate

 

 

 

 

3. BEST CARABINERS FOR RACKING GEAR

METOLIUS FS MINI II

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 23g

STYLE: Snap-gate

GATE OPENING: 17.5mm

PROS: Very lightweight, low bulk on harness, available in different colors

CONS: Too small to use with gloves on

 

 

 

DMM SPECTRE 2

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 32g

STYLE: Snap-gate

GATE OPENING: 25mm

PROS: Large gate opening, easy to use with gloves on, available in different colors

CONS: None that we’ve found

 

 

 

WILD COUNTRY HELIUM 2

Check out the latest price on:
Amazon | Backcountry

WEIGHT: 33g

STYLE: Snap-gate

GATE OPENING: 27mm

PROS: Innovative hood to stop gear snagging on the nose, large gate opening

CONS: Quite expensive

Top 10 Best Carabiners of 2017 – Best Rock Climbing Gear Articles – Climbing Products For Men and Women – Climbing Equipment Lists Posts
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