Rock Climbing Carabiner Reviews
There are so many carabiners out there. It is hard to know what to choose. In this review, I will focus primarily on locking carabiners that you may want to use with your belay device.
There are two types of locking carabiners. You have manual locking and the auto-locking. The manual locking is the screw-lock or screw gate and usually, it is cheaper in price than the auto-locking. There are handsful of auto-locking mechanism. In these reviews, we have the twist lock, the ball lock, the triact-lock, and the magnetic lock.
The carabiners are rated for their strength in three directions:
- Major axis (lengthwise)
- Minor axis (sideways – cross-loading)
- Major axis while the gate is open
All climbing carabiners pass UIAA and CE standards so no worries. Whatever you purchase will support you. As you climb more over time, you will find your own preferences.
There are multiple shapes and sizes of carabiners. For belay purposes, we will focus on HMS carabiners because they have an asymmetrical shape. HMS carabiners are hemispherical or pear-shaped carabiners. Their shape transfers the weight of rope toward the spines and away from the gate. This shape has an oversize opening which makes it easier to clip in and out of ropes and ideal for belay use.
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Black Diamond Rocklock or Twistlock Locking Carabiner
The Black Diamond Rocklock is the largest locking carabiner that Black Diamond carries. There are two types of locking mechanisms available for this particular carabiner. The locking types are screwgate and twist lock.
I own a screwgate locking carabiner because it is a little cheaper than the twist lock. The screwgate carabiner is the most common purchase by beginning climbers because it is simple and straight forward. It requires you to use your fingers to twist to the right to screw and lock the gate or twist to the left to unscrew and unlock the gate.
For the twist lock, it is an auto-locking mechanism. It’s a little easier to handle than the screwgate. Since it is an auto-locking mechanism, you are not required to do anything to lock the gate. To unlock the gate, you twist and turn inward.
Both carabiners are great for rappelling or anchoring.
Average Customer Rank: 4.7/5
- One size – large
- made of aluminum
- Screwgate (screw to unlock or lock) or twist lock (twist to unlock)
- one-hand operable
- Keylock nose to prevent snagging
- A slightly curved spine to maximize gate opening
- Square inch end to hold the loop securely in place
- Type H or HMS connector. It designed with a wide, more symmetrical top that is Munter Hitch compatible
- Closed gate strength: 24kN, Open gate strength: 7kN, Minor axis strength: 7kN
- Gate opening: 21mm
- Size: 4.8in or 12cm
- Weight: 85g or 3oz
- Made in the USAAvailable Locking Mechanism: Screwgate or Twistlock
Where to Buy: Amazon.com– screwgate or Amazon.com – Twistlock
Petzl William Ball Lock Carabiner
It is an asymmetrical pear shape to facilitate the opening and manipulation of the locking system. It is available in three different types of locking mechanisms: Ball-lock, screw-lock, Triact-lock.
The ball-lock and Triact-lock are an auto-locking system. They are secure with a triple-action opening. To unlock the ball-lock gate, push on the little green ball, twist, then push the gate inward. To unlock the triact-lock, push down on the gate, twist, then push the gate inward to open.
The screw-lock carabiner has a straight forward manual locking mechanism. You twist and rotate the screw to the right to tighten and rotate to the left is to loosen and unlock. When you see the red mark on the gate, you know that your gate is still unlocked.
Average Customer Rank: 4.6/5
- Keylock system to avoid snagging of the carabiner
- Asymmetrical pear shape to facilitate opening and manipulation of the locking system
- Can hold a large quantity of equipment
- Optimal shape for belaying with a Munter hitch
- Designed for gripping with gloves on
- Major axis strength: 27kN, Open gate strength: 8kN, Minor axis strength: 8kN
- Gate opening: 27mm
- Material: aluminum
- Certification: CE EN 12275
- Weight: 85g to 90g (3 oz)
- Guarantee: 3 years
Available Locking Mechanism: Ball-lock, Screw-lock, or Triact-lock
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
Edelrid – HMS Bruce Steel FG Carabiner, Silver
This particular carabiner is made to prevent cross-loading. The carabiner is strongest when the two opposing forces are distributed at the long edge and the short edge. It is at its weakest when the opposing forces are on the gate and its opposing side. When belaying, there is a chance that the carabiner will flip to the weak sides that are called cross-loading.
The HMS Bruce Steel has a special internal spring bar build in to keep the carabiner in place and prevent it to flip and cross load. Since this carabiner is made of steel, it is slightly heavier than the carabiners that are made out of aluminum. However, it can withstand greater wear and tear than your average aluminum carabiner.
Average Customer Rank: 5/5
- Screw lock gate
- Internal spring bar to hold the carabiner in place to prevent cross-loading
- Keylock nose to avoid snagging
- Material: Steel
- Major axis strength: 28kN, Open gate strength: 10kN, Minor axis strength: 8kN
- Gate opening: 22mm
- Weight: 140g or 5oz
- Certification: CE 0321
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
Black Diamond Gridlock Magnetron
The Gridlock Magnetron is designed to use two magnetic arms in the gate and steel inserts in the nose for super-secure, interference-free closure. It is an an-auto locking system. Unlocking the gate can be easily handled with either hand.
The special gridlock shape of this carabiner isolates the belay loop to remove cross-loading.
Although the magnetic auto-locking device is a neat gizmo, there were a few complaints. The gate and the magnet can collect debris from outdoor easily causing it to jam. It is cumbersome to get in and out of the carabiner to switch from belaying to climbing.
Average Customer Rank: 4.1/5
- Hot-forged construction
- Auto-locking system using two magnetic arms in the gate and steel insert in the nose for super-secure
- Keylock nose prevents snagging
- One-hand operable
- Gridlock shape to isolate the belay loop and prevent cross-loading
- Type H or HMS connector.
- Weight: 78g or 3oz
- Closed gate strength: 22kN, Open gate strength: 8kN, Minor Axis Strength: 7kN
- Gate Opening: 21mm (0.83in)
Where to Buy: Amazon.com
I hope the reviews were helpful for your search on carabiners and maybe you learned something new. I always learn something new whenever I write an article or a review.
Love to hear your thoughts about carabiners and if you have a favorite. Please leave your comments below.
Sources: REI.com, austere-environments.com,