Climbing Tech

12 Best Non-Locking Carabiners of 2018—Field Tested & Reviewed

The 12 best carabiners of 2018

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We took 12 of the perfect non-locking carabiners available on the market out for a round-robin competitors. Totally different carabiners serve totally different wants, however on the finish of the day two robust favorites emerged: the Wild Nation Helium and the Petzl Spirit.

It’s straightforward to take the standard carabiner without any consideration. Many climbers spend hours researching footwear and belay units however snag the primary ‘biner they see on the shelf.

On one hand, that is comprehensible. Carabiners are typically pretty low cost (though whenever you’re shopping for a full rack, they add up), and most carabiners share the identical primary performance as a connector. All of the carabiners in our check will theoretically work in most situations.

However choosing the right carabiner makes a surprisingly giant distinction within the high quality of your climbing life. We discovered firsthand which of the highest carabiners carry out greatest within the subject — learn on for particulars.

In the event you’re in search of locking carabiners, you’ll discover our evaluations and proposals in our information to one of the best locking carabiners.

The 12 carabiners we examined.

Wild Country Helium carabiner

The Helium has virtually outlined the wire-gate style for the previous decade.

It’s nonetheless the gold normal. That is the carabiner that each one the opposite wire gates attempt to stay as much as.

The Helium presents the most effective of all worlds: a light-weight and supremely usable carabiner with a wire gate and a keylock nostril. A flared “hood” over the notch within the nostril signifies that life with the Helium is snag-free.

It has the most important gate clearance of any carabiner in our check, and the considerate full-size form is straightforward to deal with in each software we might assume of.

Rivals have rushed to repeat and enhance the Helium’s method, however Wild Nation nonetheless executes greatest.

The only draw back to the Helium is the worth of entry. Wild Nation fees a premium for the privilege of carrying Heliums — it’s the costliest ‘biner in our check by a big margin.

Petzl Spirit carabiner

One other basic, the Petzl Spirit has lengthy been a favourite device within the sport climber’s arsenal.

Its clear, ergonomic design makes for straightforward clipping and cleansing in each straight- and bent-gate type.

With one at every finish, the Spirit Categorical quickdraw is the BMW of the sport-climbing world — expensive, however so good to drive.

The Spirit’s skills aren’t restricted to sport climbing, nevertheless. I personally use straight-gate Spirits to rack nuts, as a result of I discover the graceful form and keylock nostril make for straightforward dealing with on-route.

Some belay units have options that require clipping a carabiner in as a deal with, and the Spirit excels because of its clear form and slender nostril.

To prime it off, the Spirit is the lightest of all of the solid-gate carabiners in our check. It’s not as slim because the wire-gate choices, however all-around usability makes it the champ wherever dealing with is a precedence.

DMM Phantom carabiner

Too typically, weight financial savings come on the value of usability (*cough* Metolius *cough*).

The DMM Phantom is the light-weight carabiner that greatest approached the dealing with and user-friendliness of full-size ‘biners.

The DMM lacks one main function of its major competitors (the Black Diamond Ouncesand Petzl Ange), which is a keylock nostril.

DMM does make a keylock model, the Chimera. However even in conventional type the DMM squeaked out a victory.

Regardless of having a smaller gate clearance, the Phantom was noticeably simpler to deal with than both the Ouncesor the Ange. It was onerous for testers to specify why, however most pointed to the grip-friendly form and the straight backbone.

For no matter purpose, this carabiner was hardly distinguishable from full-size ‘biners in practice. At a weight of 28 grams, that’s a powerful feat, one which the opposite ultralights did not match.

Even with a standard nostril, the Phantom is the light-weight carabiner we recommed.

Petzl Djinn carabiner

The Djinn is like your first automotive: you purchase it as a result of you already know it can take a beating.

Designed for sturdiness, the Djinn packs additional grams of aluminum the place it counts.

Large and uniform contact surfaces across the basket make for wonderful sturdiness and predictable dealing with.

On the finish of testing the Djinn confirmed hardly any put on, and we don’t doubt that it’ll carry out for years to return. At $eight.95, the Djinn is reasonably priced for a solid-gate carabiner.

The penalty for sturdiness is weight: the Djinn is the second-heaviest ‘biner in our check. It might be a superb beater carabiner for tasks or sport climbing, however tradsters ought to hunt down lighter choices.

Mad Rock Ultralight Wire Gate carabiner

The Mad Rock Ultralight isn’t probably the most refined design, nor probably the most usable, nor the lightest.

What it’s is reasonable and useful. At $5.95, it shares the most cost effective worth in our check with the same Trango Part.

Regardless of being a gram heavier, testers felt that the Mad Rock was a hair extra usable, so it wins our worth award.

“Ultralight” is perhaps an overstatement, however 31 grams is mild sufficient. It’s within the center usability-wise, however we by no means discovered a cause to dislike it.

Our lone caveat is the squared-off rope-bearing floor — though we don’t have the gear to verify, we suspect that the form will increase rope drag barely in quickdraws.

We wouldn’t be thrilled if this have been the one carabiner we might use, however we additionally wouldn’t thoughts racking cams on Ultralights. Should you’re trying to minimize your finances, the Mad Rock isn’t a nasty place to start out.

Critiques of the 7 Different Carabiners We Tested

Black Diamond Oz

Black Diamond Oz carabiner

The Ounceshas all of the components of a winner: clean design, a intelligent hooded keylock nostril, and a lean 28-gram weight.

Fact be informed, I anticipated this carabiner to stroll away with an award.

However whereas it was a strong performer, the Ounceswas not a favourite. Its weak spot is usability: the rounded backbone felt slippery and unpredictable, and the gate’s rigidity is inconsistent.

The Ouncesstill performs its duties, however it didn’t encourage confidence. Once we’re excessive off the bottom we want predictability, which gave the DMM Phantom the sting.

Camp Photon Wire

Camp Photon Wire carabiner

After the Wild Nation Helium, the Camp Photon has the most important gate clearance of any wire gate in our check.

Testers with giant palms appreciated the Photon’s chunky design, and the vast surfaces make for clean dealing with. At 30 grams, the Photon is impressively light-weight for its measurement.

However the Photon was betrayed by its gate. By the top of testing, the wire gate was beginning to lose its springiness barely.

This ultimately occurs with most wire gates, however the Photon confirmed put on earlier than rivals. It’s attainable that we acquired a dud, nevertheless it’s arduous to know.

At $7.95, the Photon isn’t too pricey to switch, however we’d quite have a wire-gate we all know is constructed to final. That’s a disgrace, as a result of the Photon was in any other case a robust competitor.

Black Diamond Neutrino

Black Diamond Neutrino carabiner

The Neutrino is a frequent sight at any trad crag. It’s Black Diamond’s mainstream mannequin, the one most frequently paired with Camalots on racks.

So far as efficiency goes, the Neutrino is as common because it will get.

It’s not heavy, nevertheless it’s not mild. Sturdiness appears strong, and dealing with is sufficient however not straightforward.

As is the case with so many Black Diamond merchandise, the motto appears to be: offend not, excel not.

That is the vanilla ice cream of wire-gates — low cost and reliable, nevertheless it’s not too onerous to do higher.

Petzl Ange S

Petzl Ange S carabiner

One other revolutionary design, the Petzl Ange swaps the normal wire-gate loop for a single rod of metallic.

Petzl claims it’s a extra sturdy design, and whereas they could be proper, it’s additionally not as straightforward to make use of.

The Ange S’s gate clearance is spectacular for a 28-gram carabiner, however we nonetheless discovered ourselves fumbling when clipping and unclipping.

The high-tension gate requires a gentle hand, and the rubber on the base of the gate improves however doesn’t alleviate the issue.

The Ange’s clean design was in any other case nice, however it did not win over testers. At $11.95, it’s the second-most costly ‘biner in our test and doesn’t supply distinctive worth.

Petzl makes a bigger model (Ange L) which will deal with higher, however it’s heavier and much more costly.

Trango Part

Trango Phase carabiner

The Part ideas the scales at a comparatively mild 30 grams, however the funky backbone was a turn-off for testers.

“It feels harder to clip,” went one grievance, and by the top of the check the Part was not amongst anybody’s favorites.

At $5.95 it’s a budget-friendly selection, however in our opinion the Mad Rock Ultralight Wire Gate is a barely higher purchase.

Black Diamond Positron

Black Diamond Positron carabiner

The Black Diamond Positron is one other veteran of sport crags, nevertheless it didn’t impress in testing.

The broad, strong beams make for the heaviest weight of any carabiner in our check, however the gate nonetheless feels flimsy and inconsistent.

In comparison with the confidence-inspiring really feel of Petzl’s strong gates, the Positron was a lot much less nice to make use of.

With no vital worth benefit and a small weight penalty, we will’t assume of many causes to advocate it.

Metolius FS Mini II

Metolius FS Mini II carabiner

The Mini II is the lightest carabiner in our check, nevertheless it was additionally among the many least user-friendly.

The gate clearance is a puny 17.5 mm, and the Mini seems like a toy in giant arms. For every day use, we want a extra usable ‘biner.

Within the Mini’s favor, it performs adequately after a small studying curve.

For hardcore alpinists, there’s an argument to be made for the Mini II as an ultralight racking ‘biner or gear-side connector.

We will’t think about that long-term sturdiness is all that good, however at $5.95 the Mini II is blessedly low cost. A number of ounces of weight financial savings is perhaps well worth the hassle for some.

The Petzl Djinn compared to the Metolius FS Mini II

The Petzl Djinn (left) in comparison with the Metolius FS Mini II (proper).


Listed here are the perfect carabiners for mountaineering:

  • Wild Nation Helium
  • Petzl Spirit
  • DMM Phantom
  • Petzl Djinn
  • Black Diamond Oz
  • Camp Photon Wire
  • Black Diamond Neutrino
  • Petzl Ange S
  • Mad Rock Ultralight Wire Gate
  • Trango Part
  • Black Diamond Positron
  • Metolius FS Mini II

Find out how to Select the Best Non-Locking Carabiner for Your Wants

Varieties of Non-Locking Carabiners

Non-locking carabiners play many roles, however they’re mostly used to rack gear and assemble quickdraws.

One of an important options is form — though D-shaped and oval carabiners have their makes use of, for this check we confined ourselves to asymmetrical-D carabiners.

Wire Gates vs. Strong Gates

Historically, wire-gate and solid-gate carabiners have distinct execs and cons.

Strong-gate ‘biners have snag-free keylock noses, strong durability, and easy clipping. Wire-gate versions are lighter, don’t freeze shut as simply, and endure much less gate flutter (the opening of a gate throughout a fall, which may theoretically result in harmful situations).

These days, many carabiners supply extra of the entire package deal. Strong-gate ‘biners are getting lighter, whereas many wire gates have their very own model of keylock noses.

Nonetheless, the patterns usually maintain. Strong-gate carabiners are most nice to clip, which is why they present up at sport crags the place weight is much less important. Wire gates are nonetheless the lightest, which makes them the selection for trad climbers and alpinists.

Bent Gate vs. Straight Gate

Straight-gate carabiners supply predictable grip and dealing with, whereas bent-gate ‘biners have a bigger gate clearance and are barely simpler to clip.

Whereas some wire-gate ‘biners do have each bent and straight types, the distinction is most pronounced on solid-gate carabiners.

Straight-gate ‘biners often hook up with gear, whereas bent gates occupy the rope-side place in quickdraws.

Bent-gate and straight-gate Petzl Spirits

Bent-gate (left) and straight-gate (proper) Petzl Spirits

Weight vs. Measurement

Whereas a number of giant carabiners handle to maintain weight down, often lighter carabiners shave weight by dropping measurement.

Weight financial savings can add up — a rack may embrace 40 carabiners or extra, so including three grams per carabiner means over 1 / 4 of a pound in complete.

Nonetheless, smaller measurement often means trickier dealing with. Totally different climbers have totally different preferences alongside this spectrum, relying on type, rack, and locale.

How We Tested

Field testing non-locking carabiners

Setting off for some city testing

To start, we put all 12 carabiners via a bevy of primary exams for widespread duties like clipping a rope or racking gear.

To see if the check outcomes matched our intuitions, we took them out within the subject and used them to construct attracts, clip bolts, and rack safety.

On the finish of the day, ‘biners have been scored on their usability then sturdiness, with a remaining modifier for weight.


How straightforward is the carabiner to deal with? How properly does it carry out in numerous roles? How typically do I discover myself mishandling or snagging? This class was weighted most closely.


How properly did the carabiner maintain up by way of testing? Did any elements of the carabiner present uncommon put on?


How a lot of a weight penalty do I pay by choosing this carabiner?