Invented on the brink of World War I, carabiners are an ingenious loop of metal with a metal gate that opens and shuts. They are indispensible pieces of hardware for a variety of activities and situations, whether you’re a high rise window washer, a firefighter, a novice climber who’s just passed their belay test, a loving pet-owner clipping a rope leash to Buddy’s collar, or a hiker who needs to clip your water bottle to the outside of your backpack. Buying the best carabiner, as simple as it may seem, can be a tricky affair, given the plethora of different types, shapes and even colors to choose from. But we’ve taken a look at several options, compared them together and have brought you the lowdown on what we feel are the 5 best ’biners brands that will help you reach new heights.
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Our Top Choice
Mad Rock Super Tech Screwgate Locking Carabiner
Mad Rock started out in 2002 with affordable rock climbing shoes, and after a whopping million sales is now a favorite of climbers all across the globe.
Robust heat-forged construction. Lightweight at just 43 grams, making it a joy to carry around. Screw gate closure with a 19mm gate open clearance.
May be a bit small for some ropes.
Aircraft grade 7075-T6 aluminum
Michael Josh 10PCS 3"/8CM Aluminum Carabiner Clips
Michael Josh is renowned for its vast range of superior quality indoor and outdoor products such as beach tents, picnic blankets, hydration packs and carabiner clips.
10 carabiner clips each. New improved spring system for opening and closing up to 5000 times. 2 color variants to choose from. D-Ring shape with a spring loaded gate.
Not recommended for extreme sports such as climbing.
Aircraft grade aluminum
Spring loaded gate
Black Diamond Hotwire Carabiner 3 Pack
Black Diamond has been bringing innovative gear designs to the market since 1957, including men and women’s apparel and climbing, skiing and hiking equipment.
Extremely lightweight and designed for great performance. 25mm gate opening. Molded with cold forge construction.
Designed only for climbing activities.
Cold forged aluminum
Single color black
D-FantiX Aluminum Carabiner Clip
Apart from being a leading puzzle manufacturer, D-FantiX also offers a wide range of well designed products including battery testers and USB fans.
Made from industry leading aircraft grade aluminum. Compact design. Set of 5; each can handle a load of 50lbs. Screw gate clearance is 18mm.
Not recommended for ice climbing, rock climbing or high altitude activities.
Aircraft grade aluminum
Spring loaded gate
Metolius F.S. Mini II Carabiner
Metolius was founded in 1983 and was named after the Metolius River, Oregon. They deal exclusively with climbing gear.
Made from high quality aluminum. Wiregate hinge that opens up 17.5mm. Choice of 8 color variants. Flared nose design to prevent accidental openings.
This ’biner can hang a double hammock with a smile, but can be a bit stiff at times.
If you’re looking to connect components of a static or dynamic system, you will need a carabiner. And not just any ’biner, but one that will help you complete your specific task safely, quickly and efficiently. After reading our carabiner buying guide, you should have great insight into how to choose the best locking device from our top 5 options, so without further ado, let’s get right to them!
Our Top Choice
The Mad Rock Super Tech Screwgate Locking Carabiner boasts a sturdy construction and offers a 19mm gate clearance. If you’re looking for the same superior quality construction, but with a slightly bigger gate, the Mad Rock Ultralight Wire Gate Carabiner is a great option. It features a 23mm wire type gate opening, and can be ordered in a choice of two different colors—red and silver.
Mad Rock Super Tech Screwgate Locking Carabiner with Keylock Nose and 19mm Gate Clearance
Mad Rock began small in 2002, but made it to the big league after selling an astounding million pairs of their highly affordable rock climbing shoes. The company uses the best technology and materials available, which is perhaps the primary reason why it is a hit among rock climbers around the world. Mad Rock’s mission from the start has been to provide industry leading materials and designs that offer unmatched value, quality and durability for a great climbing experience.
The Mad Rock Super Tech Screwgate Locking Carabiner tips the scales at just 43 grams, and features a heat-forged, D-shaped construction for superior longevity. Crafted from aircraft-grade 7075-T6 aluminum, the screw gate of the ’biner opens up 19mm, which is an ideal clearance for most ropes. With a keylock nose and smooth locking action, the Mad Rock Super Tech Screwgate sets the gold standard in what a high quality carabiner should be.
The Michael Josh 10PCS 3"/8CM Aluminum Carabiner Clips measure 3” each, and feature a new and improved spring system, making them good to open and close for an impressive 5000 times. If you need a bigger size gate and a carabiner for parachute cords and outdoor EDC items, the Michael Josh Mini SF Paracord Keychain Carabiner Clip is an option worth exploring. This set of 10 carabiners are crafted of sturdy and durable materials and feature a superior quality spring opening design.
Michael Josh 10PCS 3"/8CM Aluminum Carabiner Clips with High Quality D-Ring - Available in Black or Multi-Color
When on the shopping trail for outdoor products, you will hear the name Michael Josh crop up quite often, and for several good reasons. The company products are welcomed for their unique designs and great longevity, so you can rest assured that they will last you for years to come with proper care. Some of the noteworthy products from the Michael Josh range include picnic baskets, beach tents, hydration pack backpacks and carabiner clips.
Each carabiner in this 10 piece set measures 3 inches, and is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum material, making it both durable and lightweight. Further, they are fitted with a top notch spring clip that is factory tested to open and close more than 5000 times, and a class leading spring gate that quickly and securely connects with a wide range of hosting points. This set can be ordered in both black and multicolor variants, and is an ideal choice for camping, fishing, hiking and even your keychain, but not recommended for climbing or heavy duty safety equipment.
The Black Diamond Hotwire 3 Pack is cold forge constructed and secured with a wiregate closure that opens up 25mm. If you’d like a pear shaped ’biner with a screw gate, and one that comes with a belay device for rock climbing, the Black Diamond Big Air XP Package is a choice you can’t go wrong with. It boasts a high friction mode that offers a 3 times better hold and stopping power than the regular friction mode. Furthermore, it is crafted from high quality aluminum and weighs just 133 grams, making it easy to carry even in your pocket.
Black Diamond Hotwire 3 Pack with 25mm Gate Clearance and Cold Forged Construction
Black Diamond is not in the diamond business, but is still one of the jewels of the climbing, skiing and outdoor sports arena. The company, founded in 1957, boasts a product portfolio that flourishes with innovative gear designs that have set the gold standard in several key areas. Although the company has a rather extensive list of products, some notable gear includes men and women’s apparel and insulation, belays, climbing gloves, crampons, dogbones, ski bindings, gloves, poles and packs, and a wide range of hiking gear.
The Black Diamond Hotwire carabiner is manufactured with a cold forging process for top notch durability, and is available in a pack of three. Its versatile D-shape helps it deliver an unmatched performance, and 25MM wire gate opening makes it a great fit for several activities. Lightweight at just 129 grams, the Hotwire carabiner boasts a vast rope bearing surface that is protected by a nose shroud to prevent the gate from accidentally opening. If you’re looking for a carabiner that won’t let you down on the field, the Black Diamond Hotwire carabiner is worth a second look.
The D-FantiX Carabiner Clip is made from high quality aluminum and measures roughly 2.95 x 1.65 inches. If you’d like a bigger carabiner and one that boasts a solid titanium construction, the D-FantiX Mini Titanium Carabiner set of five is a great choice. It showcases a classic design and makes a great choice if you’d like to keep all your essentials in a single place.
D-FantiX Carabiner Clip Made from Aluminum with Spring Loaded Gate , Black Pack of 5
D-FantiX is a globally recognized designer and manufacturer of puzzle cubes, but also offers a diverse range of other products including battery testers, toilet seat covers and USB desk fans. Founded in 2014, the company enjoys a roster of several million customers across the globe and prides itself on being the #1 puzzle cube seller on Amazon.com.
Each of the 5 carabiners in this set measure approximately 2.95 x 1.65 inches and are lightweight at just 23 grams. They feature a spring loaded gate opening that offers a clearance of roughly 18mm, and have a load capacity of 50lbs. Crafted from superior quality aircraft grade aluminum, these ’biners come with a bonus 5 key rings, and are ideal for a wide range of applications including tent-pitching, connecting rope, and attaching water bottles to your backpack.
The Metolius F.S. Mini II Carabiner boasts a great D-shape design and can be secured via a wiregate closure. If you’d like a pear-shaped carabiner that’s good for rappelling and belaying with keylock closure, look no further than the Metolius Element Key Lock Carabiner. It features heat-forged construction, and can be ordered in two color choices—black and green.
Metolius F.S. Mini II Carabiner Made from Aluminum with 17.5mm Gate Clearance - Available in 8 Colors
Metolius, an all-American, prestigious name in the rock climbing gear space, gets its name from the revered Metolius River in Oregon. Headquartered in Bend, Oregon, the company was established in 1983 in a garage and today designs and manufactures a wide range of climbing equipment including spring-loaded camming devices, belay devices, helmets, haul bags and artificial climbing holds.
The Metolius F.S. Mini II Carabiner is lightweight at just 23 grams, yet it offers the superior strength of 22 kN. Available in a choice of 8 different color variants including orange, red and green, it features a D-shaped design and is secured with a wire gate closure on its flare nose to prevent accidental gate openings. CE/UIAA certified, the F.S. Mini II ’biner features a 17mm gate clearance and is crafted from high grade aluminum for superior performance in most situations.
Exploring the vertical world is one of those activities where you need to have immense faith in the gear you carry, be it climbing harnesses, climbing helmets or carabiners. That’s because your life is on the line!
Carabiners are everywhere—you see people hanging keys and water bottles off them, but that is not what they were originally designed for. Conceived by the German climber Otto Herzog, ‘biners allow climbers to rack gear, and clip climbing ropes for the much-needed protection.
Owing to advances in design and metalworking, these accessories are available in a myriad of shapes, designs, models and colors . There are different types of carabiners designed for different purposes, so read on to find out which one is right for you.
Truly, this section shouldn’t even be here, because it’s a lifesaving device that we’re dealing with. Would you go out and buy a poor quality canopy for a tandem? Hopefully not! Google “cheap bungee jumping carabiner” and voila, at least at the time of this writing, there were no "real results" in terms of ones designed for heavy duty use since this is not a place to cut corners! You can, however, buy an inexpensive carabiner (aka cheap carabiner) if you’re looking to carry along a water bottle, but you shouldn’t if you’re going to be doing a tandem or tethering Max’s leash.
Even though these premium safety devices are worth their weight in gold, they do not cost anywhere near that. To give you a rough idea, the price of a carabiner depends on its design and size, and could range from $10 to over $50. ’Biners are also available in sets of 5 or 10, which could spike up the price, but they are worth it since you should be carrying more than one anyways regardless of the activity, and buying them separately can lead you to spending more in the long run.
Whether you’re taking Max for a walk or exploring ice formations, you’ll want to buy a carabiner that won’t let you down, so consider the factors below when on the shopping trail.
Shapes – Different types available such as pearl or oval; the one you choose will dictate how you’re use it.
Materials – Mostly made from durable materials such as steel and aluminum, both being lightweight and hard to break.
Gate Type – This is what will open and close the carabiner.
Gate Closure – The way the gate attaches to the carabiner
Gate Clearance – This is the size of the opening when the gate is unlocked.
Nose – This is the part of the gate that the nose snaps into, where some feature a shroud to prevent them from opening.
Weight – Recent technology has made biners extremely lightweight, but take note that every ounce counts when exploring peaks.
Size – large ’biners offer bigger gate clearance and hence can carry more gear and are easier to handle.
Strength – Rated for three different spine strengths, and measured in measured in kilonewtons, or kN, where each is equal to roughly 224.8 foot-pounds of force.
Locking vs. Non-Locking Gates – Common options are straight gate, bent gate and wiregate carabiners.
Brand – Needless to say, carabiners are crucial pieces of safety gear, so look for trusted brands to achieve peace of mind.
Construction and Design
When it comes to construction of carabiners, material plays a crucial role. Steel and aluminum top the list as common carabiner materials. Consider steel carabiners for situations that are susceptible to more abrasion, such as rope anchors in dusty environments. Keep in mind, though, that steel ’biners are heavier and more expensive than their aluminum counterparts, so consider this before making your purchase. Aluminum-made carabiners are a great choice for other situations, with some being forged using cold or hot processes to enhance strength and durability and others are anodized so that they can be dyed different colors.
The next thing you need to determine when shopping for the best carabiner is the shape that is appropriate for your needs. To briefly explain, asymmetrical D-shaped carabiners are the most popular design of all, and are a preferred choice for climbers owing to their strength and large gate opening. Regular D-shaped ’biners are smaller and feature a larger gate opening than their asymmetrical cousins, and are also a great choice for most types of climbing. Pear-shaped ’biners generally also have large gate openings to allow easy clipping of gear such as ropes and knots. Although they can be used for multi-pitch climbing and top roping, their best use is for belaying and rappelling. Some pear shaped carabiners are embossed with “HMS” on their spin, which indicates that they feature a wide top, a selling point if that is something you are looking for.
Furthermore, you will have to choose between the many gate types. To break it down for you, straight gate carabiners are easy to use and are commonly bought for a variety of purposes, and as the name reveals, are straight from pivot point to tip. Moving on, bent gate biners feature a concave shape, making them easy to clip onto a rope. Both straight and bent gate biners can feature a keylock for notch-less, hook-less and snag-free clipping. Wire gate carabiners feature a loop of stainless steel wire, and are usually fitted on larger gate carabiners.
Performance and Ease of Use
After you consider the material, shape and gate of the carabiner, size and weight should be given some thought for several reasons. Although most ’biners are pretty light, 20 of them will increase the weight of your climbing kit. In terms of size, it will of course affect the weight of the device, but also its function as small models are generally hard to clip. Most manufacturers either list strength of a respective device in kilonewtons (kN) or in the load capacity. Regardless, you should pay attention to these metrics, because it will determine the performance of the carabiner. Lastly, think how you will be using the carabiner—one may be great for one type of activity, but not recommended for another.
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