The 8 Best Carabiners to Buy in 2018

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Carabiners are primarily used by climbers and mountaineers. They do have many other uses, though, whether you’re a camping aficionado looking for an easy way to secure your gear to your backpack, a traveler with a hammock to suspend, or a janitor with too many keys for a standard keyring. Essentially, the potential uses for a carabiner are endless. Things to consider when purchasing a carabiner include its strength rating, weight, and shape. Asymmetric D shapes are known for their strength and lightness, while oval shapes are great for reducing load shifting. You’ll also need to decide whether you want a locking or non-locking carabiner, and what gate shape works best for your requirements. We look at all the possibilities in this list of the best carabiners to buy now.

Our Top Picks

01 of 08

Best Budget: Mad Rock Ultra-Tech Screw-Gate Carabiner

Those in search of a good quality carabiner under $10 cannot go wrong with the Mad Rock Ultra-Tech Screw-Gate Carabiner. Intended as a straightforward, jack-of-all-trades carabiner for climbing or everyday use, Amazon reviewers report using it for everything from suspending hammocks to securing hunting gear and safety harnesses. It boasts a sturdy pear or HMS shape and is made from light, long-lasting aluminum.

The carabiner’s straight gate can be left unlocked or secured using the manual screw-gate. The latter makes it suitable for belaying and rappelling. It has a 17mm gate opening and a keylock nose for snag-free movement. Hot forged construction gives it an overall weight of 54g and a major axis strength of 26kN. When the gate is open, it’s rated to 9kN. There is only one color option: silver with a black gate and contrasting silver screw-gate.

02 of 08

Best Oval: Petzl Oxan Oval Carabiner

Petzl Oxan Oval Carabiner

Amazon

Oval carabiners are the original carabiner shape, with uniform top and bottom curves that help to limit load shifting. This makes them ideal for rappels and aid climbing. The Petzl Oxan Oval Carabiner is made of steel and is a high-strength option specially designed for setting up anchors and connecting to metal structures in harsh conditions. Its smooth interior design and keylock nose help to reduce the likelihood of snagging and it’s compatible with the brand’s Captiv bar. This optional extra helps to prevent the carabiner from flipping, keeps it integrated with the device, and shifts the load onto the major axis for optimum strength and safety.

There are two different locking mechanisms to choose from: the automatic Triact-Lock with its triple-action gate opening, and the manual Screw-Lock with a red band that warns you when it’s unlocked. Whichever system best meets your needs, the carabiner has a gate opening of 22mm, weighs 195g, and boasts a major axis strength of 38 kN. Opt for gold or black to match the rest of your climbing equipment.

03 of 08

Best Asymmetric D: DMM Phantom Screw-Gate Carabiner

Asymmetric D carabiners — like the DMM Phantom Screw-Gate Carabiner — are smaller at one end, causing loads to shift towards the carabiner spine for the strongest possible orientation. The extended top bar increases the internal volume, making this shape more compatible with thick ropes and slings. Weighing just 42g, the Phantom is a featherweight option loved by sport climbers who like to travel fast and light. The carabiner has a 24kN major axis, enabled by hot forged I-Beam construction that allows for lightness without compromising strength.

The gate opening measures 15mm and has a keylock nose. This gives the carabiner a clean internal profile that won’t catch on your gear, allowing for hassle-free clipping and removal. The screw-gate locking system must be implemented manually and is easy to use with one hand. Keep the carabiner locked or unlocked depending on your requirements. Amazon reviewers love it for its compact size and lightness but also have high praise for its quality finish, clean knurling, and the contrast of the gunmetal spine with the silver and gold gate.

04 of 08

Best Pear/HMS: Petzl Attache Screw-Lock Carabiner

The compact pear or HMS shape of the Petzl Attache Screw-Lock Carabiner makes it perfect for belaying and rappelling. It’s especially suited to belaying with a Munter hitch; alternatively, the shape also lends itself to the easy tying or untying of a clove hitch. Made of aluminum, this is another lightweight carabiner with an H-shaped cross section for an improved strength-to-weight ratio. It weighs 56g and has a major axis strength of 22kN.

Wider contact surfaces enable better rope glide and help to reduce wear so that your carabiner stays looking good for longer despite heavy use. It has a gate opening of 24mm and a keylock nose that prevents snagging during maneuvers. The gate is protected by a manual Screw-Lock locking sleeve. Use the visual indicator to double check that the carabiner is locked with a single glance. Colors include classic black and high-visibility orange or turquoise.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best Bent Gate: Petzl Djinn Bent Gate Carabiner

Carabiners with a bent gate make for easier rope clipping and are ideal for the rope end of a quickdraw. The Petzl Djinn Bent Gate Carabiner is an affordable option made with crag and entry-level climbers in mind. It’s aluminum, has an asymmetrical D shape, and a non-locking gate with an extra wide opening of 27mm. This added width facilitates easy manipulations and handles wider loads, making this carabiner a great option for non-climbing purposes as well, like securing hiking or camping gear.

Other Petzl trademarks featured in this carabiner include an H-shaped cross section for keeping weight to a minimum (it tips the scales at just 45g) and wider contact surfaces for increased durability and smoother rope glide. A keylock nose keeps the interior profile snag-free. The carabiner has a major axis strength of 23kN and is silver-colored with an orange gate. If you like the sound of this biner but prefer a straight gate, you can find straight-gated Djinns for sale elsewhere on Amazon.

06 of 08

Best Wiregate: Wild Country Helium 2 Carabiner

Wiregate carabiners are a favorite for gram-conscious climbers because their pared-down gate design reduces overall weight. This can make all the difference on longer routes or when you want to move quickly. Wiregates are also unlikely to freeze in winter and are less prone to gate lash (the momentary opening sometimes caused by impact during a fall). The Wild Country Helium Carabiner has led the category for nearly 15 years and was revamped in 2014 with a slimmer, 2mm wiregate for increased ease of use and even greater security.

Its hot-forged, I-Beam construction means that it can offer 24kN major axis strength, 10kN gate open strength, and still only weigh 33g. Amazon reviewers love the extra wide 27mm gate opening, which makes rope handling easier than ever and establishes this carabiner as our top choice for trad climbing quickdraws. It has a clean-lock nose and is non-locking. The carabiner comes in six vibrant colors including purple, green, blue, and gold. The price-tag is high, but worth it for the combination of strength, lightness, and durability.

07 of 08

Best Auto-Lock: Edelrid HMS Strike Slider Carabiner

Locking straight gate carabiners are the only choice for rappelling or for use at belay stations, and a carabiner with an auto-lock takes away the possibility of forgetting to fasten a manual screw-gate. The pear-shaped Edelrid HMS Strike Slider Carabiner uses a slide-gate mechanism that minimizes the risk of an accidental gate opening. Amazon reviewers love that despite its security, the carabiner is still easy to unlock for fast, one-handed clipping and unclipping.

It has a 21mm gate opening with a keylock closure. This gives it a smooth interior profile so that the carabiner can move freely in all belay and anchor situations without snagging. The carabiner features H-profile construction for minimum weight and maximum strength. Weighing 62g, it has a major axis strength of 23kN and comes in one color — functional, no-nonsense slate.

08 of 08

Best Innovative: Black Diamond Gridlock Magnetron Carabiner

The glossy black and red Black Diamond Gridlock Magnetron Carabiner wins top marks for innovation, taking auto-locking technology and carabiner shape to the next level. Expressly designed as a belay carabiner, it uses magnets in the gate and a steel insert in the nose to create a self-clearing auto-locking system that Amazon reviewers have labeled as the safest on the market. The straight gate has a 21mm opening, a keylock nose and can be operated easily with either hand.

When closed, an extension on the gate transforms the carabiner into a figure-of-eight GridLock shape that traps your belay loop to prevent cross-loading. At the other end, the I-Beam spine opens out into a large, rounded rope-bearing surface. The carabiner uses hot forged construction to deliver the perfect blend of weight and strength. It weighs 78g, has a major axis strength of 22kN, and a gate open strength of 8kN. The only downside is the price, which is more than double that of most of the other carabiners on this list. 

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular carabiners on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different carabiners overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers and read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative). All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.