What are climbing carabiners, and for what purposes do we use them? What are manual and auto locking carabiner ? Do you need a carabiner with lock or one that has no lock?
Well, we will familiarize you with everything you need to know about carabiners, the carabiner locking systems, and the best locking carabiners as well as the best non locking ones, so keep reading.
- 1 So what is a Carabiner?
- 2 Purpose of Carabiners
- 3 Categories of Carabiners
- 4 Best Manual-Locking Carabiners
- 5 Best Auto-Locking Carabiners
- 6 Best Non-Locking Carabiners
- 7 Conclusion
So what is a Carabiner?
A carabiner is a metal loop that comes with a gate that has an optional lock, some sort of a shackle that we use to hang or hold several objects such as water bottles, keys, etc., or while climbing and belaying, and for safety purposes. It is made up of steel and aluminum.
Carabiners are extensively used for activities involving rope. Simply put, they work like chains that you can easily attach and detach from one another as you wish.
Climbers use a lot of carabiners and quickdraws. But not just climbers! It’s a very nifty item that everyone uses for many different purposes. Many people use it because it’s a ridiculously common household item; a lot of people just don’t know what it’s called.
Purpose of Carabiners
The main reason behind the creation of carabiners was to let climbers get all the necessary stuff along with them that they could not fit in their bags or carrier.
But today, carabiners have been advanced and are being used in almost every rope encompassing activities such as mountaineering, hiking, climbing, window cleaning, acrobatics, caving, sailing, hot air ballooning, rope rescue, construction, industrial rope work, and whitewater rescue.
They are available in different sizes and shapes such as Oval(most common), D, offset D, and HMS/Pear.
Categories of Carabiners
There are mainly two categories of carabines in which we can categorize them into the following;
Manual locking carabiners
Auto-locking, Manual locking, and Non-locking carabiners differ from each other in terms of shape, and their way of bearing sling, rope, or any sort of hardware.
Manual-locking carabiners possess a lockable gate that enhances security while climbing or doing any other activities. You lock the gate manually after opening it. But with auto-locking carabiners, the auto-lock feature gets enabled the moment you open or close the gate.
Locking carabiners, or simply “lockers,” can possess the following mechanisms for securing the gate:
Threaded sleeves (screw-lock): They need a bit more effort but have lesser moving components, zero chances of malfunctioning,
Spring-loaded sleeves (twist-lock)
Magnetic levers (Magnetron)
Opposing double spring-loaded gates (Twin-Gate)
Spring-loaded unlocking levers
Carabiners with a spring-loaded gate can be any of the following:
Self-closing (single action)
Self double locking (triple-action)
People prefer locking carabiners over non-locking carabiners as they put an end to unintentional unlatching. For security purposes, a locking mechanism is of utmost importance. But there are times when you might not be after security. Instead, you want easier locking and unlocking. That’s when you need non-locking carabiners.
You probably might have guessed the functionality of non-locking carabiners. Non-locking carabiners almost have the same design but don't get locked. The moment you force any hardware on the gate, it accepts and gets back to its default position but doesn’t get locked.
You get two gates in non-locking carabiners:
Solid gate: It has a traditional and common design.
Wire gate: It is a bent spring steel that is lighter than the solid gate.
You get both in either bent gate or straight gates. And you bent gates are definitely easy to use.
We are about to mention the best tested, most optimal, and best-rated carabiners based on quality and price for you so you can decide for yourself which ones you need.
Different Types of Carabiners
Different types of climbing call for different kinds of carabiners. Here is a video that will make you understand carabiner basics such as size, shapes, and lock style.
Selecting the right carabiner can be quite overwhelming for new climbers. We totally get you. That’s why we decided to round up a couple of examples of some of the best carabiners for each category - Manual-Locking, Auto-Locking, and Non-Locking.
Check our brief list of recommendations below and take note of the important tidbits.
Best Manual-Locking Carabiners
1. Petzl - ATTACHE
Weight: 56g approx.
Petzl Attache is such fine that is snagging free and you can use it for multiple mountaineering or belaying. It is a screw-lock carabiner that secures your stuff and provides top-notch handling with the benefit of lock indicator.
Petzl Attache is outstanding because it’s lightweight; it has a unique serial; it has polished edges that don't scratch at all; it has UIAA and CE engravings so it’s perfectly safe for climbing.
This pear-shaped carabiner has a screw-lock system that’s easy to handle. Its functional design makes it resistant to snagging.
Its major axis strength rating is 22kN which means it has a strong force capacity.
Use this carabiner for your belay system and for your harnesses.
2. DMM Phantom Screwgate Carabiner
Weight: 42g approx.
DMM Phantom is one of the best-rated carabiners. It is small and handy. It comes up with a smooth gate and lock. People like it for its built, sophisticated design, and style. It can be small to medium-sized, depending on the size of your hand.
It is a bit time saving as well as you screw the least time to lock the gate. One thing we see people complaining about the pricing. DMM Phantom is a bit more costly than others but reasonable for the price.
You can use it for belaying, abseiling, building anchors, quickdraws, alpine rigging, clipping household items, etc. The screw lock provides top security. It fastens the gate safely, ensuring that your items won’t fall off.
Best Auto-Locking Carabiners
1. EDELRID HMS Strike Locking Carabiner
The things people like about EDELRID HMS Strike are its little hook that keeps your belay device, flawless working (uncoupling and clipping), and its easy-to-open option.
Auto-locking carabiners are commonly being used for holding keys.
EDELRID HMS Strike is a nice pear-shaped carabiner with a locking slide-gate mechanism that prevents accidental unlatching of the gate.
It has a superb major axis strength with a rating of 22kN. This aluminum carabiner can carry a great amount of load and can withstand a high amount of tension.
EDELRID is also useful for harnesses and making anchor systems. You can use it single-handedly if you want to.
2. Black Diamond RockLock Magnetron Locking Carabiner
Black Diamond is a strong, perfect weight and not that easy to handle as non-lockings are. It almost gives you everything other carabiners provide it faces problems while working with all assisted braking devices.
It is good for you if you have keys with you and you usually forget to lock the gate of the carabiner. You get a massive gate opening due to its snag-less design.
The Black Diamond RockLock Magnetron works pretty well as soon as you get accustomed to its locking mechanism. It’s also great for climbers who keep forgetting to screw the gate of their carabiners. So if you’re that kind of person, then there’s one less thing for you to worry about!
Best Non-Locking Carabiners
1. PETZL Spirit Bent Gate Carabiner
Petzl Spirit is considered as one of the best-rated non-locking carabiners. It is multipurpose for all sorts of sports climbing, and you can use it for rack nuts as well.
It is famous for providing top-notch quality with lightweight. What people like about it are exquisite color, snag-less design, single-handedness, and its extensive gate options.
You can get it in the straight and bent gate design. It is very easy to use.
Its specs are the following:
Height: 0.13 meters
Width: 0.02 meters
Weight: 39g approx.
Petzl Spirit is well-loved for its smooth functionality and large gate opening. It’s very simple to clip-in. Very durable and rigid. For whatever purpose you might wanna use it, this thing will definitely last you a long time.
They can be a bit costly, but you get what you pay for.
2. Mad Rock Ultralight Wire Gate Carabiner
Mad rock does not have that eye-catching and sophisticated design but has very vivid colors. It is very strong and cheap. So you can use it for hanging small items along with you. It’s the lightest for its size and it has a good strength rating despite being compact.
This carabiner can help you with improvising quickdraws. The wire gates open and close easily which leaves you no hassle in clipping things and securing them.
Mad Rock Ultralight is super light as a feather, you’d forget that you’re holding it.
A carabiner is not only useful for climbers. It’s a good household item as well. It has so many uses from clipping keys to tying harness together, and so on. This mini and elegant paraphernalia has made our lives way easier than they used to be.
To choose your own carabiner, assess your climbing requirements first, and then go for one.
The efficiency of a carabiner depends on its price and quality. We hope that our short list of recommendations has helped you in choosing the carabiner that you need.
Which do you think is the best carabiner for you? Let’s chat below.