For climbers, safety is paramount when they’re out on the rocks; whether it’s out in nature or training in the gym. One of the first pieces of equipment that is used for climber safety is a locking carabiner. The best locking carabiner will be one of the most versatile pieces of gear that you own because it can be used for your safety while you climb, but also serves a purpose when you aren’t on the rocks. A small locking carabiner is also great for organizing personal belongings like your keys. 

But not all carabiners are made for the same purposes and you need to be certain that you have acquired a design that is suited your intended use and activity. For climbing carabiners, it is extremely important that the device can bear weight without breaking, so you need to be certain that you’ve found the right product. 

Our list high-quality products are exactly what you need to take to the rocks, on errands, or to the office. We also have also provided best tips and tricks that you can use when searching for a locking carabiner so that you can determine the excellent from poor quality designs.

How To Choose A Locking Carabiner – Buying Guide

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Weight

When you are looking at the weight of a locking or non-locking carabiner, it will refer to both the weight of the actual device and the amount of weight that it can safely hold. For most people, the second weight category is the most important because carabiners are already small, and their weight doesn’t add too much burden for people to carry. 

However, most carabiners are lightweight and will weigh just a few ounces. You should be able to check the product information or specifications for the exact weight of the carabiner. But the physical weight is not as important as the weight limit that the carabiner can hold. 

Some of the lightest locking carabiners are extremely strong and have high weight limits. While other types of carabiners like a small locking carabiner wouldn’t be able to hold as much weight due to their smaller size. 

But the weight limit is not given directly in pounds, so it can be confusing to know how much a self locking carabiner can hold. Instead, the weight limit of a carabiner should be given in kiloNewtons, which is often indicated by the symbol kN. The kilonewton is a measurement of force of gravity and will tell you how many pounds can be exerted on the carabiner before it breaks or fails. 

When you are looking at a locking carabiner for climbing, it should always have a weight limit given in kN. This guarantees that the climbing gear carabiner will be strong enough to be used to hold gear or a person. A single kN is equal to 225 pounds of weight. 

The best locking carabiner for climbing should not have a kN rating that is less than 20. This means that a locking climbing carabiner can hold a minimum of 4,500 pounds before it is at risk of breaking. For most situations this is sufficient because most climbing falls have a 5kN maximum force. But for your safety, they are always able to withstand high pressure with ratings that are up to 3 times more than that of a standard fall. 

The reason that all of this is important is because it tells you whether the locking carabiner is suited to bear weight. For climbers, it needs to bear weight. But if you are looking for non-locking carabiners to hold items like keys, you won’t need to worry as much about the kN rating. 

The product information should always state whether the design is safe for climbing or not. You can also check locking carabiner reviews for how people have used a specific carabiner and in what situations it is suited for use. 

Material

The material used in the design is an important factor because it can determine the durability and strength of the device. The best auto locking carabiner will be made with a lightweight but strong material like aluminum alloy. Solid steel is another material that is used and is more popular for strenuous activities like rock climbing because it is so sturdy. 

But to help save on overall weight and to keep a lightweight locking carabiner easy to carry, it may also be made of aluminum alloy. Most carabiners that are made of aluminum are made of an aircraft grade version of the material, which means that it is very reliable and built to be extra durable. 

You should always be able to find the material of a climbing or belay carabiner in the product specifications. But if it is not given, you can also check locking carabiner reviews for the information. 

But the reason why aluminum and steel are the most popular is because they can be finished to be anti-corrosive and rust resistant. These features ensure that the carabiners are safe for use in the outdoors where they may be used in the rain or snow. The material shouldn’t be damaged or weakened by the water. Aluminum and steel are also long-lasting materials, which means that you get the best value because you can use a climbing carabiner for multiple trips.

Shape and Style

For some activities, the shape and style of the carabiner are another important consideration. The overall shape of a design can determine how easily it fits into your hand, the size of the gate opening, and what you are able to hang from the carabiner. 

The most common shapes are a D or pear shape, which provide you with a large gate opening and are easy to use. These types of shapes will fit into your hand nicely and still have enough room to hang your rope. 

In regard to the style, this determines how you use the locking mechanism. There are a few different styles like an automatic, screw, and keylock design. A top rated auto locking carabiner will have the fastest and easiest locking mechanism because it is spring loaded. Users simply have to pull the lock piece down and it will automatically snap into place when it is released. These are also sometimes known as a self locking carabiner.

Screw locks are very similar to the auto locking design, except that the lock is not spring load and is instead screwed or unscrewed from the gate. This style is safer because it is harder to accidentally open the gate, but it can still be used with one hand. A locking climbing carabiner often has a screw lock design. 

Keylock noses are the safest design because they are similar to screw locks but have an extra step in there locking mechanism. Instead of simply screwing or unscrewing the piece, users will have to move the lock through a small pattern to unlock the gate. This is the safest design because it is nearly impossible to accidentally unlock. While it takes a little time to learn how to unlock the mechanism, once you have gotten it down, you should also be able to use these carabiners one handed. 

Strength

As we’ve mentioned, strength is often very important for even the lightest locking carabiner to have built into its construction. The strength of a design not only indicates how you can use it but where you can use it. The best locking carabiner will be high strength so that it can bear weight but is also safe to use in rugged locations. 

In general, larger sized carabiners will be stronger than small locking carabiners because they can bear more weight. If you know that you need your carabiner to handle a lot of weight, you should look for a decent sized design that has a very high strength. 

Strength can be determined by the kN rating and the material used in the design. A higher kN rating means that the carabiner is stronger than other designs. Most locking carabiners will have a kN rating that ranges from 22-30kN. 

Materials are also important because they will definitely influence the overall strength of your carabiner. Steel is the strongest material, but for some people it is too heavy. The next best material is aluminum alloy, which is very strong but lighter than steel. The majority of climbing gear carabiners are made of aluminum alloy and it is rarer to find a solid steel carabiner these days. But if you need the extra strength, you can find solid steel carabiners. 

You can also check locking carabiner reviews for advice on how a carabiner can be used and to determine its strength for various activities. 

FAQs

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Q: What Is A Triple Action Locking Carabiner?

A: 

A triple locking carabiner will have three different actions that are required to be performed in order to unlock and open the gate. For most, this means that there is a sliding metal sleeve that you then twist to open the gate. There are also keylock noses, which are similar but required that you also pull the piece down to unlock the gate. 

For some users, a triple action locking carabiner is better because it guarantees that the carabiner stays closed, even if it is tied to ropes or bearing weight. But the downside is that these types of carabiners are not suited for all types of climbing. Due to the action of the mechanism, these carabiners are not safe for use in the ice or snow because they can be easily blocked. 

Other downsides include them being heavier and harder to operate with one hand. But if you are using top ropes or fixed lines, the safety of the triple action lock can be great when you can’t always keep an eye on your gear to guarantee that it stays in the correct position. 

Q: How Do You Use A Carabiner Lock?

A: 

It depends on the locking style of your carabiner. A non-locking carabiner has nothing to stop the gate from opening and all it takes is a simple push. A lightweight locking carabiner may have a simple auto lock design, which means a spring-loaded piece engages the lock and can be disengaged by pulling down. The best auto locking carabiner is great for everyday use.

A locking carabiner for climbing may have a more secure lock like a twist or keylock nose design. These types of locks are harder to unlock accidentally and are preferred by many climbers for their safety. 

If you are confused on how to use a carabiner lock, you can also check the user’s manual or instructions that should be included with your purchase. This will tell you the exact type of lock that your carabiner has and how to disengage the mechanism.

Q: Why Do They Call It A Carabiner?

A: 

The name carabiner is originally derived from the German word “Karabienerhaken”. This means that the device is a “hook for a carabineer”. Carabineers were a specific type of soldier, which were lightly armed and equipped with a carbine, which was a shorter version of the rifle. The hook or carabiner as we know it today, was originally designed to help the soldiers carry their weapon in a secure and convenient way. 

More modern uses of the carabiner have been extended and the design is often used for outdoor adventures. However, due to their versatility, many people also like to keep their keys or personal items attached to a carabiner too.

Q: What Are Carabiners Used For?

A: 

Everything. No – not really, but they are extremely versatile and can be used in various situations. For climbers, the most common applications are for use with equipment like their climbing harness or pulleys. You can also use them to secure ropes while you belay, rappel, or connect to your climbing anchors

But because they are versatile, you can use them when you’re not climbing too. Practically anytime that you want to hang something, you can use a carabiner. They are also great for staying organized in your everyday life because they can be attached to keyrings or lanyards. It is impossible to list all of their uses here and people are always finding new ways to make carabiners useful, but you get the idea. If you need to hand something, a carabiner can assist you. 

Globo Surf Overview

Rock climbing health benefits are just one reason why people love this exciting sport. But you can’t enjoy the benefits of exercise if you don’t stay safe. When you’re looking for a secure locking carabiner for climbing or other outdoor activities, you want the best. Your safety should always come first, and the best auto locking carabiner will guarantee that you stay connected to your ropes and are prepared for any situation. Better yet, locking types of carabiners are versatile and can be used for various applications. 

But it isn’t always easy finding quality gear, and this is why we’ve made this buying guide and list of products. With our help, you will have all the information you need to purchase the best locking carabiner and find exactly what you need for your adventure. It is important that you take the time to find a design that suits your needs to guarantee your safety so that you can have the best time in the outdoors.

More Climb Reviews:

Do you use one of the locking carabiners that made it onto out list? Has it served you throughout a variety of outdoor activities? Let us know which top rated auto locking carabiner your favorite is in the comments section below.

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!