Buyer’s Guide: The Best Carabiners

Never be caught without a multipurpose carabiner while camping, hiking, or climbing.

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The Best Carabiners Option

Photo: amazon.com

Carabiners are light- to heavy-duty clips designed to hold anything from a set of keys up to the full weight of a climber. These useful tools can fill hundreds of purposes, including hanging hammocks, tying down tents, or securing items in the bed of a truck. When camping, bring one along to help set up your cook tent or a tarp for extra shade. Carabiners rated for climbing can be used as part of a pulley system to ensure your safety. Though, keep in mind that carabiners intended for climbing must have a maximum load rating above 20 kilonewtons (kN), or approximately 4,500 pounds.

The best carabiner for you depends on how you want to use it. For lightweight purposes, like holding your keys on your belt or hanging tools and gear, pick up a relatively inexpensive carabiner. It won’t need to hold much weight, so the biggest factor to consider will be how easy it is to use. If you plan on using the carabiner for walking your dog, securing items, or camping, go with a medium-purpose product. You won’t be able to use it for climbing, but it should cover just about everything else.

Also consider the color of the carabiner. This comes down to more than personal taste, and might matter when you want a high-visibility color for nighttime use. Additional features like auto-locking gates or a built-in anti-cross loading element might make it easier to use a carabiner, though these components aren’t necessary for everyone.

Our Top Picks

The top picks below represent some of the best carabiners on the market based on quality, price, and reputation. Additional factors to consider include whether the carabiner has locking or non-locking gates, the type of gate, the maximum load that the carabiner is rated to hold, and if there are any unique features that would make them easier or more effective to use.

Top Pick

The Best Carabiners Option: L-Rover Ultra Sturdy Locking Carabiner Clips
Photo: amazon.com

Hook up a dog’s harness easily and effectively without worrying about breaking the fragile metal lead that comes with most leashes with the L-Rover Ultra Sturdy Locking Carabiner Clips. This product comes with four lightweight carabiners made of rust-resistant aircraft-grade aluminum. The carabiners feature a wire-gate locking design that is as easy to use as a simple spring gate but does not have enough force to damage fingers if they get caught while the gate is closing.

These carabiners should not be used for climbing, but they are rated to hold up to 12 kN, or about 2,700 Lbs. This maximum weight restriction is more than enough for securing a hammock, setting up a tarp at the campsite, tying up food to protect it from predators, or even for more lightweight purposes like attaching a water bottle to a backpack while hiking. The carabiner comes in multiple colors and users can change the locking barrel to a screw-gate mechanism if they prefer this style over the spring gate.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Carabiners Option: Rallt Carabiner Clips, 12kN Aluminum
Photo: amazon.com

This pair of Rallt Carabiner Clips in 12kN aluminum is an affordable option when the wallet is a little light. Their D-shape helps to concentrate the weight they’re holding on the spine of the carabiner, preventing it from shifting to the minor axis where the cross-loaded weight could cause the clip to fail. When properly secured, each carabiner is rated for 12 kN, or about 2,700 pounds, despite being made of lightweight aluminum.

The wire gate on the Rallt Aluminum Carabiner Clips opens easily with one hand and protects any material looped through the carabiner from snagging or ripping. For personalization, buyers can choose from one of five colors, including black, silver, red, blue, and purple. While these clips are great for hanging hammocks, securing tents, storing tools, and taking the dog out for a walk, they should not be used for climbing or any sport or activity that involves being suspended in the air.

Heavy-Duty Pick

The Best Carabiners Option: XINDA Screwgate Locking Carabiner Clip
Photo: amazon.com

Climbers who need heavy-duty carabiners rated for climbing, fall protection, and rappelling will appreciate the heavy-duty XINDA Screwgate Locking Carabiners. Boasting a maximum static load of 25 kN, which is about 5,600 pounds, the carabiners are ideal for setting up an anchor system while climbing. However, they also can connect parts of an anchor system, like ropes or a harness, to enable hanging bags, shoes, or other climbing gear.

The package comes with five carabiners in a choice of gray, orange, blue, or black. The hot-forged, lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum resists rust and is designed to withstand rain, sun, and snow. The carabiners have a screw-gate design to prevent them from opening unintentionally. When the gate is closed, manually turning the barrel locks it, and a turn back the other way will unlock the gate when a climber wants to open it. When not used for climbing, the carabiners can also help with fishing, camping, and hiking gear.

Light-Duty Pick

The Best Carabiners Option: Serac #1 Ultra Strength Locking Carabiners
Photo: amazon.com

Lightweight is the only way to describe the Serac #1 Ultra Strength Locking Carabiners, which each weigh less than an ounce. Take these on a camping trip to help set up the campsite, or out on a long hike to carry a spare bag, sleeping bag, water bottle, or any number of useful accessories. The two carabiners that come in this package each are rated to hold up to 5 kN, or 1,100 pounds, of static weight. They come in six different colors, including black, green, and red.

The Serac carabiners are made from aircraft-grade aluminum, making them light and durable, and resistant to rust for use in harsh weather conditions. The clips are not rated for climbing. The smooth gated clip is designed to keep material from snagging in the gate of the carabiner and is secured with a screw-lock mechanism to prevent the gate from opening unintentionally.

Also Consider

The Best Carabiners Option: ayamaya 30kN/3000 kg Aluminum Locking Carabiner
Photo: amazon.com

Cross-loading can cause climbers trouble, but the ayamaya 30kN/3000 kg Aluminum Locking Carabiner’s design can help prevent this. Cross-loading occurs when the weight a carabiner is supporting stretches across the horizontal (minor) axis instead of the vertical (major) axis. This is a problem because a carabiner’s maximum static weight is based on a vertical load. The ayamaya carabiner solves this issue with a unique safety groove design intended to keep lines trapped in the grooves so that weight is applied to the vertical axis. The D-shape of the carabiner also helps to slide any material down into the appropriate groove.

The carabiner comes in black, blue, or orange and has a screw-gate opening with a keylock nose to prevent material from snagging in the gate. Its aluminum-magnesium alloy material is rated for up to 30 kN, or about 6,500 pounds, of static weight. This impressive weight rating makes this carabiner a good choice for climbing, or it can work easily for camping, fishing, or hiking.

Also Consider

The Best Carabiners Option: Favofit Auto Locking Carabiner Clips
Photo: amazon.com

These Favofit Auto Locking Carabiner Clips have twist-lock gates that open easily by twisting the barrel on the gate and pushing against the spring-loaded bar. When the user releases the bar, it closes automatically and returns the barrel to a locked position, leaving the focus on the task at hand instead of worrying about locking up a carabiner. These carabiners only come in black, so they are not an ideal pick for high-visibility gear.

The Favofit carabiners are not rated for climbing, but the set of four auto-locking clips can work for many other purposes such as bicycling, backpacking, hunting, fishing, or even when boating to keep a life preserver or tie rope secured. They are rated for use with a maximum static weight of 12 kN, or about 2,700 pounds, and are made with durable aircraft-grade aluminum that allows the carabiners to be used in poor conditions, including rain, sleet, and snow.