If you are an avid climber, you know how important it is to have a functioning belay device that contributes to the entire experience. If you have a belay device that gets stuck or doesn’t work as well, it leads to the disruption of your complete climbing experience overall.
If you are just getting into climbing, it is difficult to tell how big of a difference the best belay devices makes in climbing. Another factor that weighs into opting for the best Belay device out there is your safety. Picking up a rusty belay device from a friend or a hardware store near you does not only promise the disruption of your climbing experience but also poses a threat to your life.
Rock/Mountain climbing as adrenaline boosting as it might be, is an adventure sport and comes with a set of things that could go wrong. If you have a belay device that is not working at its best capacity, it may someday lead to you falling, leading to serious health and fitness problems and in the worst case scenario, even fatality.
Now, this wasn’t a pretty picture to paint but necessary nonetheless. These are all of the reasons why it is of utmost importance that you pick a belay device that is both reliable and enjoyable.
There are a lot of products available in the market and the wide range available is both positive and negative. Seeing as many products might be confusing and choosing among them is equally difficult.
So to make things easier for both amateur and expert climbers, we’ve prepared a list of some of the best Belay Devices available in the market, so you can choose what suits you best to ensure that you get the most out of your climbing ordeal.
Climbing Technology – Click up
This is the most basic kind of belay device available in the market, making it perfect for novices and children. The problem with most basic belay devices is that they aren’t up to the grade of quality, although this product, made in Italy, promises you all that no other one rope facilitating belay device can.
It is fairly lightweight and sort of on the expensive side of the spectrum but also completely worth it. The key to cultivating a new hobby is enjoying it in the beginning, so if you are an amateur and you want a no-jerk smooth experience then this product is the way to go.
Another advantage that cannot be looked over is that it works best for both right and left handers which is not something you find easily in all belay devices. Not all belay devices cater to both right and left handers and as a beginner it becomes extremely difficult to find a good device that caters to your specificities, physically.
This is one of the best belay devices out there for amateurs and is fully worth the price.
The petzl GriGri is the best seller in belay devices and rightly so provides everything that you require for a delightful and fun climbing encounter. Owing to its fame and widespread inclination of climbers into buying it, the petzl GriGri would burn a hole through your pocket and if you are just starting out and don’t know if you would want to continue climbing or not, this product is not for you.
For avid climbers, this is something you might want to invest into for better climbs. It has an assisted braking system for ropes of a width of upto 11mm. It caters more to lead climbing or top roping which is great if you’re going on an adventure with a friend who is just starting out.
This is one of the lightest belay devices available which makes it compact and easy to carry. It has an aluminum body which promises quality and sustainability so you can without a doubt use this for a very long time and with no worry troubling your mind about it breaking.
It has a patented self unlock system which makes it different from any other belay device, this system ensures maximum control as you use one hand to release the rope while the other unlocks the brake system leading to an effortless and jerk free descent. If you are not new to rock climbing and were looking to make an investment into your equipment, this belay device would be the way to go. Its various features ensure maximum support and reliance.
Black diamond ATC belay device
This is the lightest tube style belay device available in the market. It allows a two rope system alongside a one rope system which helps in rappelling and multi person climbing. This is one the most inexpensive and basic designs of belay devices out there.
This belay device is perfect for a novice as it doesn’t require huge investment and its basic design makes it easier to use. Among the inexpensive belay devices, this is the best. There are better belay devices available in the market but they cater more to experienced climbers and have a more complex design and way of usage.
The device is made in Taiwan and has aluminum plating ensuring maximum sustainability. It facilitates usage of ropes of width 7.7mm to 11mm which is a huge and very favourable width in climbing ropes. The generic climbing ropes are 8 to 9 mm which makes this device perfect for beginner use as there is a lowered amount of specificity.
The company black diamond is quite renowned and loved by climbers and adventure sport lovers alike, all over the globe. The impeccable goodwill of the company is reason enough to trust the quality of the product. If you are a beginner and you don’t know if climbing is your thing, this inexpensive yet effective product is the way to go.
Black diamond ATC guide
Another great product from black diamond is a belay device with assistance for two ropes. It has an auto block release for braking or “taking” as some climbers might call it. It is one of the lightest products available as the new design with windows going through the body eliminating the excess weight.
This is another black diamond product made with aluminium ensuring sustainability and strength. Since it is an auto block belay device, it is inherently predicted to jerk up a lot and that is one downfall regarding this product. It is not overly expensive or too inexpensive and falls under the perfect gray area. It won’t burn a hole through your pocket but it’s also an investment in itself considering the quality of the product.
The auto block feature is perfect for people who have a little experience but not enough to have a completely manual braking system, making it a perfect upgrade from your old tubular amateur gear. The auto block release hole has a little bit of extra space to accommodate a small carabiner which is perfect if you require the extra hold.
All in all it is a perfectly average product that is not too expensive but will also help you enjoy your climbs. So if you’re looking to make an upgrade from your initial kit, you can start with this.
Wild Country Revo
This is a tubular belay device but the one you’ll see climbing veterans using. The whole concept of using tubular belay devices is that it is less complex and easier to understand by novices and you get that flexibility in this product but also eliminating the only downside to tubular belay devices- zero support.
Tubular belay devices require you to hold and manage both ends of the rope at all times or you will end up flying down the rock or mountain, however the Wild Country Revo solves this problem.
The Wild Country Revo is made with an emergency braking system which will break the fall by stopping the ropes if they exceed a certain speed limit of release. This helps not only amateurs but also experienced climbers from not taking a one-way ticket to heaven during their climbs.
The only reason why this product is less recommended for novices is the price. This falls on the expensive side of the bargain and is more suited for people who are sure that they will want to continue the hobby. But if you’ve got the money to burn even as a beginner, this is one of the best belay devices available in the market that will pose to you no confusion and also maximum security.
So if you like the function of tubular belay devices but are also looking for extra comfort and security, this is your product.
Top Features that I should look out for to find the best belay devices
While the research is done is only to recommend to you products that give you the absolute bang for your buck, you have to consider the price range while picking your belay devices. There are an infinite amount of products available that are inexpensive and might seem perfect but you need to see what caters to your level of understanding regarding climbing.
Also there are a lot of expensive products available which might work perfectly for some people but irrespective of the amount of money you put in, might be close to useless for you. It all depends on how well you know your way around climbing and using belay devices. If you’re an amateur, it is advisable that you stick to the products designed specifically for amateur learning. Always remember, more expensive does not always mean better.
Purpose of Use
The reason why there are so many different types of products is that belay devices are used for a wide range of adventure activities which may or may not fall under the climbing category. So it is essential that you pick something that suits your purpose the best.
For example, if you know your terrain would involve you rappelling more, pick a belay device that has features that might help you with that when the time comes, while most of the devices will help you with it, some might not. So it is important that you do your research before buying a belay device.
This is an almost non deciding factor for most people. It all depends on you, if you are okay with carrying a 10 pound belay device into nature, it’s on you. But if weight is an issue for you, you might want to look into what you are buying.
There are a lot of light weight belay devices available in the market and they are a smarter choice when it comes to purchase as they cater to both gym and outdoor needs. So if you are buying a belay device it is advisable that you buy something that weighs no more than a couple of pounds.
Tubular- Tubular belay devices offer no brake assistance which means that you will have to maneuver yourself on your own, which might work well for workouts but if you’re going to have a fun time, it’s going to get more difficult to handle.
Auto-block tubular- These have an additional loop inside their release hole which facilitates an auto block technique that breaks your fall if you ever were to make one. This gives you the traditional tubular functionality with some extra protection. Another variation of the same is tubular belay devices with emergency braking systems which are also a valid choice.
Passive brake assist- This decides when you need the extra help. It works under the principle of tension created by the device and carabiner, pinching the rope when there is too much of it.
Manual braking system- Some belay devices provide you a lever which you can pull on with one hand that helps in reducing the speed of release of rope.
Taking into consideration all of the above information, you can choose your own belay device suited best for your experience, budget and liking, easily. All you have to do is decide what features you need and your price range and refer to this again and the rest will follow.