7 Best Carabiner in 2020

After more than nine hours of research and testing the best carabiners, our top pick goes to the Favofit Ultra Sturdy carabiner. It has a monstrous 12KN (2,657-pound) weight rating and heavy duty aircraft-grade aluminum construction. With its large gate opening and frost-proof wired gate, it offers plenty of clearance and works well outdoors.

The best carabiners are a dependable option for everything from hanging keys on your belt to proper suspension in climbing expeditions. Our evaluation focused on the material, durability, shape (d-shaped vs. oval carabiners, etc.), locking mechanism, number/type of certifications (CE and/or UIAA), weight rating, and ease of use. Keep reading to learn more about the Favofit Ultra Sturdy Carabiner and the others that made the grade.

Top 7 Best Carabiners

 #1  Favofit Ultra Sturdy Carabiners

Award: TOP PICK

WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the best carabiner for a hammock with a 12KN (2,697 pound) weight rating and large gate opening for easy clipping.

Pros
  • Large gate opening for easy clipping
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Comes in set of four
Cons
  • Anodized part may scratch off
  • Curve may be a bit tight for certain attachments
  • Not UIAA-certified for climbing

This 0.72 oz. carabiner is very durable, made using rust-resistant aircraft-grade aluminum with no sharp edges. It is rated at 12KN or 2,697 pounds, which can easily support most non-climbing activities like clipping a hammock. Its D-shape design is amongst the most popular used for carabiners, which are designed with larger gate openings for easier clipping. A stainless steel wire hook also makes it less susceptible to freezing shut and breaking with no internal parts.

This carabiner has a variety of uses, including attaching to a dog leash or as a simple keychain holder. Kudos for coming in a set of four, which should accommodate a small group of campers or hikers well. If you want your vehicle prepared for anything, take a look at the best water bottle to keep full of cold water for when you need it.

 #2  Gold Lion Gear Aluminum Carabiners

Award: HONORABLE MENTION

WHY WE LIKE IT: Thanks to a large gate opening and spring lock, this carabiner is great for casual use as an alternative to plastic gear straps or for clipping multiple items together.

Pros
  • Very durable and great for water bottles
  • Easy to use; quick to open and close
  • Large gate opening
Cons
  • Not ideal for climbing

This 3″ straight gate carabiner is made out of rust-resistant, lightweight aluminum, great for use outdoors. An oval shape is great for large attachment holes, allowing more even loading than our #1 Favofit’s D-shape. A spring-loaded gate also opens and closes it smoothly.

Note, these carabiners are rated at 1 KN or 224 pounds. This makes it more useful for light duty and casual use, such as with clipping water bottles and gears to your gym bag or doubling as a dog leash connector. It is not recommended for hanging hammocks or any gear where body weight generates weight and pressure beyond 1 KN. If you’re worried about your leg circulation on long car rides, take a look at the best compression socks to keep the blood flowing.

 #3  Gimars 3″ Carabiner

Award: BEST FOR BICYCLES

WHY WE LIKE IT: These carabiners use a string gate for easy one-handed operation, making it very convenient for bicycle lock clipping.

Pros
  • Easy to use, one handed operation
  • Sold as a 10 pack
  • Durable aluminum construction
Cons
  • Low 150 pound weight rating
  • Spring mechanism could be a bit stronger

This D-shaped 3″ carabiner is very durable, constructed using rust-resistant lightweight aircraft aluminum. Its max load of 150 pounds and large gate opening makes it very useful in doubling as a handle to clip ropes, gear, and other buckled items in place. However it is not recommended for climbing, which requires a much higher weight rating.

A spring loaded gate can also open and close with a quick thumb press, locking back into place when not in use. It is estimated to be able to open 5000 times without any noticeable issues, lasting practically an entire lifetime of use. If you’re worried about being stranded on the side of the road, store some of your best survival knives in your vehicle too, just in case.

 #4  Xinda Screwgate Locking Carabiners

Award: MOST SECURE MECHANISM

WHY WE LIKE IT: These are the best carabiners for kayaking, featuring a monstrous 25KN (5,500 pound) weight rating and a screw gate to help prevent accidental gate openings.

Pros
  • Strong major axis rating
  • Very durable 7075 aviation aluminum
  • Great for climbing and camping
Cons
  • Extra time to screw lock shut

This 3.9″ carabiner is super durable, with the major (long) axis its strongest at 25KN, followed by its short axis at 8 KN (1,750 pounds) and its open gate side at 7 KN (1,573 pounds). With the long axis accepting most of the weight and pressure, we are very comfortable using this for climbing (belaying and rappelling) and other high altitude activities.

This carabiner is also easy to use, in an asymmetric D -shape with a 60-degree opening, providing enough clearance to clip easily. Note, unlike our first three carabiners, this one includes a screw lock, which needs to be spun several times to lock in place.Plus, an anti-slip anodized surface does not rust or frost, making it great for the outdoors. Speaking of the outdoors, it never hurts to have a pack of the best all weather matches handy.

 #5  Zeinze 3” Carabiners

Award: BEST ON A BUDGET

WHY WE LIKE IT: These 3” carabiners are light, affordable and come with a spring-loaded gate for easy one-handed operation, working great with a set of heavy keys.

Pros
  • Durable aluminum alloy
  • Great as a key chain or backpack clip
  • Comes in an 8-pack
Cons
  • Weight rating too low for climbing
  • Flimsy spring mechanism
  • Not fade-resistant; mayrevert to base metal color in heat

Our favorite feature with these best carabiners for keys is its asymmetrical D-shape. It carries a wide gate opening and uses a nice angle for easy clipping and closing, even with one hand. Because of this, we like it for use as a keychain or backpack clip. You’ll always have the lock on your key ring next to your best pocket knife, this way you can be prepared for anything.

Kudos for coming in an 8-pack, which makes it easy to lose on occasion without breaking a sweat. It also comes with a stainless steel wire keychain, the only set of carabiners on this list to offer an accessory. This makes it a winner in our book.

 #6  Outmate Aluminum D-Ring Locking Carabiners

Award: BEST FOR CAMPING

WHY WE LIKE IT: This locking carabiner comes with a 150-pound weight rating and large gate openings, making it good for light use as a backpack and key attachment.

Pros
  • Built-in locking mechanism for added security
  • 150-pound weight rating
  • Comes in a pack of six with a money-back guarantee
Cons
  • 150-pound weight rating on the low side
  • Nut screw takes up to 12 turns to open or close

This carabiner is very durable, made of rust-resistant anodized aluminum alloy. Its asymmetrical D-shape allows the load to sit on its major axis, where the concentration of the weight rating is. An easy-to-spin and smooth nut screw also helps prevent accidental openings, which makes this great for attaching items to climbing gear, but not for a hammock or for climbing itself.

Bonus points for coming in a six-pack. Although it looks and unlocks very sturdily, it takes up to 12 turns for the carabiner to fully lock and unlock, so this is a better choice for people who do not need to clip as often.

 #7  Petzl Oxan Carabiner

Award:HIGHEST WEIGHT CAPACITY

WHY WE LIKE IT: These are the best carabiners for ice climbing, made from high strength steel with a 38 KN, 8,542-pound weight rating, tops on our list.

Pros
  • Great for rock climbing
  • Limited load shifting with oval shape
  • Durable steel construction
Cons
  • High cost
  • Small gate opening

This Petzl carabiner measures 4.37” and comes in an oval shape, which helps keep load shifting to a minimum. Its major axis carries a monstrous 38 KN, 8,542 pound rating which is good for rappelling or tethering an anchor while climbing. Kudos for its steel construction, which is a bit more durable than aluminum.

This carabiner comes with a key lock design, which works great to prevent accidental openings. Two different locking systems use screw or twist locks for manual or automatic locking. Though it has the heaviest load rating on our list, its gate clearance is lower than average, which does not make it work as well with multiple knots.

How We Decided

In determining the best carabiner to buy, we explored material, durability, shape (d-shaped vs. oval, etc.), locking mechanism, number/type of certifications (CE and/or UIAA), weight rating, and ease of use.

Locking mechanisms are very important. Carabiners typically have two locking mechanisms – wire gate, spring gates, and screw locks. Wiregate carabiners and spring gate carabiners use a thin wire or loop or stainless steel to lock, tending to be more rust and frost-resistant than screw locks. However, they hold a lower weight rating. We always advise going with screw locks for climbing and other high altitude activities.

The number/type of certifications (CE and/or UIAA) is critical. CE and UIAA attest to each carabiner’s load rating. Led by the International Union of Alpine Associations, which sets safety standards for rock and mounting climbing equipment, this gives us all the confidence in the world each carabiner will work as intended.

As for weight rating, the less intensive the activity, the lower the weight rating can be. For climbing carabiners, look for a minimum of 25KN, followed by its short axis at 8 KN (1,750 pounds) and its unlock side at 7 KN (1,573 pounds, as is the case with our #4 pick Xinda Screwgate Locking Carabiner. This is more than enough to carry an average-sized adult, even with heavy bouncing and movement.

Ease of use is very important. We love spring and wire gate carabiners kayaking, dog leases, key fobs, and similar uses, which can be opened, clipped, and closed using one hand. If you are more concerned with accidental gate openings opt for a locking gate carabiner instead.

Best Carabiners Buyer’s Guide

The Most Important Features to Consider

  1. Material & Durability
    For carabiners, we really like aircraft aluminum alloy with a protective coating, which is lightweight with weight ratings as high as 25KN (5,620 pounds). They are also rust-resistant and great for use outdoors. These are also generally the best carabiners for a Master Point on top rope anchors used for climbing.
  2. Shape
    A carabiner’s shape has a great impact on its performance. Our most popular type of carabiner is asymmetric D carabiners and D-shaped carabiners with straight, bent, and wire gates. Asymmetric and D-shaped carabiners offer a generous gate opening, making it easier to clip and close with one hand. It is also easier to apply the load on its major axis, which is where most of its weight rating is retained. Note, none of our picks come in a pear shape.
  3. Locking Mechanism
    Locking mechanisms typically come as wiregate, spring gates, and screw lock. Wiregate and spring gates allow for quick clipping, at the expense of a high weight rating. Screwlock-equipped carabiners like the Xinda Screwgate Locking Carabiner have a higher weight rating and do not suffer from accidental openings if not used properly.
  4. Number/Type of Certifications
    CE and/or UIAA certifications are awarded by safety governing bodies for mountain and rock climbing, attesting to a carabiner strength and weight rating. This seal gives us much confidence the carabiners will work as intended without snapping on us.
  5. Ease of Use
    Look for carabiners with spring or wire gates, which allow for easy opening and closing without having to screw and unscrew a lock open or closed. Its spring gates should also move a minimum of 60 degrees, allowing for optimal clearance.

Carabiners FAQs

What are carabiners used for?

Carabiners are highly secure shackles that are used for everything from tying water bottles to a backpack to connecting climbing ropes with camming devices in an outdoor expedition. They can even be used as an alternative to plastic or fabric straps. Each carabiner comes with a different kN rating or weight load rating, as well as different locking mechanisms, shapes, and materials.

Why are carabiners called carabiners?

Carabiners were invented by a German climber during World War I. Carabiner originates from the German word for "hook for a carbine" or d "Karabinerhaken."

What other Petzl carabiners do you like?

Although it did not make our list, we are fond of the Petzl Attache carabiners, which offers something the rest of our picks don’t - a red band indicator to let users know if their manual screwgate is locked for added security. Its major axis is also rated at 22 KN or 4,945 pounds, making it work well with ice and rock climbing.

Also why not check out:

Ray Prince

Diehard UFC/MMA fan and all-around techie who loves to write.

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