The 5 Best Quickdraws – Rock Climbing | Test 2023

Best Quickdraws for Climbing

I have been clipping quickdraws for over 15 years now, and have a good idea of what makes a good quickdraw.

  • Can the rope be clipped and unclipped easily? 
  • Pay attention to the ratio of weight to axis strength
  • The sling for sport climbing should be wide (makes it easier to grab)
  • ALWAYS carry slings of different lengths
  • Large gate openings are better for sport climbing. 
  • Preferably are carabiners without “nose” (easier to clip and unclip)

The 5 best Quickdraws 2021

Quickdraws Test – The 5 winners

Best Quickdraw – Sport Climbing
DMM – Alpha Sport

Best quickdraw sport climbing Dmm
  • The Alpha Sport carabiners beat the competition.
  • In terms of handling, they perform better than the Petzl Spirit
  • In terms of axis strength, they win against Black Diamond’s quickdraws.
  • The Alpha Sport is the clear winner in the category – Sport Climbing. 

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Best Quickdraw – Price & Beginner
Edelrid – Slash

Quickdraw test edelrid
  • Beginners will look for a good price – but they should also pay attention to the quality.
  • Especially in terms of handling, the Slash quickdraws beat the competition.
  • Easy clipping carabiners (bent keylock gate) are essential for beginners.
  • Our recommendation for beginners. 
  • Good handling at an affordable price. 

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Best Quickdraw – Lightweight | Trad & Alpine
Black Diamond HoodWire

Best Quickdraw trad climbing
  • The lightweight quickdraw only weighs 81g.
  • The difference made the outstanding handling of the carabiners.
  • The small “wire hood” at the gate opening makes clipping and unclipping the rope easier.
  • In addition, Black Diamond offers those quickdraws at a reasonable good price.

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Best Quickdraw – Durability
Edelrid Bulletproof

Best durable quickdraw
  • By far the most resistant and durable quickdraw of all tested models.
  • This unique quickdraw comes with a steel insert inthe bottom carabiner.
  • Otherwise, normal signs of wear (due to rope friction) are not an issue with the Bulletproof.
  • It is heavier than other models but also much more robust.
  • The clear winner in terms of durability. 

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Best Long Quickdraw | 25 cm
DMM Shadow

best long quickdraw dmm
  • The Shadow has the best axis strengths in the entire quickdraw test.
  • Especially the open gate strength with 10 kN is impressive.
  • The Shadow is lightweight (despite the 25 cm length).
  • To avoid rope drag, 2 or 3 of these quickdrawswill come in handy. 
  • High-quality quickdraw. 

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What makes a good quickdraw?

Test criteria

1. Clipping and unclipping bolts and rope
Attaching the quickdraw to the bolt is usually not a significant factor, and most tested quickdraws performed well here. 

Quickdraw clipping rope
Good quickdraws – help to clip the rope.

When clipping the rope wie definitely noticed some differences. Especially for beginners, clipping the rope into the quickdraw can be a big hurdle. Besides a lot of practice, a set of good quickdraws help a great deal. 

2. Unclip the rope
When unclipping the rope, even experienced climbers might have trouble.

Quickdraws without a “nose” in the carabiner performed significantly better.  

unclip rope climbing quickdraw
Unclipping rope – Petzl Spirit

3. weight and pack size
Basically, the lighter a quickdraw, the better.
Quickdraws with low weight and high axis strength collect extra points.  

4. Handling + Sling

  • The sling – how well can you grab it? Can you pull yourself up on it if necessary (especially important for sport climbing).
  • Carabiner shape and size 
  • Gate opening – the shape of the gate facilitates the clipping of the rope.
  • Anti-twist fixing – holds the lower carabiner in place and improves the handling.  
Quickdraws climbing test
Different types of Quickdraws.

5.  Open Gate Strength
Why is a high axis strength with an open gate an advantage?

A safety advantage: it can happen (in the rarest of cases) that a gate opens. This can be avoided with attentive clipping, rope management, etc., but can never be a hundred percent ruled out. If the carabiner has a high axis strength even when the gate is open – this represents an additional safety cushion.

best quickdraw open gate strength
Open gate strength

The best Quickdraws –  Review

Best Sport Climbing Quickdraw

DMM – Alpha Sport

Dmm Quickdraw alpha sport

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Handling Overall

  • Axis Strength 
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Clipping and handling
  • Large gate opening
  • Quality has its prize

Weight: 112 g / 117 g / 122 g
Major axis strength: 24 kN
Open gate strength: 9 kN
Minor axis strength: 8 kN
Carabiner: Keylock system
Length of sling: 12 / 18 / 25 cm
Sling width: 25 mm

Best quickdraw sport climbing Dmm

The most balanced quickdraw I have ever held in my hand.

The Alpha Sport from DMM won in the most important categories:
Handling overall.
The best sport climbing quickdraw we could find. 

best quickdraw sport climbing
All great – but the Alpha was the best.

The DMM has performed better than Black Diamond and Petzl – the Alpha Sport is an excellent piece of climbing gear. 

The shape of the gates makes it easy to clip the rope. With 2.5 cm, the sling is wide enough to grab and hold on to comfortably

The lower carabiner is fixed and held in place with a sturdy hard rubber. The overall quality of the Alpha Sport is superior to the competition.  

The Alpha Sport comes in lengths of 12, 18, and 25 cm.  

Quickdraw Dmm
Alpha Sport – wide slings

Best Price | Beginner Quickdraw

Edelrid Slash

Best quickdraw beginner

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Handling Overall

  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Good handling
  • Handling when unclipping the rope

Weight: 100 g / 105 g
Major axis strength: 23 kN
Open gate strength: 8 kN
Minor axis strength: 10 kN
Carabiner: Keylock system
Sling length: 10 / 18 cm
Sling width: 16 mm

Quickdraw test edelrid

Ideal sport climbing quickdraw for beginners. 

Because of the easier handling when clipping, carabiners with a keylock system are the best choice for beginners

The Edelrid Slash offers 3 convincing arguments:

  • The price is very reasonable for a high-quality keylock carabiner.
  • The axis strength is better than most others in this price range (minor axis strength 10kN).
  • Easy handling – thanks to the curved gate, clipping is not an additional hurdle for inexperienced fingers. 
Best beginner Quickdraw
Edelrid – Slash

Quickdraws with wire gates have certain advantages (weight, ice-climbing) but have significant disadvantages, especially in this price range, when clipping and unclipping the rope. Especially beginners should treat themselves to quickdraws that are easy to use. 

Edelrid quickdraw set
Slash – Set

The carabiner on the rope side is curved and fixed with an anti-twist rubber for even easier handling. 
The Slash comes in two lengths – 10 & 18 cm.  

Best Lightweight Quickdraw
Trad & Alpine

Black Diamond – HoodWire

Black diamond quickdraw

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Handling Overall

  • Lightweight 81 g
  • No Nose – thanks to wire hood 
  • Affordable
  • Small pack size
  • Light – but not the lightest

Weight: 81 g
Major axis strength: 24 kN
Open gate strength: 8 kN
Minor axis strength: 8 kN
Carabiner: WireHood
Sling length: 12 cm
Sling width: 12 mm

Best Quickdraw trad climbing

Affordable and exceptional handling, thanks to HoodWire.

The ingeniousness of this quickdraw becomes apparent when you take a closer look. A small piece of wire covers the nose of the carabiner. 

The problem with the nose is that either rope or bolt can get stuck in the nose, making the handling less comfortable. 

With the HoodWire this has finally come to an end. The small piece of wire makes all the difference – clipping is easier and saves time and effort.

quickdraw for trad climbing

My recommendation for multipitch or trad routes, take the small extra investment and go for better handling.  

Other manufacturers have also solved the “nose problem,” but currently, none can keep up with the price of Black Diamond. 

Test Winner Robust & Durable

Edelrid – Bulletproof

Best quickdraw durable

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Handling Overall

  • Super Durable
  • Wide gate opening
  • Excellent handling
  • Price

Weight: 117 g
Major axis strength: 27 kN
Open gate strength: 8 kN
Minor axis strength: 10 kN
Carabiner: Keylock
Sling length: 12 / 18 cm
Sling width: 15 mm

Best durable quickdraw

Every climber should have at least 2 of these quickdraws.

You can use these super durable quickdraws as “Anchor Quickdraw” to lower down from. Because of the steel inlet, this quickdraw will last a lot longer than your normal quickdraws.

So whenever you need to lower down from a quickdraw, use these bad boys.

Best Quickdraw anchor point

Over time Rope friction will kill any quickdraw, no matter how strong, except for one – the Bulletproof from Edelrid.   

The Bulletproof has a steel insert right where the climbing rope runs. This piece of steel is unique and makes it by far the most durable quickdraw on the market

In many climbing areas, it is part of good climbing etiquette to use your own gear for lowering down. This saves the expensive equipment used for the anchors and makes them last longer. 

Quickdraw steel inlet
 Left without – Right with steel insert

The matching HMS carabiner * (Price Amazon) – also with steel insert, is ideal for belay devices in which the rope touches the carabiner (Tube, Jule, Smart, etc.). Here, too, the steel insert ensures a much longer lifespan of the carabiner.  

Best long quickdraw | 25 cm

DMM – Shadow

Long quickdraws rock climbing

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Handling Overall

  • Axis Strength – especially with open gate 
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Excellent handling

Weight: 113
Major axis strength: 24 kN
Open gate strength: 10 kN
Minor axis strength: 9 kN
Carabiner: Keylock
Length of sling: 12 / 18 / 25 cm
Sling width: 25 mm

best long quickdraw dmm

DMM forges high-quality and innovative quickdraws & carabiners. 

The Shadow is the quickdraw with the highest Open gate strength (10 kN)! That alone is a reason to hang a few of these quickdraws on the harness. 

Every climber should own at least 2 long quickdraws (25 cm). It is simply necessary to straighten the rope path in some routes – and 25 cm are (for sport climbing) usually sufficient.

Quickdraw long sport climbing
DMM Shadow 25 cm

The Shadow is not too heavy and has exceptional axis strength. The sling is thick enough to grab on to and pull yourself up if necessary.

In addition, the material of the sling is relatively soft, improving the overall handling even more. 

The carabiners are color-coded, and the rope-side gate is ergonomically curved, making it easier to clip the rope in. 

Long vs short quickdraw
Shadow – long vs short version

The gates of the carabiners use a keylock system. This allows you to clip faster and keep carabiners from snagging on gear.

  • Top marks for clipping and unclipping the climbing rope.

How many quickdraws do I need for sport climbing?

Basically – for most sport climbing routes, 12 -15 quickdraws are sufficient. Of course, there are also longer routes, where sometimes 20 quickdraws are necessary, but that is the exception. 

Nevertheless, it makes sense to always have some extra quickdraws with you – you are more flexible and can even open a second route.

Quickdraws how many

Use slings of different lengths.
This way, you can straighten the route’s rope path and defuse tricky spots like overhangs or edges. 

Better to have two quickdraws too many than one too few. Always carry two extra quickdraws with you. 

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Buying Quickdraws – what to consider

Quickdraws test

Each quickdraw consists of two carabiners connected by a sling. The way these 3 components are designed influences handling and application. In the following, we will go into the advantages and disadvantages of the respective types of quickdraws. 

The Slings

Length of the quickdraws
Quickdraws are available in lengths from 10 – 25 cm. 

Short slings (10-15 cm) are popular for sport climbing or indoor climbing, where the routes are relatively straight, and hardly any friction (rope drag) occurs. 

Quickdraws rock climbing length
12 – 18 – 25 cm

Long slings (20-25 cm)
a.) Are used to straighten the rope path to reduce friction. 

Rope management climbing
Straighten rope path
Rope path quickdraws
Prevent rope drag

Rope Drag
If the lead climber does not straighten the rope path, the resulting friction leads to the so-called “rope drag”. It requires quite some extra effort to pull up the rope and should be avoided at all times. 

b.) Long slings are also used when the position of the lower carabiner is unfavorable.

For example, if the carabiner runs directly over an edge (dangerous situation), you can use a longer quickdraw to defuse the situation. 

quickdraw how to use
Use a longer quickdraw.

A carabiner resting on top of an edge is not ideal and might pose a risk.
The gates can open, or the carabiner might even break if loaded and bent over the edge.

Quickdraws length for sport climbing:
The standard length is 10 -15 cm
– (Additional 2 longer slings 20 – 25 cm)

60 cm quickdraw sling
For trad climbing and multi-pitch routes, often even longer quickdraws are used.

A longer sling (60 cm) serves as the connection between carabiners. In this way, you can secure even the trickiest routes.

quickdraw for multipitch climbing
60 cm

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How thick should the sling be?

How thick a quickdraw sling should be, has less to do with safety (thin slings also have a high breaking strength) but more with handling and the weight of the slings. 

  • The thinner a sling is, the lighter and smaller the pack size.
  • The wider a sling, the better you can grab and hold on to it. 
quickdraw thickness
12 mm vs. 27 mm

For sport climbing, it is better to use wider slings because they are a little sturdier, and therefore it is easier to clip and unclip the rope. In addition, you can grab on to them and pull yourself up if necessary. 

When trad or multi-pitch climbing, you want to save weight and keep your pack size as small as possible. Therefore, thin slings are the better choice. 

The carabiner

There are always two different types of carabiners on each quickdraw. The top carabiner is used for the bolt – the bottom carabiner is used for the rope. 

Ideally, the two carabiners are color-coded.  

Quickdraw carabiner
Straight vs. Bent gate

The upper carabiner (bolt)
Important: Use the top carabiner only for the bold. The bottom carabiner only for the rope

The bolt is harder than the material of the carabiner – a fall or heavy load can cause material damage on the carabiner – that is, sharp edges can occur. You don’t want these edges near your rope! Therefore – clip the upper carabiner (straight gate) ALWAYS into the bolts

Lower carabiner (rope side)
the lower carabiner is slightly bent, making it easier to clip the climbing rope. 

Anti-twist rubber

To the bottom carabiner, a piece of rubber is attached. This helps maintain the proper orientation of the carabiner and protect the carabiner attachment loop from wear.

quickdraw carabiner rubber keeper
Anti twist rubber

A carabiner’s axis strength depends on how it is loaded- a twisted karabiner will result in a lower axis strength. The minor axis strength of carabiners is less than half compared to the major axis strength.

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  • Durable

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Axis strength – Certification 

Major axis strength: 22kN
Minor axis strength: 7kN
Open gate strength: 7kN
Sling: 22kN

quickdraw axis strength certification

Carabiner – Gate

There are different types of gates, they all have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you use them for, you can take advantage of their strengths and work around their weaknesses. 

Wire gate with nose:

Wiregate carabiner quickdraw
Carabiner with nose

Advantages wire gate: 
– Lightweight- Inexpensive- Less whiplash effect (more on this below)
– Better for ice climbing, as the wire gates, do not freeze up as easily. 

Disadvantages wire gate:
– When clipping, it can easily happen that the rope gets stuck on the nose, and the gate does not close completely. Since the axis strength decreases considerably with an open gate, you should avoid this at all costs. 
– Because of the nose, it is often tricky to unclip the quickdraw. 

Main application: ice climbing, alpine climbing, multi-pitch, trad climbing

Quickdraws with keylock system:

These quickdraws all rely on closure systems without the annoying nose. 

Quickdraw keylock
Left Keylock – Right Nose

Advantages Keylock:

  • The rope is easier to clip and unclip. 
  • The Keylock system is designed to reduce the chance of snagging when clipping and unclipping.
  • Better handling overall

Disadvantages Keylock: 

  • Longer whiplash effect
  • More weight

The main field of application: sport climbing or all-round

Wire gate without nose:

These carabiners have almost all the advantages of the wire gate without the annoying nose. 

Wire gate carabiners quickdraw
2x wire gate without nose

Advantages – wire gate without a nose: 

  • Good handling – The rope is easy to clip and unclip.
  • Lightweight
  • Short whiplash effect

Disadvantages – wire gate without a nose: 

  • Expensive
  • Not ideal for ice climbing, as the gate tends to freeze up. 

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The Whip Lash Effect

The whiplash effect is caused by an impact of the carabiner on the rock. The impact causes the gate of the carabiner to open for a brief moment.

If the impact of a fall happens at exactly this moment, the carabiner gate is open, and therefore, the carabiner’s strength is reduced (open gate strength). Open carabiners always have a lower axis strength than closed ones.

The shorter this whiplash effect, the better. With wire gates, this effect is generally shorter than with solid gates due to the lower mass of the wire gate.  

Broken carabiners are very rare. The risk of breakage due to the whiplash effect is real, but as I said – very rare. 

The solution

The safest way to avoid this danger is to use carabiners with high axis strength even when the gate is open. If you want to be absolutely sure, look for carabiners with a high value in “Open gate strength”.

7kN is the current standard for “open gate strength”, which every carabiner must provide. Some manufacturers have managed to produce carabiners with 11kN open – of course, in conjunction with higher weight.  

6 tips for clipping a quickdraw

  • Look ahead
    To avoid a possible unclipping, the gate opening must face the opposite side of the climbing direction. 
  • Both gate openings must point in the same direction.
    To prevent possible cross loading, both carabiners must point in the same direction. Both openings always point in the opposite climbing direction. 
quickdraw clipping
  • The correct position
    Make sure you have a good stance, grip and are generally in a stable position. 
  • Do not waste time
    If you decide to clip, do it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Your belay partner should also be able to anticipate your clipping – he/she must give out slack at the right moment. 
  • At waist hight
    Ideally, clipping should first be done at the waist level. Of course, this is not always possible in practice, but try to avoid “overstretched” clipping as much as possible. 
  • Top ALWAYS Top – Bottom ALWAYS Bottom.
    The hard bolts in the routes can cause damage to the carabiner sheath. Sharp edges can occur, which can cause considerable damage to the climbing rope. You must therefore use the carabiner top carabiner exclusively for the bolts. 

Should you buy used quickdraws?
– I do not recommend buying used quickdraws.  You never know how old or how heavily used the carabiners have been.

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