Every climber needs a belayer, and every belayer needs a belay device. Without one, it’s not possible to rope ascent safely, and you may be forced to resort to plan B — aka bouldering.

In short, climbers use belay maneuvers to manage slack in the rope, catch their partner in case of a descend, and lower them safely to the ground. When opening the sport, a belay design is a kind of the first articles of gear that new climbers should buy.

There are lots of huge alternatives on the market, and deciding which one to buy can be confusing. On this list, “were having” gathered our recommendations for the best belay designs of 2021.

We’ve sorted our recommendations into specific categories to make it easy for you to identify the belay device that best meets your needs.

At the end of this list, we have included a comprehensive belay machine buyer’s guide where you will find all of the information required to make an informed acquisition. In this guide, we describe many common styles of belay inventions and likewise explain how they are best used.

To read more about our pickings of the best climbing gear of 2021, check out the best climbing shoes of 2021 and the best bouldering crash pads of 2021.

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Best Overall Best Budget Best for Multipitch Climbing Best Do-It-All

The Best Climbing Belay Devices of 2021

Best Overall: Petzl GriGri

petzl grigri

The first iteration of the Petzl GriGri ($ 22) debuted in 1991. Since then, this versatile machine has is generally considered the world standard for belay devices.

Many other manufacturers have based their belay manoeuvre blueprints on the GriGri. But after 30 years of life, the GriGri continues to shine.

For gym climbing and single-pitch trad and boast cragging, the GriGri can do everything you need it to. When it was introduced, the GriGri ($ 100) was one of the first assisted-braking belay manoeuvres on the market. Its effective scheme has only slightly changed in the years since.

The GriGri implements an internal mechanism to pinch the climbing line anytime the rope is pulled too quickly through the machine. For sample, in the case of a contribute come, the rope pushes upward on the GriGri and grasps the rope, which arrests the fail. Following the GriGri’s lead, many other assisted-braking devices now utilize a similar design.

There have been four different versions of the GriGri to date. In 2019, Petzl liberated the newest version, and we think it is the best overall belay design offered in 2021. The device is compatible with lines weighing 8.5 -1 1 mm.

The GriGri is especially knows we its convenience during prolonged discussions of projecting single-pitch climbing street. A climber can hang on the rope for long periods, and the belayer can wait comfortably without having to actively squeeze the rope or originate tension.

Compared to manual tube-style manoeuvres like the Black Diamond ATC-XP, the GriGri is a far more cozy alternative for lengthy belays and projecting.

Like with many assisted-braking belay manoeuvres, a climber can’t load the GriGri with two filaments of lasso at once, which restrictions its rappelling capabilities. The GriGri works well for belaying the following climber from above. However, it has limited application for multipitch rise due to its single-strand design.

While the GriGri is by far the most common belay device of today, it is not the easiest to learn how to use. Climbers must learn how to use their GriGris from a qualified instructor. No matter their experience level, all climbers can learn how to use a GriGri — but they must be willing to put in the time required to master safe practices.

Currently, Petzl offers two GriGri vogues. Our pick for best overall is the 2019 form of the GriGri, which retails for $100. Petzl likewise continues to sell the GriGri + ($ 130 ), which was introduced in 2017 and aspects wear-resistant components and an anti-panic feature.

Many climbers find the anti-panic pieces to be excess and awkward. Both alternatives are good, but we prefer the newest GriGri.

Weight: 6.1 oz.


Great for single-pitch projecting Effective for top-managed belaying Highly durable Smooth lowering Handle a broader range of rope diameters


More expensive than other options Not compatible with double-rope rappels

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Best Budget Belay Device: Black Diamond ATC-XP

black diamond atc-xp

This simple belay device is a variation of the standard tube-style device that climbers have been using for numerous decades. While it isn’t the absolute cheapest belay machine option on the market, we think it offers great value as a relatively cheap option.

The main feature that sets the ATC-XP apart from standard manual tube-style machines is the rectified of toothed flutes inside both of its tubes. These trenches increase resistance on the rope while in use, which becomes it somewhat easier to control speed while lowering a climber or rappelling. Thanks to these grooves, a belayer can fasten off the machine and prop a lie climbing with significantly less effort.

While the ATC-XP is our pick for the best budget belay device, “its also” a good option for understand the basics of belaying as a brand-new climber. Thanks to its simple and sturdy structure, this device tend to last for many years, even with regular use.

Many people still belay with nonassisted-braking devices like the ATC-XP. However, the climbing world-wide is gradually come to an end this form of belay design, much like figure-8 belay devices.

Many climbing gyms now require that all belayers use an assisted-braking device, which rules out ATC belay devices. We still recommend this machine for its time-tested strengths, but customers should know that these devices are not accepted everywhere.

Ropes assessing 7.7 -1 1 mm can be used with the ATC-XP, and it can handle single- and double-rope rappels with ease. In the inexpensive and basic manual tube-style belay device category, the ATC-XP is our favorite.

Weight: 2.3 oz.


Cheap Good friction assure thanks to built-in teeth Easy to learn how to use


No assisted-braking feature Some descending gyms do not permit the ATC-XP Uncomfortable to use during long belays when the climber is weighting the rope

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Best for Multipitch Climbing: DMM Pivot

dmm pivot

For multipitch ascents, you’ll want an auto-blocking belay device that will allow you to belay your admirer instantly off of an fix. Of the many auto-blocking belay devices on world markets, the DMM Pivot ($ 35) is our favorite thanks to a handful of excellent characters and features.

An auto-blocking belay device is in guide mode when it is clipped instantly to the anchor and used to belay a following climber. For usher mode to work, the invention must have a separate metal loop that can clip directly to the anchor.

On the DMM Pivot, this clip-in point can swivel( or rotate ), which is very helpful in certain multipitch scenarios. Lines valuing 7.5 -1 1 mm work with the Pivot.

As your admirer clambers a lurch, they may fall off and want to lower partway back down the degree and give the troublesome section of descending another attempt. When utilizing most auto-blocking belay machines in template procedure, lowering your follower requires a handful of tricky and potentially dangerous steps.

With the Pivot, the swiveling clip-in point allows you to easily mutate the direction of the device and lower your climber safely. This feature can also be useful in a rescue or emergency.

Other belay devices, like the Petzl GriGri, are also welcome to lower a partisan with ease. However, the Pivot is a tube-style device that can be used for double-rope repelling. The GriGri belay device can only be used to rappel a single strand. For this reason, the Pivot has an advantage over same machines like the ATC Guide and is especially handy in a multipitch setting.

Weight: 2.5 oz.


Inventive design accommodates meaningful welfare Easy to use Feeds line smoothly


More expensive than similar machines Lacks assisted-braking procedure for optimal result belaying

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Best Do-It-All Belay Device: Edelrid Giga Jul

edelrid giga jul

This highly versatile belay device is a true “quiver of one.” The Giga Jul integrates manual tube-style clarity with assisted braking, top-managed belaying, and double-rope rappelling. Whether you’re at the gym, the crag, or three tars up on an all-day adventure route, the Giga Jul ($ 53) will have you covered.

A sliding mechanism on the Giga Jul allows users to switch back and forth between assisted-braking and manual-braking modes. This meant that the machine can be used for lead belaying with the benefit of expedited restraint, but it can also be used for frustration-free rappelling.

This combination of peculiarities is peculiarly valuable in a multipitch naming. The Giga Jul eliminates the need to bring an extra tube-style device up a multipitch roadway to use solely for rappelling. In Edelrid’s terms, “It’s the best of both worlds.”

Steel positions within the tubes of the Giga Jul resist wear from the rope and increase the lifespan of the design. This dual-material construction allows the device to combine the lightweight excellence of aluminum with the abrasion resist of steel.

Operating the slider of the Giga Jul does make some get be applicable to, specially when transitioning between belaying a follower from above and belaying a ruler via your harness.

The Giga Jul requires more steps to make this transition than the Petzl GriGri. Still, the Giga Jul has the value of double-rope rappelling when it comes to descend.

Edelrid is known for its innovative rise paraphernalium, and the Giga Jul lives up to this honour. Thanks to its facilitated braking, all climbing gyms will allow you to use this invention. The Giga Jul’s versatility is unmatched.

Weight: 4.3 oz.


Versatile Abrasion-resistant and sturdy thanks to steel slips Affordable relative to other assisted-braking devices Handles a broader range of tethers from 7.8 -1 0 mm


Slider method is in need of read swerve Slightly heavier than similar devices

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Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Belay Device

There are all kinds of belay inventions on the market, and it isn’t easy to figure out which one to buy. On this list, “were having” compiled our favorite manoeuvres available in 2021. Our selections represent many hours invested manage all kinds of belay maneuvers and using them in a wide range of climbing scenarios.

Although there are at least 25 different belay inventions manufactured today, climbers should be aware of three major categories: active assisted restraint, passive encouraged braking, and manual tube-style braking.

In this guide, we completely cover all three categories, and so much better. This guide contains all of the information that you need to identify which belay machine is right for you.

Kind of Belay Devices Active Assisted Braking

Active assisted-braking belay devices contain moving components that engage under consignment to arrest a fall. These maneuvers tend to be the heaviest and most expensive type of belay devices, but they too have many benefits and are highly popular.

For single-pitch belaying( particularly during long projecting seminars ), active assisted belay devices are great because they require very little effort from the belayer while the climber is hanging on the rope.

Although these devices assist you in supporting and catching a climber, there is a requirement ever retain control of the braking filament of the rope, just like with any other belay device. On this list, the GriGri provides an example of an active assisted-braking belay device.

Passive Assisted Braking

Passive assisted-braking devices implement specific geometry in their intend to automatically catch a climber in case of a tumble. These manoeuvres generally do not have any moving personas, but they can be equally effective for maximizing belayer convenience during long protrude sessions.

Due to their simple patterns, they tend to be lighter and cheaper than active assisted-braking devices. On this list, the Edelrid Giga Jul is an example of a passive assisted-braking device.

Edelrid Gig JulPhoto recognition: Edelrid Manual Tube Style

Manual tube-style belay devices have been around longer than assisted-braking devices. These designs create a double stoop in the rope, which produces enough friction for a belayer to easily catch a climber by regarding the braking filament of the rope in the brake position.

Like assisted-braking devices, a belayer employing a manual tube must always maintain a grip on the braking rope. In fact, this all-important rule is even more crucial with manual tube-style devices.

For numerous decades, manual tube-style maneuvers were the most popular type of belay device. Now, more climbers are transitioning to assisted-braking devices.

Some climbing gyms no longer tolerate belayers to use manual tube-style designs. Still, this style of belay manoeuvre tends to be the cheapest and lightest option, so beginner climbers may want to consider starting with one. On this list, the Black Diamond ATC-XP and the DMM Pivot are manual tube-style devices.

2 Ropes of Rope vs. 1

Some belay machines are compatible with two ropes of rope, while others can only accommodate one at a time. Inventions that can accommodate two ropes at the same time be available for double-rope rappels.

For multipitch climbing, you’ll often need a invention that can manage double-rope rappels to return to the ground safely.

Devices that can handle two filaments can also belay climbers exercising double or twinned ropes — a common plan for various forms of traditional and ice climbing. Also, an auto-blocking device that accommodates two strands of lasso can be used to belay two partisans at the same time in a multipitch setting.

Many assisted-braking devices are not compatible with two ropes of lasso. Nonetheless, the Edelrid Giga Jul is a highly versatile option that offers both assisted-braking and dual-strand capability. This invention can rappel, belay a ruler with ease, and do pretty much everything you need it to in a multipitch setting.

Line Diameter

Climbing tethers vary in diameter. A single rope is strong enough to catch a come climber without the are necessary to a few seconds rope.

Single tethers can be as thin as 8.5 mm and as thick as 11 mm. Before acquiring a belay device, make sure it is compatible with any lassoes that you are already own or plan to buy.

Double tethers and twin lines are often thinner in diameter than single ropes, and they’re meant to be used in a two-rope system. Not all belay designs is up to thin doubled and twin ropes.

Again, it is wise to check the diameter range of a belay invention before purchasing. Exerting a lasso with a diameter beyond the shown stray can be extremely dangerous.

belay device

Belaying From Above

Many belay maneuvers have the ability to clip instantly to an fasten and belay the following climber from above. Some assisted-braking devices such as the GriGri can be used to belay from above.

Manual tube-style belay machines in steer state are considered “auto-blocking” because they will automatically pinch the climbing rope in case the partisan comes. Still, the belayer must always maintain contact with the restraint strand.

On this list, the DMM Pivotis a manual tube-style machine that also has a built-in guide hole and can be used to belay from above. Belay devices are used in guide mode when they are clipped instantly to an fasten and are used to belay from above.


Belay manoeuvres range in price from around $ 15 to well over $ 100. Generally, active assisted-braking devices are the most expensive, and manual-style tube manoeuvres are the least expensive. The maneuvers that we included on this list offering good value.

Manual tube-style belay devices may be the cheapest, but they are also not allowed in certain climbing gyms, which may lessen their price for some climbers. Versatile inventions like the Edelrid Giga Jul are functional in many different situations, and versatility is in addition to a device’s overall value.


All of the manoeuvres on this list are well-designed and well-built. Even with regular usage, a belay maneuver should previous for numerou times. The Edelrid Giga Jul has built-in steel places that repel abrasion from the rope and extend the life of the device.

All belay device owneds should check regularly for ratifies of excess wear. Retire and replace any devices with deep flutes or abrupt edges.


Which Belay Device Is the Best?

On our list, we recommend the Petzl GriGri as the very best overall belay machine. However, the best belay device is ultimately the one that encounters your needs and budget. The Black Diamond ATC-XP is a solid plan option, and the Edelrid Giga Jul provisions unmatched versatility.

best belay device

What’s the Best Belay Device for Multipitch Climbing?

We love the multipitch-specific innovation that went into the design of the DMM Pivot. This maneuver allows you to lower your admirer safely and easily.

However, the Pivot does not offer encouraged restraint when belaying the captain, which numerous climbers may consider to be a drawback.

How Does a Belay Device Work?

All belay devices wield by attach the belayer to the rope. They use friction to keep the climber safe and get caught if they fall.

Different types of belay maneuvers have unique characteristics, but every maneuver asks the belayer to be attentive and to maintain contact with the braking strand of the rope at all times.

How Do You Attach a Belay Device to Your Harness?

A locking rise carabiner connects a belay invention to a belayer’s harness. Once the belay invention is correctly fed with the rope and clipped to the harness, the belayer must secure and double-check the locking mechanism on the carabiner.

securing belay device

What Is the Safest Belay Device?

When used properly, the quality and safety of a belay design are more about the person belaying than the belay maneuver. On this list, every belay machine can help you have a safe climbing session, as long as the user maintains best practices.

Many climbers consider assisted-braking devices to be “safer” due to the automatic backup that comes with this style of maneuver. However, every style of belay device must be used with constant care and vigilance — even those with assisted-braking boasts. Every new belayer should seek thorough instruction before actually belaying a climber.

Can You Rappel With a Belay Device?

Most belay manoeuvres can be used to rappel, but some sits are more versatile than others. If you plan to use your belay design to rappel more than belay, be sure to purchase a device that is compatible with both double- and single-rope rappel, like the ATC-XP or the Edelrid Giga Jul.

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