The Best Quickdraws (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Lead climbs safely and efficiently with these quickdraws.
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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON February 15, 2021
When it comes to rock climbing, quickdraws are an indispensable piece of gear because they keep you safe in case you fall. And while you may still get busted up on the face of a rock, proper placement and use of this tool will prevent a worst-case scenario from occurring. While they may be something leading climbers are most concerned with, all climbers need them if they are using a rope. Below we take a look at some of the best quickdraws on the market.
Ideal for trad climbers but has an appeal to sport climbers as well. Thoughtful design and quality construction make this a great all-around quickdraw set.
- Hot forge construction
- Ergonomic shape
- High-quality dogbone
- Dogbone may be too short for some climbers
Perfect setup for budget-minded climbers. Despite the low price, these quickdraws are rather durable and feature useful designs.
- Great Pricepoint
- Durable biners enhance safety
- Dyneema dogbone instead of nylon
- Several non-vital components
Top-tier option for sport climbers. This design uses robust construction in combination with hot forging for enhanced performance and reliability.
- Hot forge construction
- Ergonomic shape
- High-quality dogbone
- Solid gates for improved durability
- More costly than other entries for the segment
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Quickdraws
- Safety. The most significant benefit of quickdraws is that they will keep you safe. Their primary function is to attach a piece of rope to your protection. In the case that you slip, it is an attachment to the anchoring point that keeps you from falling too far.
- Fluent operation. A quickdraw also offers the benefit of anchoring yourself quickly. Instead of having to take the time to tie a knot at each anchoring point, you simply hook a quickdraw in place.
- Match your climbing style. There are a few different types of quickdraws on the market, and we’ll dive into that in a moment. But know that the different types offer specific characteristics that meet the needs of distinct climbing styles.
Types of Quickdraws
An all-around quickdraw is a go-to choice for many because they offer the basic functionality necessary for all climbing. They are also the most affordable and likely the first kind any new climbers will add to their collection.
The primary concern of these types of quickdraws is that they do nothing spectacular though they do all things well. In using them for sport or trad climbing, they will not perform as well as a dedicated design will.
Sport climbing quickdraws feature a few design characteristics that are ideal for sport climbing. Durability is of utmost importance, and you’ll find that these quickdraws are a bit beefier than all-around designs.
Protection of the rope is also in mind, and sport quickdraws are a lot more forgiving on it in the case that a climber falls. The design is also reflective of the necessity of speed. They have an ergonomic design that makes clipping in much quicker.
Alpine quickdraws generally have a longer “dogbone” or distance between the carabiners. This feature is meant to reduce rope drag during long or winding climbs.
In many cases, trad climbers keep a combination of all-round quickdraws and alpine quickdraws on their person because the combination can provide flexibility on their route. That said, longer quickdraws can be looped to reduce the additional length if it is not necessary.
Some traditional climbers prefer to create their quickdraws. In many cases, they are looking to make what is known as a sling draw. Sling draws are usually a bit longer and offer the benefit of creating a smoother path for a rope along a winding route.
In all cases, it comes down to the individual looking to implore specific characteristics the premade quickdraws that are available to them do not offer. If you are interested in fabricating your own, consider reading our buying guide on the best carabiners.
The company’s history reached back to the 1950s, but Black Diamond wouldn’t be established until 1989. Its headquarters is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, and the company focuses on many outdoor activities. There is an emphasis on climbing equipment, such as the Black Diamond Hotforge Hybrid Quickpack.
A relatively young company, Mad Rock, set its roots in 2002. The original focus to develop affordable but effective rock shoes would open the doors for them to produce a range of budget-friendly climbing equipment. Based out of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., the brand is known for making products such as the Mad Rock Concorde Quickdraw Set.
PETZL is a French manufacturer of gear for all kinds of climbing activities. It set up shop in the 1970s and has had a laser focus on this segment ever since. The dedication to producing top-tier products such as the PETZL Spirit Express Quickdraw and other gear for climbing, work-at-height, and more makes it an industry leader.
- $10-$30: Single quickdraws generally list within this price range. The lower end of the scale is generally reserved for all-purpose quickdraws, while the higher end is for those with dedicated designs.
- $60-$100: Unless buying a single quickdraw, prices will typically run $60-$100. The lower end of the scale is generally for all-purpose quickdraws, while the higher end is for dedicated designs.
- $100 and up: While there aren’t any on our list, quickdraw sets can list for more than $100. These are usually top-tier offerings or are more inclusive sets.
Durability is a must-have feature for any quickdraw. It doesn’t matter the type of climbing you do or the amount of stress you subject one to, and you cannot risk failure of the components. After all, your entire weight may come crashing down on it, and if it breaks, you’re in trouble. It’s always worth taking the time to review the design and read the reviews to ensure the quickdraw you are considering can stand up to the abuse you are throwing at it.
Gate design and construction comes down to user preference. You will have two primary options, a wire hook or a solid bar. Wire gates are typically smoother in operation and easier to hook on, but they aren’t quite as durable as their counterpart. And while solid gates are more durable, hooking up takes a little more effort. Keep in mind that the gate doesn’t bear the weight in case you fall, so which is better does come down to your preference.
Of course, you want to make sure the quickdraw you select best matches your climbing style. And though we already know this, it’s worth revisiting. If you’re sport climbing, it is worth investing a little more money into the sport quickdraws because they’ll complement your practice. But if you are trad climbing, there’s no need to spend more money than you need to on designs that don’t offer much to you.
- Gate Assistance. The carabiners on quickdraws often feature a simple hook to help keep the gate in place. This is a great security feature, but it tends to stick and can leave you fiddling with it while you dangle from a cliff. Many quickdraws feature a design that helps prevent this. While it isn’t necessary, it can make a significant difference by preventing a bind in a sticky situation. But, purchasing quickdraws with this feature does come down to personal preference.
Best Quickdraw Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- When placing the quickdraw, consider the direction you are climbing and point the gates away from that, so the rope runs over the spine of the carabiner.
- Because anchor points can chew up the carabiner, you must dedicate one end to anchor points and the other to the rope to prevent fraying.
- Carabiners may have a tight end and a loose end. The loose end should always hook to the protection/anchoring point.
Q: What length of quickdraws do I need?
This comes down to personal preference and user experience. A traditional climber typically carries a combination of long and short quickdraws during their climb
Q: How long do quickdraws last?
With proper use, they may last two to five years. But you should take the time to inspect and replace them regularly to prevent failure.
Q: What are quickdraws used for?
Quickdraws are used to allow a climbing rope to run through bolt anchors while leading a climb.
We'd be lying if we said that the Black Diamond Hotforge Hybrid Quickpack made our top pick for any reason other than reliability and the fact that it's great for trad climbers. But we see that the Mad Rock Concorde Quickdraw Set is the most popular option, and probably because it's affordable.
But we want to know what your pick is! After all, we'd like to hear what die-hard climbers use in their loadout!