Quickdraws are one of the first pieces of climbing gear you’ll buy as a climber, and they’re a staple in anyone’s gear kit. They are what connect your rope to the wall, serving as a critical point of contact to catch you when you fall.
When purchasing such an important piece of gear, you definitely want to make sure that you choose something effective. Luckily, there’s no shortage of awesome quickdraws on the market today. There’s a quickdraw for every budget, and while some may lack in features or ease of use, all the quickdraws recommended in this article are rated for climbing and can be trusted to perform without fail.
We’ve rounded up our top 7 best quickdraws for rock climbing to help narrow down your quickdraw search. We’ll also share some of the different types of quickdraws and what to look for when you’re shopping for your next set of draws.
If you don't have time for the details, here are our picks for the best rated Quickdraws on the market:
- 1Best All-Around Quickdraw: Petzl Spirit Express
- 2Best Value Quickdraw: Mad Rock Concorde Quickdraw
- 3Best for Sport Climbing: Black Diamond Posiwire
- 4Best for Trad Climbing: Petzl Ange Finesse
- 5Best Lightweight Quickdraw: Cypher Firefly II
- 6Best for Beginners: Petzl Djinn Axess
- 7Best for Alpine Climbing: TRANGO Phase Alpine Draw
Table of Contents
- Quickdraw Buyer’s Guide
- Quickdraw Features to Consider
- Top 7 Best Quickdraws on the Market Review
- 1. Best All-Around Quickdraw: Petzl Spirit Express
- 2. Best Value Quickdraw: Mad Rock Concorde Quickdraw
- 3. Best for Sport Climbing: Black Diamond Posiwire
- 4. Best for Trad Climbing: Petzl Ange Finesse
- 5. Best Lightweight Quickdraw: Cypher Firefly II
- 6. Best for Beginners: Petzl Djinn Axess
- 7. Best for Alpine Climbing: TRANGO Phase Alpine Draw
Quickdraw Buyer’s Guide
The mechanics of a quickdraw are fairly simple. There are two carabiners connected by a sling, also called a dogbone. When climbing up a route, one of the carabiners is attached to a piece of protection on the wall and your rope feeds through the other biner. This will allow the system to catch you if you fall, since you’ll be attached to the wall at every point you set up a quickdraw.
There is a wide variety of quickdraws on the market today. There are plenty of options and some are better suited for certain types of climbing. However, most draws are universal enough to work in most situations. A beginner climber doesn’t need to worry too much about the specifications of their draws, but we’re going to provide a run down on the components of a quickdraw and the benefits of different types of draws. Once we cover the types and features of quickdraws, we’ll jump right into our top picks.
Quickdraw Features to Consider
Each quickdraw is made up of two carabiners and a sling. Now the type of carabiner and sling will affect how your draws perform under certain conditions. Here are the pros and cons of the different types of biners and slings.
Solid Gate Carabiners
These carabiners have solid gates that open and close more smoothly than other types of carabiners. They have a smooth notch where the nose of the carabiner connects to the gate. Not only does this provide for easier open/closing of the biner, it also prevents it from snagging on gear while cleaning. The downside to solid gate carabiners is that they are typically more expensive and heavier than wiregate biners. Some solid gate quickdraws will have a bent gate carabiner on one end. This helps you to clip the climbing rope faster and easier, so you should always make sure the bent gate is on the rope end if you have one.
Wiregate carabiners are simpler by design. The gate is made up of a loop of stainless-steel wire. Wiregates are lighter than solid gate carabiners and are also less likely to freeze in cold temperatures. Both of these features make wiregates a better choice for ice climbing or mountaineering where you’ll want to reduce weight as much as possible and are often likely to be in cold conditions.
Carabiner Gate Opening
The width that the carabiner can open can affect the ease of clipping. It is easy to get your finger stuck in gates with too small of a clearance. On the other hand, gates with too wide a clearance can make the biner difficult to clip.
Shorter slings are useful for most sport climbs that are relatively straight. If you are climbing trad or even a long, meandering sport route, you might want to have a few longer draws on hand. Longer sling lengths reduce rope drag, but they can be heavier and bulkier. It is a good idea to have a mix of sling lengths if you’re climbing long, meandering routes.
The width of your sling affects the weight and ease of use of your quickdraw. Wider slings are easier to grab than flimsier, skinnier slings.
Top 7 Best Quickdraws on the Market Review
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a quickdraw, it’s time for the reviews! Here are the top 7 quickdraws on the market today.
1. Best All-Around Quickdraw: Petzl Spirit Express
The Petzl Spirit Express is a common sighting at crags. The solid-gate carabiners open and close so smoothly that you’ll never find yourself fumbling with it on the wall. The rope end biner is curved making it easy to clip your rope in. The sling’s tapered shape makes it easy to grab as it fits comfortably in your hand.
The Spirit Express quickdraws come in two sling lengths, which gives you better control over reducing rope drag if you are working on routes that don’t go straight up the wall. They are lightweight and versatile, and really are the premier option for sport climbing.
2. Best Value Quickdraw: Mad Rock Concorde Quickdraw
If you’re just starting out or if you’re just working with a shoestring budget, the Mad Rock Concorde quickdraws are the way to go. You can even buy them in a 6-pack for an even deeper discount. Although you’re saving money with these draws, you aren’t sacrificing on usability. The Concorde draws are lightweight, with wire gate carabiners that provide smooth clipping and easy cleaning. The carabiners are tensioned perfectly to snap closed which adds a little extra security.
These draws might pose a problem for those with larger hands, since the carabiners are a bit on the smaller side. However, this isn’t a problem for most and for the price, this minor inconvenience is totally worth it.
3. Best for Sport Climbing: Black Diamond Posiwire
The Black Diamond Posiwire’s offer the best of both worlds when it comes to biner gate types. These quickdraws feature a wiregate biner on one end and a Positron solid gate biner on the other, which is ideal for clipping into bolts or slings. This very obvious distinction makes it virtually impossible to confuse which side is for your rope.
They are lightweight and also have a sturdy, easy-to-grab sling. We’re recommending these for sport climbing but the truth is they perform just as well for trad routes or multi-pitch. The price is fair for these draws.
4. Best for Trad Climbing: Petzl Ange Finesse
The Petzl Ange Finesse quickdraws are ultra-light, durable and strong. These draws perform on any route, but are particularly suited for trad and alpine climbs. They feature unique MonoFil Keylock technology, which allows the gates to open and close fluid and solid for quick, secure clips. The straight keylock nose lets you clip and unclip snag-free, and you can even clip while wearing gloves!
The Ange Finesse quickdraws are lightweight and strong. The sling is 10mm wide and is easy to grab. These draws can be used in a wide variety of weather conditions, making them perfect for trad and alpine routes.
5. Best Lightweight Quickdraw: Cypher Firefly II
They Cypher Firefly II is ultra-lightweight and affordable. It’s so affordable, in fact, that they only cheaper option on this list is the Madrock Concorde quickdraw. These wiregate quickdraws are so compact that they take up little space on your rack, and they’re so lightweight you can carry as many as you need to send longer sport routes or trad routes.
The main drawback to the Cypher Firefly II’s is that they have noticeably smaller biners than other options on the market. This can make clipping a bit more difficult, but most people agree that the minor annoyance of clipping with smaller biners is worth the savings on weight.
6. Best for Beginners: Petzl Djinn Axess
Perfect for beginners, the Petzl Djinn Axess quickdraws have some of the largest carabiners on the market. That makes clipping and cleaning a breeze, saving you time fumbling around with small biners when you’re learning to lead. This is also helpful for climbers with larger hands or even ice climbers who are wearing gloves.
The solid keylock gates open and close with ease, and won’t snag your rope or gear. The Djinn is durable, sturdy, and it’s sling is super easy to grab. It’s not as light as other quickdraws, but for the price, ease of use, and durability, it’s a fantastic option for beginners or anyone who wants an all-around quickdraw that will put in mileage without breaking the bank.
7. Best for Alpine Climbing: TRANGO Phase Alpine Draw
These alpine quickdraws are perfect for those of us who don’t want to make your own alpine draws out of carabiners and slings. The TRANGO Phase quickdraws are everything you need for your next alpine ascent. They are also great for trad climbing or even sport routes that meander.
Each quickdraw features wire gate carabiners connected with a 60-cm-long sling. The sling is low profile and easy to store, pack, and clip onto your harness. The Phase Alpine draws are also lightweight, with each weighing in at just 80 grams.
Quickdraws are necessary pieces of gear that connect your rope to the wall as you climb. Your choice in quickdraws isn’t likely to turn heads like some of your other gear might, but it’s just as important to choose the right set of draws to meet your needs.
For anyone just starting out climbing, any basic set of quickdraws will do. Once you start working on longer, harder routes or venturing into trad and alpine ascents, it’s time to expand your arsenal of quickdraws to include a variety of biners and sling lengths. You can even mix and match biners and slings to customize your rack as you see fit.
Whichever the best quickdraws you choose, you’ll be able to stay safe on the wall as you climb. Hopefully now you have a better idea of the different types of quickdraws and which ones you need for your next send. Happy climbing!