HMS screwgate carabiners - perhaps not the most exciting piece of climbing gear, but one of the most frequently used. We've tested six here to find out how much they weigh, how easy they are to use, and even how quick they are to screw-up.
On the surface they might seem similar, but we've scratched through the anodising to find which HMS screwgate we think is the best.
DMM Sentinel £12
The DMM Sentinel is a smart looking, practical-sized carabiner that is both strong and light. It is in fact the smallest 'biner in the review, but it still has room for two clove hitches and feels plenty big enough - it's not a micro biner in anyway.
The Sentinel is very 'DMM' - and that means it is slick, sexy (yes we think screw gate carabiners are sexy!), clean-nosed and of course it is hot-forged.
It weighs in at just 54g (damn light) and has a wide gate open size of 20mm - easily big enough to accommodate ropes, wriggle it round loads of old slings, etc. The shape of the carabiner has been carefully designed, so that the bent back actually reduces overall size without affecting the gate open size. The angled base of the biner actually makes it sit slightly offset when being used as a belay biner - this is a design feature from DMM that subtly means the Sentinel naturally loads toward the back-bar, not the gate side.
It's certainly strong enough at 24kn, 10kn side load and 8kn gate open.
Size-wise we measured it at 97mm long, 64mm wide at its 2 largest points.
The gate action itself is very high quality, and easy to screw-up and unscrew. It took us 2.3 seconds to screw the gate up completely.
Extra note: The Sentinel is available in a 'Locksafe' option too (a twistlock gate).
Summary: A brilliant, small HMS that keeps size and weight down, but is essentially a full size HMS biner. We loved it. Nice work DMM.
More info: DMM Website
Ocun Eagle £11
On first appearance the Ocun Eagle is very similar to the DMM Sentinel, but they are a little different. The hot-forging, the colour and the size are similar, but not exactly the same. What you have with the Eagle is a slightly more rounded shape than the Sentinel, and a just slightly bigger overall carabiner. The gate open size is 23mm and the widest part of the biner will accept 2 ropes with ease.
The weight of the Eagle lands it mid range for this review at 70g, not the lightest, but not the heaviest either.
It is clean-nosed and is rated to 23kn, 8kn (gate open) and 10kn side load - nice and strong.
Size wise it measured in at 103mm by 73mm and it took us 3.6 seconds to screw-up.
The spring of the gate was nice and snappy in action and the gate barrel screwed up and down well. It has a little bit of 'waggle' to it, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Extra note 1: The Eagle is available in both Twistlock and a Triplelock options too.
Summary: Overall it is a very smart and well designed biner and we'd happily have it on our rack. Nice!
More info: Ocun Website
Faders HMS £12
The biggest 'biner on test, but not necessarily the best. The Faders HMS is a cold-forged large size HMS carabiner. We got one in a strong metallic red colour.
The overall size of the biner was the largest on test coming in at 117mm x 78mm. The gate open size is big at 25mm, and the actual top end of the biner is equally big and takes clove hitches with ease. The biner is clean-nosed (keylock), for ease of clipping.
It's the heaviest biner on test at 88g and it is also the weakest gate open and side load biner. The strength ratings are: 27kn, 7kn side load, 6kn gate open.
The gate barrel is the only one on test not to have a knurled finished, instead it has three nut like sections to turn. This shape worked fine, but we did think that the threads were a little slow to screw-up, and very squeaky. It took us 5.8 seconds to screw this biner up.
Extra note 1: The Faders HMS is available in a twistlock version too (pictured right).
Summary: A decent budget biner, worth a look if you can get a good price, but not as polished a product as many others in this review so perhaps the £12 on the Alpkit website is a little steep.
More info: Alpkit Website
Grivel Delta £8.50
The Grivel Delta HMS was mid sized and mid weight in this review being 100m long, 70mm wide and weighing in at 65g. It is basically a no-nonsense carabiner, basic in design, but also very user friendly.
The gate open size of 20mm was adequate, and easy to use. The gate barrel was really well fitting and spun easily, taking just 2.2 seconds to screw-up.
The price of the Grivel biner is the trump card here. For £8.50 you get a really nice HMS biner that works well, isn't too heavy and doesn't feel too budget. We liked the shape and the size, and it is pretty strong too at 27kn, 8kn side load, 8kn gate open.
Extra note: You can also get HMS shaped 'Twin Gate' biners from Grivel - in case you are looking for a screwgate alternative!
Summary: Brilliant for the price - a good solid all round HMS biner. Not the lightest, but definitely a good price.
More info: Grivel Website
Mammut Bionic HMS £14
The second biggest carabiner in the test, the Bionic from Mammut is a very slick-looking technical biner. It is hot forged, has a massive amount of room at the top for two ropes etc, and a wide gate opening of 23mm.
It's not the lightest, but for its size (112mm long and 75mm wide) the weight of 76g is reasonable. It's also pretty strong at 24kn, 10 kn side load and 7kn gate open.
The gate action is snappy and smooth, and the barrel is very easy to screw up - a very free action, taking just 2.1 seconds to screw up - nice!
The carabiner is hot-forged and of course, as with all biners in this review, features a clean nose (keylock).
Extra note: Also available in blue, and in a Twistlock version.
Summary: A great, fairly big HMS at a good weight and strength. Really high quality.
More info: Mammut Website
Petzl Attache SL £13
The Attache SL from Petzl is at first glance a fairly standard HMS carabiner. What we found out with a little bit of testing though was that it was the most pleasing to use. Why? Two reasons - the gate and the shape.
Firstly its flaw - the strength. Rated to just 22kn, 7kn side load, and 6kn gate open, it's the weakest biner on test. Having a lightweight biner in the HMS shape (HMS carabiners are weaker than normal shaped biners) is not going to produce a really strong carabiner - but is it strong enough? Well, in the worst case scenario of a gate open load, 6kn isn't a huge amount of strength, as you could generate a 7kn force in an epic fall scenario.
So, that unlikely event aside, what's so good about the Attache SL from Petzl? The shape and size are pretty much spot on we thought. Not too big, not too long (only 102mm long and 72mm wide), the quite squat shape accepts two ropes easily, has a massive gate open size at 24mm and just sits on the harness belay loop, or whatever you've clipped it to really well.
The other thing we loved was the gate action and barrel action. The threads are super fast, essentially you can just flick the gate with your thumb and it zips closed in a second. It sticks closed too, so no worries about accidental opening. A nice touch is the red colour indicator showing you when you haven't screwed the biner up.
The price is on the higher end for this review, but the design that has gone in to refining the shape, the really light weight for the size (56g) and the superb gate means that it was a joy to use.
Summary: The almost perfect carabiner. Great shape, amazing gate, but slightly weaker than similar top-end competitors.
More info: Petzl Website
Some carabiners we would have liked to test but didn't get our hands on include:
|Black Diamond Vaporlock (Also comes as a Magnetron!)||Wild Country Ascent Lite||Climbing Technology Concept SG||Edelrid Strike HMS|
The lightest biner on test. Also really strong. Brilliant!
A very well made mid sized biner.
4 / 5
Big, but not quite up to the polished standards of the rest.
2.5 / 5
Great biner at a great price. If you're on a budget this is the choice for you!
4.5 / 5
Mammut Bionic HMS
Nice big HMS. Well made. Good choice for those wanting a big HMS.
4 / 5
Petzl Attache SL
Lovely to use, in fact the best to use. Slightly let down by the strength.
4.5 / 5
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