11 Best Quickdraws of 2019—Field Tested & Reviewed

Quickdraw Score Weight Gates Dogbone Lengths
Top Pick: Petzl Spirit Express
87
100g Solid, Solid 11 cm, 17 cm
Black Diamond LiveWire Quickdraw
82
108g Solid, Wire (Hooded) 12 cm
DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw
78
117g Solid, Solid 12 cm, 18 cm, 25 cm
Best Trad Climbing Quickdraw: Black Diamond Oz Quickdraw
75
63g Wire, Wire (Hooded) 12 cm
Best Beginner Quickdraw: Petzl Djinn Axess
73
113g Solid, Solid 12 cm, 17 cm
Petzl Ange Finesse
70
72g Monowire, Monowire 10 cm, 17 cm
Black Diamond PosiWire Quickdraw
69
105g Solid, Wire 12 cm, 16 cm
Black Diamond Positron Quickdraw
66
110g Solid, Solid 12 cm, 16 cm
Best Value: Black Diamond FreeWire Quickdraw
66
103g Wire, Wire 12 cm, 16 cm
Budget Buy: Mad Rock Concorde Quickdraw
65
87g Wire, Wire 10 cm
Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire Draw
62
72g Wire, Wire 10 cm

We racked up with 11 of the best quickdraws on the market to find out which deserve a spot on your gear loops. The verdict? The classic Petzl Spirit Express still reigns supreme.

The Spirit Express best combines all the roles of the quickdraw: something to be clipped, something to be carried, and something to be grabbed onto.

But it’s far from the only choice. The quickdraw market is glutted with options, most of which (as we discovered in this test) are fairly strong. Many fill different needs for different budgets.

Which draws you like will depend on what and where you climb most. For details and full reviews, read on.

The eleven quickdraws we tested.

The 11 quickdraws we tested.

Top Pick: Petzl Spirit Express

Petzl Spirit Express

The Petzl Spirit Express has been a classic at sport crags for decades, and the acclaim is well earned. This is the Mercedes of the sport climbing world.

Its virtues begin with the two Spirit carabiners, which are a joy to handle. (They’re some of our favorite carabiners, in fact.)

Both have solid gates, but the gate on the rope end is curved and flattened on the outside to guide clips. Gate tension is ideal for quick and tactile clipping.

The Spirit’s dogbone is equally useful. Thanks to its thick and tapered shape, it’s easier to grab and pull than any other draw in the test.

The Spirit’s chief competition comes from the other high-end sport draws, the Black Diamond LiveWire and the DMM Alpha Sport. Both are formidable opponents, but the Spirit cements its award by being cheaper and lighter than both.

At 100 grams, it’s still heavier than we’d like for trad climbing, but it’s light enough that we don’t mind carrying a pack for onsight burns.

The Spirit isn’t cheap. All the same, we consider it decent value, and it remains the gold standard for sport climbing quickdraws.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 100 grams
  • Gate: Solid/Solid
  • Dogbone lengths: 11 cm, 17 cm
Pulling on the wide dogbone of the Petzl Spirit Express.

We all need a hand sometimes.

Best Trad Climbing Quickdraw: Black Diamond Oz Quickdraw

Black Diamond Oz Quickdraw

In a trad-focused quickdraw, lightness and usability are crucial.

Deep in the mountains with a full rack on your harness, you don’t want quickdraws to add unnecessary weight. At the same time, you don’t want to be left fumbling to clip or clean.

The Oz draw best combined the lightness, simplicity, and usability we look for in a trad draw.

Two hooded wiregate carabiners are easy to clip and unclip. They’re not our favorite carabiners to handle, but they’re far from the worst. The dogbone is just 10 millimeters thick, which makes it less comfortable to grab.

The payoff is lightness. At just 63 grams, the Oz is the lightest quickdraw in our test. It’s barely more than half the weight of the heaviest draw. Depending on how many quickdraws you carry on your rack, those savings add up.

The Oz’s biggest competition came from the Petzl Ange Finesse. The Ange draw has a nicer dogbone, but testers preferred the clipping action of the Oz.

The Oz is also cheaper, making it an easy nod for the best trad-focused draw.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 63 grams
  • Gate: Wire/Wire (Hooded)
  • Dogbone length: 12 cm

Best Beginner Quickdraw: Petzl Djinn Axess

Petzl Djinn Axess

If you’re diving into sport climbing but not ready to invest in premium draws, the Djinn is your best option. It combines ease of use with durability and value.

The Djinn carabiners are among the largest in our test, making them easy to handle and clip.

The lower ‘biner has a wide rope-bearing surface, which bodes well for durability. A slight curve in the spines sits nicely in the hand.

The dogbone of the Djinn isn’t as beefy as the Spirit, but it’s thick enough to grab without discomfort.

As is so often the case, the tradeoff for durability is weight. Weighing in at 113 grams, the Djinn is the second heaviest quickdraw in our test. For new sport climbers this isn’t a great concern, and the Djinn handles so nicely that it’s easy to forgive.

It’s even easier to like the price. As of this writing, the Djinn is the cheapest solid-gate quickdraw in our test. We preferred it over the slightly more expensive Positron, which was its main competition.

The Djinn is a solid investment for budding sport climbers, and if you ever invest in premium draws, the Djinns will last long enough to be your backup set.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 113 grams
  • Gate: Solid/Solid
  • Dogbone length: 12 cm, 17 cm

Best Value: Black Diamond FreeWire Quickdraw

Black Diamond Freewire Quickdraw

The Black Diamond FreeWire is as simple as it gets, but it was our favorite of the budget wiregate quickdraws.

The FreeWire shares its rope-end carabiner with the PosiWire, but it adds another of the same type on top. Wiregate ‘biners are less convenient when cleaning, and the FreeWire did lose points as a result.

But compared to the other budget-oriented draws, the FreeWire has a few advantages.

It has a pleasant and consistent clipping action, and the ‘biners are easy to handle. The dogbone is significantly thicker than that of the Mad Rock quickdraws, which makes it much easier to grab or pull on.

The FreeWire is bulkier than a dedicated trad draw, but it’s light enough to be versatile. It’s also Black Diamond’s cheapest quickdraw, and one of the cheapest in our test.

If you’re building your rack on a budget, the FreeWire is worth a look.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 100 grams
  • Gate: Wire/Wire
  • Dogbone lengths: 12 cm, 16 cm

Budget Buy: Mad Rock Concorde Quickdraw

Mad Rock Concorde Quick Draw

The Concorde brings one main virtue to the table: its price.

As of this writing, the Concorde is by far the cheapest quickdraw in our test. If you buy a six-pack, Mad Rock drops the price even more. That’s hard to pass up.

The Concorde does come with some compromises: the short 10-millimeter dogbone is uncomfortable to grab, and the wiregate carabiners snag easily when cleaning.

At 87 grams, the Concorde is a little heavier than the ultralight trad draws, but it’s light on features for a sport draw.

All the same, testers actually preferred the clipping action on the Concorde over its sibling Mad Rock Ultra Light. The ‘biners on the Concorde are slightly heavier, but the smoother shapes are easier to handle.

This isn’t a draw we’d seek out, but we also didn’t mind using it most of the time.

And did we mention the price? You can buy a full rack of 12 Concordes for the price of 5 Spirit Express draws. For climbers on shoestring budgets, that’s as good as it gets.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 87 grams
  • Gate: Wire/Wire
  • Dogbone length: 10 cm

Reviews of the 6 Other Quickdraws We Tested

Black Diamond LiveWire Quickdraw

Black Diamond Livewire Quickdraw

If you’re a sport climber who prefers clipping wires over solid-gates, this is the quickdraw for you.

The LiveWire is Black Diamond’s take on a premium sport draw. The dogbone is thick and easy to grab, and both ‘biners are excellent. The hooded wiregate has a deep basket and a curved spine with a few ridges to ensure a secure grip.

For testers who preferred a lighter clipping action, the LiveWire was a favorite. Ultimately, it lost top honors to the Spirit based on weight and length.

The LiveWire is currently only available in 12-cm length. That’s fine for many climbs, but it can increase rope drag slightly on wandering lines. Even with its diminutive size, the LiveWire is still on the heavier end of our test.

It’s also on the expensive end. For the money, we slightly prefer the Spirit.

That said, we had only minor quibbles with the LiveWire, and it was one of our favorite quickdraws for sport climbing. If you prefer a wiregate feel (or you find them on a discount), the LiveWire won’t disappoint.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 108 grams
  • Gate: Solid/Wire (Hooded)
  • Dogbone length: 12 cm

DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw

DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw

If the Spirit Express is the Mercedes of the sport climbing world, the DMM Alpha Sport is the Bentley.

Two large solid-gate carabiners decorate either end, with curved and ridged spines for a secure grip.

The dogbone is long, wide, and capped by the beefiest rubber grommet we’ve ever seen. For build quality and ease of use, this draw rivals the Spirit.

The rope-side ‘biner has a deep and sharp curve in the gate to facilitate clipping. Some testers felt the design was unintuitive at first, but others loved how the gate guides the rope for quick and snappy clips.

Especially for thumb-style clippers, the Alpha Sport was a favorite.

The main drawback is weight. This was the heaviest draw in our test, checking in at 117 grams (about half an ounce more than the Spirit).

The other issue is the price — as of this writing, the Alpha Sport is the most expensive draw we tested. It’s nearly twice the price of our best value pick and a little bit pricier than the Spirit.

But for sport climbers who will settle for nothing less than the best, the Alpha Sport deserves a look. On a project, this is the draw we would want hanging at the crux.

The ridged spine of the DMM Alpha Sport Quickdraw.

Ridged spines make for secure handling.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 117 grams
  • Gate: Solid/Solid
  • Dogbone lengths: 12 cm, 18 cm, 25 cm

Petzl Ange Finesse

Petzl Ange Finesse

The Ange Finesse is Petzl’s version of a lightweight trad and alpine quickdraw.

It demonstrates Petzl’s usual attention to detail. Not content with the lifetime of a typical wiregate ‘biner, the company went back to the drawing board and designed the Ange’s unique monowire closure.

In practice, the gate got mixed reviews. The thin round stock is prone to clipping miscues, and a stiff gate tension doesn’t help.

The small rubber deflector at the base of the gate helps handling slightly, but the Ange wasn’t a tester favorite.

On the plus side, the hooded noses are snag free. The dogbone is well crafted and longer than the other lightweight draws in our test, which we appreciate for fighting rope drag.

Our dogbone was straight, but Petzl has just released a new version of the Finesse with a tapered dogbone. It adds a few grams of weight, but it’s likely more comfortable to grab.

Petzl also makes a smaller version of the Ange carabiner, which they’ll swap out on either or both ends of the draw. When we swapped in an Ange S during testing, we found it acceptable on the clipping end but harder to handle on the gear end.

The Ange is one of the most expensive quickdraws in our test. For alpinists who don’t mind a learning curve on the handling, it may be worth the dough. Otherwise, we recommend sticking to a cheaper trad draw.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 72 grams
  • Gate: Monowire/Monowire
  • Dogbone lengths: 10 cm, 17 cm

Black Diamond PosiWire Quickdraw

Black Diamond Posiwire Quickdraw

The Black Diamond PosiWire falls in between the high-end draws and the budget versions. The features are a blend of both.

On top, the PosiWire has a keylock solid-gate ‘biner, which is light and easy to use. The dogbone (the same as that of the FreeWire and PosiWire) strikes a balance between comfort and minimalism.

The bottom ‘biner is a wide wiregate. It’s pleasant to clip and easy to handle, but it’s a little finicky to unclip thanks to the notched closure and wide basket.

That’s a minor qualm in an otherwise enjoyable sport-climbing quickdraw.

It’s average in price as well. For that money we like the Petzl Djinn a little more, but we wouldn’t blame anyone for snagging a set of PosiWires instead, especially if you enjoy a lighter clipping feel.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 103 grams
  • Gate: Solid/Wire
  • Dogbone lengths: 12 cm, 16 cm

Black Diamond Positron Quickdraw

Black DIamond Positron Quickdraw

Identical to the PosiWire in most ways, the Positron has a solid-gate ‘biner on the clipping end and a slightly higher price.

In practice, testers found the gate on the Positron slightly less consistent than the PosiWire.

The round stock of the rope-side ‘biner didn’t guide the rope quite as nicely as the flat gate of the wire, and the gate tension wasn’t as snappy. On the flipside, the keylock nose was easier to unclip.

That’s mostly a wash. But the Positron is more expensive than the PosiWire, and more importantly, the Petzl Djinn.

The Positron isn’t particularly bad, but for an affordable solid-gate draw, we prefer the Djinn.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 110 grams
  • Gate: Solid/Solid
  • Dogbone lengths: 12 cm, 16 cm

Mad Rock Ultra Light Quickdraw

Mad Rock Ultra Light Quick Draw

Although the Ultra Light is virtually identical in shape to the Concorde, it was less popular among testers.

The culprit is the Ultra Light wiregate carabiners. These are squared off and angular, and they don’t handle as well as the Concorde ‘biners (or most of the ‘biners in our test).

The clipping isn’t particularly bad, but gate tension wasn’t consistent — even between the two carabiners on the draw.

The Ultra Light shares the stubby, thin dogbone of the Concorde. All told, it’s not a particularly inspiring package.

The major advantage is the price. This is the cheapest lightweight quickdraw in our test by far.

Foibles aside, it does get the job done with minimal weight. The Ultra Light weighs 72 grams, on par with the Ange and slightly more than the Oz.

While not as sophisticated as either competitor, the Ultra Light isn’t unsafe or difficult to use. For tradsters on a tight budget, it may be the ticket.

Product Specs

  • Weight: 72 grams
  • Gate: Wire/Wire
  • Dogbone length: 10 cm

Summary

Here are the best quickdraws for rock climbing:

  • Petzl Spirit Express
  • Black Diamond LiveWire
  • DMM Alpha Sport
  • Black Diamond Oz Quickdraw
  • Petzl Djinn Axess
  • Petzl Ange Finesse
  • Black Diamond PosiWire
  • Black Diamond Positron
  • Black Diamond FreeWire
  • Mad Rock Concorde
  • Mad Rock Ultra Light

How to Choose the Best Quickdraw for Your Needs

Types of Quickdraws

Quickdraws may combine a variety of features, but they loosely fall into two categories.

Sport climbing quickdraws are meant for clipping bolts. They’re usually on the heavier side, with thicker dogbones for easy grabbing. The carabiners often use keylock noses and solid gates to make clipping and cleaning easy.

Trad climbing quickdraws meet different needs. They’re light and minimalist to avoid bloat on an already hefty rack. Keylock noses are still handy for cleaning, but wire-gate carabiners are more common for weight savings.

Of course, all draws can be used for either sport or trad if you want. The two categories can be subdivided by their main features.

Gates

Carabiners fall into one of two categories: solid-gate or wiregate.

Solid-gate carabiners are slightly heavier, but provide a snappier clipping feel. Solid-gate construction allows a smooth keylock nose, which has no notch to snag on gear when cleaning.

Wiregate carabiners are lighter, but most have a notch at the closure which can catch while cleaning. To compensate, some manufacturers have devised ways to mimic the clean shape of a keylock nose while using a wiregate. Black Diamond, for example, adds a small wire “hood” that prevents the notch from snagging.

Wiregate carabiners tend to have a slightly lower gate tension than solid gates, but different climbers may have different preferences between the two.

Dogbone

Dogbones can vary by length and width.

Width is mostly important for grabbing and pulling on draws. Try as we might, we all need to haul on a bolt now and then. When you’re pulling yourself back to your high point or past a stopper move, a wide dogbone makes the job easier.

The DMM Alpha Sport clipped on a route.

The DMM Alpha Sport had the longest available dogbones of any draw in our test.

Longer dogbones create more distance between the gear and the rope, which can help mitigate rope drag on wandering routes. Most draws are around the same length, but some can be bought in shorter or longer lengths based on weight and length preferences.

If you’re making the transition from sport to trad, consider constructing a handful of alpine quickdraws.

How We Tested

Clipping bolts at the New River Gorge.

Getting creative with clipping positions.

Field Testing

As soon as it was warm enough, we took these draws out to adventure at all the crags we could get to. We clipped them to all manner of gear, built toprope anchors out of them, hauled on them, and hung from them.

At the end of the testing period, testers scored draws on how much they enjoyed using each.

The Clip Test

To standardize assessment as much as possible, I set up a clipping trial for all 11 quickdraws.

I arrived at the same stance each time, hung each draw, and clipped each the same way. This way I could compare draws using the exact same clipping motion to feel the differences in the gates and handling.

Climbing underneath a bridge.

Urban climbing, sponsored by DADS.