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Hands-on Gear Review

Metolius Element Review


Locking Carabiner

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Price:   Varies from $8 - $10 online  —  Compare at 5 sellers
Pros:  Good value, keylock gate, compact, smooth when used in auto-block mode.
Cons:  Gate takes many spins, small gate clearance.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Metolius

Overview

The Metolius Element is an affordable, medium-sized locking carabiner that excels at trad climbing belaying. There is a lot of competition among pear-shaped carabiners. While the Element didn't score at the top, it performed solidly and is tied for least expensive with the Mad Rock Ultra Tech HMS. It also stood out as one of the most compact pear-shaped carabiners, which is both a pro and a con. It did not hold as much stuff but also was low profile when clipped to the side of the harness. The Mad Rock is lighter and scored higher but the Metolius is better for belaying off the anchor in auto block mode with a device like the Petzl Reverso 4. The Petzl Attache also scored higher than the Element but the Attache is more expensive and heavier. For its size, weight and performance when belaying a second, the Element is a solid locking carabiner. View our complete Best Locking Carabiner Review to see how this stacked up against others.

View our complete Locking Carabiner Review to see how this product compared to others.

New Colors Available - August 2016
Metolius has updated the colors for this locking carabiner. Keep reading to find out more!


RELATED: Our complete review of locking carabiner

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
Chris McNamara
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Tuesday
January 12, 2010

New Colors 2016


The Element Locking Carabiner is now offered in both green and black colors. The previous brown color option has been discontinued. According to the manufacturer, the rest of this carabiner remains unchanged.

Check out a side-by-side comparison, with the new black Element pictured on the left and the older green version shown on the right.
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge 

Hands-On Review


Likes


The is one of the most compact pear-shaped carabiners available. When clipped to the side of the harness, it flops around less than the competitors. While in general we didn't like the fact that the gate takes so many twists to close, some climbers may appreciate this as meaning the gate is less likely to open inadvertently. It has a big and smooth diameter size, which means the rope runs smoothly over it, especially in auto-block mode when belaying the second on a multi-pitch climb.

Dislikes


The gate stood out as taking a ton of turns to open and close. If you are using this as a belay biner in a climbing gym, that can be a little annoying. The gate is also not as easy to finger as say the bigger gate on the Petzl Attache. While we like the compact size in some respects, it also means that this carabiner holds fewer slings and knots and overall is a little less versatile than most of its competitors that were a little larger.

Best Application


This is ideal as a belay carabiner for multi-pitch climbs. For its price and weight, it would also be a good locking carabiner to load up for other applications. However, if money is tight and weight is a concern, the best locking carabiner to load up on is the Black Diamond Quicksilver Screwgate.

Value


This is tied for the best price in the pear-shaped belay belay carabiner category. It's a great deal, especially when bought with the Metolius BRD belay device in the Metolius BRD Element Package. You also get this biner for a good price when you buy it with the Metolius Personal Anchor System.

Other Versions


Metolius Bravo Locker Carabiner
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  • Weight - 1.53 oz. (43 g)
  • Size - 3.6" x 2.2" (92 mm x 57.7 mm)
  • Strength - 24 kN (5400 lbf)
  • $9.50
Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: July 9, 2011
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)

50% of 4 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
6 Total Ratings
5 star: 50%  (3)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 33%  (2)
2 star: 17%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 5 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Jul 9, 2011 - 02:09am
WML · Climber · Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
Run of the mill lightweight locking biner. Have used it for just about every application a locking biner can have. Almost.

Keep it simple stupid, this thing is bomber.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 28, 2010 - 10:15pm
Studly · Climber · WA
I bought this biner to use as my primary belay/rap biner with my ATC. I have to say after just a few months of use, this biner grooved very heavily. In fact, more so then any other biner I have ever used. Not sure if its the shape/profile or the aluminum alloy is softer then normal. But I have had to retire the biner as I no longer trust it the rope grooves are so deep and substanial.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 22, 2010 - 04:30pm
franky · Climber · Bishop, CA
It seems the lock on this biner takes quite a few more turns to unlock that the Attache. It also doesn't turn as smooth and can tighten down pretty hard in the all the way open position, making it hard to close again. I like the purely round profile though. Mine might be an isolated case, I'll probably toss some cam lube on the lock and hope it gets better.

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 19, 2010 - 09:45pm
squishy · Climber
I switched from a large DMM boa to this for my primary belay biner. I had tried it out on an alpine climb to save weight and just never switched back, I love it. I use a Reverso3 and it works perfectly, in fact it's smoother. For use as a block, with the guide or reverso, it's a must have. These, like all Metolius biners, are made by Smileys I think..

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jan 11, 2010 - 06:14pm
Mike. · Climber
This is a beautiful little Halbmastwurfsicherung (HMS) 'biner. Lightweight and probably as small as you'd want a belay crab.

The keylock nose has a distinct point shape which is great for scooping up fat webbing (for those of us belaying without a donut).

The lock sleeve requires the greatest number of turns to fully lock of any screwlock 'biner I've used. On the good side it will be commensurately harder for this 'biner to unscrew itself into an open-able position. I can live with the extra second of sleeve rotations for the security and nice biner it is. My ATC-style belay device lives on this 'biner for every type of climbing I do.
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