This is our favorite manual belay device and the Best Buy award winner. At $22, it's not the absolute cheapest option. However, we believe the basic features it includes increase its value and warrants the modest added cost. The ATC XP is designed in the classic tube shape but with a pair of toothed grooves on one side for greater friction. According to BD, these grooves offer three times more stopping power than the smooth-sided, original ATC. We preferred the XP over the similar Petzl Verso because it's more durable and required less hand strength to lock off a resting climber.
Its other competitors are the Petzl GriGri 2 and the Black Diamond ATC Guide. The GriGri 2 is better for gym belaying, sport climbing, and any situations where you either have really long belays, are locking off frequently, or the climber is falling a lot—or all three combined. That said, the GriGri 2 is almost five times the cost and triple the weight.
The ATC Guide is the better device if you're multi-pitch climbing and want to belay off the anchor. For a full look at all the belay devices we tested check out The Best Climbing Belay Device Review.
Keeping things fresh, Black Diamond's ATC-XP is now offered in two new colors. Keep scrolling to check them out!