Reviews You Can Rely On

DMM Pivot Review

A good alternative to auto-blocking tube devices, with a pivot function to help lower followers
DMM Pivot
Photo: DMM
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $35 List | $34.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Simple to use, great for belaying the follower, lightweight, feeds slack easily
Cons:  No brake assist, more expensive than similar options, pivot function is rarely used
Manufacturer:   DMM
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 16, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 17
  • Catch and Bite - 30% 5
  • Lowering and Rappelling - 30% 9
  • Feeding Slack - 20% 9
  • Weight and Bulk - 10% 9
  • Auto Block - 10% 4

Our Verdict

The DMM Pivot is a tube-style belay device with auto-blocking capabilities. It generally performs as well as other similar belay devices, with similar amounts of bite when catching lead falls and similar amounts of friction when pulling slack through the device when belaying a follower. It falls in the middle of the pack in terms of weight and diameter of ropes with which it is compatible. What sets this device apart from other auto-blocking devices is a pivoting anchor loop, which allows the device to be more easily rotated and "opened" when weighted in autoblock mode. We don't end up using this feature all that much in real life and prefer other ways of lowering the following climber, so the "pivot" function feels more like a gimmick than breakthrough technology.

Compare to Similar Products

 
DMM Pivot
This Product
DMM Pivot
Awards  Best Buy Award    
Price $34.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$29.95 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$29.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$21.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$24.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
73
73
73
69
69
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Simple to use, great for belaying the follower, lightweight, feeds slack easilyGreat for belaying seconds on multi-pitch climbs, durable, good valueLightweight, easy to unlock, great for belaying two skinny ropesLightweight, smooth, compactGood friction control when rappelling and lowering, smooth paying out rope
Cons No brake assist, more expensive than similar options, pivot function is rarely usedHeavier than the ReversoSofter aluminum seems less durable, not ideal with ropes thicker than 9.5mmWeak lock off0.2 oucnes heavier than the Verso, you must hold the weight of the climber when they weight the rope
Bottom Line A good alternative to auto-blocking tube devices, with a pivot function to help lower followersAn excellent value for multi pitch climbing, rappels, and double rope ascentsA match made in rock heaven for skinny ropes and climbers counting weightA lightweight entry level belay device that gives our Best Buy winner a run for the moneyA simple design suited for building proper belay technique
Rating Categories DMM Pivot Black Diamond ATC G... Petzl Reverso Petzl Verso Black Diamond ATC XP
Catch And Bite (30%)
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Lowering And Rappelling (30%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Feeding Slack (20%)
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Weight And Bulk (10%)
9.0
8.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
Auto Block (10%)
4.0
5.0
3.0
0
0
Specs DMM Pivot Black Diamond ATC G... Petzl Reverso Petzl Verso Black Diamond ATC XP
Style Auto-block tube Auto-block tube Auto-block tube Tube style Tube style
Recommended Rope Diameter 8.7 mm - 11 mm 7.7 mm - 11 mm 7.5 mm - 11 mm 7.5 mm - 11 mm 7.7 mm - 11 mm
Weight (oz) 2.5 oz 2.8 oz 2.2 oz 2 oz 2.2 oz
Double Rope Rap? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Belay off anchor? Yes Yes Yes No No
Assisted Braking? No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The DMM Pivot is an autoblocking tube belay device that separates itself from the pack with a pivoting anchor loop that is useful when releasing the auto block, which is performed rarely. It isn't the lightest comparable device and doesn't accommodate modern 8.5mm single ropes.

Performance Comparison


The DMM Pivot in autoblock configuration while belaying a follower...
The DMM Pivot in autoblock configuration while belaying a follower in Eldorado Canyon, Colorado.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Catch and Bite


The Pivot does not feature a brake assist but does add some friction when catch a fall in tube mode with aluminum teeth that dig into the brake strand. This adds some friction, but the belayer's attentiveness and technique is still required to catch a fall. If you are climbing anything difficult, we recommend a brake-assisted device, though tube-style lead belay devices are still common on easier multi-pitch and alpine routes. They are also suitable for winter climbing, as snow can interfere with some assisted brake functions on other devices.

Lowering and Rappelling


Tube-style devices are the best devices for smoothly lowering climbers on single-pitch climbs and rappelling, and the Pivot is no exception. It smoothly feeds out rope when weighted, and we couldn't tell the difference between this device and other similar devices in blind tests. It also functions well as a rappel device, accommodating ropes from 8.7mm to 11mm. Compared to the passive and active-assisted braking devices (ABDs), the Pivot is more effective, designed specifically for these purposes.

The DMM Pivot smoothly lowers climbers, shown here giving a backup...
The DMM Pivot smoothly lowers climbers, shown here giving a backup belay to a climber learning to rappel.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Feeding Slack


Again, the Pivot and other tube-style devices feed out slack better than the rest of the competition. There is almost zero resistance when feeding out slack quickly to a leader who is desperately clipping a piece of gear or moving fast over easy terrain. However, easily feeding slack can be a bad thing in the case of a leader fall with an inattentive or compromised belayer, which led to the invention of ABDs in the first place. But if feeding slack easily is your primary concern, tube-style devices like the Pivot should be at the top of your list.

Weight and Bulk


The Pivot is a relatively light and low-bulk device, even for tube-style devices. It weighs squarely in the middle of the range for auto-blocking tube devices and at the extreme low end of the spectrum compared to all ABDs. For alpine and multi-pitch climbers, devices like the Pivot are commonly used when weight or bulk is a concern. There are lighter devices out there, but not by much.

The DMM Pivot is relatively low-bulk, and weighs less than some...
The DMM Pivot is relatively low-bulk, and weighs less than some other auto-blocking devices on the market, though it isn't the lightest.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Auto Block


The Pivot features an auto-block configuration, making it suitable for multi-pitch climbing and securely belaying the follower(s) directly off the anchor, which gives the leader time to recover from the pitch, eating and drinking, and re-organizing gear before they either begin leading again when block leading or lead belaying if swinging leads. Pulling slack through the device is easy enough and creates an average amount of friction compared to other tube-style autoblock devices. Compared to some active ABDs, which pull slack through like butter, the Pivot feels relatively high-friction.

The DMM Pivot performs well as an autoblocking device for belaying...
The DMM Pivot performs well as an autoblocking device for belaying the second, though there is a decent amount of friction when pulling slack through.
Photo: Jeff Dobronyi

Value


The Pivot is a good value and is priced similarly to other devices in the same category and that achieve the same functions, though it isn't the cheapest. It is a good option for users on a budget who are also curious about the pivoting release function, though, in our expert experience, this function isn't worth paying more for.

Conclusion


The DMM Pivot is a good auto-blocking tube device, though it isn't the lightest option, nor is it compatible with the skinniest single ropes on the market. It also incurs a moderate amount of friction when pulling slack through the device in autoblock mode. In our estimation, this device is nothing special, and the pivoting anchor loop is rarely an asset. Still, this is a good belay device that performs in the middle of the pack for auto-blocking belay devices.

Jeff Dobronyi