Hands-on Gear Review

Edelrid Eddy Review

For gym climbing and easy-access crags, this device plays it safe.
By: Jack Cramer ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 31, 2016
Price:  $130 List  |  $129.95 at Amazon
Pros:  Anti-panic lowering handle, durable, better for lefties
Cons:  Heavy, huge, and expensive
Manufacturer:   Edelrid
70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 13
  • Catch and Bite - 30% 9
  • Lowering and Rappelling - 30% 7
  • Feeding Slack - 15% 5
  • Auto Block - 10% 8
  • Weight and Bulk - 10% 2
  • Durability - 5% 9
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Our Verdict

The Edelrid Eddy has been around for a while but has yet to gain much popularity. Although it may look like our Editors' Choice winner, the Petzl GriGri 2, it weighs twice as much and costs more. The Eddy does have a few benefits over the GriGri 2: it's smoother with thick ropes (>10.0mm), more durable, and features an anti-panic lowering mechanism. This mechanism stops the rope if the belayer pulls the handle too hard or loses control during descent. For these reasons, it's one of our favorite devices for pure top-roping. At one time the Eddy would have been our recommendation for safety-minded climbers. However, the Camp Matik came out recently and is now our favorite in that respect.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Edelrid Eddy is an active assisted braking belay device.

Performance Comparison


You rig the Edelrid Eddy in the opposite direction of the Petzl GriGri 2. This was tricky to learn but made it a little easier to belay for left-handed climbers.
You rig the Edelrid Eddy in the opposite direction of the Petzl GriGri 2. This was tricky to learn but made it a little easier to belay for left-handed climbers.

Catch/Bite


The Eddy is approved for rope diameters between 9.0 and 11.0 mm. Within this range, it provides a reliable static catch using a cam that locks in place. Taking in more rope will release this cam, but to feed slack again, it has to be manually released. It's not much of an inconvenience, and our testers appreciated the confidence this locking mechanism inspired. Climbers familiar with the GriGri will recognize the Eddy's similar shape. The Eddy's orientation, however, is opposite the GriGri, with the brake strand closer to the belayer's body and the climber strand exiting on the far side. We think this orientation makes the Eddy easier to use left-handed, though it's still not ideal because the lowering handle isn't ambidextrous.

The cam in locked position with the Edelrid Eddy. Unlike the other assisted braking devices  you have to disengage this cam manually before you can start to feed slack again.
The cam in locked position with the Edelrid Eddy. Unlike the other assisted braking devices, you have to disengage this cam manually before you can start to feed slack again.

Lowering/Rappelling


Many injuries have resulted from panicked belayers pulling back too hard on the handle of active-assisted locking devices and dropping their partners to the ground. To prevent this from happening the Eddy's lowering lever is designed to stop the rope when it's pulled too far. To lower a climber properly you have to keep the lever in a half-way position where rope will feed but the device won't lock. Although this is a safety feature that could prevent injuries with beginner belayers, some of our experienced testers were frustrated by the narrow range of the lowering "sweet spot." While the Petzl GriGri+ had a slightly less sensitive lever, the Eddy's sweet spot is larger than the Camp Matik.

The Eddy features an anti-panic lowering mechanism. This is designed to prevent belayers from accidentally lowering their partners too quickly. Proper function is dependent on rope diameter  sheath friction and other variables. Please refer to the owner's manual.
The Eddy features an anti-panic lowering mechanism. This is designed to prevent belayers from accidentally lowering their partners too quickly. Proper function is dependent on rope diameter, sheath friction and other variables. Please refer to the owner's manual.

The Eddy is the smoothest device we tested at lowering with large ropes (>10.5 mm). On some beat up, stiff, static lines we tried rappelling, the Eddy was the only assisted locking device that actually allowed us to descend.

Feeding Slack


Feeding slack with the Eddy is both better and worse than with the GriGri 2. Better because you can pull the rope through the device faster than the with GriGri, making it easier to keep pace with a leader. But worse because when you do pull too fast, the cam locks in place and won't let you feed anymore until you manually release it. This can create bad short roping issues when the leader unexpectedly jerks the rope, the device locks, and the belayer struggles to release the cam.

The smoothness of taking in rope the Edelrid Eddy made it one of our favorites for top roping.
The smoothness of taking in rope the Edelrid Eddy made it one of our favorites for top roping.

Auto-block (resistance belaying a second)


When belaying a follower directly off an anchor, the Eddy provided the third least resistance. It was bested though by both the Petzl GriGri 2 and +. Still, the Eddy is much easier to belay with from above than popular options like the Black Diamond ATC Guide or Petzl Reverso 4.

Weight/Bulk


At 13.0 ounces, the Eddy is the heaviest belay device we tried and more than 30% heavier the second heaviest, the Camp Matik. It's also huge, bigger than any other device we tried. On your screen, these 4oz/1 inch differences might not sound significant, but they're impossible to miss with all the devices actually in hand.

The size difference between the four active assisted locking devices. Clockwise from the upper left it's the Edelrid Eddy  Camp Matik  Trango Cinch  and Peztl GriGri 2.
The size difference between the four active assisted locking devices. Clockwise from the upper left it's the Edelrid Eddy, Camp Matik, Trango Cinch, and Peztl GriGri 2.

Durability


The reason the Eddy weighs so much is its mostly stainless steel construction—only certain parts of the green handle appear to be aluminum and plastic. This stainless steel stands up to friction much better than the aluminum on some competitors. In the past, this durability would have been a big advantage over other devices, but with the recent introduction of the Camp Matik this is no longer the case. We think the Matik is at least as durable as the Eddy, if not more so because it's also stainless steel and has less moving parts.

Best Applications


We think the Eddy's high weight limits its practical use to gyms and easy access crags. Its added safety features make it ideal for camps or multi-purpose gyms that introduce lots of people to climbing.

The Edelrid Eddy is smooth and reliable enough for big walls  but would you want to lug its 13.0 oz up a pitch this steep?
The Edelrid Eddy is smooth and reliable enough for big walls, but would you want to lug its 13.0 oz up a pitch this steep?

Value


The Eddy is one of the more expensive belay devices at $129.95. This is $30 more than the Petzl GriGri 2, but $20 less than the new GriGri+.

Conclusion


There was a time when the Edelrid Eddy created real competition with the original Petzl GriGri. However, with the introduction of the GriGri 2 and +, and as rope diameters have steadily decreased, that is no longer true. Today, the Eddy feels overpriced, overweight, and outmatched in a field of belay devices that has grown lighter and smoother each passing year. Furthermore, shoppers who once looked to the Eddy for maximum safety can now consider the Camp Matik as well.

Jack Cramer

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Most recent review: January 31, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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5 star: 0%  (0)
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3 star: 100%  (1)
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