The Petzl Verso is one of two basic tube belay devices we included in this review. It's the lightest and smallest of all and features the same smooth rope handling as its more popular cousin, the Petzl Reverso. The Verso is tied for the most affordable device you can buy, and is a solid recommendation for people new to climbing. It does a capable job catching falls, feeding slack, and rappelling. The Verso and other tube-style devices are ideal for beginning climbers learning the basics of belaying. The compact, lightweight Verso could also be useful to experienced climbers that like to belay with an active assisted locking device but still need something small and light for the occasional two-strand rappel.
Petzl Verso Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Lightweight, smooth, compact
Cons: Weak lock off
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Petzl Verso is a classic tube-style manual belay device with additional friction grooves on one side and is the lightest device in our review. It is also the simplest, and the most affordable.
Don't confuse our discussion of belay devices here for actual instruction in how to use one. Check out this page released by Petzl, which includes many videos that properly instruct on how to use a simple tube-style belay device such as this one, and also the downloadable PDF instructions for use.
It is hard to differentiate between the catch of the Verso and other tube-style devices because they are so similar. All provide good braking strength in their higher friction modes for catching lead falls. When locking off a resting climber, however, we noticed the two teeth on the Verso two is less than the three teeth on devices made by Black Diamond, which produced greater friction, saving our grip strength for climbing instead of belaying. This cost the Verso a point in this category.
Lowering and rappelling is very similar with all the classic tube devices. Each is capable of rappelling double strands and locking off when you need to do some untangling. We tried to test them with lots of different ropes to identify subtler differences. Ultimately, we found the Verso (and Reverso) provided slightly more friction than the Black Diamond competition. This might demonstrate why the Petzl devices are approved down to 7.5 mm instead of BD's 7.7 mm limit.
Like catch and lowering, feeding slack was also nearly identical between the tube devices. Devices of this style are the simplest and our favorite for feeding slack to a leader because they let us do so with the least possible hand movements. We did notice a tiny bit more jerkiness pulling rope through the Verso, but this had little bearing on overall performance.
Weighing in at 2.0 oz, the Verso is the lightest and smallest belay device we tested. The difference wasn't enormous though (three devices came within 0.3 ounces of it), but this is the ideal choice for weight-conscious minimalists.
Auto-block (resistance belaying a second)
The Verso is not designed to be used to belay a follower directly off an anchor. In a multi-pitch situation, you can use it to belay directly off your harness redirected through the anchor. We examine nine devices capable of auto-block mode in our review, and we recommend that you choose one of those instead if you intend to do much multi-pitching, as this feature is very nice in those situations.
The Petzl Verso isn't the cheapest belay device on the market but it is one of the cheapest in this review. It's frequently on sale so look around if you're on a tight budget.
Overall the Petzl Verso fulfills its role as a basic tube-style belay device. These designs are great for new or experienced climbers that appreciate simplicity and a good deal. When compared with its direct competition in this class though, we noticed a few small drawbacks in lock-off strength and durability. Nevertheless, the Verso is a capable belay device and well worth your consideration.
— Andy Wellman & Jack Cramer