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Petzl Verso Review

A lightweight entry level belay device that gives our Best Buy winner a run for the money
Petzl Verso
Photo: Petzl website
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Price:  $25 List | $21.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, smooth, compact
Cons:  Weak lock off
Manufacturer:   Petzl
By Andy Wellman & Jack Cramer  ⋅  Feb 21, 2020
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69
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 16
  • Catch and Bite - 30% 5
  • Lowering and Rappelling - 30% 9
  • Feeding Slack - 20% 9
  • Weight and Bulk - 10% 9
  • Auto Block - 10% 0

Our Verdict

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.

Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $21.95 at REI
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightweight, smooth, compactEasy catch and hold, feeds slack smoothly, smooth lowering, handles ropes down to 8.5mmGreat for belaying seconds on multi-pitch climbs, durable, good valueThree belay modes in on device, affordable, stainless steel inserts for greater longevityCompact, safe and ergonomic way to pay out slack, a bit less expensive than GriGri
Cons Weak lock offA bit clunky, can only use one rope, takes time to master techniquesHeavier than the ReversoSlightly heavier than competitors, assisted braking mode requires learning a new belay techniqueMethod of clipping to harness is counter-intuitive, unlocking device under tension takes some practice, easy to lower too quickly
Bottom Line Smooth rope handling and a simple design all packed in to a mere two ouncesBy far the most popular belay device in the world is also one of the very bestSimple, durable, and optimal value for multi pitch climbsA Top Pick because of its unique combination of three different belay modes in one small and convenient deviceWith a little practice this device quickly became one we enjoy using, with few, if any, downsides
Rating Categories Petzl Verso Petzl GriGri Black Diamond ATC Guide Edelrid Giga Jul Trango Vergo
Catch And Bite (30%)
5
9
5
8
8
Lowering And Rappelling (30%)
9
7
9
8
7
Feeding Slack (20%)
9
7
9
7
8
Weight And Bulk (10%)
9
5
8
7
5
Auto Block (10%)
0
9
5
4
7
Specs Petzl Verso Petzl GriGri Black Diamond ATC... Edelrid Giga Jul Trango Vergo
Style Tube style Active assisted braking Auto-block tube Passive assisted braking Passive assisted braking
Recommended Rope Diameter 7.5 mm - 11 mm 8.5 mm - 11 mm 7.7 mm - 11 mm 7.8 mm - 10.0 mm 8.9 mm - 10.7 mm
Weight (oz) 2 oz. 6.3 oz. 2.8 oz. 4.3 oz. 7.1 oz.
Double Rope Rap? Yes No Yes Yes No
Belay off anchor? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Assisted Braking? No Yes, active No Yes, passive Yes, passive
Warranty 3 year 3 year 1 year 1 year 1 year

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.

Know How To Use Your Belay Device
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.

Performance Comparison


The exceptionally low weight of the Verso makes it a sensible choice...
The exceptionally low weight of the Verso makes it a sensible choice for alpine routes far from the road.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Catch/Bite


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.

We think the ATC XP (left) is slightly smoother and better at...
We think the ATC XP (left) is slightly smoother and better at locking off than the Petzl Verso (right).
Photo: Jack Cramer

Lowering/Rappelling


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.

The rappelling and lowering performance of the Verso was pleasant...
The rappelling and lowering performance of the Verso was pleasant and very similar to other tube devices we tried.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Feeding Slack


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.

Weight/Bulk


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.

The body and wire loop on the Black Diamond ATC XP (left) are both...
The body and wire loop on the Black Diamond ATC XP (left) are both larger than the Petzl Verso (right). The difference wasn't large enough to have a significant impact on our scoring.
Photo: Jack Cramer

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.

Value


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.

The light, compact Verso is great as a backup belay device at the...
The light, compact Verso is great as a backup belay device at the crag for the occasional two-strand rappel that your assisted locking device can't handle.
Photo: Jack Cramer

Conclusion


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