Petzl Verso Review
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|Pros||Lightweight, smooth, compact||Great for belaying seconds on multi-pitch climbs, durable, good value||Lightweight, easy to unlock, great for belaying two skinny ropes||Simple to use, great for belaying the follower, lightweight, feeds slack easily||Good friction control when rappelling and lowering, smooth paying out rope|
|Cons||Weak lock off||Heavier than the Reverso||Softer aluminum seems less durable, not ideal with ropes thicker than 9.5mm||No brake assist, more expensive than similar options, pivot function is rarely used||0.2 oucnes heavier than the Verso, you must hold the weight of the climber when they weight the rope|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight entry level belay device that gives our Best Buy winner a run for the money||An excellent value for multi pitch climbing, rappels, and double rope ascents||A match made in rock heaven for skinny ropes and climbers counting weight||A good alternative to auto-blocking tube devices, with a pivot function to help lower followers||A simple design suited for building proper belay technique|
|Rating Categories||Petzl Verso||Black Diamond ATC G...||Petzl Reverso||DMM Pivot||Black Diamond ATC XP|
|Catch and Bite (30%)|
|Lowering and Rappelling (30%)|
|Feeding Slack (20%)|
|Weight and Bulk (10%)|
|Auto Block (10%)|
|Specs||Petzl Verso||Black Diamond ATC G...||Petzl Reverso||DMM Pivot||Black Diamond ATC XP|
|Style||Tube style||Auto-block tube||Auto-block tube||Auto-block tube||Tube style|
|Recommended Rope Diameter||7.5 mm - 11 mm||7.7 mm - 11 mm||7.5 mm - 11 mm||8.7 mm - 11 mm||7.7 mm - 11 mm|
|Weight (oz)||2 oz||2.8 oz||2.2 oz||2.5 oz||2.2 oz|
|Double Rope Rap?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Belay off anchor?||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
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.
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