The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of gear

Black Diamond LiveWire Review

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $12 List
Pros:  Easy to clip, deep basket
Cons:  Not light, toward the more expensive end of biners
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Chris McNamara and Chris Summit  ⋅  Apr 11, 2010
  • 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
  • Ease of unclipping - 15% 8
  • Ease of clipping - 20% 9
  • Ease of handling - 15% 8
  • How many ropes fit - 15% 9
  • Rope pull smoothness - 15% 8
  • Portability - 20% 4

Our Verdict

Black Diamond no longer sells the LiveWire carabiner.

The Black Diamond HotWire and Black Diamond Livewire were some of first carabiners with the once revolutionary "wiregate" design. At first glance, the wiregate looks weak and fragile but after reading the specs and seeing them in action, it is no surprise that wiregates have become the default carabiner design. Fast forward a decade and there are a lot of competitors to the Livewire but it is still on of the best carabiners clipping the rope to while sport climbing. Black Diamond recently made it even better by adding a wire hood around the notch that prevents the nose from snagging.

Our Analysis and Test Results

Hands-On Review


This scored high for ease of clipping. The ridge and gate are easy to grasp and manage during a clip. With a deep basket, this binner accommodates multiple ropes if used at belays. The hood adds a little weight but also means it's less likely to get snagged when unclipping.


This is a heavier carabiner. If you are climbing with a big rack of draws you notice the difference between this and an ultralight biner.

Best Application

This is mainly intended to be on the rope-clipping end of a quickdraw. You can buy it separately and make your own quickdraw with another biner or buy the Black Diamond Livewire Quickdraw.


These are in the middle range of price. They are not cheap but not extremely expensive either.

Chris McNamara and Chris Summit