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

Black Diamond Neutrino Review

A tried-and-true workhorse carabiner that's heavier than most.
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Price:  $7 List | $6.95 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Durable, easy to hold, color-coded to match BD cams
Cons:  Heavier and smaller than most other light carabiners
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Cam McKenzie Ring ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 29, 2018
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65
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 10
  • Ease of clipping - 20% 7
  • Rope pull smoothness - 15% 7
  • Ease of unclipping - 15% 5
  • Ease of handling - 15% 7
  • How many ropes fit - 15% 7
  • Portability - 20% 6

The Skinny

When the Black Diamond Neutrino was first released, it was a revelation to trad and big wall climbers. It was smaller and lighter than the other options at the time, and BD anodized them with various colors to match with their cams for easy racking and selection. Fast forward almost twenty years, and there are now dozens of lighter carabiners available, including BD's own Oz. That the Neutrino is still in production is a testament to its durability and affordability. And if you want something that can handle a lot of hard use, the Neutrino is a smart pick. But, other lighter options have turned our heads, and if your goal is to lighten up, then our Top Pick for Lightweight, the Black Diamond Oz, weighs 8 grams less per carabiner and is the same size. If you don't mind something even smaller, the Camp Nano 22 is 14 grams lighter per carabiner, a significant savings.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Black Diamond Neutrino is a wiregate carabiner that weighs 36 grams. It is similar in size and shape to the Black Diamond Oz, and each has a 22mm gate opening. However, the Neutrino weighs 36 grams and the Oz only 28 grams.

Performance Comparison


A well-used red Neutrino racked on a red Camalot. These carabiners are beefy and will withstand a lot of use. They are a little on the heavy side though compared to some newer options out there.
A well-used red Neutrino racked on a red Camalot. These carabiners are beefy and will withstand a lot of use. They are a little on the heavy side though compared to some newer options out there.

Ease of Clipping & Unclipping


The Neutrino is slightly smaller than a "full-sized" carabiner, and unless you've used this size carabiner a lot, it takes a little getting used to when clipping. The tension on the wiregate is also a little on the stiff side, particularly when compared to something that is a little softer like the Camp Photon Wire. When it comes to unclipping, there is an exposed notch in the nose to catch the wiregate, and that can snag on your slings or other gear. While it wasn't as noticeable when only used for racking cams, we preferred the Oz or the Petzl Ange L with their hooded notches for most other applications.

The Neutrino (left) has an exposed notch. The Oz's notch (right) is covered with a wire hood to prevent snags.
The Neutrino (left) has an exposed notch. The Oz's notch (right) is covered with a wire hood to prevent snags.

Ease of Handling


The Neutrino is a step down in size from the classic "full-size" carabiner, and if you're only used to larger ones, there is a slight learning curve to feel comfortable with it. After a while though, it feels fine in hand, and it's certainly more usable than the tiny Metolius FS Mini II and even the Camp Nano 22.

It might not look that much bigger than the Nano (right)  but the difference is noticeable in hand. Depending on your hand size you may be able to go down to a Nano-sized carabiner and not notice the difference  in which case you could save a lot of weight.
It might not look that much bigger than the Nano (right), but the difference is noticeable in hand. Depending on your hand size you may be able to go down to a Nano-sized carabiner and not notice the difference, in which case you could save a lot of weight.

How Many Ropes Fit


This carabiner can fit two figure eights on a bight, but it's a struggle to get the third one in there. It does take a clove hitch well and is fine for use with trad anchor building.

This carabiner can hold a clove hitch without any issues  but when it came to our three-rope test  the basket wasn't deep enough to accept all three and still have room for the gate to open.
This carabiner can hold a clove hitch without any issues, but when it came to our three-rope test, the basket wasn't deep enough to accept all three and still have room for the gate to open.

Rope Pull Smoothness


The pull on this carabiner fell similar to other models of its size, like the Oz and the Trango Phase. The angle on the basket is almost less severe than on some other carabiners, which lets twin ropes run more smoothly through it. Also, the other end of the carabiner (where your cam sling or runner will sit) is also wider than most other models, no doubt to better accept the wider slings found on the Black Diamond Camalots.

The pull on this carabiner was better than some of the smaller cams. The thinner nose doesn't protect the wiregate though.
The pull on this carabiner was better than some of the smaller cams. The thinner nose doesn't protect the wiregate though.

Portability


A lot of other carabiners have gone on a diet over recent years and shed some weight, but the Neutrino is still clocking in at 36 grams. To put it into perspective, if you have a double set of cams and some alpine draws and use 30 Neutrinos to put it all together, your rack will be close to a pound heavier than if you use the lightweight Camp Nano 22 instead. While a few grams or ounces here or there might not seem like much, in this case, it does add up to a lot! While some might want a beefier carabiner for aid climbing and not care about an extra pound here or there, in most instances it's hard not to advocate for going as light as possible.

Best Applications


If you're still using heavy ovals on your aid rack (around 60 grams each or so), then switching to the Black Diamond Neutrino will seem like a revelation. For a lightweight free rack though, they are now on the "heavy" side when compared to so many other lightweight options out there.

A yellow Neutrino racked on a gold Camalot. The shape of these carabiners fits perfectly with the BD cams  and they come in corresponding colors.
A yellow Neutrino racked on a gold Camalot. The shape of these carabiners fits perfectly with the BD cams, and they come in corresponding colors.

Value


The Neutrino retails for $7 apiece or $40 for a six-color rack pack. That makes it $3 less per carabiner than the Oz, which does add up when purchasing a dozen or so. If you're more concerned with the price, then these (or the Camp Nano, also $7 each) are a good option. Otherwise, if weight and usability are your main criteria, we prefer the Oz.

Conclusion


We still like some things about the Black Diamond Neutrino, particularly the way the geometry of the carabiner fits so nicely with the original Camalots. However, this model is starting to feel like a heavy dinosaur when compared to some lighter options out there. While it's still a good choice for an aid rack where you want something sturdy that can withstand a lot of use, it's not our first choice for our free climbing rack.


Cam McKenzie Ring