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Black Diamond Positron Review

Black Diamond Positron
Photo: Black Diamond
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Price:  $10 List
Pros:  Good value, easy to unclip from bolts, good all around biner
Cons:  Not the lightest, didn't score as high as others
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Chris McNamara and Chris Summit  ⋅  Dec 5, 2016
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  • Ease of unclipping - 15% 9
  • Ease of clipping - 20% 6
  • Ease of handling - 15% 8
  • How many ropes fit - 15% 8
  • Rope pull smoothness - 15% 8
  • Portability - 20% 2

Our Verdict

Product Recall: February 2016
Positron straight gate 210153 / 210261 and bent gate 210154 were recalled by Black Diamond in February of 2016. If you believe that you might own any of these products, read through this safety recall notice to figure out your next move.

The Black Diamond Positron is a good medium-sized carabiner for sport, trad, or top rope routes. The stand out feature being its easy-to-unclip keylock design. It comes in both straight and bent gate versions. The Petzl Spirit Straight Gate and Petzl Djinn Straight Gate are its main competitors, as both have a similar solid gate keylock design. These other biners are a little lighter, a little easier to pull rope through, and they have grooves in the gate that make them a little easier to do reachy clips. Overall, we prefer the Spirit, but the Positron is much less expensive ($7.95 vs $9.95 for the Spirit). Since the Black Diamond Positron also is a great biner, we wouldn't hesitate to recommend it if you are on a budget. If you just want the most carabiner for your money, it's hard to go wrong with the Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire.

Updated 11/16
Black Diamond has confirmed some changes to the Positron for this season. Keep reading for more info!

Our Analysis and Test Results

Updated Version for 2016

According to Black Diamond, the Positron has been updated this year with some structural and cosmetic changes. Still offered in bent and straight gate configurations, these carabiners are available in two colors: black and gold. Check out the new designs, with the bent gate on the left and the straight gate on the right. Keep reading for a full summary of the design changes.
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Key updates summary:
  • Design — An increased surface area in the rope-bearing area of the biner.
  • Nose — The updated key lock nose is designed to prevent snagging, though we haven't tested this out ourselves yet.

Hands-On Review


Due to the keylock gate design, the Black Diamond Positron is one of the easiest carabiners to unclip from bolt hangers on steep routes. Also, the keylock makes this a great carabiner to rack nuts and gear on (it won't get hung up as easily on a sling). Other than that, this is just a great work horse biner. It's not light but it works in a variety of situations, is easy to clip and handle, and gets the job done.

The Positrons on Amanda's harness are easy to clip and unclip...
The Positrons on Amanda's harness are easy to clip and unclip, especially on steeper sport routes.
Photo: Niall Andrews


There were no major dislikes with this carabiner other than it just didn't perform quite as well as others. It was not one of the easiest to clip and not one of the lightest which propelled other competitors ahead.

Clipping the Positron draws in the Red River Gorge. This draw didn't...
Clipping the Positron draws in the Red River Gorge. This draw didn't score as highly in our ease of grabbing or portability metrics, but it earned good marks in ease of handling and clipping.
Photo: Jacob Stanley

Best Application

Everyday quickdraw biner. Also great for people starting out because of the good price.

Amanda uses the easy to clip Positrons to work her project on Hvar...
Amanda uses the easy to clip Positrons to work her project on Hvar Island, Croatia. These draws are some of the heaviest we tested, but this workhorse has a durable design.
Photo: Diego Cairns


This is one of the best deals on a keylock carabiner. However, once you compare it to other non-keylock carabiners, it is just in the middle of the value range.

Other Versions

Black Diamond Oz
  • Cost - $9
  • Lightweight (28g - 1oz)
  • Hood covers nose of biner and eliminates a notch

Black Diamond Hotwire Carabiner
Black Diamond Hotwire
  • Cost - $8
  • Full size yet fairly light weight (37g - 1.3oz)

Black Diamond Positron Quickdraw
Black Diamond Positron Quickdraw

Chris McNamara and Chris Summit