The DMM Alpha Light is a compact wiregate carabiner. It's a little lighter than some full-size carabiners but also a little harder to handle. The notch is buried in the nose of the carabiner, which helps prevent snags, but the smaller gate opening and carabiner geometry still make it a little more challenging to unclip than the Black Diamond Oz. However, it does have higher strength ratings than the Oz, so if the Oz's bare minimum 20 kN rating bothers you a little, the Alpha light could fit the bill for you instead. We did like the shape of this model when racked on an alpine sling, but they are on the expensive side ($15), which is something to consider if you need to buy a lot of them. The Trango Phase retails for only $6, is 4 gram lighter, and seems like a better choice all things considered.
DMM Alpha Light Carabiner Review
Cons: Expensive, heavier than other carabiners that are the same size
Manufacturer: DMM Climbing
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DMM Alpha Light Carabiner
|Price||$14.95 at Amazon||$13.45 at Backcountry|
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|Pros||Notch is in the nose of the carabiner, which reduces snags and protects the gate||Lightweight for a full-size carabiner, snag-free wiregate||Lightweight and full size, easy clipping and handling||Keylock wiregate has no notch, easy to handle, large rope-bearing surface||Lightweight, inexpensive, better handling than a "keychain" carabiner|
|Cons||Expensive, heavier than other carabiners that are the same size||Expensive, heavier than some ofther options.||Wiregate’s notch can snag on rope or gear||Heavy, expensive, single "wiregate" takes some getting used to||Slightly maller than full size, exposed notch for the gate, only available in two colors|
|Bottom Line||We liked this carabiner for making alpine draws but it's on the expensive side.||A fantastic all-around carabiner thanks to its combination of clean-nose and size to weight ratio.||A full size and lightweight carabiner that's ideal for climbing with gloves on.||If you love all things Petzl and are looking for a wiregate carabiner, the Ange L (and smaller S) are the only options, but they're not our favorite.||An inexpensive carabiner that's perfect for alpine draws.|
|Rating Categories||DMM Alpha Light Carabiner||Wild Country Helium Carabiner||Photon Wire Straight Gate||Petzl Ange L||Mad Rock Ultra Light Wire|
|Ease Of Clipping (20%)|
|Rope Pull Smoothness (15%)|
|Ease Of Unclipping (15%)|
|Ease Of Handling (15%)|
|How Many Ropes Fit (15%)|
|Specs||DMM Alpha Light...||Wild Country...||Photon Wire...||Petzl Ange L||Mad Rock Ultra...|
|Manufacturer Weight (g)||32||33||30||34||31|
|Gate Clearance (mm)||23||27||26||26||22|
|Forging Method||Hot||Hot||Cold||Not Specified||Hot|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Ease of Clipping and Unclipping
The clipping action on this carabiner is nice and snappy, but depending on how you like to clip it might feel a little narrow. The notch is buried in the nose of the carabiner, which makes unclipping it faster than others.
Ease of Handling
The Alpha Light is smaller than a full-size carabiner but not quite as tiny as the Metolius FS Mini II and the CAMP Nano 22. It's probably a hair too small to use comfortably with gloves on but is about what we are looking for on a camming device or for slings. We like how slings work on this carabiner, particularly thin 10 mm Spectra ones. Those who use wider slings or who have cams with 18mm slings might be better off with a wider carabiner.
How Many Ropes Fit
Because of the dimension of the basket, even with only two loops of rope in there (say with a clove hitch), it can be difficult to open the gate all the way. This makes it a poorer choice to use at an anchor where you may want to use one anchoring carabiner for multiple points.
Rope Pull Smoothness
The Alpha Light doesn't have the widest nor the narrowest rope bearing surface. As such, it scored in the middle of the pack for this category. While not as big a consideration when mostly leading routes, if you are looking for something to use as a top rope anchor, then a locking carabiner or doubled up Petzl Ange Ls are better choices.
This carabiner weighs 32 grams, which is a bit heavier than most of the other carabiners in its size class. The Wild Country Helium is 33 grams but considerably bigger, and the Black Diamond Oz is 28 grams and about the same size. Four grams might not seem like much here or there, but over your entire rack it could add up to several ounces or even a pound!
We liked this carabiner primarily for use on an alpine quickdraw setup.
The DMM Alpha Light retails for $15, which makes it the most expensive model in this review. While we'd happily pay $14 for our full-size Editors' Choice winner, the Wild Country Helium, we hesitate a bit about the price for this model. It's not that light nor as easy to use, and there are other similar options out there that cost less, like the $10 Black Diamond Oz and the $6 Trango Phase.
The DMM Alpha Light didn't stand out from the pack in any significant way. It's a great "smaller" carabiner if that's what you're looking for, but it didn't have too many advantages over other options that cost a third of the price. Unfortunately, due to the exchange rate between the UK and the US, and the fact that manufacturing your gear in the UK no doubt costs more than in other countries, this carabiner ends up costing a little too much for us compared to the competition.
— Cam McKenzie Ring