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Black Diamond Refillable Chalk Shot Review

This is the chalk ball for people who don't like using chalk balls, but have to because their gym makes them.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $5 List
Pros:  Very porous cloth, decent coverage for a chalk ball
Cons:  Still allows a lot of chalk dust into the air
Manufacturer:   Black Diamond
By Matt Bento ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 29, 2019
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OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 8
  • Friction & Overall Feel - 25% 7
  • Coverage - 25% 7
  • Mess - 25% 7
  • Value - 25% 7

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond Refillable Chalk Shot is a happy compromise between coverage and cleanliness. Friction fiends will find it to easy to squeeze the chalk through the porous cloth, while gym staff will appreciate there being less chalk to clean off the floor. At first glance, the BD ball appears to be the same product as the chalk sock from Metolius, but after some first-hand experience, our testers feel there are some marked differences between these two balls.

We'll go ahead and cut to the chase here: If your gym bans loose chalk (there are some compelling reasons for this) and you hate using a chalk ball, the BD is the one to get. It's more porous than its Metolius competition, so you'll get more chalk on your hands. If you're legitimately concerned about your climber kids making a mess or you want to improve your gym's air quality, the Metolius Super Chalk Sock is a better choice.


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Price $5 List$4.09 at Backcountry
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$12.95 at Amazon$3.34 at Backcountry
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$19.00 at REI
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Pros Very porous cloth, decent coverage for a chalk ballWidely available, good texture and friction, nice priceExcellent value, good friction and coverageCoats hands well, least expensive "climbing specific" chalkGreat Coverage, Excellent friction, almost no dust
Cons Still allows a lot of chalk dust into the airEasy to spill, creates a lot of dustUnusable if you have cuts and abrasions on your handsLow friction, doesn't last as long as other chalks.Not a great value
Bottom Line This is the chalk ball for people who don't like using chalk balls, but have to because their gym makes them.No bells and whistles with White Gold. This magnesium carbonite keeps your hands dry without costing an arm and a leg.This liquid chalk lets you apply a solid base layer of chalk on your hands without creating a cloud of dust.This chalk is the most cost effective way to keep your hands dry.When you need all the friction you can get, this chalk cream delivers.
Rating Categories Refillable Chalk Shot Black Diamond White Gold Mammut Liquid Chalk Metolius Super Chalk Friction Labs Secret Stuff
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Specs Refillable Chalk... Black Diamond... Mammut Liquid Chalk Metolius Super Chalk Friction Labs...
Resealable Packaging? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Price Per oz $4.95 per ball $1.03/oz $1.94/oz $0.80/oz $7.60/oz
Type Refillable Ball Loose Liquid Loose Liquid
Drying Additive No No No Yes No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The porous cloth on this chalk balls allows you to get a healthy serving of chalk on your hands but doesn't do much in terms of reducing dust in the climbing gym.
The porous cloth on this chalk balls allows you to get a healthy serving of chalk on your hands but doesn't do much in terms of reducing dust in the climbing gym.

Friction & Overall Feel


For chalk to pass through the small holes in the cloth and onto your hands, it has to have a very fine, powdery texture. Some of our testers prefer the Gorilla Grip chunkier texture of loose chalk, but if you fill this chalk sock with chunky chalk, you won't get much out of it. If you dig the silky texture, then you're psyched!


Coverage


You'll get much better coverage with the Black Diamond Chalk Shot than with the Metolius version. Significantly more chalk covered the hands of our testers using the BD Shot because of its porous cloth. One of our testers appreciated this while testing chalk in a climbing gym in North Carolina, where it turns out to be just as humid indoors as it is outside. The BD ball is a tad smaller than the Metolius and arrived with the chalk packed in tightly, where the Metolius feels more spongy and squeezable.


We were pleasantly surprised by how much chalk we could actually get on our hands with the BD Ball.
We were pleasantly surprised by how much chalk we could actually get on our hands with the BD Ball.

Mess


This chalk ball will prevent big spills and wasted chalk all over the floor, but it's the messier of the chalk ball options in this review for a couple reasons. First of all, the powdery chalk comes through the cloth so easily that we don't feel like it actually does a ton for the air quality. Just handling the ball right out of the package, our testers managed to get a light dusting of chalk everywhere.


In terms of refilling, the Metolius Super Chalk Sock is the easier option since it has a slightly wider opening. The elastic cord on the BD Shot does a fine job of keeping the chalk in though, and the cord lock allows you to seal it up tightly.

One gentle slap from this chalk sock results in more chalk than the Metolius version  but most of our testers prefer to use loose chalk when they can.
One gentle slap from this chalk sock results in more chalk than the Metolius version, but most of our testers prefer to use loose chalk when they can.

Value


For $4.95, you get a refillable ball that will last a long time as long as you don't overfill it and are gentle when you cinch it closed. BD sells a non-refillable version for a dollar less, and we really can't think of a good reason to spend a dollar less for something you're just going to throw away. The Metolius refillable Chalk Sock is about 50 cents less, so unless you're buying these things buy the hundreds, just go with what's most appealing to you.


Best Applications


Again, the BD ball is definitely the best choice for those who feel they need to have a lot of chalk on their hands to climb well but are required to use a chalk ball in the gym. One of our testers likes to make sure there is a ball in his chalk bag for alpine climbing since strong updrafts tend to blow loose chalk out of the bag.

Of the two chalk balls we reviewed  we're most likely to climb outdoors with BD's  since dust isn't as much of an issue and their ball provides better coverage.
Of the two chalk balls we reviewed, we're most likely to climb outdoors with BD's, since dust isn't as much of an issue and their ball provides better coverage.

Conclusion


Our testers were pleasantly surprised to discover actual differences between the chalk balls in this review, and while one isn't necessarily better than the other, it's great to have options!


Matt Bento