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DMM HB Brass Offset Review

While not the best option for everyday trad climbing this tried-and-true micro-sized pieces of protection are hard to beat for aid climbs, big walls, or any other free climb that requires serious protection
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Price:  $156 List | $155.95 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Excellent in micro pin scars and flares, good head shape for textured rock, soft metal increases integrity of placements, low profile swag, stiff cables make placing them easier
Cons:  Hard to clean, brass head material less durable, not for everyday climbing, fixed cables make the wire more prone to kinking, expensive
Manufacturer:   DMM
By Ian Nicholson ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 6, 2020
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Our Verdict

The DMM HB Brass Offset (also known as simply DMM Brass Offsets) is the most popular "brassy" or micro nut on the market, and with good reason. These tiny pieces of passive protection revolutionized what is possible with traditionally placed gear when they were first released. Even now, after several updates and a lot more fierce competition, they remain one of the very best nuts for the tiniest of fissures and are our Top Pick for a Micro Nut. While hardly a day-in, day-out piece of protection for everyday trad climbing, they are considered mandatory on any big wall aid route or free climb that requires tiny protection. That being said, their softer brass heads aren't durable enough for most climbers for everyday use as they deform to the rock, and their cables are more prone to kinking.


Our Analysis and Test Results

From Eldorado Canyon to El Capitan, wherever you need micro-sized protection, these tried and true pieces of protection remain among the absolute best. While their durability isn't the greatest for every day trad climbing, they're tough to beat for their intended use - protecting the hardest to protect micro-fissures on Earth.

Performance Comparison


These aren't the best for day-in-day-out trad climbing as they simply get beat up too quickly. But for spicy free climbs and big walls  they are essentially mandatory and well worth their above-average price for their superior holding power in the tiniest of sizes.
These aren't the best for day-in-day-out trad climbing as they simply get beat up too quickly. But for spicy free climbs and big walls, they are essentially mandatory and well worth their above-average price for their superior holding power in the tiniest of sizes.

Flares and Pin Scars


Small spring-loaded camming devices have gotten notably better over the last decade, and more-and-more climbers are leaning toward carrying and using cams over nuts, given equal opportunity. Nuts still are an important part of any climber rack.

You can see their "offset" taper which refers to their shape which is thinner on the right than the left. This taper is matched perfectly to fit pin scars  small flares  and other places where few traditional nuts or cams will fit.
You can see their "offset" taper which refers to their shape which is thinner on the right than the left. This taper is matched perfectly to fit pin scars, small flares, and other places where few traditional nuts or cams will fit.

As a result of the more cam-first climbing era we are currently in, we rated each nut's performance in flares and pins scars higher than other metrics because it's these placements where a nut can be perfect while a cam might not even be able to hold body weight. Cams just don't tend to fit as well in smaller pin scars and flares, and thus a nut is required. All offset models certainly do better in these types of fissures, including the DMM Brass Offset, along with the DMM Alloy Offset, DMM Peenut, and Black Diamond Offset Micro. The DMM Brass Offsets are consistently some of the best performing nuts in small flares and cracks - though it's worth noting that the Black Diamond Offset Micros perform similarly. Besides an offset shape that is tapered more or less to fit old pin scars, both of these products use a softer metal (brass or a similar copper/iron alloy) in their heads to deform to the rock and offer a better "bite" when weighted. Their tiny sizes and offset shapes are why they are essentially mandatory for any big wall or aid climb.

The DMM Peenuts also perform extremely well in small flares and pin scars, and their aluminum heads make them far more durable. However, the DMM HB Brass Offsets (and the Black Diamond Offset Micros) offer a better bite and are produced in smaller sizes. Comparing these options, we'd say the Peenuts are a better all-around trad climbing nut while the DMM HB Brass Offset is best for aid climbing and the tiniest, trickest to protect traditionally protected routes.

All of our testers love the "scopes" on either side of this nut. This design lets their heads sit more flush against even textured or larger grained rock  which increases overall holding power and is one design aspect that sets this nut above its closest competition  the BD Micro Offset.
All of our testers love the "scopes" on either side of this nut. This design lets their heads sit more flush against even textured or larger grained rock, which increases overall holding power and is one design aspect that sets this nut above its closest competition, the BD Micro Offset.

More Parallel-Sided Cracks



Performance in Featured Rock

Relative to their size the HB Brass Offset perform quite well in more featured rock types, and this is one of their more notable advantages over the otherwise quite comparable Black Diamond Offset Micro. They have a larger and deeper "scope" on the sides more commonly in contact with the rock that does a better job at accommodating more textured, bigger grained, and larger, crystaled rock. We think DMM strikes a nice balance in their design where they left enough room for large-grained rock but kept enough surface area for good purchase in smoother rock types.

Ease of Cleaning


These tiny nuts are NOT easy to clean. This is because of their micro size which makes the heads harder to access, the head's brass material which we've mentioned deforms to the rock and the offset shape which means they don't like to be cleaned by pulling up on the cable, as it will promote kinking of the wire below the head. We do think the Black Diamond Offset Micro is ever so slightly easier to clean as they rounded off the deeper front edge of the nut to make it easier to wiggle free.

Comparing the profiles of the DMMs (left) and the Black Diamond's (right). One aspect we like better with the Black Diamond Micros is they are easier to clean. This was because BD rounded off one of the inside edges of this nut. While we don't think makes a drastic difference  it is noticeable.
Comparing the profiles of the DMMs (left) and the Black Diamond's (right). One aspect we like better with the Black Diamond Micros is they are easier to clean. This was because BD rounded off one of the inside edges of this nut. While we don't think makes a drastic difference, it is noticeable.

Durability


Like most micro brass or similar softer alloy nuts, these are not particularly durable. The brass in their heads is certainly far less durable than aluminum models, but even when compared to other brass models, the metal used in these DMM's is notably softer. We think the DMM brass is slightly softer than that of the BD Offset Micro which technically uses a copper-iron blend that proved moderately more durable. We think if you are looking for a day-in, day-out micro nut for general-purpose trad climbing, we'd go with the aluminum headed DMM Peenuts. However, for aid climbing or thin scary trad climbing where you want every little bit of holding power you can get (coming from the heads deforming on the rock), the DMM Brass Offset holds it down.

Showing the full-size run of the HB Brass Offsets.
Showing the full-size run of the HB Brass Offsets.

Versatility and Use in Other Orientations


These nuts can be placed in two orientations. However, because they are so small, when placing them along their less commonly used axis (with the narrower sides touching the rock), they are NOT very stable. This orientation is mostly for aid climbing or the most desperate of traditionally protected free climbs where it is hopefully nestled along with a bunch of other gear. The second axis is slightly offset to facilitate placing it on the outside of pin scars, and this axis functions very similarly to the Black Diamond Offset Micro. While most folks will hardly use this secondary axis, it is nice and isn't something that works as well with the DMM Peenuts.

Unfortunately  the DMM Brass is the most expensive micro nut on the market. If everything is equal  we certainly like them the best  however  we think the BD Offset Micro's are near as good and are significantly less.
Unfortunately, the DMM Brass is the most expensive micro nut on the market. If everything is equal, we certainly like them the best, however, we think the BD Offset Micro's are near as good and are significantly less.

Value


The HB Brass Offset are spendy, even when compared to other brass nuts, which are already more expensive than their aluminum counterparts. Are they expensive? Yes. Are they worth it on a big wall or micro protected trad climb? Easily yes, though we think the Black Diamond Offset Micros are nearly as good and cost significantly less. For folks not wanting to spend as much and who are looking for a smaller, more everyday nut, check out the DMM Peenuts.

Basically required for big walls and aid climbs  these tiny nuts fit in micro-fissures when nothing else stands a chance. While not really durable enough for every day free climbs they are what you'll want to reach for your thinly protected head point project.
Basically required for big walls and aid climbs, these tiny nuts fit in micro-fissures when nothing else stands a chance. While not really durable enough for every day free climbs they are what you'll want to reach for your thinly protected head point project.

Conclusion


The DMM HB Brass Offsets are easily one of the very best brass micro nuts on the market - and our Top Pick for a Micro Nut - and perfect for anyone considering a big wall, any aid climb, or a hard, thinly protected free climb. Though expensive and tough to clean, we think they're easily worth the money to have on your rack. If you're in the market for everyday trad climbing or for smaller sized nuts, we'd recommend the still offset DMM Peenuts as they work nearly as well in micro-fissures and pin scars but are significantly more durable. The DMM Brass Offsets are also very similar to the Black Diamond Offset Micros. The brass is softer on the DMM's which make them deform to the rock and bite better, but they aren't as durable. The BD Offset Micro's are also ever so slightly easier to clean as one of their deeper edges is rounded off, but all of our testers like the DMM Brass for more textured rock due to its deeper "scope."


Ian Nicholson