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Hands-on Gear Review

Black Diamond PosiWire Quickdraw Review

The Updated Black Diamond PosiWire
Price:   $16 List | $14.74 at Amazon
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Versatile quickdraw
Cons:  Heavy, difficult to unclip from the rope
Editors' Rating:   
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Manufacturer:   Black Diamond

Our Verdict

The Black Diamond PosiWire quickdraw is a popular choice for entry-level sport climbers. The price won't break the bank and they handle well, but they are heavy and you wouldn't want these on a long multi-pitch route. The bottom wiregate carabiner easily snags on the rope when cleaning overhanging sport routes, so if you are going to be climbing at the Red River Gorge this fall you'd be better off with the Petzl Spirit Express or the new Petzl Djinn Axess, as their bottom keylock carabiners eliminate that issue.

Product Recall: February 2016
In February of 2016, Black Diamond released a recall of specific Posiwire carabiners and quickdraws; the recall is for those products with manufacturing codes between 4350 and 6018. If you have a product that falls between these numbers, check out this safety recall notice.

New Version Update - 2016
Black Diamond released the latest version, pictured above, of this draw. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the new and old models.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Quickdraw for Climbing Review


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Cam McKenzie Ring
Senior Review Editor
OutdoorGearLab

Last Updated:
Monday
May 12, 2014

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The Updated PosiWire Quickdraw vs. The Older Version


The latest iteration of the Black Diamond PosiWire is out. It retails for $15.95, one dollar more than its predecessor. The dog bone of this updated draw is wider, measuring 18 mm in width, and made of polyester. Black Diamond has also changed the colors to a bolder blue and black combo. This draw is still offered in lengths of 12 cm and 18 cm.

Check out the side-by-side comparison below, with the latest PosiWire draw shown on the left and the older version pictured on the right.
The Updated Black Diamond PosiWire
 

Here's a summary of the key differences:
  • New Dogbone — The dogbone on the newer models is wider at 18mm and made of polyester. The older version was thinner and made of Dynex materials.
  • Color Change — The new colors are a blue and black combo that stand out more than the colors of the previous version.
  • Price — The new PosiWire costs an extra dollar, listed at $15.95.

As we have yet to test out the latest version of the PosiWire, the assessments below reflect the older version of this quickdraw.

Hands-On Review of the 2014 PosiWire


The Black Diamond PosiWire quickdraw comes with a cold-forged Positron keylock carabiner on top and an older/heavier cold-forged version of the HotWire wiregate carabiner on the bottom. The Dynex sling is 12cm long and 14mm wide.

Performance Comparison



The PosiWire is a great quickdraw for vertical sport climbing.
The PosiWire is a great quickdraw for vertical sport climbing.

Ease of Unclipping


The HotWire carabiner on the bottom on the Black Diamond PosiWire has an unprotected notch in the gate opening that can snag on the rope when seconding or cleaning a route. You might not notice it on vertical terrain but as soon as the angle kicks back, our testers found this product difficult to unclip. If you prefer a keylock carabiner for easier unclipping, Black Diamond sells a similar version of this model called the Black Diamond Positron Quickdraw. It has the same Positron carabiner on top and a bent gate keylock Positron carabiner on the bottom. There are also other draws with protected wiregates to prevent snagging, such as the Black Diamond LiveWire Quickdraw, but you won't find that extra engineering on this less expensive model. The Wild Country Helium Quickdraw also has unique combination keylock and wiregate carabiner to avoid snagging.

Good luck unclipping this draw on super overhanging routes. The unprotected notch in the gate on the bottom carabiner can easily snag on the rope. The top biner  however  uses a smooth keylock design.
Good luck unclipping this draw on super overhanging routes. The unprotected notch in the gate on the bottom carabiner can easily snag on the rope. The top biner, however, uses a smooth keylock design.

Ease of Clipping


This competitor has a smooth clipping action and our reviewers gave it high scores in this category. In general, wiregate carabiners are easy to clip the rope into and less prone to jamming up over time. For a more detailed explanation of wire vs keylock carabiners see our Buying Advice guide.

The bottom wiregate carabiner makes for smooth clipping even in tenuous positions.
The bottom wiregate carabiner makes for smooth clipping even in tenuous positions.

Portability


One downside to the Black Diamond PosiWire is its weight. At 3.6 ounces each, a full rack of twelve of them adds up to 2.7 pounds, a pound heavier than the Black Diamond Oz and the CAMP Photon Wire Express Dyneema. If you are not planning to hike very far or onsight very hard with these draws, then this might not concern you. If, however, you've been struggling to lose five pounds in the hopes that it will increase your climbing performance, know that you can buy some lightweight draws and you'll only have to lose four instead.

Too many PosiWires on your harness might weigh you down. Then again  these heavier quickdraws are more durable than some of their lightweight counterparts.
Too many PosiWires on your harness might weigh you down. Then again, these heavier quickdraws are more durable than some of their lightweight counterparts.

Ease of Handling


The upper keylock Positron carabiner means this product won't snag when you unclip it from your harness. It comes with a Straightjacket, a sewn-in rubber positioner for the bottom carabiner. These seem to be fairly durable in the 14mm wide sling, but can still tear off over time. If you prefer an exterior positioner, the new Petzl Djinn Axess is a comparable option.

Ease of Grabbing


Black Diamond touts the 14mm sling on this piece as being "easy to grab," but our reviewers didn't find that to be the case. Let's face it, if you're grabbing a draw you're probably cruxing out and it's really hard to get a purchase on the relatively narrow sling when you are pumped and about to fall off. Most of our reviewers found themselves sticking a finger or two through the top carabiner in order to clip the rope through the bottom, which is an easy way to hurt your tendons. If you're notorious for aiding your way up every sport climb or grabbing a draw whenever things get difficult then you would be better off with the Petzl Spirit Express or the Black Diamond FreeWire Quickdraw.

Best Applications


The Black Diamond PosiWire quickdraw is best suited for vertical sport climbs.

The sewn-in rubber Straightjacket keeps the bottom carabiner in its proper orientation.
The sewn-in rubber Straightjacket keeps the bottom carabiner in its proper orientation.

Value


This product is considerably cheaper than some of its competitors, which is probably why it's so popular. Its carabiners are cold-forged, which in our reviewer's experience tend to last longer, giving you even more value for your money. You can learn more about hot vs cold-forged carabiners in our Buying Advice article.

Conclusion


The Black Diamond PosiWire is a great pick for vertical and/or moderate sport climbs. The bottom carabiner is great for clipping but the unprotected notch can snag when unclipping your rope on steeper terrain. They're also a great choice if you don't want to spend your entire climbing gear budget on one set of draws. If you buy these draws though, just make sure you put some colored tape on them so you know which ones are yours at the crag, as you'll likely see lots of them around.

The PosiWire in its ideal element: vertical sport climbing.
The PosiWire in its ideal element: vertical sport climbing.
Cam McKenzie Ring

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Most recent review: May 12, 2014
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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