Steel vs. Aluminum Carabiners: What’s Better?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between steel and aluminum carabiners? If so, you’re not alone! Many people don’t know which type of carabiner is better for their needs. In this blog post, we’ll compare steel and aluminum carabiners, and help you decide which one is right for you.

Steel vs. Aluminum Carabiners: What’s the Difference?

Carabiners come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, but the two most common materials used are steel and aluminum. So, what’s the difference between these two materials?

Aluminum carabiners are by far the most popular type. They’re lightweight, strong, and relatively inexpensive. The majority of climbers use aluminum carabiners because they’re so versatile—they can be used for everything from sport climbing to trad climbing to mountaineering. The only downside to aluminum carabiners is that they’re not as strong as steel carabiners and they’re more likely to bend or break under load.

Steel carabiners are much heavier than aluminum carabiners, but they’re also stronger. Steel carabiners are mostly used by industrial climbers and mountaineers who need the strength and durability that steel offers. The downside to steel carabiners is that they’re very heavy, so they’re not ideal for climbers who want to save weight on their gear. They’re also more expensive than aluminum carabiners.

So, which type of carabiner is right for you? If you’re looking for a versatile, strong, and affordable option, go with an aluminum carabiner. If you need the strength and durability of steel, then go with a steel carabiner.

Steel vs. Aluminum Carabiners: Advantages and Disadvantages

Carabiners are a necessary part of any climber’s gear, and choosing the right carabiner is critical. So, what’s the difference between steel and aluminum carabiners, and which is better?

Both steel and aluminum have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, steel is stronger than aluminum, but aluminum is lighter. While aluminum is also more corrosion resistant than steel.

So, which one should you choose? It depends on your needs. If you need a strong, durable carabiner, then steel is a good choice. If you need a lighter carabiner that won’t rust, then aluminum is a good choice.

Steel Carabiners: Advantages

Here is a closer look at the benefits of steel carabiners. One of the biggest advantages of steel carabiners is that they are extremely strong and durable.

Steel is much stronger than aluminum, so it can handle more weight and stress. This makes it ideal for activities like rock climbing, where your life may literally depend on the strength of your equipment. Steel carabiners are also less likely to deform under stress than aluminum carabiners. This means that they will keep their shape better and continue to function properly for a longer period of time. If you’re planning on using your carabiner in salt water or other corrosive environments, steel is the better option.

Finally, steel carabiners tend to be less expensive than aluminum carabiners. This is because steel is generally cheaper to produce than aluminum. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, steel is the way to go.

Steel Carabiners: Disadvantages

While steel carabiners are incredibly strong and durable, there are a few disadvantages to using them. First, they are much heavier than aluminum carabiners, which can be a problem if you’re carrying a lot of gear. Second, they can rust if they’re not properly cared for. Finally, they are not as easy to open and close as aluminum carabiners.

Aluminum Carabiners: Advantages

Aluminum carabiners are the most popular type on the market and for good reason. They are strong, lightweight, and relatively inexpensive. Aluminum is also rustproof, making it a good choice for use in wet or salty environments.

There are two main types of aluminum carabiners:

  • Anodized aluminum: This type of aluminum has a protective coating that makes it more resistant to wear and tear. It is also less likely to scratch or fade.
  • Non-anodized aluminum: This type of aluminum is not as resistant to wear and tear, but it is less expensive. Aluminum carabiners also come in a variety of shapes and sizes, which can be helpful when choosing the right one for your needs.

The most common shapes are:

  • D-shaped: D-shaped carabiners are the most popular type. They are strong and easy to use.
  • Oval: Oval carabiners are less common than D-shaped carabiners, but they offer a few advantages. They are less likely to twist or turn when under tension, making them ideal for use in pulley systems. They also have a larger gate opening, which can be helpful when attaching or detaching items.
  • Pear: Pear-shaped carabiners are similar to D-shaped carabiners, but they have a more rounded shape. This makes them ideal for use in anchor systems where multiple carabiners need to be clipped together.

Aluminum Carabiners: Disadvantages

Aluminum carabiners are generally less expensive, but that isn’t always the case. They are also more prone to corrosion, so if you’re using them in a saltwater environment, you might want to consider stainless steel. Aluminum can also be more difficult to manipulate when your hands are cold or when you’re wearing gloves.

Aluminum carabiners can become bent or deformed relatively easily, which can make them unsafe or less effective. Another advantage of steel carabiners is that they are less likely to corrode than aluminum carabiners. This is due to the fact that steel is more resistant to corrosion than aluminum.

Which is Better? Steel or Aluminum Carabiners?

There is no clear answer when it comes to which type of carabiner is better. It ultimately depends on your personal preferences and what you will be using the carabiner for.

Here are some of the pros and cons of each type to help you make a decision:

Steel Carabiners:

  • Pros: Stronger than aluminum, less likely to deform, can be used in colder temperatures.
  • Cons: Heavier than aluminum, more expensive.

Aluminum Carabiners:

  • Pros: Lighter than steel, cheaper.
  • Cons: Not as strong as steel, more likely to deform.


So, what’s the verdict? Is one material better than the other? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer. Both steel and aluminum have their advantages and disadvantages, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you’re looking for a carabiner that is strong and durable, then steel is a good option. If you’re looking for a lighter-weight carabiner, then aluminum might be a better choice. Ultimately, the decision is up to you!

NEXT UP: Auto Lock vs. Screwgate Carabiners – Which Is Stronger?

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Jack Harrison
About Jack Harrison

JT Harrison is an expert Survival Instructor, focused on wilderness and urban survival techniques. He focuses on survival, prepping, food, water, shelter and other essential steps individuals and families can take to live for long periods outdoors, or in crisis situations. JT has been trekking and climbing for 20+ years in some of the harshest environments in the world. Learn more about JT here or connect with him on Twitter