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GriGri Alternative: The Best In The Biz

LAST UPDATED: 19th March 2024

When choosing your go-to rock climbing belay device, you’re most definitely going to reach for the Petzl GriGri. But, what if you want to change things up a bit, try something new? Or perhaps the GriGri is just too out of your reach financially and want to look at cheaper options?

Regardless of the reason, here are the best GriGri alternatives on the market right now!

Best GriGri Alternatives

If you want peace of mind as a belayer or extra safety for your climber, then opting for a semi auto-locking belay device, or an assisted braking device might be the right choice. These belay devices are designed to strangle the rope when the climber falls and stops them from hitting the ground.

With any belay device, you should always have your hand on the brake side of the rope. However, in the event that you let go or the rope falls from your hand, the belay device will stop the rope from whizzing all the way through.

Remeber: Just because these devices lock, doesn’t mean they do all the work for you. Always have your hand on the brake side of the rope and pay attention to your climber at all times.

#1 For Beginners: GriGri+

I know we are talking about GriGri alternatives, but in the world of semi auto-locking belay devices, we can not talk about the GriGri+. Similar to the original GriGri, the GriGri+ model is packed with a few extra safety features to reduce the risk of accidents. This is the best belay device for beginners, hands down.

One of the best features of this model is the anti-panic mode that blocks the rope when the lever is pulled too far back, stopping the climber from coming down very fast or hitting the deck.

Another extra feature is the lockable selector knob which allows you to choose between top rope or lead mode. In top rope mode, it makes taking it slack a lot easier. 

The main downside of the GriGri+ is that after you get used to the device and become more comfortable, you can easily forget to change the modes before climbing. It is also considerably heavier than the Petzl GriGri and requires finding the sweet spot for lowering the leader because of the panic feature.

#2 Next Best Thing: Edelrid Eddy

The Edelrid Eddy is the closest model to the Petzl GriGri+, featuring the anti-panic brake lever which I really consider a life-saver especially when working with beginners. After the GriGri and the GriGri+, I would say Eddy is the next best auto-locking belay device.

Although it’s heavier and more expensive than the original GriGri, I use this model because I consider it one of the most fool-proof devices on the market. It has a durable construction, works well on feeding rope, feels good with thicker ropes, and gives you a nice pace when lowering. 

It’s true that due to its weight, it feels best for single-pitch sport climbs and gym routes; also when it comes to top-roping I find it perfectly splendid.

#3 User-Friendly: Wild Country Revo

A device that could be confused for a weird-looking tube style belay device, the Wild Country Revo is a unique auto locking belay device.

Featuring an emergency backup system that stops the rope in case the belay fails, this device doesn’t even need a handle in order to work.

What makes the Wild Country Revo suitable for beginners is the fact that it’s pretty intuitive when it comes to loading the rope and slack management. You won’t have to worry about anything but simply belay and keep an eye on the leader because it will work all by itself when things go south.

Unfortunately, this model is not really suitable for multi-pitch or alpine use as it’s meant to accommodate only one strand of rope but I believe it’s the same with every piece of gear presented prior to this one.

#4 Ergonomic: Trango Vergo

Similar to the GriGri regarding the build and feel, the Trango Vergo brake belay device comes with some extra features as well as some minuses.

The Vergo is more ergonomic and features a better orientation compared to the GriGri, which makes it more intuitive to work with. At the same time, it’s been observed that it works better than its Petzl cousin at giving slack.

The drawback of this model is the fact that it bites often when having to pull slack, making it harder for top-roping, for example.

Of course, being kind of opposite to the GriGri, you’ll have a learning curve to follow in order to use it safely and comfortably.

Best Assisted Belay Device

The assisted belay device, or ABD, is kind of a hybrid between a tube-style belay device and an assisted braking belay device. This kind of device incorporates the lightweight nature of a tube-style device combined with the extra safety offered by a device such as the Petzl GriGri.

While it’s recommended for more seasoned climbers, it can easily be used by everyone as long as some time and exercise have been invested in learning and getting comfortable with it.

#1 Top Pick: ATC Pilot

If you’re going to get any assisted belay device, it’s probably going to be the ATC pilot by Black Diamond.

It allows for effortless feeding of the rope, and when it’s crunch time – a fall – its assisted braking feature kicks in, significantly reducing the effort needed to stop the fall. This means more focus on the climb and less on the what-ifs. 

#2 Best For Multi-Pitch: Edelrid Mega Jul

Loved by alpine and multi-pitch climbers, the Edelrid Mega Jul is a great ABD that looks similar to an ATC but with an important tweak: it blocks the rope when things do not go as planned.

Also known as a passive assisted braking device, the Mega Jul won’t hold a fall like the GriGri, but it will come in handy, reduce the effort, and make the whole climbing scenario safer.

It has many advantages, such as an ultralight structure and the ability to handle two ropes at the same time. The drawbacks of this model are that you’ll need a pretty big carabiner to make it as safe as possible, and it does take some time to get used to the sweet spots of the device as it can get pretty bumpy while using it for the first time.

#3 Best For Single-Pitch: Mammut Smart 2.0

The Mammut Smart 2.0 is a lightweight and affordable ABD designed specifically for single-pitch climbing because of its one-rope construction.

A great tool for lead climbing, it works well on feeding rope and managing slack while keeping your partner safe at the same time. Its single-pitch nature is again seen in the fact that it prefers skinnier ropes in order to work perfectly.

Maybe the main minus of the Mammut Smart 2.0 is the fact that you’ll have to spend some extra time getting used to handling it.

#4 Best For Top Rope: Climbing Technology ClickUp+

An innovative and pretty complex piece of equipment (at least at first sight), the CT ClickUp+ is a passive ABD that works just as the Edelrid Mega Jul or the Mammut Smart 2.0. What makes the ClickUp+ different is that it features a lever-like construction that is meant to ease the carabiner to slide back into its place.

Maybe the greatest plus that this device brings to the table is that you’ll still be able to descend the climber safely even if you load it wrong.

The downside is that the ClickUp+ is very sensitive, and it might lock exactly when it doesn’t need to, making it hard or even potentially dangerous to use in lead climbing situations.

Apart from that, after getting used to it and learning the sweet spots, it’s a great tool for single-pitch and gym top-rope climbing.

Best Tube Belay Device

The ATC or tube-style belay device, is an all-time favorite (and old-school) belay device that uses only friction in order to stop a climber from falling. Situated at the complete opposite of the Petzl GriGri, an ATC won’t assist you in braking a fall so you must be really careful when using it.

Black Diamond ATC Guide

There are many brands out there that produce the tube style belay device so I’m not going to bore you with a whole list of them. If there is one brand you need to consider though, it’s Black Diamond. They have been making ATCs since the dawn of time and are a brand that is synonymous with high quality, safe climbing equipment.

Designed for climbers who want to experience it all, the Black Diamond ATC Guide is a tube-style belay device that can be used in any climbing and mountaineering situation. From multi-pitch routes to single sport lines or alpine climbing, using this device is easy and intuitive.

Being capable of using two ropes, this device is also best for rappelling, and it can be secured on the wall so you can easily belay the second from a belay station in a multi-pitch route.

The BD ATC Guide is not the only device of this kind on the market, with the Petzl Reverso and DMM Pivot having approximately the same characteristics. The only differences between them might be regarding price, weight, and the amount of friction exerted by the device.

Which Belay Device Will You Pick?

It’s no secret that the more technology you find in your belay device, the more expensive it will get. So keep in mind that an extra buck might go a long way, especially if you are a beginner in this sport.

If you are new to belaying, a belay course could be beneficial, especially since you can ask to try a few belay devices to see which one suits you best. Be patient with yourself as you learn how to use your device of choice. The best belay device is the one you are comfortable and familiar with, and that’s always going to be like that.

Now, depending on the style of climbing you want to approach, you might find some devices are more suitable than others. So always do your research and training. And as always, don’t forget to have fun!



Born and raised in Jiu Valley, Romania, I am a true mountain enthusiast, absorbing knowledge from each sport the area offers. Snowboarder in the winter and a hiker and climber in the summer, I love spending my days up in the Carpathians. I have had a passion for writing ever since I laid my hands on my first keyboard, and I always have a curiosity for gear and great stories. I split my time between various jobs and hobbies, including being a full-time psychologist, repairing skis in the winter, and working with kids at my local gym whenever I have time.

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