What Is a Carabiner Made Of?


Carabiners are essential equipment for various activities, from mountaineering, climbing, sailing, camping, and caving to industrial work or simply attaching a key fob to a backpack. Carabiners have been used for centuries as a reliable attachment tool.

Whether you’re an experienced climber or just starting, it’s essential to understand the basics of these custom carabiners. In this beginner’s guide to climbing carabiner manufacturing, we will discuss the various Carabiners materials currently on the market, their respective advantages and disadvantages, and the type of environment or use for each material. It also provides plenty of insight and tips for small business owners, designers, and anyone looking to design, build and order the BEST carabiners for a line of climbing gear. Check out our custom carabiner service for more details.

Base Materials for Climbing Carabiners

The traditional base material for Carabiners consists of metal alloys, primarily aluminum and steel, with the most common type being hot-forged aluminum. Modern Plastic Carabiner offers a lightweight and economical solution for many different uses.

Each material has a different weight, strength, durability, and cost. We can choose other materials to manufacture depending on the intended use.

Such as aluminum and steel alloys. These alloys are often specially designed to have specific properties, such as greater tensile strength or corrosion resistance.

Some plastic carabiners are also made from synthetic materials, such as nylon or polycarbonate, for lighter applications where strength is not as important.

The material is one of the most critical factors in determining its reliability and functionality. As with any risk activity, the importance of quality carabiners and their constituent materials cannot be underestimated.

1. Aluminum Carabiner

A must-have for various activities and occupations, aluminum carabiners are often available in multiple sizes and shapes designed to meet the needs of any user. Their popularity due to their strength, durability, and lightweight at an affordable price makes them ideal for mountaineers, explorers, rescuers, and other adventurers.

D-shaped locking carabiner
HMS Screwgate Carabiner
Black Diamond
HotForge Screwgate Carabiner

Most Carabiners used for climbing sports are made of aluminum. Or, more accurately, they are made of aluminum alloy. This means that it is a mixture of aluminum and other metal elements.

ChemicalComposition Limits (Wt. %)

Under normal circumstances, aluminum has superb resistance to rust and corrosion. And it will last forever.

However, you must be careful if you use it at the beach because aluminum hiking buckles exposed to moisture and saltwater for a long time may still damage it.

If you’re smart, you might ask why? Isn’t aluminum corrosion-resistant?

Well, the answer is yes, it is. However, it is an alloy material where aluminum is mixed with other metal elements. So, if the aluminum carabiner comes in contact with salt during use, please clean and dry it promptly to remove dirt and moisture.

Why are carabiners made from aluminum?

Aluminum is the best material for making hiking carabiners.

First, the main benefit of using this metal is its lightweight, which is much less dense than other metals such as steel. Aluminum is also resistant to corrosion, rust, and abrasion, and its smooth surface ensures that it will not snag on clothing or other materials when used.

Despite its lightweight, it still provides enough strength and durability to be suitable even in extreme conditions. Not only do they ensure that your person or equipment stays safe, but their compact size makes them easy to carry with you wherever you go.

Combining these features makes them perfect for any outdoor enthusiast looking to reduce the weight of their gear bag.

In addition, aluminum hiking carabiners are less expensive than steel ones, offering excellent value for money while providing reliable performance. This makes them ideal for those on a budget but still needing the strength and reliability of a quality carabiner.

Finally, they are easy to clean and maintain, which is essential for outdoor adventures. All these features make aluminum hiking carabiners the perfect choice for people looking for reliable gear that won’t break their bank account.

2. Steel Carabiner

Steel carabiners offer greater strength than aluminum carabiners, but they are also heavier. Steel carabiners come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have unmatched long-lasting durability, and are extremely strong for any need or purpose. Examples include caving, climbing, sailing, and many industrial jobs that require secure connections.

Steel climbing carabiners are strong enough to withstand severe weather and heavy loads, and it is the first choice for paramedics and other professionals who need a reliable connection point in their work or hobbies, as it is not compromised in extreme conditions where other materials may fail, and safety or durability is not compromised. But steel climbing buckles are also much heavier than aluminum climbing buckles.

Steel Screw Lock Carabiner
Stainless steel maillon
Stainless Steel Screwlock Carabiner

Because of the weight of steel climbing buckles, it is not recommended to buy them for climbing sports; for backpackers, every ounce is vital, so they will not put on the harness.

They are primarily used for securing equipment and for rescue workers and helicopter crews; weight is not an issue. Steel climbing buckles are often chosen in these applications because of their superior strength and fire resistance. Combined with steel cables, they can be safely used for consumer rescue.

What type of steel are carabiners made from?

Many people are unaware of the materials used to make climbing carabiners or the design considerations for the different types of steel used in the manufacturing process. The types of steel commonly used by carabiners manufacturers to make carabiners are carbon steel and stainless steel.

Mild steel was the primary material used in early climbing carabiners because it could be shaped and finished by hand forging and other hand tooling operations. These early climbing buckles we can see are bare steel with some rust on the plain surface, so they probably never had a protective finish such as painting or plating.

Later, climbing buckles were also made of high-carbon steel, which a simple heat treatment process could enhance, and most of them were plated. Heat-treated steel climbing carabiners are more substantial than aluminum carabiners, and all steel carabiners are more resistant to wear than aluminum carabiners.

In everyday use, stainless steel buckles have better corrosion resistance. There are usually no corrosion problems with carbon and alloy steel hooks. But stainless steel is not as wear-resistant.

Stainless steel is often chosen for use in harsh and corrosive environments. It is recommended to test any situation where unacceptable corrosion erosion may exist to ensure that it can be safely used for that application. Stainless steel mountaineering buckles should also be cleaned and dried to remove dirt and moisture.

3. Plastic Carabiner

Plastic carabiners are versatile tools and are becoming more and more common. Made of high-quality plastic, the carabiner is easy to use and available in various shapes, sizes, and colors. It has the advantages of small size, lightweight, intense load, wear resistance, high tensile strength, fast locking design, etc.

Tactical Molle Karabiner
Robiear Survival Buckle
Enforcement Polymer Tactical Buckles

As technology improves the quality of plastic hiking buckles, they are quickly becoming a must-have item for outdoor enthusiasts. They are most commonly used for kayaking, backpacking, biking, fishing, camping, and outdoor activities. They can also be used as keychains, survival tools, tactical and military equipment, etc.

Hanging Organization System
Cord Tightener
Carabiner Keychain Tactical

Note: The plastic hiking buckle is only used as an equipment attachment hook, which is used to attach items to a harness or backpack. Perfect for carrying items such as gloves, water bottles, keys, headphones, flashlights, or any equipment that does not need to be hooked to a metal buckle. Not for climbing.

Are carabiners suitable for keys?

Carabiners for keys have become a popular way to carry your keys. Whether you are an avid hiker, rock climber, or just someone who wants an efficient way to organize your keys, climbing carabiners are a great choice.

Not only do they hold your keys securely to your belt loop or backpack, but they look stylish and are available in various colors and sizes.

If you want a less bulky hiking buckle as a key fob, then a lightweight and flexible plastic hiking buckle would be the best choice.

There are many benefits to using hiking carabiners as keys, and one of the main benefits is that they can be carried around more easily. From accessing them quickly to clipping them to any item for quick storage and retrieval.

Depending on the size you choose, the large clip provides enough space to securely interlock multiple sets of keys, making it more convenient than individual vital chains. In addition, they can be used as an extra layer of security if you need to leave your keys in a public place.

Most high-quality hiking carabiners are equipped with a reliable locking mechanism. By attaching them to something sturdy like a belt loop or backpack strap, you reduce the likelihood of someone stealing them unintentionally or on purpose.

So if you’re looking for a convenient way to carry your keys safely and securely while you’re on the road, then a hiking carabiner could be the perfect solution!

Are steel carabiners better than aluminum?

You are choosing between weight and strength when comparing steel and aluminum carabiners.

Steel carabiners have some distinct advantages over aluminum carabiners. They are less prone to wear and tear than aluminum and can take more hits without becoming brittle or breaking. Steel also has a higher strength rating than aluminum, which means it can withstand heavier loads with less risk of the climbing buckle breaking. This makes it ideal for heavy loads, such as rescue operations or carrying large amounts of equipment.

On the other hand, aluminum climbing carabiners are lighter and more affordable than steel carabiners. This makes them ideal for activities that do not require as much weight-bearing capacity, such as rappelling or more lightweight climbing applications where using aluminum climbing carabiners is safe. Aluminum climbing carabiners are essential equipment for anyone who enjoys climbing or camping outdoors.

When choosing your gear, you must consider what type of carabiner you need – steel or aluminum. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but it comes down to choosing for different purposes.

Which carabiner is most robust?

When it comes to the outdoors, having the most robust climbing carabiner is vital to safety and security. Whether climbing a rock face or sliding down a cliff, choosing the suitable climbing carabiner for your activity can make a big difference in safety and functionality.

For rock climbers, mountaineers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, climbing carabiners are essential safety devices that hold a climber’s rope and secure it to an anchor. Choosing a suitable climbing carabiner can differentiate between a successful and a dangerous adventure.

According to our knowledge, D-shaped climbing carabiners are considered the most durable and sturdy design on the market. The reason for this is that they have smaller doorways than other shapes. However, their doors are still more extensive than those of oval-shaped climbing carabiners, and they bias the load to the more robust, non-gated side, so the smaller, lighter D-shaped carabiners are just as strong as the larger oval-shaped carabiners.

However, there are several design types on the market, and it can be difficult for us to determine which climbing carabiner is the strongest and most reliable for your needs. We recommend you learn about the different types of carabiners and compare their strengths to make an informed decision when purchasing.

Chat with us

Typically replies within 4 minutes.

+86 188 1932 1605

Welcome to contact us instantly via WhatsApp! It's not only convenient but also the most effective way to stay in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Chat on WhatsAppClick to start chat
Contact Form Popup

We are here to help you, answer your questions or tell some more about our services. Feel free to drop us a line.