When we check the WeighMyRack database for the most wanted and owned tube belay devices by WeighMyRack users we find the top 3 models in each category are…

Most Wanted Tube Belay Devices

  1. DMM Pivot
  2. Edelrid Mega Jul
  3. Edelrid Giga Jul

Most Owned Tube Belay Devices (available today)

  1. Black Diamond ATC XP
  2. Black Diamond ATC
  3. Black Diamond ATC Guide

Below we dive into why these are the most wanted and owned tube belay devices from WeighMyRack users.

DMM Pivot – #1 Most Wanted

For anyone who has handled any piece of DMM gear, the DMM Pivot should be one of the more predictable entries in our most wanted list. Known for their extremely high quality and thoughtful design, DMM have been making gear in their Wales factory for over 40 years. The love they have for climbing is noticeable in the tiny details of their gear and the Pivot is no exception.

If there was a single reason the Pivot is #1 on this list, it is likely the eponymous pivoting function built into the guide loop. Most belay devices with a guide mode (well, actually every other device with guide mode) have a fixed loop to hang it from the anchor when belaying a follower from above.

DMM Pivot in Action
When the Pivot is used in guide mode, the body of the device can swing independently of the guide loop, making lowering and belaying much smoother and easier.

When the belayer needs to lower the follower, they need to pry the device upward to overcome the auto-blocking function, which can be tough to do. The Pivot has a pin that allows the body of the device to swing independently of the hanging loop, making it loads easier to control the load. This functionality also happens to make pulling rope through the device much easier at certain angles, because the angle of the device can move with the belayer easier than a traditional guide tube.

Because it’s DMM and because there is nothing else like it, this tuber sits atop this list of Most Wanted belay devices.

Where to buy the DMM Pivot

Edelrid Mega Jul – #2 Most Wanted Tube Belay Device

When it hit the market the Mega Jul from Edelrid asked two questions: Why don’t tube belay devices with assisted braking exist, and why is everything made from aluminum? Well technically, it was the Micro Jul that first brought these questions up, but Edelrid quickly saw these benefits being something they could move from the ultralight alpine crowd into the mainstream.

By making the body from steel, they could make it last longer and also make it MUCH smaller, with thinner walls than other tubers. The innovative shape can also handle two ropes, meaning that you can not only belay or rappel with single or double ropes, but you can have brake assist for helping hold the rope or to function as a safety backup.

Rappelling on a MegaJul
A climber uses a belay device to rappel two ropes. The added metal loop on the Edelrid Mega Jul allows this device to also belay from above in guide mode.

Thanks to its alpine pedigree, the Mega Jul also has a guide mode loop for belaying above. Combined with its 65g stainless steel construction, assisted braking, ability to handle 2 ropes and a range from 8.9-10.5mm, the Mega Jul really is MEGA in its capabilities, giving a lot of climbers reason to want one.

Most climbers who have learned outside or are taught by an older generation own tube belay devices, whether it’s for belaying, rappelling, or both. But with the advent of assisted braking many have sought to add brake assist with something that is as familiar and multifunction as a basic tuber. Along with all of its other traits, we think this is one of the main reasons this is device is so high on the Most Wanted list rather than the Most Owned.

Buying Options for the Edelrid Mega Jul

Edelrid Gig Jul – #3 Most Wanted Tube Belay Device

Continuing in the footsteps of the Micro and Mega Jul, the Giga Jul from Edelrid set out to make a highly adaptable belay device for any situation. By adding the function of a movable center plate, Edelrid gave the Giga Jul the ability to turn into a non-assisted belay tuber.

Many folks have had issues with the Micro and Mega Jul’s being too grabby, or problematic and finicky when rappelling or belaying with thicker ropes, but they still want those functions when it is applicable. The Giga sets out to do this by being modular. Just need a simple belay, or need a rappel device that is straight forward? Slide the center one way and you’re good. Simply sliding the notch back creates the geometry for assisted braking and essentially turns it back into a Mega Jul.

An interview we did with Edelrid back in 2019 about the Giga Jul

On paper, the Giga is aptly named. Combing all of the functionality of every device they make into one? Seems like a no brainer. In practice, it takes practice. The Giga is a device that can be used by anyone, but to get the most out of all of its functions it really shines in the hand of a practiced belayer.

It really is a tinkerer’s device, and if you are willing to put in the effort or you are curious to have a ‘one device’ option, chances are you’re the reason this is on so many Wanted lists on WeighMyRack.

Buying Options for the Edelrid Giga Jul

Black Diamond – #1, #2, and #3 Most Owned Tube Devices

An interesting thing happened to climbing when the Black Diamond ATC hit the market back in the early 90’s. For the first time in a while there was a device that was uniform, functional, light, available, and most importantly, cheap. With its release Black Diamond cemented the cheeky name, ‘Air Traffic Controller’ into the common tongue of climbers so deeply that many still refer to any tube style belay device simply as an ATC.

Holding the entire Most Owned list says a lot about the ubiquity of the ATC brand, and each version of the ATC has come along with incremental advancements in belaying, including the brake-assisted ATC Pilot which currently sits at the #8 most owned device.

Black Diamond ATC XP – #1 Most Owned

The ATC XP is the ‘second version’ design of this North American climbing classic. This second version is lighter and added nuances to the shape to make it better at belaying.

Black Diamond took the tuber and tilted it slightly forward so that the rope has more friction when under load (the rope comes in contact with more of the device) and has less friction when paying out slack (the tube angle allows the leader to pull upward with less friction.) They also added v-shaped grooves on the belay side which help to hold the rope with less force. This also helps control speed when rappelling. Carve out some weight on the sides, and you’ve made some serious improvements to an already widely loved name in climbing.

One reason we have to mention that the XP is in so many bags, is the fact that Black Diamond cleverly included it in a ‘kit’ along with their entry level Momentum harnesses (and later shoes as well). To our knowledge they were the first to do this, but the result is the ton of folks who flew into gyms over the past couple of decades have been kitted out with the XP almost de facto.

Whether folks have picked them up as an upgrade to their previous version or if it came with their other new gear, the XP is one of the most owned belay devices out there.

Buying Options for the Black Diamond ATC XP

Black Diamond ATC – #2 Most Owned

As we mentioned at length above, there is absolutely no surprise that the original Black Diamond ATC is on this list because it’s been out forever. Older climbers (10+ years experience), even if they don’t currently use this ATC, likely still own one. It’s simple, lightweight, cheap, and bulletproof. And, when it comes to finding a tuber (at least in North America) you will almost always find this on a shop wall.

Black Diamond ATC
The Black Diamond ATC is the so well known, it has become the unbranded stand-in word for 'belay device'

This has been many climbers first tube-style belay device or first belay device in general. Though it sat at #1 most owned for a long time, we think it will continue to fall as newer designs bring innovation and climbers needs continue to evolve.

In our opinion, even though it adds $3 and 4 grams, the ATC XP (#1 most owned, above) would be a more preferred first belay device given the more refined shape and friction adding teeth.

Buying Options for the Black Diamond ATC

Black Diamond ATC Guide – #3 Most Owned (currently available)

Belaying from above on a multi pitch, big wall, or guided climb is split into two camps: those who use the Black Diamond ATC Guide, and everyone else.

By FAR the most owned guide style device, the ATC was actually discontinued and updated slightly in 2019, effectively creating 2 devices in our database. If we combine the current version (2019, #3 Most Owned) with the discontinued 2018 version, it would actually be THE most owned of ALL belay devices among WeighMyRack users by LEAPS. To put that in perspective, that is almost more than every model of Gri Gri ever, combined. It’s wild.

The ATC guide combined all the things climbers wanted and needed from the ATC and XP and added a loop to hang it from an anchor. And it could have been simple as that. But BD also chose to spend a lot of time and R&D to engineer the guide loop to sit parallel with the running rope, as opposed to the common method of aligning the loop with the body. They did this specifically to allow the device to hang sideways on an anchor, which means less knuckle dragging on rock while belaying and an easier time of directing the climber to one side of the anchor or the other.

Black Diamond ATC Guide
The ATC Guide is the most owned belay device period, but ended up at #3 on this list because an update in 2019 split it into 2 devices on WeighMyRack.com

This was a gamechanger for many yet remains to be a dealbreaker for others who prefer the rope to run away from the wall or are reluctant to change their setups. Which side of that fence you are on usually decides whether or not you’re one of the folks responsible for the widespread ownership of this device.

Buying Options for the Black Diamond ATC Guide

Bottom Line

Just about every climber who climbs outside eventually needs to own a tube style device, either for rappelling or cleaning. Which one climbers own is driven by things like ease of use, cheapness and availability. For that there is little reason to step past the brand that every climber knows, Black Diamond. Their hold on the North American climbing market can be at least partially drawn to the ATC line, and as it has moved past household name to the likes of the Kleenex of belay devices, we’re guessing that it will be on this list in some form for a long time to come.

When it comes to what climbers want, the added ease of operation and multifunctional nature of the Pivot and the Jul line from Edelrid just plain delivers. Chances are you already have an ATC of some sort, and when you lose it, drop it, or give it to a new climber to help them get outside, you’re gonna be happy to add those functions to your rack.

Most Wanted Tube Belay Devices

    1. DMM Pivot
    2. Edelrid Mega Jul
    3. Edelrid Giga Jul

Most Owned Tube Belay Devices (available today)

  1. Black Diamond ATC XP
  2. Black Diamond ATC
  3. Black Diamond ATC Guide

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