What is the the newest GriGri difference?

Petzl’s newest GriGri takes the body of the GriGri 2 and adds an updated cam (the same cam as the GriGri +).

Background: When Petzl released the GriGri + in 2017, it featured a superior camming unit compared to the GriGri 2. Most significantly, the cam on the GriGri + could accommodate a wider range of ropes and it allowed for a smoother, progressive lower. Since the GriGri + camming unit was only 5 grams heavier, Petzl plugged it into the GriGri 2 body and now (in 2019) Petzl is releasing this combo as the new GriGri (they’re not calling it the GriGri 3, they’re going back to GriGri). The faceplate of the new GriGri has been slightly modified to have a lower profile and accommodate a space to write your name to claim ownership. The price of the new 2019 GriGri will be +$10 compared to the GriGri 2, but it’ll still be $40 cheaper than the GriGri +.

The best Petzl GriGri to buy?

Petzl GriGri + is best if you want extra safety features: anti-panic handle stop and the ability to change between top rope and lead belay mode. Plus there is a steel insert to increase durability and longevity, particularly helpful if you consistently climb in sandy areas, or with dirty ropes.

Petzl GriGri (available starting in 2019) is best if you want to save weight and money, and are confident in your belaying skills so you don’t need any extra safety features of the + version. Note: This is a confusing name, think of it like a GriGri 3.

Petzl GriGri 2 is best if you want to buy a GriGri at a discounted price (since they’re going out of stock) and don’t need the wider rope range or don’t mind the traditional lowering of the GriGri handle (minimal progression). Nor do you care about the extra safety features the GriGri + offers. For a limited time! They are no longer being produced.

Full GriGri Comparison

GriGri (newest)
GriGri +
GriGri 2
GriGri 2 body plus the cam of the GriGri +Safety & longevity for $40Going away soon, cheapest and lightest option
201920172011 – 2018
$109.95$149.95$99.95
Best: 8.9 – 10.5 mm
OK: 8.5 – 11 mm
Best: 8.9 – 10.5 mm
OK: 8.5 – 11 mm
Best: 9.4 – 10.3 mm
OK: 8.9 – 11 mm
estimated at 175 g200 g170 g
Yes, Graduated loweringYes, Graduated loweringNo graduated lowering
No slippage when lead belayingLead/Top Rope modes for variability in cam engagementPossible slippage while lead belaying
No Added steel plateYes, Added steel plate (increased durability) No Added steel plate
No Anti-panic handleYes, Anti-panic handle No Anti-panic handle
Best for experienced belayers who find the safety features of the GriGri + uncessessaryBest for climbers looking for extra safety via the anti-panic handle and toggle switch for different belay modesBest for climbers who would like to replace their old GriGri and/or are experienced belayers using standard size ropes

Video differences of the 2019 GriGri vs the GriGri +

 

GriGri Prices, Updated Daily


For more GriGri details, we dive deeper into the options below


GriGri 2

Petzl GriGri 2

We recommend the GriGri 2 for:

  • Climbers who prefer tried and true (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it)
  • Those who don’t want to pay $100+ for a GriGri (Aside: for an under $40 brake assist device, check out the Edelrid MegaJul and Mammut Smart)
  • Climbers who don’t feel like the extra features of the GriGri + are worth the extra weight and bulk (and price)

Why is this our recommendation

The GriGri + was created to solve all the “problems” climbers have bemoaned about the GriGri 1 & 2. Some climbers said the cam engages too quickly while others said not quick enough. Others complained about the wear characteristics. And many gyms and guides wished there was a feature to prevent belayers from inadvertently full throttling the handle as their climber plummeted to the ground. But if you’ve never had issues with any of these problems, then there is little reason to “upgrade” to the GriGri + and shell out the extra $50 while adding weight and a small amount of bulk.

The GriGri 2 is great in most conditions. The GriGri 2 allows climbers to skip the extra bells and whistles that add weight, bulk, and manufacturing dollars to the GriGri +.

Biggest downsides of the GriGri 2: 

  • Less optimal for smaller diameter ropes – GriGri 2: 8.9 – 11 mm (optimized for 9.4 – 10.3mm)
  • Prone to wear, particularly when used in sandy conditions
  • Does not have a gradual lower
  • Only has 1 cam tension that isn’t optimized for lead or top rope climbing
  • No anti-panic functionality – if the handle is open, the cam is open

 

GriGri +

petzl grigri plus +

We recommend the GriGri + for:

  • Skinny rope users (8.5 mm – 9.2 mm)
  • Dessert climbers whose sandy ropes chew up and wear thin aluminum belay devices
  • Climbers who belay both top rope and lead climbers and wish there was more variability in the cam engagement
  • Folks who want a added piece of mind and security with anti-panic functionality
  • Anybody looking for more control while lowering (gradual lower)

Why is this our recommendation:

The GriGri + really is what its name states, it’s the GriGri 2 plus the following 5 features:

  1. Wider rope range. The GriGri 2 was a letdown to many skinny rope climbers because it had a smaller range than the original GriGri. The GriGri + increases the range and manages ropes 8.5 – 11 mm (optimized for ropes 8.9 – 10.5). Although it is worth noting that a reviewer from Gear Institute found it, “best to stick with ropes under 10mm in diameter. Staying under the 10mm mark in lead mode makes the process of quickly feeding, and taking in slack, much smoother. Larger diameter ropes require more effort when using correct technique to pay out slack quickly.”
    This expanded range will allow for a safer belay while using popular skinny ropes such as the 8.5mm Beal Opera, 8.7mm Mammut Serenity, 8.9mm Edelrid Swift, 9.0mm Sterling Fusion Nano, 9.1mm Blue Water Icon, and 9.2mm Petzl Volta.

  2. Increased durability. The GriGri + should last significantly longer than the GriGri 2 because they have added a stainless steel wear plate that protects the GriGri inner and also the lip. Petzl has also added a steel stopper to prevent the rare, but possible, rope snag that has been documented. Petzl also beefed up the outer cover to hide the internals better and prevent dirt/grime from entering. If you want to see some great comparison photos of the GriGri 2 and GriGri + check out the review from Northeast Alpine Start.

  3. More diversity while belaying. With the GriGri 2 some lead climbers get short roped and top rope climbers don’t feel like their rope is tight enough, one cam tension can’t satisfy everybody. This is why the GriGri + offers two belaying modes. Lead mode provides a more dynamic belay and allows you to pay out rope easier (albeit not significantly more so than an experienced climber can using a GriGri 2). Top Rope mode provides a tighter cam where you can barely feed out slack and when taking slack in the GriGri + will capture progress much more efficiently. This is a particular bonus of you have a speedy climber or are training with fast laps. Note: You can also lock the device in a particular mode so, for example, a new belayer can’t accidentally switch the dial to lead mode.

  4. Anti-panic handle. This is most beneficial if you’re sharing your device with a newer climber, are a guide, or a gym owner. While belaying, if the lowering handle is pulled back past a given point (by a panicked belayer for example), the GriGri + will lock the cam and stop the descent, hopefully preventing the climber from decking. To resume lowering, let the handle return to it’s original position and the cam will reset. At this point you can continue to lower the climber.

  5. Better handling while lowering. This is one of the most underrated features of the GriGri + in all the reviews we’ve read. The GriGri 2 has more of an on/off lowering where the GriGri + actually has an improved camming mechanism where you can attain more control while lowering and regulate speed of descent.

As a sidenote, the GriGri + seems like a real win for gyms that like to keep GriGri’s pre-rigged at each rope as many of the improvements are based on wear and safety.

Biggest Downsides:

  • price ($50 more than the GriGri 2)
  • weight (30 grams heavier than the GriGri 2)
  • more bulk (Northeast Alpine Start estimates it feels 5-10% larger than a GriGri 2)

 

Summary

Petzl really focused on all the complains from the GriGri 2 and encorporated solutions to them in the GriGri +. Since the device is so new, most of the GriGri + reviews online are from media folks who received a device for free and give it a very solid review considering the benefits. Our prediction is that most climbers will still be totally satisfied and prefer the GriGri 2 and it’s $99 price tag. Climbers who use super skinny ropes, consistently wear out their GriGri’s, or those who want an extra piece of mind with the anti-panic handle and the steel improvements will benefit the most from the GriGri + and find the extra $50 worth it.

If you’re curious about more new belay devices, check out this video that shows all the 2017 options coming to market: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyGzwPBUszg

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Alison Dennis

Alison Dennis

Alison (she/her) runs WeighMyRack from her 17' travel trailer. She is currently touring the US and would love if you contacted her to meet up to talk about climbing, climbing gear, or if you have any fun and/or ridiculous adventure in mind.

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