Best Overall Medium and Large Camming Device
Black Diamond Camalot C4
The Black Diamond Camalot C4
is the clear winner. These cams are awesome. We found them to be the most versatile and reliable cam that we tested. Free climbing, aid climbing, anchor setting, you name it. These cams will get the job done for you in good style. Their double axle design gives them a good range, though not the greatest, and we found them to be a top performer in awkward placements. All in all, these cams are just bomber; durable, confidence-inspiring and easy to handle.
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Best Overall Small Camming Device
Black Diamond Camalot X4
Narrower head good for tricky placements
Excellent holding power
Heavier than the competition
The Black Diamond Camalot X4
barely edges out the Metolius Master Cam. It got into tricky placements incredibly well and has great range and holding power.
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Best Bang for the Buck
Metolius Master Cam
A bit stiff
Slings are on the short side
The Metolius Master Cam
is by far the best value. It scored high in every category, was bomber, durable and also one of the cheapest cams. In fact, it won our Editors' Choice Award in 2010-2012. It's tricky to decide how many offset pieces to carry versus regular models. We usually carry two sets of regular cams and one set of offsets in most applications. However, on a wall we would bring two sets of offsets and two sets of regular, especially in the small sizes.
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Top Pick for Aid Climbing
Metolius Offset Master Cam
Excellent for small placements
Sometimes tend to walk a bit in cracks
Harder metal doesn't "stick" to rock as well
We give a Top Pick award to the Metolius Offset Master Cam
. It is our favorite small cam for aid climbing. Free climbers should also carry a set or two of these if they climb in an area with lots of pin scars (Yosemite or Zion).
Read full review: Metolius Offset Master Cam
Most other cams we tested had something they were best at:
DMM Dragon Cam
- lightest and best for alpine rock and ice.
Black Diamond Camalot C3
- best in tiny spots.