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Petzl Reverso 4
  • Petzl Reverso 4
  • Petzl Reverso 4
  • Petzl Reverso 4
  • Petzl Reverso 4
  • Petzl Reverso 4

Reverso 4


My vote: None ( 5.1 avg )


Ultra-light multipurpose belay/rappel device with braking adapted to different rope diameters and suppleness; Reverso mode

This belay/rappel device is lightweight and easy to use. V-shaped friction channels, with asymmetrical side grooves, adapt the rope friction for better control (braking adapted to half, twin and single dynamic ropes). Reverso mode for belaying one or two seconds.


Ultra-light design:
- minimalist construction
- hot-forged aluminum
A single device for all rope types:
- effective braking on half and twin ropes (7.5 mm or greater diameter)
- effective braking on single ropes (8.9 mm or greater diameter)
- can belay the leader, one or two seconds and can be used for rappelling
- independent and simultaneous belaying of two seconds in Reverso mode
- for swapping leads (team of 2), offers a quick transition from Reverso mode to belaying the leader
The V-shaped friction channels:
- give greater braking power on thin ropes
- adapt the braking power on larger diameter ropes
- increase the braking pressure on the ropes in Reverso mode
The asymmetric side grooves:
- increase the braking power for leader or top-rope falls, or while rappelling
- improve rope glide through device when taking up slack
Hole for releasing the device under load: allows a loaded device in Reverso mode to be easily and gradually released with only a carabiner
Rope friendly, facilitates rope maneuvers and rappelling:
- will not twist the ropes regardless of the mode used
- separates the two strands of rope when belaying and rappelling on two ropes
Intuitive use:
- Reverso mode aluminum attachment hole is easy to identify
- keeper cable keeps the device from moving up the rope when belaying and reduces risk of losing the device
- usage diagrams (standard belay and Reverso modes) engraved on device
Use with symmetrical locking carabiners (Am’D or WILLIAM) to maximize efficiency

Retail price

US$ 29.95
Device Type

Device Type


The most commonly used belay type also called an “ATC” or “tuber.” Other than a distinction between other belay device types, “Tube” is a rarely used term, most climbers just assume you're talking about this style when they refer to your "belay device."

Tube belay device example

Figure 8

Mostly used in rescue, canyoneering, tactical, work safety, or by old school climbers and rappellers. One reason they went out of popularity with recreational climbers is because they tend to create twists in the rope.

Figure 8 belay device example

Brake Assist

These devices assist in stopping the rope when a climber falls or hangs on the rope.

Brake Assist belay device example

Often referred to as “auto-blocking” but that’s not the official terminology because no belay device should be assumed to work automatically by itself, even if it feels like it does (or does most the time).


When simplicity is a must, or you started climbing before Tubers were the norm. Bonus: They tend to be very light weight.

Plate belay device example


For rappelling, not for belaying a lead climber or top-roping.

Descender example
Weight (g)

Weight (g)

In grams, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer/brand.

59 g
Belay Brake Assist

Belay Brake Assist

This is when the belay device significantly reduces the amount of holding power the belayer must exert to stop a fall and hold a climber.

This is also called "assisted-braking" as the device must hold a significant amount of the climber’s weight; this term does not include friction-adding "teeth" found on some tube style belay devices.

Confusingly referred to as “auto-blocking” or “auto-locking” these terms wrongly imply the device will always, automatically, stop a fall or hold a climber even if the belayer/rappeller is hands-free. These devices are not meant to be used without a hand on the braking side of the rope; the belayers/rapppeller brake hand should always be on the brake rope.

Worth Considering

Most of the mechanical brake assist devices only hold a single strand of rope and are not capable of double-strand rappelling (the most common method of rappel).

Rope Options 1 or 2 ropes
Guide Mode

Guide Mode

This is when you belay directly off the anchor instead of your harness. Guide mode is helpful if you climb outdoors a lot because it reduces the holding power required from the belayer. When your partner falls or rests, the weight of the climber is held mostly by the anchor and the belay device.

Tubers and Plates

When belaying in "guide mode," the tubers and plates turn auto-blocking. During a fall, the climbing rope pinches the slack rope, completely stopping the movement of either rope. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A double rope tubular device guide mode example

Mechanical Brake Assist Devices

There is no difference in the functionality of the device. A brake-hand should always be on the rope to ensure the climber is caught in the case of a fall. A common guide mode setup shown below.

A single rope mechanical brake assist guide mode example

Where guide mode is used

  • multi-pitch sport or trad climbs
  • single-pitch where you need to bring up a follower (say for a walk-off)

Learn More

Up to 2 followers


Teeth are only seen on tube devices. They add friction that helps grip the rope for more belaying control.

This is helpful for belaying heavier climbers. Teeth are becoming standard on new tube devices.

The belay device teeth are shown in the red circle

Worth Considering

Teeth do wear out. You can limit wear by rappelling on the side without teeth (if you don’t need the extra friction). Once they’re worn, you’ll still have a usable belay device, just less friction.

Rope Range (mm)

Rope Range (mm)

The range of rope diameters, in millimeters, that the manufacturer/brand specifies can safely be used.

This is the best case scenario and does not necessarily take into consideration that certified ropes have a tolerance of +/- .3 mm.

Recently, manufacturers have started to add an "optimized" rope range -- this is the range that will result in the nicest handling of the belay device.

7.5 mm  - 11.0 mm ­­
single: 8.9 - 11.0 half: 8.0 - 11.0 twin: 7.5 - 11.0


The main climbing gear certifications are CE and UIAA--and normally the UIAA creates the rules that the CE body also supports. When possible, we try to list all the certifications the product carries.

To sell a climbing product in Europe, the device must be CE certified. There are no official requirements to sell climbing gear in the US. The UIAA certification is a voluntary process.

Learn More

Rock and Ice Certifications Guide
( 5 avg )
( 5 avg )

Gold Standard that also comes in green

Smooth belay
Smooth lower
Fairly smooth belay in “guide mode” from an anchor
Versatile as it gets
Not as durable as the BD ATC Guide device
Doesn’t have the assisted braking like the Mega Jul
Lowering in guide mode takes practice and time
I’ve used it a bunch
I get most of my belay devices for free, but I paid full price for the Reverso.

The Reverso 4 really is the gold standard of tube style belay devices. It’s super smooth and versatile. You can pretty much use it in any type of climbing or situation. The guide mode adds a little safety and convenience when multi pitch climbing.

The only thing it really lacks is the brake assist found in the Edelrid MegaJul. It’s a trade off... get the buttery smoothness of the Reverso or the convenience and safety of the brake assist with the Mega Jul. Having owned the ATC Guide, Reverso, Mega Jul, and many many other devices, I typically choose the Mega Jul. BUT, if I needed to reduce pressure when belaying from an anchor, I would choose the Reverso for sure. 

Next Adventure Gear Review rating 8/10

One small feature that led me to choose the Reverso over the ATC Guide is the orientation of the guide mode loop. The loop is oriented horizontally in relation to the device (perpendicular to the tubes), meaning that when it’s clipped into an anchor, the tubes are naturally oriented in the direction of pull. This is not the cause on the Guide, which has a loop oriented vertically.

Outdoor Gear Lab Gear Review rating 4/5

For years the Petzl Reverso 4 and Black Diamond ATC Guide have been two of the most popular belay devices among American multi-pitch climbers. It's easy to understand why, they're both afforable, smooth, and reliable. At first glance our testers thought they would prefer the Reverso because it's lighter and the shiny anodized finish looks cooler. However, when we actually compared the two side-by-side with the same ropes in a controlled environment (especially in auto-block mode) the ATC Guide came out on top. The difference is small though, so if you've already got a Reverso and like it, don't feel any pressure to switch.

Ragged Mountain Guides Gear Review no rating given just a review

The Reverso 4 is a great tool for top rope belaying and for belaying a leader as well. This winter I caught a couple of falls with it. The skinny ropes were iced up, and it worked admirably. I’m not sure how well a device with larger rope slots like the BD ATC Guide would have worked in this particular situation. Since we all seem to be climbing with skinnier ropes these days, I like the idea of smaller rope slots, and Petzl’s patented Progressive Rope Control.
Overall, I’m impressed with the light weight, and ease of use. Lowering in the plaquette function is pretty easy with a carabiner in the release hole. I’m so sold on it, I can’t imagine ever going back to a different device. Petzl doesn’t redesign things often, but when they do, they do it with intention.

All the Features of Reverso 4 Belay device

This video shows all the features of Reverso 4 belay device, with comparisons to old Reverso.

Petzl Reverso 4 Review

A well discussed review of Reverso 4.

Reverso 4 Review by Outdoor Gear Lab
Reverso 4 Belay Device
Instruction for Using Reverso Belay Device

This video is really long but informative, it shows all the instruction for using Reverso belay device in details.

Watch a tour of Petzl's facilities as they explain all the testing involved

Warning: This video is dubbed in English. If you're getting antsy, skip to section 7:40-8:15 for one of the most interesting parts, where they show a hardware specific camera inspection.