The 5 Best Climbing Chalks of 2023

Climbing requires strength, technique, and precision. Climbing chalk is one of these details. This page explores climbing chalk’s purpose, benefits, and types. Climbing chalk improves grip and performance.

What is climbing chalk?

Climbing chalk is a drying chemical that increases friction between climbers’ hands and rock or climbing grips. It keeps hands dry to prevent sweat-induced slippage and retain grip. Climbing chalk absorbs moisture to help climbers stay in control, move precisely, and conquer difficult routes.

Climbing Chalk Benefits:

  • Climbing chalk improves grip. Chalk improves traction and grasps by minimizing hand sweat and moisture.
  • Climbers can feel the rock or grip better with climbing chalk. This heightened sensitivity helps discover small ledges, crimps, or faults that may be critical for the ascent.
  • Sweat Absorption: Climbing is highly strenuous and causes sweating. Climbing chalk absorbs sweat, keeping hands dry for longer. This improves grip and prevents skin softening, minimizing blisters and calluses.

Climbing Chalk Types:

  • Loose chalk, usually powdered, is the most popular climbing chalk. It’s poured into a chalk bag or pot and rubbed on the hands. Loose chalk comes in powder and chunky forms.
  • Chalk Balls: A dust-free alternative to loose chalk, chalk balls control distribution. A permeable cotton bag holds powdered chalk. Climbers can apply chalk to their hands more precisely by squeezing the chalk ball.
  • Climbing chalk has recently introduced liquid chalk. It’s a chalk-in-alcohol suspension. Squeeze a little amount of liquid chalk onto the hands and rub them together until the liquid evaporates, leaving chalk on the skin. It lasts longer than loose chalk and has less dust.

Choosing Chalk

Climbing conditions and personal choice determine the best chalk. Consider ambient conditions, climbing technique, sweating, and gym rules. Some climbers favor chalk balls for their ease, while others prefer loose chalk for its adaptability.

For climbers seeking reliable and high-quality climbing chalk, we recommend considering the following options:

Best Overall Climbing Chalk

Black Diamond White Gold

The Black Diamond White Gold offering is the one that strikes the ideal balance between cost-effectiveness and overall excellence. Whether you like your chalk in a fine powder for thick, cakey coating or full of heavy chunks, you can have it all in one 300-gram bag (100-gram and 200-gram bags are also available). The chalk can also be purchased in smaller quantities. White Gold never failed to provide the additional friction and self-assurance that we required in order to concentrate and climb at a high level, no matter where we were climbing: in the dry air of the high desert or in the humid climbing gyms of the Southeast United States.

The BD White Gold chalk, just like any other type of loose climbing chalk, generates a lot of dust and is easy to spill. The Gorilla Grip from Friction Labs is more convenient to use thanks to its resealable packaging in the form of a coffee bag and its tiny opening; however, it costs more than twice as much. If you want to stop spills and cut down on the amount of dust in your climbing gym, we suggest using White Gold in conjunction with a chalk ball that can be refilled.

The Best Value for Your Money

Metolius Super Chalk

Counting your pennies and stretching your cash in order to save up enough money for a new set of cams or a large crash pad? Metolius Super Chalk is the most effective approach to reducing expenses while also maximizing the amount of chalk in your luggage. In spite of the fact that some of our testers favored Friction Labs Gorilla Grip or BD White Gold, they were unable to distinguish a significant difference in performance between these three options when we put them to the test in a blind fashion. This is the most cost-effective choice we examined. Each bag contains chalk chunks as well as a fine powder, and compared to similar products on the market, this one appears to contain a greater proportion of the powder. This results in a greater amount of chalk dust and makes it simpler to load into a refillable chalk ball. In order to make large bits of chalk smaller enough to fit in chalk balls, you have to grind them down, which can be a nasty process. One of the first chalks to include an antiperspirant component, Super Chalk was one of the first chalks to do so. This helped prevent users’ fingers and palms from becoming sweaty. You may either love or despise this feature, depending on whether you have extremely sweaty skin or extremely dry skin.

Our reviewers shared anecdotal accounts in which they described this chalk as having a smooth texture, being extremely fine, and being more prone to caking up than other brands. You might like Super Chalk more if you enjoy having a lot of chalk on your hands when you play. During the course of our testing of climbing chalk, we discovered via first-hand experience that it is possible to have “too much chalk” on both your hands and the climbing holds itself. This can make the holds seem slippery if they are not brushed off properly. Nevertheless, Metolius Super Chalk gets the job done at a reasonable price, making it an attractive option for those who prioritize cost savings.

Fine Cut Chalk in a Great Container

Trango Gunpowder

The Trango Gunpowder chalk is a fine cut that was introduced into the world of chalk (get it? for your firearms). The primary ways that businesses differentiate themselves in an effort to carve out a niche for themselves in the chalk industry are the textures of the chalk and the packaging that it comes in. The consistency of gunpowder’s fineness is uniformly fine; it is significantly finer than FrictionLabs’ Unicorn Dust, but it is not powdery fine like the Bison Designs Competition Chalk. The end result is a chalk that, in addition to providing excellent coverage each time your hands are dipped into the chalk bag, comes at an excellent price and is packaged in a container that won’t make a large chalky mess inside your bag.

The disadvantages of using fine chalk like this are that it does not have larger chunks that can be used to make tick marks, and it has a tendency to become aerosolized. Although chunkier chalk blends will always grow finer as they are crushed down over time in your chalk bag, initially it will not cover your hands as well as finer chalks would do so. In the weight room, it is often considered rude to let chalk dust blow off your bag. On the other hand, Trango Gunpowder is an excellent choice if you have the good fortune to do the majority of your climbing outside and if you have a strong preference for a fine texture.

Best Liquid Climbing Chalk

Friction Labs Quick Grip Secret Stuff

Quick Grip Secret Stuff from Friction Labs’ Quick Grip Liquid Chalk is a specialized product that was developed specifically for athletes, particularly climbers, and weightlifters, who need a firm grip while they are participating in their respective sports. This liquid chalk has various advantages over the more conventional form of chalk, which is powder. Because it increases the friction between your hands and the equipment you’re using, it gives you a better grip, which is why it’s particularly useful for activities that require you to hold objects tightly in your hands. Liquid chalk, as opposed to powdered chalk, forms a thin layer that remains on your hands for a longer amount of time and lasts significantly longer than powdered chalk. Additionally, it leaves behind very little dust or residue, so there is less of a mess to clean up and no chalk marks are left behind on surfaces. In addition, liquid chalk is believed to be more hygienic than traditional chalk because it eliminates the need to dip one’s hands into a communal chalk bag, hence reducing the likelihood that germs and bacteria would be transferred. Its use is as simple as squeezing a small bit onto your hands and rubbing them together until it dries, making it a product that is both simple and straightforward to apply. However, it is essential to keep in mind that people’s preferences might vary greatly; hence, it is recommended that you experiment with a variety of possibilities in order to determine which ones work best for you.

Best Chalk Ball

Black Diamond Refillable Chalk Shots

The majority of our testers climb outdoors, and the vast majority of them believe that it is impossible to achieve sufficient coverage from a chalk ball. With the Black Diamond Refillable Chalk Shot, this is not the case. Our testers discovered that despite the ball’s construction using porous material, they were still able to acquire a sufficient amount of chalk on their hands from it without the chalk leaking out all over the place. This gave them more assurance while using the ball.

Other chalk balls available on the market have smaller pores, which may assist prevent dust from being dispersed around, but we like the BD Chalk Shot since it delivers the chalk directly to your hands without the dust being spread around. People who don’t enjoy playing with chalk balls should try out this alternative. The Chalk Shot will not let you down if your climbing gym prohibits the use of loose chalk and you require as much chalk as you can get on your filthy paws.


In 2023, there are various great climbing chalk options. We found a few standouts through blind testing and investigation.

Black Diamond White Gold offers the finest price-performance ratio for climbing chalk. It adds friction and confidence for high-level climbing in dry outdoor circumstances or damp indoor gyms.

Metolius Super Chalk provides the highest value without sacrificing performance. Its mix of chalk chunks and fine powder makes it easy to load into a reusable chalk ball.

Trango Gunpowder is well-cut and well-packaged. It covers well and reduces chalk bag mess.

Liquid chalk is Friction Labs Quick Grip Secret Stuff. This substance lasts longer than powdered chalk, increases friction, and leaves less dust.

Chalk ball fans should try Black Diamond Refillable Chalk Shots. They offer reliable coverage without dust dispersal.

It’s vital to select the chalk that works best for you. Performance, value, and user feedback determined these top options. These climbing chalk options can improve your grip and confidence whether you’re climbing indoors or outdoors.

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