Construction, A-Frame, Emergency and Step Ladder Reviews
I’m here to give you a leg up when it comes to finding the best ladders.
All jokes aside, this site really is about helping you understand all the different types of ladders out there so you can find the one that’s right for you. Before I put all of this together, I was in way over my head trying to find a good ladder for some home improvement projects I wanted to get done. I had no idea there were so many different types of ladders available, with so many different features and components. But with some good old-fashioned researching I finally made sense of it all.
Down below are my reviews for the best ladders I found during all of that researching. I broke them up into different categories based on the best way to use them, to make it easier for you to find the right fit. Check these out, and see if your perfect ladder is awaiting you.
Best Lightweight 4-, 5-, or 6-Foot Stepladder
There are definitely going to be times when you need to move your ladder around the house or to different spots, so having one that’s built to be light while still being sturdy is very important. That’s exactly what is going on with this ladder. It’s even got a few nifty safety features to make it even easier to use wherever you might need it.
Super Lightweight Construction
This ladder is made to be very light and easy to move around, so you can take it with you to different rooms in your house and start using it right away. According to the manufacturer, the heaviest this ladder is going to get is 14 pounds for the six foot model, which is pretty darn light considering the height. The back legs use a minimal crossbar support structure that keeps the ladder steady without requiring it to have a lot of extra metal bracing it. It’s all about smart engineering here to give you a ladder that can stand strong with strategic supports, not like those old ladders that are bulky and heavy, on top of being shaky at times.
Extra Support and Security
First off, this ladder has swing braces on the bottom step and bottom rear support beam, which help keep the ladder from shaking back and forth if the legs shift a bit while you’re standing on it. They keep the whole ladder stable, but account for the tiniest bit of motion so the whole thing won’t just topple over during use. Another thing I really like about this ladder is that it has a safety bar on the top that also acts as another part of the overall bracing system. You can use that top handrail to keep yourself balanced while you climb it, hang tools from it while you work, or help yourself step down slowly and safely.
Best for Construction Work
Little Giant Ladder Systems Alta-One
Everything I read about this ladder says that it’s the best option for anyone who does any type of construction work. It’s built to be strong and sturdy, has multiple positions to allow you to use it for different jobs in different settings, and it’s even compatible with different accessories to give you more ways to use it.
You can use this ladder in two basic configurations (either the A Frame or straight ladder styles), but you’re not limited to just the standard setups for these two styles. If you unfold it in the shortest setting, you have a standard A Frame ladder, but you can then extend either the front or back legs to give you extra height on one side. This is perfect for working on inclined areas, or a place that has steps that aren’t big enough to fit a latter in one spot. You can also completely unfold the ladder from the center joint to create a straight ladder, or leave it at an angle for those oddly-shaped areas. Depending on the size of the ladder, you’re going to be able to get different total length options.
Made with Aerospace-Grade Aluminum
It sounds pretty fancy, but what this really means is that Little Giant built this ladder out of a material that has been tested for maximum strength without becoming unreasonably heavy. Since you can create so many different ladder and scaffolding setups with this ladder, you really do want it to be both strong and light. The lighter weight means that you can maneuver it more easily in the different configurations, and don’t have to worry about it damaging whatever you set it against for support. This ladder also has wide legs and gripping pads to give you even more stability and strength.
Best Multi-Purpose Ladder
RRT Light Weight 12′ Aluminum Ladder
Okay, so you might think that this ladder is pretty zany when you first see it, but it’s actually built very strategically to make it incredibly versatile. There are multiple locking mechanisms and joints in this ladder to give you the ability to position it in so many different ways so that you can get those tricky and inconvenient jobs done.
Folds for Multiple Uses
Most ladders are either going to be in an A Frame or straight configuration, which means it either folds on a top hinge with four feet at the bottom or is a single solid piece with two feet and has to lean against something to stay up. This ladder actually gives you both of those options, along with a whole slew of others. There are three total pairs of joints that each have four locking angle positions. You could set it to pretty much any configuration you can think of to deal with those really hard-to-reach areas like roof overhangs, parts of a house where you can’t get right up against the wall, or even an area with uneven ground. I’m not going to tell you how to use it, because there are seriously so many possible options.
Easy to Store
You probably wouldn’t expect it, but this ladder is actually capable of folding up into a nice, compact size. Once you get it into the fully-locked storage position, the ladder is only around 3 feet long, a little over a foot wide and just shy of a foot high. You could pack this guy up into the corner of your garage and not even notice it when it’s not in use. Or, if you need it for a construction or contracting job, you could toss it into the back of your truck and it wouldn’t hang out or get in the way of your other tools. When you think about all the different ways you can use this ladder, it’s amazing that it is able to fold up into such a relatively small profile.
Best Work Platform Ladder
Cosco 3-Step 11-880PBLW2 Max Platinum
Now this is a great little ladder for anyone who does a lot of odd jobs around the house, like changing a lightbulb on a ceiling lamp or hanging a picture higher up on a wall. It has a molded utility tray to hold all of your tools or whatever else you need to complete your job, and is also built to be stable so you can get the job done without worry. It’s not too tall, either, which makes it a good pick for at-home jobs.
Convenient Utility Tray
You can never discount how important a good utility tray is when you’re working on a ladder. I remember seeing people use those old metal ladders years ago that just had a flat tray on the back, and they couldn’t hold anything. Tools and parts would just roll right off, which is dangerous for the person on the ladder and the people around him. This ladder had a molded utility tray, created specifically to help keep tools and anything else you put on it in place. There are even spots made specifically to hold paint buckets and brushes or rollers, which you definitely don’t want to drop when you’re standing on the ladder working. I can really see this ladder coming in handy for all manner of home improvement projects, holding all kinds of items while you work.
Total Slip Resistance
If you’re doing home improvement projects, you’re also going to want a ladder that won’t slip around. Hardwood and laminate floors can be tricky for ladders, because they are so smooth it makes it harder for some models to get a good grip. This ladder has special skid-resistant pads on the legs to help it stay in place, and as a bonus the pads are also made to keep the floor clean of marks. The steps have a similar slip-resistant construction, with extra grip marks and wider, flat rungs so you can stand on them comfortably. Sometimes you need to stand on a ladder for long periods of time, so you really do want to have steps that are big enough for your feet and won’t cause you to slip.
Best Extendable Telescoping Ladder
Generic 12.5′ Aluminum Portable Telescopic Loft Ladder
Telescoping ladders give you a lot of versatility because they are able to extend to meet different heights. This model has a lot of impressive stats that really made it stand out from the rest, with a maximum height of over 12 feet and an incredible weight capacity of 350 pounds. All in all, this ladder has a lot of really interesting features that make it a great choice for anyone that needs a powerful ladder that doesn’t take up a lot of space.
Twelve Adjustable Steps
This ladder has 12 total rungs, which means it also has 12 total individual sections. Each section can extend 1 foot before it automatically locks into place, so you know that it’s going to stay in place and not slip down when you use it. It’s built with thumb buttons to control the unlocking and locking and it makes it very easy for you to extend and contract the steps. All of this is so that you can adjust the ladder to whatever height you need, for whatever type of job you are doing. There are a lot of home uses for this ladder that come to mind, like working on the exterior of your house, but it could work very well for commercial projects as well.
Compact for Easy Storing
When you’ve got this ladder completely retracted, it only stand about 2.5 feet high, which is pretty amazing when you consider that it can grow almost six times that when it’s fully extended. Since it’s also only 1.5 feet wide, you can tuck this ladder away pretty much anywhere. The whole idea behind a telescoping ladder is that you don’t have to worry about making room for it or accommodating a huge ladder when you’re not using it. The collapsing aspect of this ladder really sets it above the others in terms of easy storage.
Best Step Stool
Cosco Signature 2-Step
This is the type of ladder that’s perfect for regular in-home use for things like reaching the top shelf of a tall cabinet or dusting off a ceiling fan. It’s got a grip handle on the top bar so you have something to hold onto while you climb up and down. This ladder folds up when you don’t need it, so you could tuck it into a closet or next to your fridge when not in use. Since the whole top bar is continuous you could even hang it on the wall in the garage.
Extra Large Steps
Large steps are very important for a step stool ladder because you want to be able to stand on them very easily and comfortably while you use it. There are only two steps here, with the first one made more to help you reach the top platform rather than regularly stand on it. Both platforms have grooves in them for extra gripping power, which means that you aren’t going to have to worry about slipping off because the steps are too smooth.
Continuous Legs for Stability
I really like that this step ladder is made with two continuous pieces rather than a lot of tiny pieces screwed or welded together. When you have more small pieces in something that is meant to bear your weight, you run the risk of those joints weakening over time. The front of this ladder has a single solid metal frame with the steps attached to it. The rear legs are also a continuous piece that includes a crossbar brace on the bottom for extra support. This piece is bolted to the front with a joint brace that covers the bars to minimize the number of joints.
Best Fire Escape Ladder
Kidde KL-2S with Anti-Slip Rungs
You might not have ever thought about it, but if you live in a two-story home you are absolutely going to want to get yourself a fire escape ladder (here’s more info on why you need a fire escape plan). This is hands down the best fire escape ladder I’ve seen, and it’s really built to be reliable and easy to use – both things you want when you’re making a quick escape from your home in a dangerous situation like a fire.
Quick Window Attach
When you’re dealing with something like a house fire, you have to be able to act fast and you need to have safety tools that are easy to use. I was very impressed to learn about the quick-attach build of this ladder, which uses an over-the-sill design so all you would have to do is hang it over the open window and let the gripping feet sit on the inside wall. I saw some other models that required you to unfold the bracings or do other complicated tasks to get it ready to attach to the window, so it’s great that this model is ready to go right out of the box.
The other thing you’re going to want on an emergency escape ladder is gripping power. This ladder has zinc-plated steel rungs that are made to give you a solid hold while you make your way down. They are also flat instead of rounded like on other types of ladders, which is good because you don’t want to be stepping on something curved in this type of situation; it’s much harder to stand firmly on round surfaces compared to flat ones. The whole thing is also flame resistant, too, and uses a nylon strap system that gives the ladder some flexibility to accommodate different house shapes.
Best Painter’s Stepladder
Louisville AS2106 Aluminum Stepladder
Ladders are a must-have for anyone doing a serious painting project, whether it’s adding a fresh coat to a room in your home or a big professional job. There are a lot of features with this ladder that make it the perfect choice for any painter, including a tray and top specially crafted for paint tools and a no-nonsense design that keeps you from having to worry about getting dirty.
Built Specifically for Painters
Pretty much everything about this ladder says “Made for Painters”. It starts out with the utility tray, which has a series of different size circles molded into it in, allowing you to easily and securely place different-sized paint buckets right on top. There are also several holes in the pail shelf so that it can hold your paint brushes, paint bucket pry keys, screw drivers, or scrapers while you work. The top of this ladder is also built with the same thought process, with an additional paint bucket slot as well as special slots and holes for paint brushes and other tools. Overall, this ladder offers a lot of different ways for you to hold your painting supplies while you’re on the job.
Safety Regulation Compliance
Most regular people doing home paint jobs will want a ladder that’s safe, but just hearing the word doesn’t really explain why a ladder is safe. I was very happy to learn that this ladder is made to be in compliance with multiple safety codes, including the American National Standards Institute and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These entities enforce strict safety regulations that cover the load capacity, ability for the ladder to stand steady, and many other features. Knowing that this ladder complies with these regulations means that you can trust that it’s going to be dependable. Also, if you’re buying these for a painting business, you may have to own equipment that complies with the standards for insurance or other legal reasons.
Best Ceiling Ladder
Louisville Ladder AA259GS Elite Aluminum Attic Ladder
Attics and crawlspaces can be a very useful feature to have in a home, but actually getting into them can become a serious pain in the You Know What. Ceiling ladders make getting into your attic much, much easier, and this is the best ceiling ladder I’ve seen. It includes an installation kit that has everything you need to install it into the ceiling so you can get in and out of the area without using a traditional stepladder.
Compact Folding Build
The main difference between a ceiling ladder and a stepladder is that this one folds up into the entryway hatch, so it will stay in the attic or crawlspace when you don’t need it. If you just had a hatch on your ceiling, you’d have to move a ladder over to that area every time, which can present other issues and complications. This ladder also uses a gas cylinder to control the opening and closing motion, compared to older models that would use springs or simply nothing at all. It’s made so that you don’t need to exert a lot of force to open and close the hatch, and so that the ladder folds up into a compact configuration that won’t get caught or stuck.
Wide Clearance Access
I was also very impressed to learn that this ladder is made slightly wider than a lot of other models, so that you can have more clearance when you use it. That extra space is definitely going to come in handy if you’re moving boxes or any bulky items into or out of the attic. Since the ladder comes out at an angle and involves passing through a rectangular entryway, you’re almost certainly going to be doing a lot of maneuvering to get in and out. So, having the extra space means that you get more wiggle room during the whole process.
The Final Step Before you Leave my Reviews
Well, there you have it. These are the absolute best ladders that I have found available today. I hope that you were able to find all of this helpful, whatever type of ladder you need.
If you’re still not sure what ladder is right for you, or if you’re trying to choose between a few different models for a specific use, make sure to check out the other pages on this site. I put together some buying guides and advice pieces based on everything I learned, so you should be able to find some very useful information there.
Good luck on your hunt for the best ladder!