How to Find the Right Compact Ladder for Your Needs

The idea of a compact ladder might seem odd at first. Even though most ladders can fold up, they are still usually going to be pretty big in one way or another. However, it is possible to find some particularly compact ladders that can reach impressive heights and support a wide range of uses. If you want to find out how to choose the best compact ladder, check out the guidelines below.

Measure the Site

Before you start looking at any of the ladder options out there, you need to go to the site where you will use the ladder and get some measurements. First up, find out the maximum height you will need to reach with the ladder, because this is going to dictate a lot during the selection process. If you need to get to an area that is pretty high up, such as over 14 feet, then you’re options are going to be much more limited than if you just need to reach an area a few feet up. You should also make note about the type of ground on the site, so you can account for any odd terrain or areas that would be hard to work around.

Rank Special Features

Once you know the length of the ladder you need, it’s time to figure out what special features you need, if any. For example, do you need to have a utility tray to hold your tools or painting supplies while you work? If so, then you may need to focus on an A Frame ladder over an extension ladder or other type. Some A Frame ladders may not come with a utility tray or the exact feature you want, but support the installation of aftermarket accessories. Overall, the more features you can cut off of your list, the more options you will have in terms of keeping the ladder as compact as possible.

Look at Load Capacity

This is another very important part of the ladder selection process, because it doesn’t matter how small a ladder gets if it’s not strong enough to support your weight. The good news is that pretty much every ladder represents load capacity by the maximum amount of weight the ladder can support. Therefore, all you need to do is add up the weights of the person who will use the ladder and any tools or equipment he will need. Step stool ladders usually have the lowest weight capacities, but are also sometimes the easiest to store. Make sure you’re honest about weight during these calculations, because this is going to affect the overall safety of the ladder.

Storage and Transportation Methods

Finally, you should think about how you plan to store and transport the ladder to determine how compact you actually need it. If you just need to be able to fit the ladder in the back of your pickup truck or inside a small utility shed, then you can look at some of the different A Frame and even extension models. It’s possible to find ladders in these styles that fold up or have extending components that keep the profile much smaller than a traditional ladder, but are still big enough to offer a sizable load capacity and height.

If you really need to keep the size as small as possible, such as for carrying with you around a work site or storing in an apartment with limited closet space, then you may want to consider a telescoping ladder. These can be collapsed to only a few feet wide and a few feet tall, so you could tuck them under a bed or on a closet shelf when not in use. Just know that these models typically don’t come with utility features and are not usually compatible with aftermarket accessories.


Sometimes you don’t actually need your ladder to be as compact as you think. After you take all of your measurements and take down all the other numbers and factors to consider, spend a little time looking them over and creating an acceptable working range. Having a range of heights and sizes, rather than a single hard value, gives you more flexibility when it comes to making the final purchase.