5 Tips on Buying a Great Ladder on a Budget
Ladders are one of those things that are incredibly useful, but can quickly become incredibly expensive. If you want to buy a new ladder, but are trying work within the confines of a tight budget, then today is your lucky day. Check out these five budget buying tips to help you find a great ladder without having to break the bank in the process.
1. Find Your Maximum Height
As a basic rule of thumb, longer ladders are usually going to be more expensive. That means that buying a ladder that’s longer than you actually need it to be is a surefire way to spend way more than you have to. Finding your maximum required height is the best way to keep your costs low and stay within your budget. Measure the highest point you’re going to need to reach with the ladder and use that to help you eliminate any ladders with a maximum height that’s too low or too high.
When you’re looking at the ladder heights, remember to take your own height into account to find the actual height that you will be able to reach. If a ladder is 6 feet tall, and you are 6 feet tall, then you are actually going to be just under 12 feet above the ground when you’re standing on the highest point. If you’re looking at A Frame ladders, never measure from the very top because it’s not safe to stand on that point. Instead, measure from the topmost step. Extension ladders don’t typically have a top area that is not a full step.
2. Don’t Overdo Load Capacity
A ladder’s load capacity refers how much weight it can support safely, and is definitely something you should consider when you’re shopping for your perfect ladder. Generally speaking, ladders with a higher load capacity are going to cost more because they are built for heavier work and projects. You should never buy a ladder that has a load capacity less than the amount of weight you plan to put on it, because this can lead to a lot of different safety issues that could include the entire ladder collapsing on you. Just to reiterate again, don’t try to save money by purchasing a ladder with a lower load capacity than what you need.
The way to save money on load capacity is to avoid buying more than you need. It’s more about stopping yourself from overspending and going over your budget unnecessarily. If you calculate your weight and the weight of whatever you are going to be holding or carrying on the ladder, you can quickly find the average load amount. Increase this number by a reasonable amount to add some buffer room for any particularly heavy loads you might carry, and you’ll have your own personal maximum load capacity. Stay under this value, and you’ll keep yourself from wasting money on a ladder that supports more weight than you’ll ever take on it.
3. Avoid Moving Parts
Ladders with more configuration options are usually going to be more expensive than the more basic models. This is because it requires an entirely different approach to construction to make sure the ladder can stay safe and support the load capacity in every position. Ladders that can switch between A Frame and extension settings are typically made for people that do a lot different types of jobs and want a single ladder than can handle them all. The luxury of switching between these settings can increase the price of some ladders by hundreds of dollars, which can do some serious damage on your budget if you’re not careful.
Ladders are often considered expensive, but by steering clear of these convertible and configurable ladders, you can usually keep your costs pretty low. The same is true of telescoping ladders, which can expand and collapse to achieve different heights. Of course, if you absolutely need to have a ladder that can change to different angles or positions, such as for working around uneven areas or uncommon terrain, then you that’s what you have to do. You can try to stay in budget here by focusing on the length of the ladder and the degree of configuration you actually need. Basically, figure out the bare minimum and use that as a guide to find the most affordable configurable ladder.
4. Trim Off Useless Features
Just like most products, extra features can quickly increase the price of a ladder, though thankfully it’s not quite as bad for ladders as for things like cars. The best way to approach extra features when it comes to ladders is to think about what you actually need, and then compare ladders that do and don’t have that feature. For example, if you don’t need a utility tray on your ladder, you can look for models that don’t include them. This one really comes down to your ability to compare pricing, but with enough hard work and diligence it can definitely result in some major savings and great finds.
5. Consider Step Stool Ladders
Step stool ladders are pretty much always going to be the most affordable ladders on the market, because they are made almost exclusively for home use rather than commercial use. These ladders are only going to have a few steps and usually come with a lower load capacity. You can certainly find some heavier duty models that can reach around 4 feet and support over 200 pounds, as well as models with some additional features like utility trays. I reviewed some great options for working around the home on smaller projects, but are usually not suitable for working outside.
Staying within budget can be pretty tricky, especially if you have some specific needs for your ladder. Make sure that you’re working with a realistic budget that honestly takes all of your needs into consideration. Otherwise, you’re going to put yourself through way more effort than is necessary, while working under unrealistic conditions.