Best Ladders (Jun.) 2017 – Buyer’s Guide and Review

By Walter J. Farrell | LIVING

Over 20 hours of laborious research, we listed the ten best ladders and winning the top spot is Little Giant Alta One 22 Foot Ladder with Work Platform (250-lb. Weight Rating, Type 1 14016-104). This ladder stands 22 feet at full extension and can be reconfigured to 23 different positions. It can carry a weight of 300 lbs, enough for both users and tools. To secure the bases is an adjustable and extendable side to adapt to various ground surfaces on top of being OSHA and ANSI qualified. [Read more]

Ladders are staple equipment at home as well as in offices. We oftentimes overlook these things when we don’t use them all the time. But, ladders are very useful in day to day activities, especially when you are doing repairs and maintenance. At some point, you may even use ladders in cases of emergencies.

We may measure the value of ladders by how high it can elevate us. More than the height, we should also look into the features that will enhance our user experience with this product. We bring in a single post the ten best ladders of today, where we examined its features based on what you, the user's needs.

What Should I Consider Before Buying a Ladder?

Safety

Climbing up ladders is a hazard in itself. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) in the US records that accidents from portable ladders are one of the main causes of workplace accidents. More so, ladder use is also a serious household safety issue.

As purchasers, whether first timers or looking for new ladders, it is important to consider the safety features of the product. Among the features you should look into includes safety lock features, the size of the steppers, rubber matting and even the product quality standards such as the OSHA. These safety features should be scrutinized and determined if it has achieved the standards you are requiring.

This yardstick is vital if the ladder is meant for workplaces since there are regulatory standards requiring a certain quality of the products used in the workplace. For household use, we are not very keen with the product standardization process. But, the safety benefit of the ladder is still an essential consideration to avoid home accidents.

Height

Measuring the ladder height is not the actual height of the product. It refers to the height of the last step of the ladder from the floor. That is, how high can the ladder lift you up. Based on our research, the ladders we found is quite diverse. The ladder products range from 2 feet to 22 feet.

One key element in choosing the right ladder is to consider the height vis-a-vis the kind of activity you frequently do or your specific project. Some want a higher ladder that can reach up to their roof. While others only shorter ladder for indoor use. Regardless of the activity, we recommend that you choose the height that is slightly higher than what you need. It is to ensure that you are fully covered.

Weight Capacity

Different ladders have varying weight capacity. This pertains to how heavy can the load be before the ladder becomes hazardous. At the average, we’ve discovered that ladders only have slight differences as to their weight capacities. We came up with ladders with a 200+ lbs weight capacity to 300+ lbs.

These slight differences play an important role in the overall performance of the product. When examining the weight capacity, it is not enough to only look into the weight of the users. You should take into account the tools or equipment that will be loaded on the ladder.

Some ladders have tool basket on top. In the workplace, these tool baskets are filled with heavy equipment. So when selecting ladders, the weight capacity should as well be looked into.

Multipurpose/ Multitask

We have been fond of products having multiple purposes. Even with a single purchase, we can use the product in several ways. This is also true with ladders. In choosing ladders, there are those products that allow repositioning. That is, you can bend, fold or straighten the ladder to fit whatever climbing purpose you want.

In selecting ladders, you should make sure that safety, durability and other important features are not compromised to attain the multitask feature. Additionally, it will be helpful to determine the uses you have for the ladder to avoid choosing those that is not compatible with your activities.

Personal Needs and Circumstances

Users seek ladder products for certain reasons (not simply to climb). Each of us has our own requirements. When seeking the right ladder be it for homes or workplace, you need to account your special needs (i.e. height and weight), workspace (i.e. outdoor or indoor use), tools and equipment.

For household use, you also need to consider the circumstances of the each family member that will get to use the ladder. As for workplace or organizations, you may have to look into the regulations and standards required by the occupational health and safety agencies. The bottom line is that to comply with the needs of the user.

How We Assessed and Evaluated these Ladders

After looking at about 30 ladders in the market, we gathered the ten best ladders with the help of the criteria from the buyer’s guide above. Primarily, we conducted internet research on Google. We deemed that these two sites are reliable to help us access our desired

There are hundreds of results shown and we’ve spent hours examining the features, benefits, manufacturer background as well as what other users have said about these products.

We strive to scan many pages we can from the search results. The challenge we have encountered is the that there are so many of ladders that it will be impractical for us to look into all of them. 

From the research, we check about 30 ladder products. So our next difficulty is eliminating the extra 20 ladders. There are products with very similar features. To choose which will be included in the top ten is to see if these ladders offer special experiences to their users.

To help us determine from among these ladders, we put our buyer’s guide to use. We choose products that are safe and at the same time useful. That is, we check what safety features the product offers to the users. We expect that each product indicates what they safety precaution are. But we chose products that went a little extra to ensure safety use.

Next, we take into consideration the height and weight capacity. We deemed that the target consumers are those from households and businesses. Also, we understand that different consumers require different needs for their ladder use. So we have selected ladders with short, tall and adjustable height.

As to the weight capacity, there are slight differences only (as mentioned previously). Like the height criteria, we likewise choose varying weight capacity to give a wider selection for you.

In connection with height and weight, we look at the multiple functionalities of the ladders. Provided that users have different ladder situations, we also want to see ladders that can give multiple works. This relates to the personal circumstances of the users, wherein which you should analyze which ladder is most appropriate to your needs.

1. Lifewit 12.5ft Folding Ladder 

3X4 Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Step Ladder Extendable Aluminum

The initial impression with the Lifewit 12.5ft Folding Ladder 3X4 Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Step Ladder Extendable Aluminum is that it is quite big. But, what we like about the product is its 12.5 feet height. It is one of the highest from the products.

This height is suitable for you who needs ladders for outdoor climbing activities. The height complements that multi-position features. We further recommend this product for your roof for repairs, repainting or any other roofing activities.

We look closely at its multi-positions features. Among the ladder, usage includes the traditional step and straight ladder with an addition of scaffold and stand-off ladder. Thus, the ladder becomes extra useful for the consumers.

This feature makes is a very big advantage for the consumers since households and businesses need varying ladder requirements. So we suggest this product for consumers who have projects requiring different ladder needs.

Since the product has multi-positions we keenly examine the safety features of Lifewit 12.5ft Folding Ladder 3X4 Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Step Ladder Extendable Aluminum. We found that it has an automatic lock system. You can easily move the lever from side to side to lock and open the ladder joints. The ladder will not move without you changing its position. You are assured that it will not collapse when used. We deem this to be very important since the product is constantly readjusted.

An issue we discovered with this ladder is that it is a little bit bulky for storage (as mentioned earlier). If you have smaller spaces like apartments, you should examine very closely if you have extra space for storing this. Although, despite being on the bulky side, it is lightweight. So moving the product from one place to another is easier.

What We Liked

  • High 12.5 feet
  • Multi-positions
  • Safety locks

What We Didn't Like

  • Bulky for storage
300-Pound Duty Rating 6-foot Stepladder with Platform

Since the 1970’s Little Giant, the manufacturer of Flip-N-Lite 300-Pound Duty Rating 6-foot Stepladder with Platform has been focusing on multi-function and professional-grade ladder products. But, this ladder is among the non-multiple task ladders. But, its performance is still at par with its competitors.

The feature that we dote on is its weight capacity of 300 lbs. This can accommodate the majority of the users in a household or an organization. It even has an extra load capacity for any tools or equipment that you might need for your activities.

Since the product is on the lower side with only 6 feet height, it is appropriate for users who does not need to reach high areas. So the height is not really a disadvantage. You, as a user, should have a clear height requirement when selecting the product. If you only need shorter height like for the kitchen and indoor ladder you, we recommend that you also consider this ladder.

Despite its low height, Little Giant still provide safety measures for the users with its foot support feature. The step or standing platform makes room for the entire feet (from heel to the toe). It is helpful to ensure relaxed and stable position, especially when working with complex tasks. Aside from relaxed footrest, it has passed Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI). So its organizations, which have stricter policies with workplace safety may include the product as a potential choice.

In contrast to the other ladders, Flip-N-Lite 300-Pound Duty Rating 6-foot Stepladder with Platform is lighter with its 14 lbs weight. We suggest this for users with small storage space so the will not have to worry about portability.

But, we discover that the ladder is a little wobbly. Climbing on it feels like it is uneven. This is a serious problem in cases where the floor is uneven.

What We Liked

  • Good for small spaces and heights
  • Lightweight

What We Didn't Like

  • Feels a little wobbly

3. Louisville Ladder - 1st Runner-up

FS4006 225-Pound 6-Foot Fiberglass Step Ladder

The look of the Louisville Ladder FS4006 225-Pound 6-Foot Fiberglass Step Ladder is your traditional step ladder. The feel, however, is different with its enhanced material and feature from the traditional ladders.

This ladder product is made from fiberglass, which is non-conductive. Unlike the aluminum counterpart, the fiberglass will keep electricity from transporting on the material. This makes the ladder safer for those users who will handle electrical projects. 

With the height of 6 feet, it is good enough for indoor use such as in homes and offices. This can be used for outdoor, but may not be enough to reach your roof if your activities involve that part of your home. Aside from its height, we like how light it is to carry around. It has a weight of 16 lbs, which is light enough to be carried around. Thus, it also affords portability that caters to your varied home or office activities.

Although it is on the lighter side, the footing is sturdy to support its 225 lbs weight capacity. It has angled feet made from aluminum and wrapped in rubber. The combination of the design and material ensures that the ladder is steady and sturdy when used.

One problem we identified from the Louisville Ladder FS4006 225-Pound 6-Foot Fiberglass Step Ladder is the poor performance of its paint holder. The can container is not stable to hold the paint can steadily. This is a problem because it is inevitable that there will be movements as you work on top of the ladder. Having an unsteady container will cause spills and other hazards.

In addition to that we also found the ladder contains visible marks although the laddle supposed be brand new - it could our unlucky day.

What We Liked

  • Made from fiberglass
  • Steady and sturdy footing

What We Didn't Like

  • Not steady paint container
  • Markings and dirt on the ladder
300-Pound Duty Rating Telescoping Multi-Ladder, 13-Foot

The Werner brand is among the leading names in the US for climbing products for over 60 years. This Werner MT-13 300-Pound Duty Rating Telescoping Multi-Ladder, 13-Foot is only one of their product.

This ladder is also one the multipurpose or multifunctional ladders. That is, it provides you with different usage depending on what you are working on. Similar to that of Lifewit 12.5ft Folding Ladder 3X4 Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Step Ladder Extendable Aluminum, the ladder can be transformed into a step ladder (twin), a stairway, an extension ladder, and scaffolding. These various functions are helpful for you who loves doing DIY home decors and renovations.

To complement the multifunctions is its 13 feet height. This sets this product above other multifunctional ladders because it gives you more reach for your climbing activities. We also like that product has a 300 weight capacity, which is beneficial for families and offices.

The ladder is easily adjustable. You don’t have to grapple with the ladder when you want to change its position or function. This is where the product safety comes in with its J-locking system. What you need to do is detach the locks and move the ladder up or down relying on what you want to do.

Additional safety feature can be found on the footing of the ladder. It has a wider footing for better stability and sturdiness of the ladder especially if it is expected to carry about 300 lbs weight. But as to the step (or footer), it is too thin and uneven. It adds tension to your feet since it is not flat. Aside from tension, it can also affect your balance when standing on it for a longer period.

What We Liked

  • Multifunctional ladder
  • 13 feet height
  • 300 weight capacity
  • Easily adjustable positions

What We Didn't Like

  • Narrow and uneven steps

5. Vulcan Ladder - 2nd Runner-Up

USA ES-17T11G1 17-Feet Multi Task Ladder

Step, scaffold, extension, stairway or wall is only the most basic of the 23 most possible positions of the Vulcan Ladder USA ES-17T11G1 17-Feet Multi Task Ladder. Like other multifunction ladders, it has several positions you can readjust. But, unlike its competitors, it can be reconfigured for up to 23 positions.

As safety is our concern, we also look into how safe it can be considering that it has many functions. We discovered that it has pinch hinge that is specifically patented for the product. What it can give you if supposed to be an easy to adjust ladder with hinges that are big enough for you to hold. But, the hinges used for adjustment is quite difficult to work with. This problem affects the convenience and ease of using the ladder. It will take your work time just adjusting and changing position. But this may be remedied by getting to know and understanding how it works.

Our primary targets for households and offices. But with its ‘aircraft grade aluminum’ material, the Vulcan Ladder USA ES-17T11G1 17-Feet Multi Task Ladder is also suitable for heavy-duty activities such as construction. You have to be mindful that it only has a 300 lbs weight capacity which is suitable for home and office use. However, if used for construction, you have to ensure that the equipment and materials you carry with you do not exceed the load capacity.

Because it is made from heavy grade materials, it is a little heavier. It cannot easily be carried around, which is a disadvantage if you are working on many parts of the house or area. So we recommend that you look into the types of climbing activity you do.

What We Liked

  • 23 positions to reconfigure
  • Patented hinges that are large for easy holding
  • Aircraft aluminum grade quality material
  • 300 lbs weight capacity

What We Didn't Like

  • Heavyweight
  • Stubborn hinges
Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder with Spring Loaded Locking Mechanism, Non-slip Ribbing, 330lb. Capacity, 12.5ft

Ollieroo EN131 Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder with Spring Loaded Locking Mechanism, Non-slip Ribbing, 330lb. Capacity, 12.5ft is another type of ladder that is not multifunctional.

As an extension ladder, it is a simple straight ladder which needs to lean on the a wall or another structure for it to stay upright. It made the top 10 because of its performance. 

The biggest advantage of this extension ladder is its portability. It can be folded up to 14 inches (in height) and weighs 26 pounds. Thus, carry it around with ease. But, the ladder stretches up to 12.5 feet like that of Lifewit 12.5ft Folding Ladder 3X4 Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Step Ladder Extendable Aluminum. It has 12 steps that totals to the 12.5 feet height. But, unlike the Lifewit 12.5ft Folding Ladder, this product is only limited to its extension function.

The Ollieroo EN131 Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder with Spring Loaded Locking Mechanism, Non-slip Ribbing, 330lb offers safety features in parity of step and multi functional ladders. It has an extended thumb button that you can quickly push to adjust the height of the ladder. Unlike the other ladders you don’t have to pull and push or use so much effort to change the height of the ladder. In between steps are rubber sleeves that provides more security to avoid the steps from slipping down.

However, that when the ladder is extended up to its highest step, it feels a little wobbly and unsturdy. Although the base (foot) of the ladder have rubber caps so it will not slip, the ladder is staggering when you are working on the top most step. There is also a showing of bends on the steps when one is climbing on it.

What We Liked

  • Portable ladder
  • Good height of 12.5 feet
  • Easy to adjust steps

What We Didn't Like

  • Top step is wobbly
  • Shows bending of steps when used

7. Little Giant Alta One - Editor's Choice

22 Foot Ladder with Work Platform (250-lb. Weight Rating, Type 1 14016-104)

Another one from the Little Giant is a multifunctional ladder that you can configure up to 33 configurations. Evidently, this is more than the Vulcan Ladder USA ES-17T11G1 17-Feet Multi Task Ladder that can be adjusted up to 23 positions.

Aside from the basin ladder arrangements, the Little Giant Alta One 22 Foot Ladder with Work Platform can also be positioned into a 90-degrees ladder, an A-frame, and 3 possible scaffolding. So the ladder is a valuable equipment you can use when there are multiple climbing and reaching needs whether it be for your home or an office.

Unlike the Flip-N-Lite 300-Pound Duty Rating 6-foot Stepladder with Platform (also from Little Giant), it reaches to 22 feet. We have to keep in mind that the Flip-N-Lite is not a multipurpose ladder. But, the 22 feet height gives the Little Giant Alta One 22 Foot Ladder with Work Platform an edge from other products. As for users, like yourself, this ladder can provide you with greater assistance in completing many projects. We suggest that you consider this ladder if you are not only doing several projects but also if the projects mostly involve outdoor activities.

The feature that we approve is the extendable side so that you can work on irregular surfaces. That is, you can adjust one side of the ladder so you can stabilize it if the ground surface is uneven. This is to ensure that you the ladder will stay in place and keep you safe while on top. It may not be a surprise that it has passed OSHA and ANSI regulatory standards.

Despite the exceptional safety features, it is hard to extend the ladders and to lock the ladder. The locking pins have a tendency to work poorly. This may cause issues safety if you don’t check is before climbing.

What We Liked

  • Good 22 feet height
  • 300 lbs weight capacity
  • Extendable ladder side

What We Didn't Like

  • Hard to extend ladders
  • Difficult to use locking pins
15.4ft Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Aluminum Folding Extension Ladder with Safety Locking Hinges and 2 Panels 330lb Capacity

The Finether brand has been producing home maintenance and improvement products. Producing well-rounded portfolio includes a multipurpose ladder that can aid you with climbing task at home.

The 15.5 feet ladder height may not be the highest among the products, but it is decent enough to perform tasks that are done outdoors. So if you have climbing activities that will require a good ladder height, we recommend that you include this in your list of choices.

More so, we also recommend this ladder for those who are looking for lightweight ladders. It weighs 26.9 lbs. This is heavier than the Flip-N-Lite’s 14 lbs and Louisville Ladder FS4006 16 lbs. But, taking into account that the Finether 15.4ft Heavy Duty Multi Purpose Aluminum Folding Extension Ladder with Safety Locking Hinges and 2 Panels 330lb Capacity is a multipurpose ladder, this is reasonable to be categorized under lightweight. If you do not have the arms to lift ladders from one place to another, we deem this ladder should be part of your selections.

This ladder has the basic configurations such as an extension ladder, a double-sided ladder, a stair and a scaffolding ladder. But, users like us will appreciate that it includes a work platform where you can stand on for support especially when using the ladder as scaffolding.

Depending on your feet size and comfort, a closer look at the product shows that the work platform may be too narrow for you. Consequently, this narrow platform may shake when you are working on it. We suggest that you check whether or not you need or want a wider platform before you make you choice.

However, the ladder itself can carry up to 330 lbs weight capacity. 

What We Liked

  • Good 15.5 feet height
  • 330 lbs weight capacity
  • Lightweight
  • With work platform

What We Didn't Like

  • Narrow work platform (depending on feet size)
Max Steel Work Platform

Designed for home use and low reach areas, this three step ladder is produced by one of the oldest home and office products manufacturer. At first glance, the Cosco Three Step Max Steel Work Platform is equipped with features that can compete with the multi functional and non-multi functional ladder.

We think is great for home and low areas because the ladder only has three steps that provide a height of up to 2.5 feet more or less. But, this height is suited for you who are looking for a shorter ladder for simple home and office use.

A small, yet important component of this ladder is the utility tray on top of the ladder. This is where you can place our materials for any project you are doing.

One feature that makes Cosco Three Step Max Steel Work Platform more convenient is that it can be folded, locked and unlocked easily. The product has a one hand fold and lock release mechanism that can help you increase efficiency with the use of the product as well as your project.

This mechanism likewise allows you to fold and store easily. Since it has only three steps, it is almost effortless to keep it. We discovered that it is quite heavy compared to other non-multifunctional ladders. The Flip-N-Lite only weighs 14 lbs and the Louisville Ladder is only 16 lbs. The ladder may be heavy to move from area to area when doing a project.

Costco covered the ladder’s foot with plastic skid-resistant and non-marring cover, it is supposed to avoid slipping. But, there are some surfaces that this plastic material will cause the ladder to drift. This is big drawback considering that the ladder should provide safe support for you.

What We Liked

  • Easy locking system
  • Easy storing
  • Comes with utility tray

What We Didn't Like

  • Ladder legs is covered with plastic material that is slipy on some surfaces
Portable 4 Step Ladder with 330lbs Capacity

The ladder is very similar to the Cosco Three Step Max Steel Work Platform as to the look and feel of the product. The difference is that the VonHaus Steel Folding Portable 4 Step Ladder with 330lbs Capacity has four steps instead of having a utility cart on top.

There is a slight difference with regards to the height because of the additional step. The Cosco ladder is only 2.5 feet, but this ladder reaches up to 3 feet. Another difference is that this is heavier than Cosco with 20.5 lbs. But, a redeeming quality of this ladder is that it can be stored and folded without difficulty because of its thinness. So we think this should be included in your choices if you are have limited storage space.

Unlike some of the multifunctional ladders, this product has wide steps so that most of your feet can be accommodated when you are climbing and standing on them. But, the key feature of the step is its gripped treads. This material is effective in preventing you from slipping or falling off the ladder.

But, there are some who tested the product complaining about the size of the steps. There are those who does not feel secure of the steps since it is smaller for their feet size. We suggest that you determine if the step size is suited to you.

One concern we figured out from is when you step on the second to the fourth step, the ladder moves a little. It gives you an unsteady feeling when standing on it. This issue is a hazard problem if one is not careful when using it.

What We Liked

  • Easy to fold and store
  • Wide steps
  • Steps is made with gripped treads

What We Didn't Like

  • Unsturdy when the high steps are used

Our Recommendations

Editor’s Choice: Little Giant Alta One

From among the 10 ladders, we’ve voted the Little Giant Alta One 22 Foot Ladder with Work Platform (250-lb. Weight Rating, Type 1 14016-104) as our Editor’s Choice. This ladder can extend to 22 feet and have configurations that went beyond just the basics. It can be repositioned up to 23 configurations. The height and the multipurpose feature of the ladder are beneficial as it caters to the varying projects you have to be it at home or in the office.

Its weight capacity is also a feature to take notice. Although it is less than the highest load capacity of 330 lbs, the Little Giant Alta One 22 Foot Ladder with Work Platform’s 300 lbs is appropriate for the height as added weight may be less secure when the ladder is extended to its highest reach.

Alongside, the hinge locks, the ladder can be positioned such that the unused side of the ladder can be adjusted to adapt to the uneven ground. Sometimes, the wide base or the rubber-covered legs of the ladder is not enough to secure you while using the ladder.

Runners-up : Louisville Ladder FS4006 & Vulcan Ladder USA ES-17T11G1

Louisville Ladder FS4006 225-Pound 6-Foot Fiberglass Step Ladder is coming in as first runner-up. This product is a non-multifunctional step ladder. We deemed this a valuable product because of it fiberglass feature that eliminates the danger of electrocution while performing tasks. The material is non-conductive, thus it will not transport electricity. This ladder further secures you (the users) with its angled feet that ensure stability when the product it used.

Our first runner up is suited for indoor activities, but it can also be used outside since it reaches up to 6 feet and can carry up 225 lbs. Its weight is close to our Editor’s choice. Also a bonus, the Louisville Ladder FS4006 225-Pound 6-Foot Fiberglass Step Ladder is very light. So you can carry it around with you. With all these features rolled into one product, it truly deserves one of the top spots.

Coming very close to the Louisville Ladder is the Vulcan Ladder USA ES-17T11G1 17-Feet Multi Task Ladder. It has 23 configurations. These configurations can easily be achieved through the large hinges, which also gives locks the steps of the ladder. The hinges are quite hard to adjust, but it is large enough to help you with the adjustment. With its aircraft aluminum grade material, it can carry up to 300 lbs. This ladder can be very useful for multiple activities.

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About the Author

Walter J. Farrell is an accountant who is very passionate about sharing his knowledge on high tech gadgets. He started AuthorityAdviser to help people know more about the products that are currently a hit in the market.

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