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Ladders and Step Stools Buying Guide

Almost every homeowner needs a step stool or ladder at one time or another—whether it's for painting, cleaning out gutters, or getting to a shelf that's just out of reach. This buying guide will help you find the right step stool or ladder to safely extend your reach.

Types of Ladders and Step Stools

Types of Ladders and Step Stools

Several types of ladders and step stools are available, and each type is suited for different tasks. Selecting one that meets your needs is as simple as considering how you'll use the step stool and understanding what the different types have to offer. Here is a look at the most common types available.

Stepladder

These A-shape ladders are portable, self-supporting ladders with a fixed length. Stepladders are hinged, which allows them to fold for easy storage. They typically feature a folding shelf at the top for tools or paint. Stepladders range in height; anywhere between 3 and 20 feet is common.

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Xtend+Climb
$104.08

Built to exceed the highest OSHA and ANSI standards, the Xtend+Climb WT-3 Step Stool provides you with a safe way to get to those ...hard-to-reach areas. Features of the Storage Step Stool include high-quality, industrial-grade aluminum construction, three sturdy deep and wide no-slip steps and a handrail for added stability. Additional features of the lightweight Step Stool are a built-in foldable safety grab bar that incorporates a sturdy, positive locking system to assure maximum stability while read more

Xtend+Climb
$88.79

The Xtend+Climb WT-2 Step Stool is built to exceed the highest OSHA and ANSI standards. It exceeds Type IA weight handling require...ments greater than 300 pounds. This ladder stool is made from high-quality, industrial-grade aluminum, making it both sturdy and lightweight. It features deep and wide, no-slip steps. There is also a built-in, foldable safety grab bar that incorporates a sturdy, positive locking system to assure maximum stability while in use, and folds down and out of the way when no read more

Straight Ladder

Straight ladders have just one section with a fixed height. Unlike stepladders, straight ladders are not self-supporting, so you must lean them against a stable surface. Lengths of 16-30 feet are common.

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$403.99

This fun, colorful and affordable bed turns your child's sleeping center into an adventure. Jackpot's solid hardwood low loft bed ...and ladder comes with an underbed curtain that makes a great playhouse. Brand: JACKPOT! Model: Straight Colors: white or... read more

$673.58

NOTE: ShopLadder DOES NOT offer assembly on loft beds or bunk beds. Includes low slat bed ends, bed slats, rails, low loft leg kit... and straight ladder. Durable non-toxic finishes. Designed as a component system to ensure future adaptability. Solid... read more

$403.99

This fun, colorful and affordable bed turns your child's sleeping center into an adventure. Jackpot's solid hardwood low loft bed ...and ladder comes with an underbed curtain that makes a great playhouse. Brand: JACKPOT! Model: Straight Colors: white or... read more

$144.99

Set includes: Swivel Ladder Barstool Materials: Solid Beechwood construction Finish: Natural Seat dimensions: 18 inches x 20 inche...s Seat height: 30 inches Dimensions: 43.5 inches high x 18 inches wide x 20 inches deep Color: Brown. read more

Extension Ladder

This type of ladder is similar to a straight ladder, but it's expandable, enabling you to reach various heights with a single ladder. It's best for work that needs to be completed more than 17 feet off the ground. Lightweight and easy set up, extension ladders are fairly easy to transport, but they require ample storage space.

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Werner
$11.12

Extension Ladder Cover Kit, Material RubberFor Use With Extension LaddersIncludes (2) Rubber Extension Ladder Covers Ladder Access...oriesAdditional accessories available at DrillSpot.com.Extension Ladder CoversProtect surfaces from dents and scratches. Fit most extension ladders. read more

Home Plus
$8.22

Highlights: Wire gauge: 16 Cord length: 6' PVC insulation material Maximum Amperage: 13 amps Plug type: Polarized Wire type: Flat ...Gauge and conductors: 16/2 SPT-2 Number of Conductors: 2 Application: Indoor Number of outlets: 3 Cord color: White Voltage: 125 volts Wattage: 1625 watts UL listed read more

Multiuse/Articulated Ladder

These ladders consist of several segments (typically four) held together by joints that lock securely into place. Articulated ladders can be taken apart and put back together in various ways, so they can serve as a stepladder or straight ladder, or they can even be used horizontally as scaffolding or sawhorses. They can also be used on stairs.

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Diptyque
$90.00

Diptyque Eau Plurielle Multiuse Fragrance, 200 mL DetailsA light mist, recalls the scent of fresh linen laid on a bed of ivy and T...urkish roses held with seductive hesperidia and the quiet strength of musk and wood. This crisp elegant scent will delicately perfume both skin and fabric, as lovely lingering on your wrists as it is on your bed linens. 200 mL/ 6.8 fl. oz. Designer About Diptyque: When celebrities travel to Paris, they flock to the Left Bank to stock up on Diptyque candles. Diptyqu. read more

Brawny
$30.23

Brawny(R) Multi-use Cleaning Cloths are disposable cloths that are made from flax fibers, which makes them naturally strong, super... absorbent and sustainable. These cleaning cloths can be used multiple times and can be discarded (or composted) when... read more

Comet
$78.09

Multiuse Cleaner, Recommended Dilution Ready To Use, Size 1 gal., Net Weight 9.83 lb., RTU Yield per Container Ready to Use, Fragr...ance Citrus, Container Type Bottle, Standards EPA, VOC Content 0 Percent, Flash Point 201 Degrees F, Package Quantity 3... read more

Eveready
$12.10

This durable and easy to use flashlight has a ribbed outer case which provides a non-slip grip. This light also features a faceted... reflector which illuminated large areas, is compact in size, and is easy to carry. Dimensions: 2.4 x 9.2 x 4 inches read more

Folding Step Stools

Stepladders shorter than 3 feet are typically called step stools. These step stools fold for easy storage, and many feature built-in handles to make it more convenient to carry them around the house.

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Xtend+Climb
$88.79

The Xtend+Climb WT-2 Step Stool is built to exceed the highest OSHA and ANSI standards. It exceeds Type IA weight handling require...ments greater than 300 pounds. This ladder stool is made from high-quality, industrial-grade aluminum, making it both sturdy and lightweight. It features deep and wide, no-slip steps. There is also a built-in, foldable safety grab bar that incorporates a sturdy, positive locking system to assure maximum stability while in use, and folds down and out of the way when no read more

Xtend+Climb
$104.08

Built to exceed the highest OSHA and ANSI standards, the Xtend+Climb WT-3 Step Stool provides you with a safe way to get to those ...hard-to-reach areas. Features of the Storage Step Stool include high-quality, industrial-grade aluminum construction, three sturdy deep and wide no-slip steps and a handrail for added stability. Additional features of the lightweight Step Stool are a built-in foldable safety grab bar that incorporates a sturdy, positive locking system to assure maximum stability while read more

Basic Step Stools

Consisting of one or two steps, these step stools are best when you only need a bit of a boost. They're commonly used by both adults and children.

shop Basic Step Stools
Xtend+Climb
$104.08

Built to exceed the highest OSHA and ANSI standards, the Xtend+Climb WT-3 Step Stool provides you with a safe way to get to those ...hard-to-reach areas. Features of the Storage Step Stool include high-quality, industrial-grade aluminum construction, three sturdy deep and wide no-slip steps and a handrail for added stability. Additional features of the lightweight Step Stool are a built-in foldable safety grab bar that incorporates a sturdy, positive locking system to assure maximum stability while read more

Xtend+Climb
$88.79

The Xtend+Climb WT-2 Step Stool is built to exceed the highest OSHA and ANSI standards. It exceeds Type IA weight handling require...ments greater than 300 pounds. This ladder stool is made from high-quality, industrial-grade aluminum, making it both sturdy and lightweight. It features deep and wide, no-slip steps. There is also a built-in, foldable safety grab bar that incorporates a sturdy, positive locking system to assure maximum stability while in use, and folds down and out of the way when no read more

Product Features

Product Features

When comparing ladders and step stools, look for features that increase safety and make them easier to use and move around the house or yard. Here are a few features to look for as you are shopping.

Flared Base

Ladders with a flared base can provide additional stability and safety.

Slip-Resistant Rungs or Steps

Available on ladders and step stools, slip-resistant steps can help prevent falls and injuries.

Telescoping Construction

Some extension ladders feature a telescoping design so sections can be extended as needed, and then retracted for easier storage.

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Hidden Storage

Some step stools are available with a storage compartment in the top step.

Retractable Casters

This feature can make it easier to roll the step stool when it's not in use.

Built-In Handles

Many step stools include handles on the sides to make them easier to carry from room to room.

High Back

A step stool with a high back includes a handle to grab onto while climbing and to provide support when standing on the top step.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

A ladder is defined simply as a vertical or inclined set of rungs or steps—yet not all ladders are the same. When comparing models, consider what kinds of tasks you'll be doing, how high you'll need to reach, and how much weight the ladder or step stool will need to hold. Different materials are better suited to various tasks and situations, so it's important to take this into consideration as well. And be sure to look for safety features—and follow the manufacturer's directions when setting up and using the ladder—to prevent falls and other injuries.

Weight Limits

Ladders and step stools are designed to hold a certain amount of weight. Ladders are given a duty rating that specifies the maximum weight they can handle. Ladders and step stools designed for general household use can usually hold up to 200 pounds; some can hold up to 300 pounds. Reference the duty rating to be sure you're selecting the right ladder for your needs. Remember the weight limit takes into consideration both your weight and that of any materials or tools you may be holding, lifting, or moving while using the ladder.

Height

One of your main considerations should be the maximum height you will need to reach. Keep in mind that a ladder's usable height is different from its actual height. For safety reasons, you should not stand on the top two rungs of a stepladder. With an extension or straight ladder, you don't want to stand on any of the top three rungs. The distance between rungs is generally 1 foot, so when complying with safety guidelines, you effectively lose 2-3 feet of the ladder height. Also, extension ladders require an overlap of 3-5 feet, so they need to extend 3 feet beyond your work area. Step stools, meanwhile, typically have one to four steps and aren't more than 20 inches tall, so they're best for reaching a tall cabinet or high shelf.

Material

Ladders are usually made of wood, aluminum, or fiberglass. Aluminum ladders are strong, lightweight, and noncorrosive, making them a convenient choice. However, metal is a conductor, so ladders made of aluminum should not be used for electrical work or in locations near power lines. Wooden ladders are functionally solid and nonconductive, but they're often constructed with metal parts that make them unsafe to use for electrical work. Be sure to seal and treat a wooden ladder to protect it from the elements if you plan to use it outside. Fiberglass is durable and nonconductive, so it’s the only ladder material recommended for electrical work and work in areas near power lines. Fiberglass ladders are often more expensive than aluminum ladders. Larger folding step stools are often made of durable and lightweight steel, while small step stools are usually made of wood or plastic. Wood is durable and feels more solid, but plastic is lightweight and can easily be moved from room to room.

Safety

To ensure safety, look for ladders and step stools with slip-resistant rungs or steps and extension ladders with easy-to-use locking mechanisms. When using the ladder, always face the ladder and use two hands when climbing, and avoid reaching more than 12 inches to either side. Don't use the ladder in high winds. Be sure to double-check that hinges and locks are completely engaged, and inspect the ladder to ensure there are no dents or cracks and that none of the rungs are loose or damaged. If you're using a telescoping model, don't let the ladder collapse too quickly, or it could pose a hazard to hands and fingers.

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