The 11 Best Ladders for Every Home Project, According to Glowing Reviews
It's no secret that homeowners need a variety of tools for home improvement projects. Of the necessary tools—like drills, screwdrivers, wrenches, and hammers—ladders serve an important role in getting DIY projects done. Because ladders come in different sizes and forms designed for specific settings, homeowners and professionals have a lot to consider before making their purchase.
What to Consider When Buying a Ladder
The classic step ladder is common in households because of its versatility. It can be used indoors or outdoors, but it isn't very helpful (or safe) to use against a wall. Extension and telescoping ladders are great indoor/outdoor ladders that lean against walls for projects like cleaning gutters. Other ladders to consider include versatile multi-position ladders, twin ladders that can hold two people at once, podium ladders for 360-degree work, and attic ladders.
Aluminum ladders are lighter than most fiberglass options without compromising stability,, making them ideal for household jobs like painting. However, they are electrical conductors, so if you're planning on doing electrical work, use a fiberglass ladder instead.
Fiberglass ladders are typically more durable, stable, and heavier than aluminum or wood models. They're weather- and flame-resistant, and they are not conductors of electricity, making them the best choice if you're working near power lines or electrical wires.
Wood ladders are sturdier than you might think. However, they can erode with time and when exposed to water and humidity. They are technically non-conductive, but they can be conductive when wet and some have metal bearings that are conductive.
The height of a ladder and its reach height are two different considerations. Before starting your project, measure the height of the space you're working in, whether that's the height of your ceiling or roof. Different ladder styles have different reach heights to keep you safe while working. Step ladders typically have a reach height of 4 feet above the ladder height: meaning an 8-foot ladder has a 12-foot reach height. Multi-position ladders have a 1-foot reach height above the ladder height, and extension ladders have a reach height that's 1 foot less than the height of the ladder. If you're looking for an attic ladder or fire escape ladder, measure the ceiling height or height from your window to the ground.
Safety is the most important thing to keep in mind when using ladders, so make sure you're using the right ladder for the right job. Every ladder has a weight capacity and duty rating ranging from Type 3 to 1AA. Type 3 starts at a weight capacity of 200 pounds and is recommended only for indoor household use. Type 1AA is the most sturdy ladder with a weight capacity of 375 pounds for professional and home use.
When using a ladder, double-check that it's positioned correctly and on stable ground. It's also a good idea to have someone around to spot you or provide extra stability.
Now that you know what to look for, here are our recommendations for the best ladders on the market, according to rave reviews.
The Best Ladders to Buy in 2021
- Best Overall: Werner NXT Six-Foot Fiberglass Step Ladder
- Best Rated: Little Giant Multi-Position Ladder
- Best for Painting: Gorilla Ladders Dual Platform Heavy-Duty Hybrid Ladder
- Best Extension Ladder: Werner Fiberglass Extension Ladder
- Best Lightweight: Little Giant Flip-N-Lite Step Ladder
- Best Telescoping Ladder: Ohuhu Aluminum Telescoping Ladder
- Best Attic Ladder: Fakro LMS Insulated Steel Attic Ladder
- Best Twin Ladder: Louisville Ladder Fiberglass Twin Step Ladder
- Best Podium Ladder: Werner Fiberglass Podium Step Ladder
- Best Step Stool: HBTower Three Step Folding Ladder
- Best Fire Escape Ladder: Kidde Two-Story Fire Escape Ladder