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Published Oct. 11, 2021

A stepping stool is a great help to have around the home. Unlike ladders, with their multiple rungs, a stepping stool uses one or more steps that offer a few extra inches or feet to your natural reach. Some designs fold up for quick and easy storage, while others are meant to leave out for convenience. They’re referred to as stepping stools as they are typically designed so users can sit on the top step, if they so choose.

Designed to give you a stable boost, stepping stools serve multiple uses inside a home. Small children can use them to wash their hands in the sink, and adults gain benefit from reaching into tall cupboards, the space above the fridge, access items in stuffed storage rooms, and generally make out-of-reach items more accessible. Certain chores become easier with the right stepping stool, too. 

We’ve done our homework and compiled a list of the best stepping stools we could find. Keep reading to see which items we selected.

How We Picked the Products

Methodology

When you start to work at heights, even those that are less than a foot, it’s important to select a stepping stool that brings peace of mind. There are many options out there, and we’ve combed through what’s on the market and made our recommendations based on a few different criteria.

  • Weight: A stool needs to feel supportive and give confidence to the user, taking into account their weight and the weight of any items they’re holding. We selected stools that state weight capacities or outline supportive construction designs that are made to withstand the weight of an average adult.
  • Material: Lackluster materials that crack or bend won’t hold up over time and will pose a danger to the user. We selected stepping stools that are thoughtfully built with durable materials.
  • Traction: We evaluated the grip support of each of our choices. Grip is usually more enhanced with utility stepping stools instead of aesthetically pleasing ones.
  • Value: As many stepping stools are stored away and taken out infrequently, it was important to us to recommend products that are affordable but worth the money that’s spent on products that use quality materials and design.
  • Storage: Not all stepping stools are meant to be stored away. For those that require storage, we looked for foldable designs. For stepping stools that are intended for everyday use, we made an effort to select ones that didn’t make much of a change to the look of the home.

The Best Stepping Stools: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: COSCO Two Step Folding Step Stool

Great for Projects

Convenient, lightweight step stool that’s easy to store. CoscoProducts

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Why It Made The Cut: We wanted to include a stepping stool that worked for many homes, with a higher reach and stable design. COSCO’s product has large gripped steps for secure footing, and it’s lightweight, allowing for easy portability and versatile use.

Specs:

  • Measures 22.84 by 17.72 by 34.65 inches
  • Holds up to 200 pounds
  • Extra-large gripped steps and feet, both made from  heavy-duty injection-molded plastic for stability

Pros:

  • Foldable design for storage
  • Lightweight for hassle-free transport
  • Two-step design for extra height
  • Useful for multiple jobs around the home

Cons:

  • Only holds up to 200 pounds 
  • Molded resin leg tips may cause stool to slip

COSCO’s stepping stool is a practical and useful addition to virtually any home. Designed for utility rather than aesthetic, this alloy steel stool gives you versatility to complete projects around the home. The increased reach from the stool’s height enables users to safely hang lightbulbs, paint ceiling trim, access items stored in the garage or storage room, and more. 

We consider this to be the ultimate stepping stool for home projects. Its foldable design is simple to use, and its light weight of only 8.36 pounds makes it easier to carry from one place to another. The folding design is helpful in transport, and it’s convenient to keep in a car or tuck away into a closet when not in use. 

Safety comes built into the design, with molded resin caps on the stool’s feet, which help keep the user stable and the floors protected. The stool also features textured steps and a resin hand grip, giving peace of mind and security to the user. In an instance where the ladder is set up on an uneven surface, the user can quickly grab the handle as another protection point to the stool if they feel wobbly or misstep.
This stepping stool holds up to 200 pounds, which is a bit less than other stools on our list. However, this capacity is sufficient for many homes, as according to the CDC’s health statistics, the average weight of a person in the US is less than 200 pounds.

Best Value: Handy Laundry Folding Step Stool

Tiny but Mighty

Small, lightweight, and so easy to use. Handy Laundry

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Why It Made The Cut: Handy Laundry was the most reliable compact option we came across and one of the easiest foldable stepping stools to use, with a thoughtful design that incorporates a convenient handle for easy portability

Specs:

  • Measures 12.8 by 11.5 by 1.89 inches, with a standing height of 9 inches
  • Holds up to 300 lbs. 
  • Easily foldable stool with a handle 

Pros:

  • Folds down into a convenient storage size
  • Holds more weight than some full-size stepping stools
  • Gripped surface prevents slipping
  • Anti-skid foot pads give it safety certification

Cons:

  • Doesn’t offer as much height as other stepping stools

The Handy Laundry stepping stool is an excellent choice for apartment dwellers, or those who need only a few extra inches of reach. Standing at 9 inches tall, this stepping stool is designed for convenient utility. Users looking to access higher areas may want to consider another product, as this one is better suited for shorter reaching.

Constructed with a foldable design, this stool can be easily stowed away when not in use. Additionally, the design is made to open easily, so children or people with limited mobility can set up the stepping stool without issue.

Made from plastic and weighing only 2.36 pounds, this is a terrific option for users who want a stepping stool with lightweight, convenient portability. The carrying handle in the middle of the stool makes it simple to transport around the home, and also makes an excellent step for those who travel in an RV and need an extra step to reach their door. The stool has a gripped surface, making it useful in any environment with less fear of slipping.

Over time, Handy Laundry has made this stepping stool even better. Older models had a limit of only 200 pounds, but their improved construction has increased the weight capacity to 300 pounds.

Best Plastic Stepping Stool: Rubbermaid RM-P2 2-Step Molded Plastic Stool

Performance Over Style

This step stool’s stability makes it perfect for kids or seniors. Rubbermaid

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Why It Made The Cut: Rubbermaid ‘s step ladder features a large step for stability, and comes with a warranty for consumer assurance, making it the most appealing plastic stool we came across. 

Specs: 

  • Measures 16.13 by 18.625 by 18.25 inches
  • Holds up to 300 lbs.
  • Large standing platform with gripped steps

Pros:

  • Lightweight at only 5.6 pounds
  • Non-marring feet that keeps floors safe
  • Built by a trusted brand
  • A sturdy, wide platform

Cons:

  • Does not fold away

This Rubbermaid purpose-built stepping stool is designed for function over fashion. Built by a brand that’s been trusted in home organization for about 80 years, users know they’re buying a design that’s been tested and perfected. Rubbermaid does simple designs right and backs their work with a one-year warranty.

This two-step plastic stool allows you to reach a bit further, adding approximately a foot and a half to your reach. Made from solid plastic material, the design implements some helpful features that consumers appreciate:

  • Nonslip grip on each step, keeping footing secure when in use, no matter what the environment
  • Wide top step for stability, so users can focus on what they’re doing rather than their balance
  • Two small carrying handles to make moving the stool around much easier
  • Nonslip pads on the bottom of the stepping stool’s feet won’t  mark your floors and will keep the stool firmly in place

Since this stool does not fold up, consumers need to have a viable storage option for it. However, this stool comes in a basic black color, so it can blend into almost any space, and users can leave it out without creating an eyesore. 

Best Stepping Stool for Storage: King’s Brand Cherry Finish Wood Bedroom Bed Storage Step Stool

Dual-Purpose Design

This stepping stool is beautiful and useful. King’s Brand

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Why It Made The Cut: This stool from King’s Brand was our favorite for style and functionality with its inclusion of a small storage chest.

Specs: 

  • Measures 16 by 15 by 15 inches
  • Storage flip top makes the most of the space
  • Holds up to 250 lbs

Pros:

  • Dual-purpose design
  • Made from strong wood
  • Holds up to 250 pounds
  • Can add to a home’s aesthetic

Cons:

  • Larger than other stepping stools
  • No grip on the steps

This King’s Brand stepping stool elevates the appearance and function of a traditional stepping stool. Made from Nikola wood with a cherry finish to enhance the rich tones of the stool, it makes an excellent addition to the home. With built-in storage and sturdy design, this stepping stool is both aesthetically pleasing and purposeful. It’s a terrific option for storing in places where stepping stools are often used, such as beside a tall bed; by the couch, so pets with mobility issues can get up; in the bathroom, for children to reach the sink; in the kitchen, to reach tall cupboards or so children can access the countertop

A storage chest is hidden in the wide bottom step and opens with a simple flip top. There are any number of useful things you can keep here, from small everyday tools, charge cords, miscellaneous knick-knacks, or other items. It is a bit larger than other stepping stools because it does have this storage space, but as it’s intended to remain as a fixture in a room, potential buyers should note the size to ensure it fits their home.

The weight capacity is 250 pounds, suitable for use by most adults. However, one drawback to this stepping stool is the lack of grip, which would disturb the stool’s aesthetic. To avoid any potential slips, owners of the stool are advised to use it barefoot or with rubber tread socks.

Best Stepping Stool for Seniors: DMI Step Stool with Handle for Adults

Safe and Effective

A strong step up for seniors and others who need to reach higher. DMI

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Why It Made The Cut: DMI’s stepping stool considers the specific needs of the elderly, such as the product’s weight, stable footing, and a giant safety handle that offers security when using the single step. 

Specs: 

  • Overall dimensions are 17.3 x 12.3 x 34 inches
  • Holds up to 300 pounds
  • Nonslip textured platform and rubber tips 

Pros:

  • A removable safety handle
  • Equal distribution of weight on all the stool’s gripped feet
  • Large stepping surface for stability

Cons:

  • Less aesthetically pleasing than other designs

DMI clearly understands the needs of those of an advanced age, and those with mobility issues. Despite these circumstances, people still like to maintain their independence and do things themselves. This stepping stool makes it safe and practical for them to do so.

Built with one stable step that’s only 9 inches tall, the DMI step stool does not impose the danger of excess height. It merely offers a boost so seniors and others can safely reach items that are just a little too high. Made to support up to 300 pounds, many folks can feel secure while using this stepping stool. Other safety features include:

  • A 34-inch tall gripped handle for added stability that can be removed if desired.
  • Four identical legs that equally distribute the user’s weight, giving confidence in maintaining secure balance.
  • Rubberized feet that grip the ground to prevent slips and can be used in a humid or wet environment (even by the bathtub).
  • A large platform that measures 10 by 14.5 inches, making it easier to stay balanced.

This is a practical addition to a home. At only 8.5 pounds, it’s lightweight enough for many older folks to move around as needed. DMI’s product is quite obviously a stool, which is to say it doesn’t exactly blend in with a home’s decor. What it lacks in aesthetics, though, it more than makes up for in functionality.

Best Stepping Stool for Families: VaeFae Bamboo 2 Step Stool

For Kids and Adults

VaeFae’s bamboo stepping stool is one of the few we found that was light enough, safe enough, and portable enough for most members of the family, including small kids. VaeFae

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Why It Made The Cut: VaeFae’s bamboo stepping stool is one of the few we found that was light enough, safe enough, and portable enough for most members of the family, including small kids. 

Specs: 

  • Measures 15 x 13.4 x 14.2 inches
  • Thick rounded corners for added safety
  • Made from sustainable and renewable bamboo

Pros:

  • Two handles for easy transport
  • Extra support from wood dowels
  • Nonslip feet
  • Rounded corners

Cons:

  • Uses nonslip treads instead of textured grips
  • Upper weight limit not listed by manufacturer
  • Some assembly required

Families have diverse needs when it comes to accessibility, which VaeFae addresses with their two-step bamboo stool. Kids need to reach counters and sinks, and parents need to access higher cupboards and complete chores that need a little extra reach. 

Features that benefit all family members include the seven-pound weight, which makes it it light enough for most kids to carry; built-in carrying handles on either side of the design; rounded corners, which are much less dangerous than squared corners; and four plastic buttons that keep the stool in place and prevent damage to floors

Made from sustainable and eco-friendly material, this step also looks good in many rooms in the house. The thick bamboo planks used to make this stepping stool add to the design’s durability for long-term use and wear. Though the stool is screwed together, wood dowel pins offer reinforced support. The design and material feels secure and structurally sound, however, the manufacturer does not include a weight capacity in their specifications. Based on the construction, the product should be able to handle up to 200 pounds. 

VaeFae uses steps with nonslip treads, which lower the risk of slipping. Due to the smooth bamboo, these treads may not feel as secure as a ladder that uses a rubberized grip texture.

As this step stool was made for everyday use, it does not fold down. This design is actually safer for younger family members who risk squishing fingers in a foldable stepping stool. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Stepping Stool

A stepping stool is a handy addition to many homes, but there are some considerations to ponder before making a purchase.

Purpose

Think about how you plan to use a stepping stool. Is it to reach high shelves, a mobility aid to help you into bed, or a general purpose stool for everyday use? Your needs determine what kind of stepping stool you require. 

If you want to keep the stepping stool in the bathroom (or somewhere humid), select a stool that won’t warp or slip in this type of environment. If it’s for kids or use in the kitchen, you should consider a stepping stool that can be easily wiped down.

Height

This category borrows from the purpose behind buying a stepping stool. When you know what you’re planning on using the stool for, you can determine how tall the stepping stool needs to be. For a small boost, a short one-step stool should be sufficient, otherwise, look into two- or three-step stools for higher reach.

Weight Capacity

This category takes into consideration the user’s weight and the additional weight of items they’ll be holding while on the stepping stool. For more heavy-duty projects that require you to lift and lower heavy items, it’s better to opt for a stepping stool that has a higher weight capacity. Generally these tend to be built for function over form, and more visually appealing stools have a lower weight capacity.

Storage

If you’re using a stool infrequently, storage is a point to consider. Foldable designs are easy to both tuck away and carry around. If you’re purchasing a stepping stool for everyday use, make sure the size fits the area where you plan to keep it.

FAQs

There are many stepping stools on the market, making it difficult to know which one is the best to buy. More information is always helpful in a purchase decision, which is why we’ve collected some frequently asked questions and answers about stepping stools.

Q: What is a good height for a stepping stool?

A good height for a stepping stool depends on its intended use and whether the user needs a small boost or a giant reach to access the items they need. For safety, stepping stools should be no higher than 32 inches tall.

Q: What does a stepping stool look like?

Stepping stools all differ slightly in appearance, but typically they look like little stairs with steps leading to a small standing platform.

Q: How high is a three-step stool?

There is no universal height for three-step stools. Three-step stools vary in the distance between steps, which ranges from 8 to 12 inches for each step.

Q: Can’t I just get a stepping stool from a dollar store?

Dollar stores do sell stepping stools, but they are usually smaller and generally do not hold up over time under the weight of most adults.

Final Thoughts

Unless you have a specific purpose in mind for your stepping stool, something a bit more versatile is an excellent choice for a home. When style is not a factor, a reliable, foldable stepping stool is a handy product. A stable two-step stool, such as the COSCO Two Step Folding Step StoolCOSCO Two step folding step stool, gives you greater reach and more access to items in any area of your house or apartment.

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