Three Things To Consider When Shopping For A Step Ladder

Whether you are short or tall, a good step ladder can help you easily and safely reach things you can’t get your hands on even by standing on your tippy-toes.

red shoes on a step ladder
Looking for a new step ladder? Here are three things to consider first.Nataliealien

If you’ve ever tried to do any overhead job by precariously balancing on something you shouldn’t have been using to gain a height advantage, you probably appreciate the utility of a quality step ladder. If a job requires being elevated to accomplish, a good step ladder will nearly always make it easier. However, there are so many styles and kinds of step ladders available that making a good selection can be confusing without some expert advice. When shopping for a step ladder, consider three important factors—maximum height you can reach from the ladder, grade of the ladder and the ladder’s weight capacity.

Luisladders 4 Step Ladder Folding Step Stool with Handgrip Anti-Slip and Wide Pedal Sturdy Steel Ladder 330lbs Capacity for Household
Lightweight and good for getting to lower objects that you can’t reach without a boost.Luisladders

Height

Step ladders range from small step stools to tall behemoths that can allow you to reach something eight to 12 feet higher than your head. If you’re fairly tall and just wanting to change lightbulbs on an 8-foot ceiling, a simple one-step step stool will likely do the job for you. They are stable and easy to store when not in use. For tall jobs like hanging Christmas lights on your house’s guttering, you might need an 8- to 12-foot step ladder in order to safely reach the height that job requires. In between those extremes are step ladders of all shapes, materials and configurations. When purchasing a step ladder, make sure you get one that is tall enough for the job at hand. Trying to push the limit by climbing higher than is safe can be more dangerous than not having a step ladder at all.

Louisville Ladder
Sturdy enough for commercial use.Louisville Ladder

Grade

In this case, grade has more to do with the materials used in making the ladder and the quality of construction than how much weight the step ladder can safely hold. A flimsy, cheap aluminum ladder is never going to be as stable and rugged as a well-made fiberglass step ladder with strong hinges and other quality parts. The decision about which is right for you will largely depend on how you intend to use the ladder. If your ladder will spend most of its time leaned against a corner of the garage, spending extra for a commercial grade step ladder probably doesn’t make much sense. But if you are going to use it a lot—say twice a week or more—spend the extra money to get a top-quality ladder that will take a lot of opening, closing, transporting and climbing without wearing out too quickly.

Louisville Ladder 4-Foot Fiberglass Step Ladder
Built to hold almost 400 pounds.Louisville Ladder

Capacity

While related to grade, this is really a different category altogether. Weight capacity is an extremely important factor to consider because it can actually be a matter of life and death. Falling off of a ladder because of carelessness is certainly dangerous and sometimes happens. But falling because you didn’t buy a sturdy enough ladder with adequate weight capacity is a completely avoidable accident that should never happen. Most sales information on ladders will list the weight capacity the ladder is rated to support. Be sure and get one well above your weight combined with whatever equipment you might have on you to ensure it is a safe ladder for you to use. That way you’ll be able to use the ladder for years without risking life and limb.

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