A good step ladder can make doing chores around the house much easier. Sometimes all you need is a three-feet tall step ladder to hang up a new picture on the wall, or perhaps one that is six-feet tall to change a light bulb. And you may even need a 15-feet tall ladder, or maybe taller, to reach a high-rise vaulted ceiling or to climb on top of your roof. The height of a step ladder is easy to pick, as you'd naturally opt for one that fulfills your purpose. However, not all ladders are created equally, and there are many factors, including a ladder's safety and stability, that you must consider before buying one. After a lengthy analysis and deliberation, we present to you the best step ladders in 2021 in order to help you narrow down your selections to the best possible option.
The number one thing you should always look at with a step ladder is the maximum weight rating. If the weight rating is 300 pounds, then don’t step on it if you weigh more than that or if an object you have in your hands makes your total overall weight more than the ladder's max weight capacity. Not paying attention to this rating can create an unsafe situation for you and anyone else around you, with the possibility of the ladder collapsing while standing on it and injuring yourself or others.
It’s also important to evaluate the construction and stability of the ladder before purchasing. Ladders are mainly made with materials like aluminum, fiberglass, or wood, while some smaller versions are made with sturdy plastic. Even if you only need a 3-ft tall step ladder, you want to make sure it’s sturdy enough to safely do the job.
If you have the opportunity to test out a ladder, try stepping on a few of the steps and shift your weight slowly to see if the ladder shifts with you. The ideal ladder won’t move at all and feel very solid and sturdy. Of course, it's tough to completely simulate how you’ll be using the ladder and the stress it’s going to be put under, but you should be able to get a general idea of its sturdiness this way.
Shopping Guide for Step Ladders
Once you have determined the maximum weight rating you need and understood the importance of durability and stability in a step ladder, now it's time to look at some other features that can make a step ladder truly exceptional.
The overall weight of the ladder is something buyers often overlook when buying a step ladder, and regret later on. You don’t want to buy a ladder so heavy that you can’t move it around without breaking your back. However, many multi-purpose ladders are worth the extra weight since they are essentially multiple ladders in one due to their convertible construction. The ideal weight of your chosen step ladder comes down to the frequency of use, the height you require, and your ability to carry a heavy load, among other factors. You must consider them all before making a decision.
Depending on the amount of storage space you have in your home or apartment, you must prefer a ladder that can fold up to such a height and width that it can easily fit into the available storage space. You are unlikely to use a step ladder every day, so keeping it out of the way when it’s not needed is important, at least for most people. Some ladders can fold up small enough to fit in between a wall and a refrigerator, at the back of a closet, or other similarly small spaces. Evaluate your storage area and you can then compare the folded dimensions of the ladder you’re interested in to reach a conclusion.
What Are the Benefits of a Step Ladder?
Anyone who lives in an apartment or a house can benefit from having a step ladder. A good step ladder is much safer than standing on a chair, countertop, or any other relatively unstable elevated surface that people often use to access high places. Even if you require an elevation of just a couple of feet to hang a picture frame exactly where you want it, it’s worth the investment to get a small step ladder to perform the job without risking yourself.
Many people don’t realize how often they would actually use a step ladder if they had one readily available, so it’s a small investment with a great return in safety, convenience, and accessibility. Whether you’re the weekend DIY warrior or work in a profession where a step ladder is often needed, having a couple of different ladders can make tasks much easier and safer. You may need a ladder for indoor use only, or you may need one that can handle regular use. Evaluating the types of tasks you’ll be performing on the ladder can help you narrow down your options.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to step ladders, but many variants offer plenty of unique features that can be very helpful to you and allow you to perform ladder-specific tasks with greater ease. Starting off with a basic step ladder, to help you perform routine tasks like changing light bulbs, is definitely a good place to start. Then, if you decide you want to start a major project like painting your house, trimming trees, or cleaning gutters, you can invest in a taller step ladder. Your needs can keep changing, but remember, there is a step ladder out there that can make your life much easier.
The safety features provided by this step ladder are second to none, so you can use it with complete confidence. And what makes this particular ladder great is the innovative convertible design that allows you to use it as different types of ladders, including an extension ladder, a staircase ladder, an A-frame ladder, and even a trestle-and-plank scaffolding system.
From a stability perspective, this ladder exceeds expectations due to its strong build quality. Also, this step ladder can reach a full 17-ft in height and folds up to a width of only nine inches, making it very easy to store. Also, both sides of the ladder can hold 300 pounds, making it safe to use by most people. The one thing that might worry you is the weight of this ladder. It weighs around 30 pounds, so it’s slightly heavier than the average aluminum ladder. If you’re capable of moving an item that heavy, then this ladder is a great option to consider.
Features wheels that make the ladder very easy to move
Allows quick changes in height configuration with rock lock adjusters
Has palm buttons that adjust the velocity of the ladder for secure storage
A bit on the heavier side, might be tough for some users to move
Sometimes you need a small step ladder to hang up a picture frame or change the light bulb without bringing in your full-sized ladder to do the job. This is where a small-height step ladder like this one comes in handy. When it comes to ladders in general, people are naturally skeptical about standing on the top step. But that’s not the case with this ladder. The top step is wide enough to comfortably accommodate both of your feet, and the base is also wide enough to provide superb stability. The lightweight compact construction of this ladder is also noteworthy, as it’s easy to move around and very convenient to store.
The ladder is very compact, with the top step just 29-inches above the ground and weighing only about 8lbs, making it exceptionally portable and easy to use. The legs have non-marring tips that prevent scratching the floor, making the ladder perfect for indoor use. And when you don’t need it, you can fold it up and store it virtually anywhere since it compacts to about only four inches in width. However, while the steps of the ladder are very sturdy, some users might find them to be a bit too narrow and be compelled to exercise caution.
Lightweight construction, weighs only eight pounds
Has non-marring legs that don’t scratch your floor
Features slip-resistant steps that provide superior safety during use
It’s tough to find a quality lightweight step ladder that’s durable and reliable enough to make you feel safe especially when you are at the top, but this step ladder checks all the boxes. Whether you have a big house or live in an apartment, this can be the ideal ladder for you because it stores away easily without requiring much space while still providing adequate elevation for you to perform most ladder-specific tasks. Also, this ladder is exceptionally lightweight, so it’s very easy to carry and move.
This 6-ft ladder only weighs about 14lbs but is still rated to hold up to 300 pounds. The platform at the top of the ladder provides plenty of room for you to stand on top without doubting the ladder’s stability. The tall handrail at the top is very handy since it gives you added support. The ladder also features an ergonomic release handle, so you can quickly transform it from the storage to in-use position.
Rungs have excellent width to feel comfortable under your feet
Easy-to-carry lightweight construction
Features a tool tray at the top to store your essentials as you complete the job
Provides an elevation of under four feet that might be a bit less for some users
Q: What is a step ladder?
A: A step ladder is just like any regular ladder except it has a smaller, more manageable height and provides some elevation so you can perform most common household ladder-specific jobs.
Q: Is the top step usable on a step ladder?
A: Yes, the top step of a step ladder is called a platform and has a wider area so you can stand on it safely and comfortably.
Q: Can a step ladder actually carry its quoted weight capacity?
A: While some step ladders can definitely carry their quoted weighted capacity, there are versions that might support a maximum weight load slightly lower than their quoted figure. Hence, it's best to not reach the quoted weight capacity when using a step ladder although, in many cases, it should be safe if you do.
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