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.
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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