Ladders are a necessary tool for every homeowner. They make is easy to reach things up high when it comes to cleaning, painting, and even maintenance.
This ladder buying guide briefly tells you about the different types of ladders available and helps you to determine which type of ladder suits your needs best.
There are four basic types of ladders to choose from. Some ladder types serve more than one purpose. For other ladder types, some homeowners opt to have more than one.
Straight ladders do not articulate into any other configuration than straight. They are not self-supporting and must be leaned against something solid in order to use them. They are used for a variety of tasks, but primarily to climb to a higher place. When working on a straight ladder, you should always keep one hand on the ladder for safety.
Adjustable Ladders or Articulating Ladders
Adjustable ladders feature a number of movable parts that allow them to be changed into a number of configurations. An well-known example of an adjustable ladder would be a Little Giant Ladder. Depending on how you adjust it, you can configure it into a step ladder, extension ladder, sawhorses, bench, scaffolding, and more.
Most ladders today are made from three common materials; aluminum, fiberglass, or wood.
Aluminum ladders are lightweight making them easy to transport. They are non-corrosive and do not rust. They will conduct electricity, so they should NOT be used near any electrical wires or power lines.
Fiberglass ladders are typically heavier than aluminum ladders. One exception to the weight issue is the Sunset Ladder brand “EZ LiftTM Fiberglass Extension Ladder” which is as light as their aluminum counterpart. They are non-conductive, so they are safe to use near electrical wires or power lines. They can get scratched or chipped, so some maintenance may be necessary. The upside is that they are very durable and should last for years.
Wood ladders are also non-conductive, BUT they do usually contain metal fasteners, so they too should not be used near electrical wires or power lines. They weigh more than aluminum ladders.
Ladder Duty Ratings
Each ladder manufactured is designed to withstand a total amount of weight being applied to them while in use. In the case of a double-sided ladder, the amount of weight applies to each side of the ladder respectively.
This total weight maximum is made up of a combination of the users’ weight and the weight of tools and objects being used by the user while on the ladder. Ladder duty ratings also reflect the level of usage by homeowners and professionals typically.
|LADDER DUTY RATINGS||LADDER TYPE||MAXIMUM WEIGHT|
(general household usage)
(painter, handyman, etc)
(high-impact industrial/professional usage)
To learn more about Ladder Duty Ratings, please see our article “What are Ladder Duty Ratings and Ladder Load Capacities?”
There are many different ladders on the market today and many boast of special features. Many of these ladder features enhance the safety of the ladder, or ease of use.
When using the term “ladder locks” here, we are not talking about keeping a ladder safe from theft. We are referring to the locks on adjustable ladders, articulating ladders, and extension ladders. Once they are configured, the locks need to be simple to use, but solid locking mechanisms to keep the ladder safety locked into the configuration.
Slip Resistant Rungs
Slip resistant rungs are a great safety feature for all ladder types. They help to prevent your feet from slipping while in contact with the ladder rungs.
A telescoping feature refers to the ladder’s ability to extend to a longer height, such as in the case of extension ladders. They also retract back to compact form for ease of storage.
“D” Shaped Rungs
Some ladders are designed with round rungs. This can be uncomfortable when standing on the ladder rung for any period of time. Some ladders feature a “D” shaped rung where the part of the rung you stand on is flat allowing for much more comfort for your feet.
When using a ladder, safety is paramount. Every day people are injured in falls and other accidents involving ladders. Always keep safety in mind when using your ladder. Check out some of our articles about Ladder Safety for more information:
If you’re still not quite sure which ladder is right for you and your home, please give our ladder experts a call at (800) 660-1311. We love inquires, sell top quality ladders from all the leading ladder manufacturers, and offer some of the best prices on ladders in the industry!
|Buy American Made Ladders
When you’re ready to buy a new step ladder or extension ladder, consider buying an American-made ladder. In 1997, Sunset Ladder and Scaffold began manufacturing safe quality ladders. To this day, Sunset Ladder Brand ladders are the ONLY step ladders and extensions ladders made in America! The Sunset Ladder Brand ladders are sold through different online vendors and retails stores nationally. Sunset Ladder and Scaffold also sell directly to the public. Give them a call today to buy that American-made ladder! Sunset Ladder & Scaffold Website