Updated: November 2017

telescoping attic ladder

Attic Ladder Reviews:

  • What is an attic ladder?
  • Benefits of telescoping attic ladder
  • How much do attic ladders cost? Which should I buy?

Many modern homes are built with crawl spaces and storage areas that are accessible without going into the attic. Older homes in America often have an attic that is only reachable through a garage or perhaps a ceiling entrance in a bedroom. A typical step ladder may not reach your desired height and so an attic ladder is necessary. Attic ladders are also called access ladders or attic stairs.

The old wooden attic ladders still exist but today more models are being produced with aluminum so they are lightweight and more durable over time. The top 4 manufacturers of these access ladders are Century, Werner, FAKRO and Louisville. They are not cheap - the inexpensive ladders sell for about $125 and the high end folding access ladder from Werner will set you back $350+. Which model is best for you? How do I install an attic ladder? We answer all these questions in our buying guide down below.

attic ladder

The video below shows the installation of a Werner aluminum attic ladder:

Attic Ladders Buying Guide

Some of the older attic ladders had sliding mechanisms that allowed the ladder to be pulled down to the floor and allow access up the stairs into the attic. Nowadays you find many more folding attic ladders although the most popular and top rated are the telescoping attic ladders from Werner. Most are 8 to 10 feet in height to allow easy access into the attic. The folding access ladders let you use them more like stairs or steps going up, while the Telescoping Ladder from Werner requires a more straight up and straight down motion.

Aluminum attic ladders received overall better comments from owners than did the wood ones and the reviews online point homeowners towards the telescopic attic ladders for easy storage and use. Owners say the Televator from Werner is the model to get, although expect some installation of this. It can install into any opening that is 22" x 22" or larger and features non-marring feet so that any floor surface below will not get damaged. It's designed for those that have attics located in tight spaces like closets, hallways, etc. Most of the manufacturers websites mention that you NEED to measure the attic opening in order to ensure a solid fit with the ladder and attic door. We found attic ladders in home improvements stores like Lowes and Home Depot. You can browse their best selling attic ladders online here.

One of the newer products on the market is the steel scissor attic ladder from FAKRO. The FAKRO Group makes things like loft ladders, roof windows, and skylights. Their line of FAKRO attic ladders get by far and away the best consumer reviews online. The big drawback is the cost associated with their products. The FAKRO LST 66875 Insulated Steel Scissor Attic Ladder sells for $650 compared to the Werner aluminum attic ladder that is almost half. Even the FAKRO steel attic ladders are close to $500. Their ladders are engineered to be sturdy, easy to use, and last a long time. Even installation is considered easier than compared to the competition. We suggest that you check out the latest FAKRO attic ladder here.

attic ladders

Best Attic Ladder:

RECOMMENDED - The #1 seller on Amazon.com is the Werner AA8 8-Foot Televator Telescoping Attic Ladder and from reviews online it appears this is the real deal. At over $200 it's not cheap, but owner comments say the installation is not too difficult and overall the ladder is a lifesaver. There is also a 10 foot version available for those with higher ceilings. The steps are slip resistant so carrying stuff back and forth from the attic should be doable. The ladder fits ceilings 7 foot 4 inches up to 8 feet 4 inches in height. The 250 lb capacity is perfect for the average sized guy loading his attic up with extra gear that otherwise takes up space around the house or garage. View all the telescopic attic ladders here.

To check out how to use an attic ladder in your house - click the image below to go to video.

attic ladder

Folding Attic Ladder:

The Louisville Ladder AL226P Summit Aluminum Folding Attic Ladder, 350 lbs Rated Capacity, 22 1/2 by 54-Inch is a top rated attic ladder on Amazon and several other ladder websites online. You'll need to measure your ceiling height as this model fits ceilings from 8 foot 9 inches to 10'. It features 350 lbs rated capacity and owners say it's quite easy to pull down or raise up. The aluminum construction is both lightweight and durable (more so than wood). Installation can be a bit tricky, but most owners were able to do it successfully. Some replaced older wooden ladders with this one. At just $175 it's a great investment say many consumers and experts since now you can take advantage of that attic space over your garage or upstairs rooms.

attic extension stairs best attic ladder

Attic Ladder Installation:

Buying an attic ladder is really only the beginning of your work. The installation process is the most time consuming and one that many DIY websites rate as 'moderate' in terms of difficulty. We found an excellent article that goes over all the elements of the install with photos and a video at This Old House. Depending on how much has already been started in your home, you could be looking at 6 to 8 hours of work. Some older homes have a rough opening in the garage ceiling or even in a spare closet that gives you access to your attic area. Most don't have a built in attic ladder and that makes access difficult. Your first step is to cut out an opening that is appropriate for the size of the attic ladder you bought. Be sure to double check the dimensions before sawing anything. If there are joists or other obstructions blocking the opening, those will have to be removed. Constructing the frame for the new attic ladder is very important as you want an accurate fit. Mounting the door panel, assembling the stairs and attaching them to the door panel also takes time and following the directions is mandatory. You want your attic stairs to be safe since you may be taking things like boxes up and down them regularly.

The FAKRO LST 66875 Insulated Steel Scissor Attic Ladder is one that we have heard excellent feedback on from consumers. They say the installation was much easier than you would find with other ladder styles. Keep in mind that the FAKRO is much more expensive than the Werner or Louisville attic ladders. You are paying for the engineering, ease of use, and sturdiness. We have supplied several installation videos on attic ladders, so be sure to watch them carefully before taking on a project like this.

More videos and resources are here on our Attic Ladder Resource Page.

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See our buying guides for all ladder types below: