Updated: June 8, 2015

Best Ladders

Whether you are painting, hanging Christmas lights, cleaning gutters, or getting your kids toys down from a tree or the roof, a ladder can come in pretty handy. Different styles of ladders let you do different things, depending on their design. If you have a rickety old wooden ladder in your garage or basement, it may be time to upgrade to a newer, safer ladder for your work around the house. Below we present a ladder summary to help you pick the right ladder for the task at hand.

Choosing Ladders - Selecting the Best Ladder

There are a variety of ladder styles to choose from - some multipurpose ladders can handle many jobs, but some jobs require specific ladder designs to be done safely. There are basic step and extension ladders, as well as platform, twin step, telescoping multiladder, multi-purpose ladders, and tripods. Step ladders are what most of use think of when we hear the word ladder - rungs set between two side rails, usually in an A-frame form. Step ladders can be up to 12 feet tall. Extension ladders are made up of sliding sections that can be slid out and extended to reach up to 20 feet or more. Most extension ladders are designed to rest against the work surface. Once you determine a style of ladder, the next choice is what the ladder is made of. Wooden ladders are mostly a thing of the past, as most ladders are now made of fiberglass or aluminum. Aluminum is more dangerous when working around electrical wires, but its light weight makes it attractive. Keep in mind that safety ladders, those used in case of emergencies like a fire, are one of the top searched for ladders by parents on the Internet. Attic ladders are also a specific type which many homeowners need in their homes, especially when the ceilings are tall and a normal sized platform ladder won't get you up to your attic so easily.

See our buying guides for all ladder types below:

Fiberglass ladders are not quite as light as aluminum ones, but they do not bend, do not rust or corrode in the elements, and do not conduct electricity. The next ladder selection criteria is size. Do you need just a 6 foot step ladder for in home use, or a 10 foot step ladder for reaching a first story roof, or an extension ladder for reaching a second story roofline to clean gutters, hang lights, etc? Keep in mind when selecting a step ladder, the maximum height you can reach is normally 4 feet above the height of the ladder - for example, a 6 foot ladder will let you reach a maximum height of 10 feet. Ladder also come with specific weight ratings, from 200 pounds to 375. Keep in mind a load of shingles weighs 70 lbs, while 5 gallons of paint weighs 60 lbs.

Buying a ladder

You can easily buy a ladder at your local home store (like Lowes or Home Depot) or hardware store. A 20 foot fiberglass extension ladder with a 250 pound rating sells for $169 at Home Depot (HomeDepot.com). They carry the Louisville Ladder brand, among others. Louisville products meet or exceed the safety standards set by ANSI and OSHA and are well respected by professional builders and contractors. Louisville Ladder has focused on building quality ladders for the household, commercial and professional user groups since 1946. For step ladders, a Husky 10 ft. fiberglass A frame model will set you back $178, while a 10 foot Louisville aluminum step ladder runs $149. Online, you can also check out Amazon.com hardware section. They carry extension ladders, like the Werner 28' aluminum model ($229); they carry step ladders, like the Cosco 13 foot model with locking hinges ($199). They also have telescoping ladders, fire escape ladders, attic ladders - the works. It makes a great comparison site to check prices and model options.