Updated: Oct 12, 2016
Telescoping Ladder Reviews:If you haven't bought a ladder for a few years you may not have seen the latest telescoping ladders that have stormed the market. I first saw an infomercial for the Little Giant, a telescoping ladder which is now categorized as a multi ladder that expands and takes on several different shapes and heights. Werner makes a few similar telescoping multiladders that compete with Little Giant and they get very positive comments in owner reviews we found online. Though very versatile, these telescoping multiladders are expensive and many will cost you $250 or more. The huge benefit is that you get 2 or 3 ladders in 1. They convert down to small step stools, raise up to 13 feet or higher like an extension ladder and many will hold awkward shapes so that you can reach areas otherwise too hard to get too. The Little Giant contorts into a scaffolding design in their infomercials and although I don't know anyone personally who owns one, the reviews I read on websites say they do a good job. There are other true telescoping ladders such as those from Telesteps or Xtend & Climb.
Buying Guide - The telescopic ladders on the market, those that are collapsible and expand upwards to 10, 12, even 15 feet are considered less stable than their extension ladder counterparts. The Xtend & Climb brand gets better ratings than do the Telestep ladders and again you will pay a premium for the convenience of having these telescoping ladders which close down and are quite compact when not in use. The locking mechanism for the steps has been the part in question in terms of reliability and although we could find no serious injuries related to these variety, enough feedback posted online from consumers make us fully aware that stability is still a concern. I think that is why the multi ladders are more popular still is because they are more stable with multiple legs (resembling an A Frame ladder) and they are so versatile that changing the shape for certain jobs is considered rather easy. One of the top selling telescoping ladders on Amazon is the Werner MT-22 22-Foot Type 1A 300-Pound Duty Rating Telescoping Multiladder which is priced at just over $220. Keep in mind that buying a more expensive multi ladder may end up saving you time and money since you don't need to own 3 other ladders like other homeowners. You have 1 ladder that does multiple jobs and that means you need less storage as compared to owning 3 different ladders. I personally have only stepped on a telescoping ladder (15 footer) once and it didn't feel as secure when climbing it as with my traditional extension ladder that goes up to 16 feet. Something about the angle of incline that had me questioning how stable I would feel up at those heights. It seems that a regular extension ladder allows you to ascend at a less steep angle than with the telescoping kind. The only telescoping ladders that seem to make the most sense are those with attics wherein you may have a tight spot (like a closet) and you need a direct ascent into the attic and don't have room for a less steep climb. In any event, you can read up on all the reviews posted on websites like Amazon.com or Home Depot that consumers have written. The Werner telescoping multiladders are the highest rated we could find, mostly because they provide versatility and stability at a decent price. You can browse all the top selling telescoping ladders online here.
Best Telescoping Ladder:
RECOMMENDED - It's hard to go against the #1 seller on Amazon so that is why we are listing the Werner MT-22 22-Foot Type 1A 300-Pound Duty Rating Telescoping Multiladder as the ladder of choice in this category. It's constructed with aluminum which makes the ladder lightweight yet still strong enough and it meets ANSI and OHSA codes. The ladder converts into a 2 person stepladder (doublesided) or use it as an adjustable extension ladder. Heights for the step ladder range from 5 to 9 feet and the extension goes from 11 to 19 feet. With a 300 pound duty rating it's strong enough to hold almost anyone and the spring loaded J locks let you quickly adjust the height setting. Owners also like that the set of hinges included in the purchase allow you to set up 2 stepladders and put a board (plank) between them for scaffolding. Owners say things like "an essential tool for homeowners", "good value and solid engineering", and "best multi ladder on the market". A few say that the Gorilla Ladder is comparable in terms of price and value, although Werner has such a solid reputation in this industry we side with the Werner for now. You can see all the Werner telescoping ladders online here.
Most Versatile Telescopic Ladder:The one name that always gets spoken when people want a versatile ladder is Little Giant. They have been seen on TV infomercials for years and now you are seeing them in stores as well. Amazon carries a wide selection of Little Giant ladders and several get excellent consumer ratings. RECOMMENDED - The 10302 Type 1 Little Giant Ladder 250lb rated is similar to the Werner listed above although some say it's more versatile. You can buy additional accessories like the leg leveler (great on uneven surfaces) or the wing span/wall standoff which gives added stability when high up. It's slightly more expensive at closer to $250 yet the Little Giant is only OHSA rated to 250 lbs. The stepladder height is 4 to 7 feet and the extension height goes from 9' to 15'. All heights are adustable in 1 foot increments. The big plus with the Little Giant over the Werner is that you get a 5 year warranty on the Little Giant. The configurations are why most people purchase a specialty multiladder such as this one. The great thing is that when you are all done, the ladder still breaks down to a reasonably small shape for easy storage. We suggest that you view the entire lineup of Little Giant ladders here.
Telescoping vs Extension Ladder - Which is Superior?:Many of our readers want to know which style of ladder is superior - the extension or telescopic ladder. We still prefer a standard extension ladder (16' is a good size) for more household duties since rarely do you need a multi laddder or telescoping ladder to do work. There are a few times when you need scaffolding in your house or perhaps on the outside to paint something but in those rare instances you could always rent a ladder of that type for a day or 2. Now if you are a professional painter or perhaps just beginning in the trade, a multi ladder is probably a good buy given you will get your moneys worth from it. Telescoping ladders like those from Telesteps are convenient since they store so well, but for that extra bit of stability (and piece of mind) we say the extension ladders from Werner or Louisville are superior. If you plan on getting up high on any ladder consider buying a stabilizer bar that attaches to the top of the ladder and provides a solid support. If ever in doubt about your safety, have a family member or friend hold the ladder while you are up on it. More people fall each year off of ladders and hurt themselves than you may think.
See our buying guides for all ladder types below: