Choosing the Right Ladder for the Job

You know that a job done well requires the right tools. So for every project -- DIY, reno or fix -- you will likely start by making sure you have all the right tools. Though often an afterthought, a ladder can be as much a required tool for some jobs as a hammer or drill. And like all tools, different jobs require different ladders to get the job done well. Follow this easy guide to learn about the types of ladders available, the benefits they offer and which one you need to get the job done right.

Let’s start by separating the ladders into three general categories before taking a closer look at each and their purpose. The types of ladders we will be looking at fall under one of the following:

  • Basic Ladders
  • Extension Ladders
  • Multifunction Ladders

Basic Ladders

The ladders in this category will be the most familiar, and can likely be found around your home already. These handy and inexpensive ladders give a step up for reaching above the fridge and can be used for some basic home maintenance around the house.

Step Stool

Step stools are the most basic of ladders, with only one or two platforms for standing and giving the user an extra 12-24 inches in height for those around-the-house jobs that require just a little extra reach.

Step Ladder

These ladders are popular as they are easy to store inside the home. Standing about four feet high including the handle and typically with two to four rungs, these ladders are perfect for indoor tasks like changing a lightbulb.

A-Frame Ladder

A-frame ladders are familiar to most and are often kept around the house. Or rather, around the garage as their larger size and taller frame don’t allow them to be easily stored inside. This ladder gets its name for its resemblance to the letter A when in use, with ladder rungs or supports up either side of the A and support bars between the sides that fold up so the ladder can be stored flat. A-frame ladders are perfect for jobs like cleaning windows or hanging Christmas lights.

Extension ladders

Extension Ladders

Extension ladders are designed to reach higher while taking up less space than the options in the basic category. Generally, extension ladders do not have the same safety and stability as A-frame ladders and this needs to be kept top-of-mind when in use.

Simple Extension Ladder

Basic extension ladders work by the sliding section of rungs being held into place by locking teeth. This type of ladder is best used for jobs that require more height but have a steady place to rest the ladder, such as cleaning your eaves.

Telescoping Ladder

Telescoping ladders are true to their name as they collapse down to small, compact sections or extending out to full length, locking into place as they extend. These ladders are perfect for their portability and are popular among professionals that need to take a ladder with them on the road, like a home inspector. It’s important to pay attention to how these ladders lock into place and be confident that they are secure before using.

Multifunction Ladders

Multifunction Ladders

If you want to get a ladder that offers a little more functionality than the basics or extensions but don’t want something too specialized, consider these multifunction ladders. These ladders can serve many purposes and are good for a variety of jobs making them a sound investment if you want to get a lot done with one tool.

Podium Ladder

These ladders are all about stability and safety. They look similar to an A-frame but these ladders also include a platform for standing toward the top of the ladder to provide more stability and a greater work area. These are great for jobs like using a nail gun or painting.

Articulating Ladder

Articulating ladders function as several sections of ladder rungs that articulate and lock on hinges to create different lengths, heights and platforms.

Multipurpose Ladder

These ladders probably provide the most options for your money. Multipurpose ladders can be modified and adjusted in 24 different ways to offer different heights, platforms, stability and more. These ladders are sturdy and are excellent for a multitude of jobs.

Using the wrong ladder will not only make the task you’re trying to complete harder, it can put your safety at risk. Like all tools, there’s the right one for the job and making the right selection will make all the difference.