Ladder Buying Guide – What Kind of Ladder Do I Need?
Whether you need to change a lightbulb or re-tile the roof of your home, choosing a ladder that suits the height and nature of the task is paramount for your safety. With so many ladders on offer, it can be hard to know which type of ladder you should choose. We’ll take you through the different kinds of ladders to show you how to choose between ladders, step ladders, scaffold towers or work platforms.
A Quick Note On Safety
Besides making sure the ladder you’re using is appropriate for the task at hand, it’s important you know how to use it safely. Some basic ladder safety tips include:
- Checking the ladder is leaning at the correct angle against the wall
- Making sure your step ladder is open and locked into place
- Wearing appropriate clothing that won’t restrict you or snag on the ladder
- Ensuring the feet are non-slip and in good condition
- Making sure you won’t exceed the maximum load the ladder can safely support
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Ladder:
- What will you be using it for?
- How tall does it need to be?
- What material should it be made of?
- How long will you be up the ladder at any particular time?
- How big is the space you have to store and transport it?
Step ladders can be used almost anywhere because they don’t require a supporting wall. This makes them ideal for a wide range of jobs including window cleaning, painting and decorating or construction work. They tend to come with a special mechanism that locks them in an ‘A’ shape, it’s important that you engage this feature before you try to use your step ladder. Let’s take a closer look at a few different step ladder options we have.
- Small Step Stools
When you need to access something just slightly out of reach eg. the top of a shelf or a light fitting, a small step stool is a great option.
- Swingback & Platform Step Ladders
These types of step ladder are perfect for both domestic and trade applications. The main difference between the two types is the addition, or lack of, a platform at the top of the ladder.
Swingback step ladders (without a platform) are perfect for quick jobs, or jobs that don’t require lots of equipment. They can be quickly moved from one location to another which is great for travelling tradespeople.
Meanwhile, platform ladders provide you with additional space so you can pick up and put down tools or materials while you work. This means you can work at height for a longer time if necessary.
- Fibre Glass Step Ladders
Fibre glass ladders are special because they can be used in scenarios where there’s an electrical or thermal hazard. Why? Because fibre glass is a great electrical insulator and is naturally incombustible so it will protect you from electrocution and won’t catch fire. Because of these properties, fibre glass ladders are a popular choice in the building industry.
If a step ladder can’t provide the reach you need, you might find that a ladder is more suitable for your needs. Ladders come in all shapes, sizes and materials so you might be struggling to decide which one is right for you. If terms like ‘combination ladder’ or ‘telescopic ladder’ are going over your head, don’t worry, we’ll break them down and show you which ladders suit different kinds of jobs.
- Extension Ladders
Extension ladders can be made up of two or three sliding sections that can be extended to provide reach up to 10 metres! They’re favoured by tradespeople and DIY-ers for their versatility and compact storage size. If you need to work at height, but not on a roof, a simple extension ladder is a perfect solution. Always account for one metre above the highest point you’ll expect to work so you’ll never be left ladder-less.
- GRP Ladders
What does GRP stand for? GRP is Glass Reinforced Plastic – also known as fibre glass. It’s strong, incredibly lightweight and, as we discussed previously, highly non-conductive and incombustible. This means that GRP ladders are ideal for industrial use or for use around electrical or fire hazards.
- Telescopic Ladders
As far as compact ladders go, you can’t get more compact than a telescopic ladder! Working in a similar way to binoculars or a telescope (where the name originates), these ladders can be packed down to a very small size when they’re not in use. This style of ladder is perfect for people with limited space, or for people who need to reach tall height on the move. They can fit comfortably into most car boots, cupboards and vans.
- Combination Ladders
If you’re going to need to use your ladder regularly and for a range of different jobs, then a combination ladder is ideal for you. Combining the functionality of a step ladder, an extension ladder and a stairwell work platform, you’re really investing in a good all-rounder.
Both parts of the combination ladder can be adjusted to suit different heights and can even be spread across multiple levels for access above stairways, something that most other ladders are unable to offer!
- Little Giant Ladders, Revolution with Ratchet Levelers, M17, 17 ft, Multi-Position Ladder,Ratchet leg levelers, Aluminum, Type 1A, 300 lbs weight rating (12017-801): https://amzn.to/3893Vo9
- OT QOMOTOP Ladder, 17 FT Max Telescoping Ladder with Wheels, 300 lbs Load Capacity Step Ladder, 5 Models to Switch, Suitable for Various Scenes Indoor and Outdoor: https://amzn.to/3qa9Orm
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