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Step Ladders

A step ladder is necessary equipment for both indoor and outside home improvement projects. A safe, sturdy ladder should last for many years. Most have fold down panels for holding the tools necessary for the job to be done. The following should be considered when buying step ladders:

  • Consider the height. Step ladders range from 3 to 12 feet tall. The maximum safe reach for any ladder is about 6 feet more than the height of the ladder since it is unsafe to stand on the highest step.
  • Consider the load capacity. Step ladders come in 225, 250, 300 and 375 lbs. maximum weight capacity. Add the weight of the person on the ladder plus the weight of any equipment to determine the capacity you need.
  • Consider the construction material of the ladder.
    • fiberglass ladders are strong and durable. They resist corrosion and (very important when doing electrical work) do not conduct electricity when they are clean and dry.
    • aluminum ladders are also durable and moisture resistant. They are lighter weight and so easier to move around, but they will conduct electricity.
    • traditional wooden ladders are also durable and non-conductive, but they are heavier and will deteriorate if left outdoors.

  • Most step ladders fold up for easy storage, but all should have a reliable means of locking the ladder firmly open so that it cannot collapse when in use.

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