Aim higher by buying the right ladder

January 8, 2015

While a step stool gives you a little boost, ladders provide a stable platform to reach even higher. Think about the following factors to ensure you get a ladder that’s right for you and the job at hand.

Aim higher by buying the right ladder

1.   The type of ladder for the job

Most ladders are best for specific tasks, so consider the job you're working on before buying your ladder.

Step ladder: These A-shaped ladders are lightweight and simple and are best for shorter jobs where you can’t lean the ladder against the wall. Since they’re usually no higher than six feet and have a platform across the top rungs, step ladders are best used for inside jobs like painting, where you’ll need get those hard-to-reach corners.

Extension ladders: Also called telescopic ladders because they extend out like a telescope, extension ladders are straight, extra-long and designed to lean against a sturdy wall. Use these ladders if you need to reach above 11 feet, preferably outdoors.

Adjustable ladder: Also called an articulating ladder, these ladders can be used as free-standing step ladders, extended out to straight ladders or even turned into scaffolding. Articulating ladders are the safest ladders to use on stairs and are by far the most versatile. They’re also more expensive, heavier and more difficult to set up than other ladders.

2.   Features that make things easier

Many ladders have extra features to make your job easier and keep you safe.

Flared base: Ladders with flared bases are more stable but take up a little more room.

Material: Ladders are usually made from aluminum, fibreglass or wood. An aluminum ladder works indoors and outdoors because it’s lightweight and non-corrosive. Choose a durable and noncorrosive fibreglass ladder if you’re doing electrical work since it won’t conduct electricity. Wooden ladders are stable but much heavier and can rot if left in the rain.

Height: In general, you can reach four feet further than a step ladder’s maximum height, so you can use a six foot step ladder to reach ten feet. Extension ladders are less stable than step ladders, so your telescoping ladder should be a couple feet longer than the height you need to reach.

3. Ladder Safety

Every year, thousands of people hurt themselves on ladders, so follow these safety tips to stay safe.

  • Never exceed your ladder’s weight capacity, both with your own weight and any equipment you bring up with you.
  • Slip resistant stairs are coated in rubber to help prevent slips and falls.
  • Maintain three points of contact on a ladder at all times and carry most items up with a pouch or apron.
  • Always face a ladder when climbing.
  • Always ensure the ladder’s locking mechanisms are firmly in place.

Ladders let us reach higher so we can perform certain tasks easier. With these three considerations in mind, you can find a ladder that suits your needs.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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