We’re moving to a new place, and I know I’m going to need a couple of new ladders. For interior use, I simply need a little more height and greater stability than what my current step ladder can handle. My first purchase will be for a 6-foot A-frame ladder. Maybe a 4-footer? This seems like a good time to ask about your favorites.
So do you have a favorite brand? Size? Style? Model? Or would you recommend something other than an A-frame step ladder for general interior use?
Louisville’s 6-foot fiberglass ladder ($93 via Amazon) is on my shortlist. It’s a good height, not too expensive (under $100), and looks to have a very solid and stable design. Louisville also makes a whole line of ladders for Dewalt (also available at Amazon), but I can’t see too many differences aside for the color scheme and higher prices.
The Little Giant Flip-N-Lite that I wrote about a few years ago is also on my short list, but I think I like the design of the Louisville A-frame better.
My father has aluminum step ladders, I believe in 4-foot and 6-foot sizes, and they’ve served him well for many years, but I think I like the rigidity of fiberglass a bit better. The last time I checked out ladders at the home improvement store, it seemed that the fiberglass ladders exhibited a lot less flex than the aluminum.
Do you have a preference along those lines? Aluminum vs. fiberglass?
I figured I’d start with a 6-footer now, and then maybe buy a 4-footer later on. I’ll also need an extension ladder, or even one of those compact telescoping ladders, but that’s probably a discussion for another time.
I could of course wait 6 weeks or so and buy one of the Werner Black Friday specials that are sure to pop up at Home Depot or Lowes, but from what I’ve seen in the past, they’re not at the same feature and quality level as non-special-buy ladders.
Please tell us about your favorite step ladder recommendations for general interior use!
Over 9 years of owning 2 different houses, I’ve accumulated a few ladders / scaffold options for work around my current house (single story with 8 ft ceilings except living room which cathedrals to roughly 13 ft.)
4 ft fiberglass Werner is my go to inside – small, light(er) weight and plenty of height for most tasks
6 ft fiberglass Werner is my go to in the garage since its ceilings are close to 10 ft
22 ft aluminum Werner multi-ladder is my go to for cleaning gutters and other tall work outside or in the living room. Also great for painting stairwells.
6 ft baker style scaffold has been used a few times during thin veneer stone installation on fireplace in living room and re-siding of the back of the garage
I also have a Werner 20″ work platform that is mostly used to washing and waxing the roof of our SUV but gets occasional use around the house.
I also like the rigidity of fiberglass ladders. Personally, I wouldn’t go with anything less than a 300 lb rating. I’m not huge by any means but by the time I have a tool belt around my waist and carry some supplies up with me, I’m pushing right up against 300 lbs total and want equipment supporting my weight to be stable.
I wouldn’t change of my purchases except possibly consider replacing the 6 ft conventional step ladder with a 6 ft tripod or orchard ladder since they are more stable on uneven ground.
I’ve gone with Werner because they have the widest availability locally but any of the major manufacturers should be just fine.
I have a werner fibreglass 8ft’s for my house and I have another werner 4ft product that’s more considered a step stool
why the 8 ft. I have Apex ceilings in my house – and any work on a light fixutre or fan at or near the apex is some 12+ft off the floor. so I need a little extra.
I forget the model number but it’s study and I use it outside too – lives in the garage corner.
While in other houses a 6ft might work – as I’m 6ft tall. I would not get anything shorter than an 8 I don’t believe. however there are times when you need quick and convienent – that’s what the 4ft step device is for.
I’d also look hard at a louisville product today since I believe most are USA made.
A lot of electricians that I use carry around a 5′ fiberglass ladder. Bigger than a 4 footer and probably as tall as you’do need for 8′ ceilings. I picked up a Werner 6205 after having 4 and 6 footers and I have to say that it’s my go to ladder now.
Werner 6′ 1AA fiberglass ladder. Rock stable, even people who don’t like ladders have no problem with it because of it’s stability and rigidity.
Ditto…..I have the same ladder, great ladder
Outside, I usually use my 20+ yr. old Little Giant, just because it’s so versatile, and, after 20 years of use, I’m familiar w/it.
Few years back, I bought one of these 3-legged ladders: http://www.wernerco.com/us/en/view/Products/Climbing-Equipment/Stepladders/FTP6200/FTP6204 After using it, I can’t imagine not having it! Best all-around ladder I’ve ever used.
I got a werner MT-22 multi ladder and I love the thing. The biggest issue I have with it is when used in extension mode I do not like the pivot hinge. It tends to wobble way to much. I use this inside and out but it is fairly heavy. I probably use this the most.
I also got a 32′ aluminum extension (250lb rating) ladder that was given to me by my father in law since he moved to a ranch. A 24′ aluminum extension came with the house that I do not trust at all and have only used once. It is 225lb rating.
I also got a small 2 step step stool that was supposed to be for my wife but I use it everywhere. Probably the one I use the most is a 6′ foot aluminum A frame. (250lb rating). This came with the house as well but it is great for a few spots where I have a 11ft ceiling.
Like others have iterated get a fiberglass ladder with a 300lb rating minimum, probably either the 6′ or 8′. I prefer them and wish I had one because they do tend to be much more rigid than the aluminum and feel better. Every once in a while my local hardware stores put the 8′ foot version (Louisville) on sale for $100. That will probably be my next ladder.
I also have the Werner MT-22 multi-ladder…I think it is too big and cumbersome for use as an extension ladder and the base is huge for use as a tall step ladder. The versatility is great, but ultimately I wish I didn’t buy it.
Here’s a vote for the Little Giant Flip-N-Lite 6-foot utility ladder. I bought this ladder after reading your review several years ago, and have been very pleased with it. I hang it on a shelf bracket mounted between my garage doors so it’s easy to get to for work inside or outside. The shelf bracket is pointed perpendicular to the plane of the garage doors and the Flip-N-Lite side legs slide onto the bracket so that the ladder is also perpendicular to the doors and doesn’t interfere with the cars going in and out.
Stuart, as a location and studio photography, I own and use maybe 15 different ladders. Including 12′ rollarounds, platforms, and extension, one and two sided #300 ladders from 3′ to 24′ . Each serves its purpose well. Mostly Werner. Mostly Fiberglass.
That said the only one my wife and use constantly at home is either an exotic German made version of the 6 foot Little Giant 300# rated “Flip-N-Lite or as often the Little Giant knock-off. It’s cheap and a great folding ladder at $99 (Prime delivered) from the South American River.
6′ Werner fiberglass is my go to (step) ladder, along with a 24′ aluminum extension. Saw one of the LG Extreme 22′ ladders with the ratchet levelers in person a few weeks ago, but haven’t pulled the trigger (yet anyway).
I also recommend purchasing at least one or two three or four step folding stools. They work great in kitchens and closets for most light duty needs and are more convenient that getting out a full size ladder.
Michigan fiberglass ladders all the way.
I went on a ladder buying spree of sorts earlier this year. For versatility and price point, a Werner MT-series multipurpose ladder from a big box home improvement store can’t be beat. I paid $108.10 for a 17-ft one coupling a sale with the military discount. They are heavy, though.
Lowes has had Black Friday deals on smaller Werner camouflage ladders the past couple of years; I paid $28 or so for a 4-ft in 2013 and missed out on the 5-ft for $23 last year. I’ve used mine a good bit. I also purchased the fiberglass 6-ft and 8-ft Werner ladders on sale. All three have the Lock-In system, so I bought the job and utility buckets as well as a couple of Tool Lasso systems.
Finally, I have a 3-step stool and a lightweight 4-step stool that’s roughly the same size as my 4-ft ladder but about 1/3 of the weight.
I think the most common sizes would probably be the 4′ and 6′. I’m partial to the Werner brand, not because the Louisville is better nor worse, just simply because their more available in many more locations, at least here in Southern California.
I personally own Werner (fiberglass) 4′, 5′, 6′, 8′, Type IAA, and 4′, 6′ Type IA. I also own 2 Little Giant Xtreme Ladders (aluminum) w/ ratchet levelers, along with their scaffolding. I must say, the 4′ and 6′ Type IA are the two ladders I use the most, probably because of their size and weight, rated for up to 300lbs. Yes, the Type IAA are more sturdy, but with a cost of weight. If day in & day out you use your 6ft. for work, IAA ladders get pretty old , pretty quick because of the extra weight.
As for the Little Giant ladders, their incredible versatile awesome ladders. Once again, being not to incredibly heavy for what they are, for day to day use, they are heavy! It doesn’t matter how awesome, versatile and well built a ladder is, weight is a deal maker or deal maker for day to day use.
Sorry, deal maker or deal breaker!
I must say, i have a few months with this ladder and it’s great. It’s the 6ft. GORILLA LADDER (Fiberglass) Type 1 Duty Rating It’s actually listed as a 5.5ft ladder HYBRID $79.99
I’ve only seen it in Home Depot or on their website. I’ve tried Gorilla Ladder website, but have not been sucessful
mike aka Fazzman
I have several Werner ladders all rated to 300lbs.
In the field i have my 4′ and 6’…
I use my 4′ 75% of the time.
Legs dont kick out as far as the 6 and is easier to move in tighter spaces.
Cannot go wrong with a 6 either.
Get whatever ladder you need for the height your working on first, than the next one later.
Ladders weight ratings have been a pet peeve of mine for years. If the industry made a ladder, readily available for general consumption, with a rating higher than 300 pounds, I would choose it over any other. I am surprised that there are not more legal problems for manufacturers who produce extension and folding ladders with ratings below 300.
I had a friend many years ago who drug out his 20′ aluminum ladder one weekend, strapped on his tool belt with tools and nails and proceeded to repair the siding near the peak of his garage. While reaching out to drive in a nail off to the side, the ladder collapsed, dropping him approximately 12′ onto his back. After he came back from the emergency room and called me to tell me he wouldn’t be able to work for a bit of time, I asked him several questions about the ladder rating and his weight along with the tool belt and nails.
The response that I received was that in general he had never really thought about the ladder rating. A ladder was a ladder. (Is the general public more likely to think that the rating or the cost is more important?) The end result was that the man, the tool and the nails were at a minimum of 50 pounds over the ladders load cap, and when you factor in the forces involved with hand driving a nail as hard as you could, it gets a bit silly. Even a 300 pound rated ladder would have been stressed under that particular circumstance.
I can only recommend that you purchase the maximum weight rated ladder available to you, in the size you need, no matter who produces or sells it, and pay attention to how much you are carrying when you use it. Cost? How much is your health worth?
I agree to an extent, but not everyone needs a ladder rated at 300+ pounds. I saw a yellow Werner 8-ft ladder at Lowe’s earlier this year, it was a special order, but since I was used to seeing only the green (225 lb), blue (250 lb), and orange (300 lb), I looked it up when I got home: http://www.amazon.com/Werner-7308-375-Pound-Fiberglass-Stepladder/dp/B00005JRK8
I paid just over $70 for my 250-lb 8-ft ladder, compared with over $330 for the 375-lb version at the link above. Earlier this year I weighed in at almost 220 pounds after a surgery. Right now I’m around 192. As a homeowner, do I really need to pay almost five times more for a ladder rated at almost 200 lbs more than I weigh, and 150 lbs more than I weighed at my fattest? I know plenty of overweight guys who use ladders, but I also know plenty of 150-lb guys.
That said, I used to do gutter installation. To me, extension ladders are an entirely different beast (and one I don’t care for) than stepladders. I bought a 1 story house, so my multipurpose ladder should be more than enough, but if I had need of an extension ladder, I’d probably get the heftiest one I could, within reason. Also, if I were a professional who relied on my ladders to not only make me money but to keep my employees from getting injured, I’d buy the strongest and best ladders of any type.
All things considered, though, the user has to be smart. Haystacks Calhoun, Jr. shouldn’t figure his 350-lb weight is svelte enough to jump on a 375-lb ladder with 50-lbs of tools and start swinging away. It’s been proven time and again that people aren’t the brightest, though. That $40 Special Buy ladder rated at 225-lbs is just as likely to be purchased by the 300-lb painter as it is by the 110-lb housewife.
I have one of the 5ft camo Black Friday specials from last year and it has been great. My boss uses a 4 ft inside and the mt-22 outside, both are great in those environments. When I worked with a painter we had tons of those aluminum 2 footers, perfect for cutting in the top of a wall (8ft) and weigh nothing
Aluminum or fiberglass? If you break them aluminum is easier to fix. It’s cheaper too.
Once you get a multi use ladder, you won’t want to use a plain stepladder anymore. little giant / cosco/ werner, it doesn’t really matter, they’re all made in china or mexico these days, but for versatility, nothing beats them. Try rewiring a light socket in a stairwell without a multi-ladder and you’ll probably end up at the bottom of the stairs.
I’ve got several good, solid (orange) Werner stepladders, solid, completely trustworthy. And every time I’ve tried using a multi-ladder they seem tricky to set up (in comparison especially), and I’ve only narrowly escaped squashed fingers.
Pinched fingers never seem a real threat with “normal” stepladders, but seem a constant threat with those multi- models.
The Werner BF special is hard to beat. I have one of the slightly older, green fiberglass/aluminum 6ft and it’s done everything and more. Recently wound up taking it for a short ride to the ground doing some yardwork. The spreader bars twisted slightly from the impact since I rode it down sideways rather than falling off, but an adjustable wrench worked fine to twist them close to their original shape.
The Little Giant 1A is nice as a second ladder for jobs the 6ft is too tall or short for, and is great for a single story house instead of an extension ladder, but it’s certainly not as light as a fiberglass ladder, nor as inexpensive.
I think I’m starting to hoard ladders, all but one are fiberglass. I got an inexpensive 4 ft Werner for little tasks around the house. The small size and weight can’t be beat. But for cutting a line between a wall and ceiling I’ll use a Werner platform (20″ tall?). I wish I could have found a heavier duty version of this one as I’m not a lightweight. Then there is a 6ft Werner with a 250 lb rating for inside use an trimming of some trees outside. Then an 8 ft ladder than folds down into 4 segments. This is the only aluminum ladder of the bunch…a hand me down from a friend. It can be opened up to 16 ft to get up to a first story gutter if necessary. This is only used to get into the attic (8 ft ceiling). One of those telescoping ladders would be easier, but I don’t trust them. Finally a 10 ft Louisville with a 350 lb rating. This has a metal top plate and extra rivets on the braces for each step. I don’t like climbing ladders and the extra rigidity of this ladder is felt and appreciated. The higher I go, the more rigid I want that ladder to be. I don’t mind getting up on this ladder. This one is used in the garage to maintain high hanging fixtures, inside the house for the same purpose, or outside hanging Xmas decorations.
No extension ladders for me. I’ll hire someone yearly to flush out the gutters. I had a family member take a spill off a ladder. 50+ screws, 29 plates and one rod later the docs put Humpty Dumpty together again. To say I’m paranoid around ladders is an understatement.
I have a 5′ Werner aluminum that is always my first go-to if I need more than a folding step stool. It’s very light but very useful. Electricians will use fiberglass for obvious reasons, and in larger ladders it is more stable. I also second the folding step stool suggestion for in the house. I have both the 2-step and 3step, I think they were both around $17 during HD BF sales, but sometimes that requires getting up at 4am.
Not a Pro....
Here’s my preference:
For general interior home remodeling I use a pair of Werner 4′ stepladders. They’re compact, yet tall enough for ceiling level work. I have a pair so that I can use lumber stretched between the two to set up a small scaffold if needed. I chose 4′ by considering my own height and the ceiling height.
Those stepladders get stored in my workshop when not in use. The ladder that stays in the house at all times for the family to use for things like reaching high cabinets and changing lightbulbs is a Werner podium stepladder, model AL323-6. The full-size top step is safer, especially for children, since it’s easier to maintain one’s balance.
I have a Little Giant ladder I love for its versatility, but for grab and go kind of work, I have a 5 foot stepladder. It is so ligh I can literally lift it with one finger, is tall enough so my wife can reach the ceiling, and is easier to handle than a 6 footer. In awkward situations, the extra foot can bang into a door jamb or hallway corner that the 5 footer will clear. A 4 footer would be even handier, but gets to be a reach to the ceiling for shorter people. Fiberglass is not only less wobbly than aluminum while being lighter, it is also non conductive, which adds a bit of safety around electricity. I don’t consider brand to be all that important, but I do strongly recommend you consider one with steps on both sides. Being able to have a second set of hands right there makes a lot of jobs easier, and sometimes there just isn’t room to set up two ladders.
I have two ladders that get the most use, and one of them is so useful that I have three of them and even take them camping.
Something like this is fantastic for things like painting, tiling, or any work along a wall. Being 3 feet wide, you can easily reach 5 or 6 feet of wall at once. It’s light, they fold up and at $35 it’s a great bargain. I throw one or two in the truck when I go camping, because they make decent chairs, or tables.
I’m a bit over 6′, so I can reach the ceiling when standing on this platform. I use this instead of a ladder 90% of the time.
I also have a Little Giant folding ladder when I need to go higher.
I’d used a 200 lbs rated, 6′ aluminum ladder for years (20+). A couple of years ago I was cleaning gutters and one of the legs collapsed. (I weighted 185 lbs, was using a small shop vac which was sitting on the “paint can shelf”, and when I pulled on a garden hose the right-front leg gave way.) I got banged up a bit bouncing down the side of my house, but nothing really was injured except pride.
I looked for a replacement ladder for several months; lots of options considered. But, I finally decided on a 7′, fiberglass, “painter’s ladder” by Werner. (Yes, it is labeled a “painter’s ladder.”) It was on sale at the Sherwin-Williams Paint store for about $117. Really happy with my choice. It is a good functional height for both inside and outside. It is really solid / stable and non-conductive.
Look into Tivoli, they are made to aussie standards which apparently from what I understand are higher than US, plus they seem to be constructed better than werner and the like. They are made in Indonesia.
I keep a single step ladder in the laundry room for quick interior work. But to me a ladder is a ladder as long as it is sturdy whatever.
I do like aluminum ladders though, as long as theyre rated well they can hold up longer where as UV rays can ruin the resin on an aluminum ladder pretty quick so dont leave it outside lol.
I have a 22′ Little Giant Classic. I got it to be a one-ladder house. I have to get that over the standard Costco size due to have a 2 story house (on one side). It definitely gets the most use since it is the most flexible and works on stairs. I would get the option with the 4-peg lock since this one can flex quite a bit at the joint and that can freak out someone like myself who is wary of heights.
I ended up getting a 20 foot extension ladder and 3 step ladders (2′, 4′ 6′) from a friend when I bought a lot of used tools from them. I grab the 4′ the most and then the 2′, but if I only had one it would be the 6′. It is nice to have one since it is lighter than the Little Giant, but I probably would not have bought them had it not been part of the deal.
I would go to a pawn shop this time of year and get one there. A lot of contractors either pawn stuff and never get it back or sell and rebuy each year as it gets cold. They almost always have ladders for a great deal. Other than something like a Little Giant there is no reason to spend a lot on a ladder as long as it s in decent shape and has a good enough weight rating and you don’t use it for something other than what it is designed to do.
When I bought my first place I picked up a Werner MT-17. I got it so I had a taller ladder that I could still fit in the trunk of my car. Over the years I picked up a taller fiberglass Werner extension ladder. I’m going to be on the hunt soon for a 6′ fiberglass ladder. I like my Werner MT-17, but it’s heavy and clunky to carry and set up for a quick bulb change or grabbing something off a shelf.
It’s not a ladder, but this last Christmas I was gifted a Kwik-Bench. It is spendy, but really handy. It is a plank style bench that is adjustable up to 30″ in height. It also works well as a make-shift workbench and you can get optional plates for Miter Saws. http://kwikbench.publishpath.com/
My werner 4′ sees by far the most use.
It all depends on what you’re doing though.
Decades ago I got a cosco platform step ladder. They don’t make it anymore, but here’s one that is similar.
I’ve gotten a taller one as well. The big platform is quite an advantage, and I’ve used it to pick fruit as well as regular things like painting. It is safer than a regular step or extension ladder. Much less tiring. I do have a couple of those gorilla-type ladders, but don’t use them much. One was given to me or I’d just have one. They aren’t as easy to set up and not as comfortable to use.
I really love that thing.
Hello fellow ladder users,
Glad I came across this, great ladder input.
I’ve been debating whether to keep both my 4′ and 6′ in the back of my small pickup (working as an electrician atm.)
Not surprised to see that many others are also using their 4′ one most of time. It does do the job most of the time and can make for a nice little work bench. Putting the 6′ in a position where the extra height is not really necessary.
The problem obviously is that once in awhile, you come across an industrial/commercial site that calls for those extra steps…
5′ seems to be a nice in between – now, the thing with that though is the 4’s and 6’s are usually priced much better.
I got a brand new 6′ fiberglass for $50 CDN which is basically a steal…
Mehh,,, Might just have to go with the 6 and be done with it.