If you enjoy doing basic repairs at your home a durable ladder will be one of the main equipment you must have. Ladder injuries either at work or at home are common occurrences. Most do-it-yourself enthusiast can relate to the near miss fall from a poorly installed ladder or one that is not sturdy enough.
So, before you commence that room painting job with high ceilings be sure you have the right type of home use ladder that can not only extend high but also accommodate the weight of the user. Since ladders are generally used by different people, it is recommended you buy one with a maximum rating of at least 300 pounds or more.
Reasons for Owning a Step Stool or Step Ladder
While using a ladder might not prevent accidents, it is obvious you do need one to complete most home improvement projects the right way. Rarely can you paint high ceilings, hallways, install shelves, or change light fixtures without using a step stool or ladder.
The type of ladder to get will be determined by the nature of its use. The best step ladder brand designed for professional trade use might not work well for home DIY projects. A step ladder is more durable than using a work platform or standing on a chair.
The most obvious reason to get a good ladder is that they’re made to stand on four legs, which means you have a solid foundation to stand on as you do your repair. The included standing platforms on most ladders will help increase productivity with fewer work-related injuries.
Buying Reviews for the Best Step Ladders
Forget about any government regulations for this industry, for you should make your buying purchase decision using some of the info listed in this review. Dozens of brands have step ladders, but some are not as durable or sturdy as they claim to be.
I have located the top 7 step ladders with the highest customer ratings online. Some might come with higher pricing but the features will allow it to provide better performance metrics when compared to the competition.
1 – Flip-N-Lite 300-Pound Duty Rating 6-foot Stepladder with Platform
Unlike the other step ladders made out of cheap materials the product from Flip-N-Lite is as good as it gets. While it is considered lightweight, it has a maximum user weight rating of 300 pounds. It is available in three unique sizes, and comes with a slim profile that makes it easier to transport, use, and put away for storage. If you enjoy doing indoor home improvement projects, this is your go to step ladder. It is designed to meet or exceed established OSHA and ANSI standards. The included rungs are deep enough to allow for a firm secure platform. Another worthy feature is the well-integrated handy tool tray. The entire product is guaranteed for one full year by the manufacturer.
2 – Cosco 8-Foot Signature Series Step Ladder Type 1A
Another top product that is making a lot of noise is the Cosco 8-Foot Signature Series Step Ladder Type 1A. The two available sizes for purchase are 6-feet and 8-feet. It has an aluminum box frame that is patented. Not only is it easy to carry from project to project, it is also rated for use by people weighing 300 pounds or less. Apart from several sturdy steps, you also get two handy platforms at the top to use as holding area for your tools. It has an attached lock with a latch to help prevent accidental collapse. This stable home use step ladder comes with a tread design that incorporates anti-slip features. This step ladder from Cosco brand would allow you to get high wall projects done with ease.
3 – Little Giant Aluminum Stepladder
This is far sturdier than a step stool for many good reasons. The Little Giant aluminum step ladder can be purchased with either two or three steps. The maximum weight capacity rating for both sizes is 300 pounds. The sturdy construction makes it ideal for use at home, office or small construction sites. For those DIY projects where tall step ladders are not needed this is a solid alternative. The three step size comes with a added safety bar to help with durability, security, and safety. The solid handle is coupled with squared glide wheels to make it much easier to transport around different projects or within your home.
The Features You Should be Looking For:
What is it Made Out of
A ladder can only be as reliable as the material that it is made out of. You want a product with sturdy construction. Some of the most common materials used for making top ladders include aluminum, steel, fiberglass, and sometimes wood.
Each will have its pros and cons, but the key thing to remember is that you want your step ladder to be lightweight with sturdy design features. The material that the step ladder is made out of should also be resistant to rust or corrosion forces.
Most step ladder-related injuries can be traced to standing too high on it that it destroys the structure. Get one that can extend high enough to reach where you want to work without standing on it in an unsafe manner. If you’re standing on the last step of a ladder, it might be too short for your work needs.
You have to decide if you want a step stool or step ladder. Step tools come with many limitations, but they do come in handy where space is an issue. On the other hand, step ladders will afford you the ability to get more work done as it can extend higher.
Most of the step ladders or step stools will come with maximum weight designations. Please do not ignore them as they can help prevent injuries. To be on the safe side of things while using ladders, get one that is way above your weight limit.
Do not step on a ladder that says maximum weight limit 300 pounds and you weigh about 300 pounds. If it can hold more pounds than your regular weight that would be a good purchase. Manufacturers of home use or work related use ladders are required to list the weight limitations even if listed for sale online.
Before you start using a ladder test out the durability of the steps. Climb on them several times to see how it would hold up. While the trade group for the industry ALI blames most ladder injuries on improper selection or abuse during use, one cannot deny the role sometimes played by poor design and construction.
To increase your awareness of proper use you should check out the basic ladder safety tips created by the industry group.
Shopping online is now part of our everyday life, but it is wise on your part to take the time to look over customer feedbacks of the step ladder you want to purchase. It is getting more difficult for manufacturers of poorly designed step ladders or step stools to get away with it as too many bad reviews can stunt the sales growth of any product.
The good brands will have a website with ample resources for buyers. I have seen a few brands that took the time to create how to use videos for the ladders they manufacture.
4 – Louisville Ladder AS3010 Aluminum Stepladder
It is just a fact that some home improvement projects require you use a tall step ladder and this brand will not disappoint with all it enviable features. It is available for purchase in sizes that range from two feet all the way to 10-feet. All are capable of holding user weight up to 300 pounds. It is an aluminum step ladder with an impressive design and sleek looking finish. To ensure stability during use it comes with four angle feet with padded thick rubber thread that also prevents slip. It is sturdy enough for use on most construction job sites and the design specs comply with OSHA and ANSI established standards. Another handy touch to the design is the addition of cool holding space for your tools at the top of the ladder not counting the available space on the platform.
5 – VonHaus Steel Folding Portable 4 Step Ladder
The VonHaus Steel Folding Portable 4 Step Ladder is not only ideal for home use but can also come in handy at construction sites or offices with higher cabinet shelves. It is sold in three distinctive sizes and comes with an impressive user weight limitation of 330 pounds, which is quite high for its design style. It is made out of strong steel that is also powder coated for additional strength and durability. It can be used on different flooring types due to the inclusion of anti-slip materials on the feet. The compact size ensures it can be folded up quickly for easy storage.
Safety Tips for Step Ladder Use
The following safety tips can help prevent most accidents that occur on step ladders. Some might sound like common sense but you might be surprised to learn that it is the simple forgotten rules that create the most deadly accidents.
A – After you’ve purchased the right type of step ladder you must now take the time to learn how to use it the right way. Read the entire directions even if you consider yourself an expert on all types of ladders. Most manufacturers will improve the safety design of newer models, and it is only by reading the owner’s manual would you be cognizant of that fact. It is also the ideal way to know how to set it up properly.
B – Never step all the way to the last step of the ladder as that should be a warning sign you’re using a ladder that is not suitable for the job at hand. It is better to stand a few steps from the top one. It is my hope you keep to that rule as most ladder falls can be traced to overreaching.
C – Try your utmost best to wipe off spills right away. It is quite common for oil and water to create fall hazards while on the ladder. Wiping away spills as you go is a good rule to adhere to.
D – Keep little kids away from the ladder both during use or while idle. Many accidents occur from kids climbing on the step ladder and falling over when mom or dad went to the bathroom.
E – You should know that your step ladder is designed to be used only on a solid even ground. If the floor is wobbly or uneven, it might have a negative effect on the stability of the step ladder or step stool.
F – Step ladders are susceptible to the elements just like any other home improvement tool. Be careful while using it on a windy or rainy day.
6 – Louisville Ladder FS1512 Fiberglass Step Ladder, 12 Feet
This is another durable tall step ladder from Louisville and comes in at 12-feet, which is just the right type of step ladder height suitable for construction sites, shingle and roof repairs. This model itself can be purchased in eight unique sizes. It has a heavy duty design plus some added extras like a tray for your tools, paint bucket holder, and others. The Louisville Ladder stepladders are constructed to meet or exceed all standards set by OSHA and ANSI. Most contractors would tell you that step ladders made partly out of fiberglass will outlast most other materials while also retaining that exterior shine if maintained the right way. Busy construction sites and professional painters would find this ladder aids in increased employee productivity.
7 – Louisville Ladder FS1504 Fiberglass Platform Ladder, 4-Feet
This is a solid four feet step ladder that can be used to do so many different things. Do you need to reach higher cabinet shelves, deploy the Louisville Ladder FS1504 Fiberglass Platform Ladder to help you get up there with ease? It has a maximum user weight capacity of three hundred pounds. The impressive design is matched with added features like a handy tool holding area on the top with space for a paint can, hammers, screwdrivers, flashlight, and many others. The extra wide feet is coupled an anti-skid bottom to ensure stability while standing on it. Both the front and the back are fully braced. The Louisville Ladder FS1504 complies all applicable ANSI and OSHA standards.
Summary: Finding the Right Step Ladder for Your Needs
There are many brands of step ladders with different sizes, which means your ultimate use for the ladder will help determine the ultimate selection. You should not forget weight limitations and height requirements. It is probably better to get one with multi-functional features. All the products reviewed in this article are designed to meet or exceed the established rules of OSHA and ANSI. One of them can become the best step ladder for home use to serve your needs.