Ladders. Who knew there were so many varieties? This article will walk you through the various types of ladders available and why they are useful. We will go over how to determine which ladder is best for which tasks, and also go through the various materials used in ladders and the benefits and drawbacks that they provide. This will teach you everything you need to know about the various ladders on the market, allowing you to purchase the best product for the job.
Step ladders are the most popular type of ladder due to their simplicity and ease of use. Step ladders are the self-supporting, non-adjustable ladder. They can be used for a wide range of tasks and have a compact lightweight design that makes them easy to store. The main advantages of step ladders are their low/affordable price, their self-supporting design, which allows them to be used anywhere in your home, and their wide variety of uses. Because of these factors, most homes have a pair of step ladders; step ladders are always handy and can be used for tasks such as reaching hard to get to locations, painting interior walls, installing decorations, and accessing storage space.
A step ladder is classified into two types: platform and swingback. As the name implies, a platform step ladder allows the user to safely stand on the platform, which is more comfortable for working on slightly longer duration tasks. The other option is a swingback which is a step ladder without a platform; these are much better for storing away but for safety reasons cannot be stood on the last tread/platform like the platform step ladder making it more inconvenient to use.
Extension ladders are intended to reach much higher levels than standard step ladders. Extension ladders have a base and fly system that allows the ladder to extend to the required height and then slide back to its original height for easier storage.
One disadvantage of step ladders is their lack of height, with a typical 12 tread stepladder reaching heights of just under 3m. An extension ladder is intended to provide a significantly longer ladder length in a lightweight and portable design.
Extension ladders are primarily used for jobs involving the exterior of a building or home, but they have some versatility and can also be used for other tasks requiring extra height indoors, such as in buildings with high ceilings. Ideal for a variety of exterior tasks such as painting exterior walls, repairing roofs, and unclogging drains. The main disadvantage of extension ladders is that they lack a self-supporting system and must therefore be leaned against something to maintain stability. To maintain optimal stability, extension ladders have several safety features such as non-skid feet and an additional set of hooks. When purchasing an extension ladder, ladders longer than 3m should have a stabiliser bar for added security to meet EN131 Professional and Non-Professional standards.
Telescopic ladders are similar to extension ladders in some ways, but they offer several additional benefits such as increased versatility, portability, less storage space, and are useful in almost any situation. Telescopic ladders have a sliding rung system that allows you to extend the ladder to the desired height with ease, giving you great versatility. Because of the sliding design, the telescopic ladder can essentially collapse in on itself to become much smaller, resulting in increased portability and easier storage, which is always useful.
When collapsed, the ladder is so small that it can easily fit into vehicles or small storage spaces. The telescopic ladder, like the extension ladder, does not have a self-supporting system, so it must be leaned against something before use. Overall, telescopic ladders provide brilliant versatility while maintaining a lightweight and portable design, and they can be used for both interior and exterior tasks. These ladders are an excellent choice for people who want some extra versatility while maintaining a compact and lightweight design. Telescopic ladders are also imported from all over the world, so use caution when purchasing one. To be safe, it should comply with EN131-6, and the safe heights of extension ladders on the market are typically less than 5m.
Multipurpose Ladders are also extremely versatile, as they are essentially a hybrid of the step ladder and the extension ladder, but with additional advantages. The multipurpose ladder has the self-supporting design of a step ladder as well as the ability to lean on objects for extended use or even to create a multi-level platform. The Multipurpose ladder’s versatility and variety provide the right ladder for almost any situation. The ladder also has a compact design for easy storage and portability. This type of ladder is popular among DIY handymen due to the wide range of possibilities it offers while remaining sleek, lightweight, and portable. The Multipurpose ladder can be used for both interior and exterior work and can adapt to almost any situation, from interior to exterior painting; the low-level platform is ideal for any decorative or maintenance jobs, and the extended ladder can assist you in reaching higher locations, such as windows or a roof. Overall, the telescopic ladder is excellent for meeting all of your needs and has few drawbacks; its brilliant versatility and portability have been proven to fit almost any scenario. Multipurpose ladders offer versatility and are built to last. Because of these features, this ladder may be the only one you ever need.
Step stools are a small, compact, and convenient ladder/stool designed for interior use, typically in kitchens to gain access to higher cupboards. Step stools are designed with a small step to allow you to reach shelves, cabinets, and other areas that are normally out of reach. Step stools have several advantages, the most notable of which are their extremely small storage space, ease of portability, and low price point, making them an appealing prospect for any homeowner. Step stools are designed primarily for interior use and thus aren’t very versatile, but they are still a very useful tool to have around the house.
Loft & Attic Ladders
Loft ladders serve only one purpose: they provide easy access to your loft space. The attic ladder is usually attached to the door so that you can access the loft area without having to carry a ladder or transport another ladder to your hatch each time. The ladder uses an articulated hinge system to reach the floor at an angle, resulting in a more seamless experience that is not only more efficient but also more visually appealing.
Some models of attic ladders include a guard/handrail for safety and typically have a maximum load weight of 150kg. Attic ladders are a niche product in the sense that they serve only one purpose and are typically made of aluminium or wood because they are lightweight, strong, and long-lasting.
Wooden ladders have the advantage of having a hatch that is usually insulated, strong, durable, and stylish, but they are also more expensive. Aluminium Attic Ladders are lightweight and rust-resistant, with a lower overall cost; however, they are also considered less sturdy, noisier, and less visually appealing.
The only disadvantage of loft ladders is that they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. To ensure that the ladder will fit, you will need to measure your loft space, the height of the ladder required, the hatch size, as well as the vertical and horizontal clearance.
Warehouse steps are ideal for gaining access to machinery or, as the name implies, high-up shelving units in warehouses. Warehouse steps have braking systems to keep them secure when in use, as well as wheels for easy manoeuvrability. They are ideal for longer-duration tasks and are more comfortable when working at height due to their wider steps and larger platform.
Rolling / Mezzanine Ladders
Rolling ladders are mobile ladders that, depending on the type of ladder, use casters to create a sliding mechanism or a trolley system. They are made of lightweight, non-corrosive materials such as aluminium or wood, and they usually have a handrail for added safety. This type of ladder is frequently used in libraries, storage areas, or to gain access to a mezzanine.
Different types of rolling ladders are appropriate for different situations; for example, libraries frequently have a wooden rolling ladder that is used to move around shelves and provide extra height; these wooden rolling ladders have an attractive and sturdy design.
Rolling ladders are expensive, but they are made to your exact specifications, allowing you to easily match décor and create a functional product that is also appealing to the eye.
Best Materials for ladders
Ladder Materials are an important factor to consider when selecting the correct ladder to meet your needs, but you should also consider what material is the best fit for you; each material has advantages and disadvantages and is specifically designed for different uses.
Below is a list of all the materials used in ladders, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each, to help you make the best decision possible when it comes to selecting your ideal ladder.
Aluminium is widely used because it is a lightweight, non-magnetic, strong, and inexpensive material. However, because aluminium is a conductor of electricity, the ladder should not be used near electrical equipment or wires to ensure your safety.
Wood, specifically timber, is another widely used material that shares many of the same properties as aluminium while also being lightweight and inexpensive. Because wood is not a conductor of electricity, it is safer than aluminium when used with electrical equipment.
Fibreglass is considered the best material and has numerous advantages, but it is more expensive. Fibreglass is a lightweight, strong, and portable material that does not conduct electricity and is corrosion-resistant, making it an excellent choice for any ladder.
Steel isn’t a popular material for most ladder types due to its weight, which limits portability; however, steel is resilient and can handle heavier loads, making it a good option for warehousing. Platform ladders are mostly made of steel.
Plastic is rarely used because it lacks the strength of other materials. Because of its inferior qualities in comparison to other materials, plastic is considered one of the cheapest options available.
There are many different types of ladders available on the market; each ladder serves a different purpose, though some have multiple uses. Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of the various ladder types and the benefits and drawbacks of each. Depending on the intended purpose, storage location, and frequency of use, the material is also an important factor to consider. Overall, you should weigh the various benefits and drawbacks, and this information should assist you in selecting the best ladder for your needs.