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Home » A Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Ladders

A Comprehensive Guide to Different Types of Ladders

You can use ladders for industrial and simple repairs. This allows you reach every corner of your facility. In choosing a ladder, it is important to consider more factors than simply convenience. Incorrectly rated ladders or incorrect applications can result in fatal accidents. The different ladders that are available, along with their duties ratings, features and applications can help determine which ladders will work best in your business.

Ladder types

You should also consider other factors, such as the purpose of the ladder and its rating. Some ladders feature an A framed structure which increases their stability on possible unstable surfaces. Some materials are more suitable for outdoor use, while others make it easier to store and transport.

This simple overview will give you a basic understanding of common ladder types, such as their typical design, height, and use.

1. Step Stool

A step stool is the shortest of all ladders in our selection. Typically, it has two solid steps and a support side. Due to their folding design, they are very easy and convenient to store, set up, or reposition.

Uses include indoor projects such as painting or changing light bulbs, and reaching shelves high up.

Height: Not more than 32 inches

Design: Foldable, V-shaped, handle on top. Four legs, bottom support.

2. Step Ladder

The versatility of a stepladder makes it a great choice for business and warehouses. Because of the A-frame’s self-supporting design, they are stable even when used away from walls. This allows them to work anywhere within a space without any additional support. There are step ladders with two sides of rungs and others that only have one. The bottoms of most ladders feature anti-skid materials to help keep them stable. Because they are shorter, step ladders tend to be used indoors and for smaller projects outdoors. 

Uses include indoor and small-scale outdoor projects like painting, decorating or changing lightbulbs.

Height: 4″ – 20 ft

Design: Frame with 4 legs and support bars, hinges that can be folded for storage

3. The Extension Ladder

An extension ladder, the tallest of all ladders in this ranking, is made up of multiple sections for a length that’s adjustable. They can easily extend up to 72 ft. for high ceilings and rooftop access. Extension ladders have no support, and they must be leaned against a wall. If you want to add stability, have someone else hold the base steady of the extension ladder while in use.

Uses: outdoor projects or industrial settings such as exterior painting, heavy-duty maintenance and roofing

Height: Adjustable from 32 to 72 ft depending on number of sections

Design: 2 legs with no support at all, 2 side rails of evenly-spaced rungs each, and 2, 3 or 4 extendable sections.

4. Telescoping Ladder

A telescoping extension ladder has the same adjustable height as a standard step ladder, but is easier to store. When you want to change the ladder’s height, just extend the leg length. Retract the back once finished. This makes telescoping ladders versatile, and they can replace either a 2-section extension or step ladder. The telescoping extension ladder is not like a step ladder. Instead, it must lean against a solid frame or wall.

Use: Indoor and outdoor heavy-duty projects like cleaning gutters, painting walls, etc.

Height: Can be adjusted from 2 feet up to 16 feet

Design: A straight ladder that has an extendable section on the bottom. It also features two side rails with evenly spaced rungs.

5. Folding Ladder

The folding ladder works in a similar way to the step ladder. It can extend to increase height, or unfold to create extra stability. Due to its wide rungs, it is perfect for work on unlevel surfaces. You can also easily store and transport folding ladders.

Uses: indoor and outdoor construction projects with uneven terrain or lower reach requirements

Height: Can reach 21 feet tall.

Design: Inverted V ladder with broad rungs. Hinges that allow the ladder to be extended. Additional side safety railings are available for certain models.

6. Platform Ladder

A platform ladder is similar to a standard step ladder but has a raised platform at the top. It is possible to use the platform as a place for items or even stand on, unlike other ladders. As with step ladders it’s self-supporting, has one side climbable and is hinged to make folding easy. Also available are industrial platform ladles with rails for safety and steps.

Uses include long-lasting projects like landscaping, interior or exterior painting, and construction or decorating.

Height: 2 feet up to 18 foot

Design: An A-frame frame with hinges, one side climbable, and stable platform affixed to the top. Adjustable elements are available according to model.

7. Straight Ladder

The straight ladder or single ladder is also the simplest type of ladder. This ladder only has one frame, no hinges, or extensions. As it does not support itself, the straight ladder must be secured at its top. It is necessary to first lower the ladder to move and transport it. This ladder is not foldable, and therefore takes up more room in storage.

Uses: Exterior projects such as roofing or construction.

Height: between 4 feet and 30 feet

Anchor hooks are located at the top or sides of certain models.

8. Multipurpose Ladder

The multipurpose ladder is more versatile than the other ladders in this article. Multi-hinged ladders can easily be adjusted to different sizes and shapes. They can also fold up into an A frame, straight ladder, or other configurations. You can use some models as scaffolding. Multipurpose ladders are a good choice for those with multiple projects and limited funds. They can be used to accomplish many different tasks.

Uses: For indoor or outdoor use, and for projects that are flexible depending on where they’re placed.

Height: varies, but is typically below 26 feet

Design: Side rails have rungs and hinges at different points. The side rails can be adjusted or extended by using the multiple locations of the rails’ hinges.

9. Trestle Ladder

It is the only type of ladder that can accommodate two users at a time. It has two adjustable sides, with one ladder extends out from the top. This ladder’s folding design is easy to carry and store. The scaffolding is used by workers to hold it up.

Uses: Heavy duty construction projects

Height: maximum 20 feet.

Design: Trestle A-frame base with 2 climbable sides. Extension section on top.