Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Platform ladders are considered a safe alternative to conventional ladder forms, such as the stepladder. As the name suggests, it has a platform that serves as a standing platform for the worker. This allows work to be carried out at height in stable safety.

Visually, the platform ladder looks like a mixture of a scaffold and a ladder. Platform ladders are available in different designs. Common types are single-sided, double-sided and mobile platform ladders. With our platform ladder guide, we want to help you find the platform ladder that best meets your needs.

We have compared the different platform ladder models with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions about platform ladders in the guide section.




Summary

  • Platform ladders are a mixture of a conventional stepladder and a scaffold. They are considered particularly safe for work and are intended to help minimise accidents at work.
  • Although a platform ladder is already a sub-type of ladder, there are also further subdivisions of platform ladders. A distinction is made between single-sided, double-sided and mobile platform ladders.
  • Platform ladders can be used in many ways and are popular for different types of work due to their high level of work safety. Additional features, such as the terrain around the working platform, make the platform ladder very safe.

The Best Platform Ladder: Our Picks

Platform ladder: Purchase and evaluation criteria

In the next few paragraphs, we will show you the criteria you should look for when buying a platform ladder. These should help you to compare different models with each other and then make a good purchase decision.

The criteria that you can use to compare platform ladders with each other include:

In the paragraphs below, we explain what you should look for in the different criteria.

Working height

The working height is the height at which you work. That is, the height at which the platform is plus your height. Therefore, you should know before buying what height you need for your work. If your working heights are different, you should get an adjustable platform ladder.

Most manufacturers offer platform ladders with a working height of 2 – 5.15 m. This makes it easy to work in most rooms. This makes it possible to work in most rooms.

Weight

Weight is especially important if the platform ladder does not have wheels and therefore cannot be moved easily and requires physical strength to move. If you are working alone, you should look for a lighter weight so that you can move the platform ladder without problems.

Platform ladders are often heavy for one person to carry, so quite a few platform ladders have castors attached for moving.

Most platform ladders weigh around 35 kg and can therefore be comfortably moved by two people. If you are alone, it is a little more difficult with a 35 kg platform ladder, unless the platform ladder has castors and is therefore mobile.

Safety

Safety is the be-all and end-all of a platform ladder. If you know the characteristics that a safe platform ladder should have, it is very easy to find the right platform ladder. When shopping, look for a non-slip ladder base and non-slip ladder rungs.

Work accidents often happen on ladders, so the safety of the ladder is an important criterion.

A terrain round and the working platform secures the working person from falling down. And if necessary, you can also make sure there is a handrail.

This makes climbing up and down safe and easy. When a platform ladder is safe is stated in the information provided by the Employer’s Liability Insurance Association.

More detailed information can be found in BGI 637, which contains rules for the safety of platform ladders. From the presence of a terrain from a platform height of 1 m to the inclination of the climbing legs, everything is specified there.

Additional functions

You should pay attention to additional functions if they help you to perform your work even better and safely.

  • Can be walked on from both sides
  • Castors and therefore mobile
  • Safety terrain

If you have paid attention to sufficient safety when buying your platform ladder, the platform ladder will certainly fulfil the safety length requirement. The mobility of a platform ladder is a valuable additional function if the platform ladder is used for work in different places.

Two stairs for a platform ladder can be an important additional function of platform ladders, for example, if it is located in a narrow corridor and it is easy if the ladder can be accessed from both times.

Platform ladder: Frequently asked questions and answers

In the following, we would like to answer the most important questions about platform ladders. After reading through the questions, you should have the most essential background information about platform ladders.

What is a platform ladder and who is it suitable for?

Platform ladders are accessible platforms. They are used for a wide range of different jobs. Generally speaking, platform ladders are used for work at height where both hands are needed. An example of the use of platform ladders is in racking operations.

The special feature of platform ladders is their high level of stability.

The presence of the platform allows the worker to stand stably on both and use his hands without any problems. Compared to other ladders, the platform ladder is very stable.

This is due, among other things, to the low inclination of the ladder and the four ladder feet. It is interesting to note that platform ladders can only be used on level ground, otherwise they would tip or wobble. You can think of this as a table that is not on a flat surface. It wobbles with every movement.

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Platform ladders are the most stable ladders. Stepladders like the one in this picture are suitable for working at low heights and with little physical exertion. (Image source: unsplash / Toa Heftiba)

All these features mean that workers feel safe at height and can perform their work well and efficiently.

What types of platform ladders are there?

Platform ladders of course come in different shapes and sizes. But basically, platform ladders can be divided into three types. You can find out what they are in the following table.

Type Description Advantage Disadvantage
One-sided access platform ladder Can only be climbed from one side Requires little space, suitable for most work at height and is cheaper In narrow aisles, climbing from one side can be restrictive
Two-sided access platform ladder Can be climbed from the right and left Makes flexible climbing possible even in narrow aisles Requires a lot of space and is more expensive due to more processed material
Mobile platform ladder Has castors that make the ladder mobile Makes changing locations possible and relieves workers from unnecessary carrying of heavy objects No disadvantages

The different types of platform ladders each have their advantages and disadvantages. If you find the right platform ladder for your needs, you will be able to use the platform ladder perfectly and make your work more efficient.

How much does a platform ladder cost?

The price range between different platform ladders is very wide. Depending on the quality, size and features, platform ladders vary in price. If you plan to use the platform ladder for several years and need it frequently, it is worth investing in a high-quality ladder with the right features.

The following table shows the price range for the different types of platform ladders.

Type Price (in €)
Single-sided access platform ladder 300 – 1,000 €
Double-sided access platform ladder 400 – 1,500 €
Mobile platform ladder 300 – 1,500 €

Single-sided platform ladders can be purchased for as little as €500. However, they quickly become expensive if the platform ladder has several steps. Two-sided platform ladders are generally a little more expensive than single-sided platform ladders because they have steps on both sides.

In principle, there are no upper limits for platform ladders. The prices given in the table apply to the general majority of platform ladders.

What are the alternatives to a platform ladder?

A platform ladder is a stable alternative to other conventional ladders, such as the stepladder. Furthermore, a platform ladder is nothing more than a mixture of scaffolding and a ladder. Therefore, these two can be seen as an alternative. In other words, scaffolding and other types of ladders are considered alternatives.

If you do not necessarily need your platform ladder for work where you need the high stability of the platform ladder, you can use the alternatives.

Due to the characteristics of the platform ladder, it is sometimes difficult to transport and, especially for someone who does not have a van, not easy to get from A to B. If this is the case for you, you can use the alternative ladder.

If this is the case for you, the alternatives to a platform ladder might be a good choice. The following table shows what other types of ladders are available in addition to the platform ladder and what they are suitable for.

Type Description
Stepladder Also called a folding ladder, it is particularly popular for work around the house and garden. It can be easily stowed away and its size makes it ideal for things you can’t otherwise reach inside the house without the help of a ladder.
Stepladder The stepladder is the little brother of the folding ladder/stepladder. Usually, as the name suggests, it has a few rungs and no terrain to hold onto. This makes it perfect for small jobs, such as hammering a nail into the wall.
Leaning ladder The name of this ladder already gives away how it is used. The lean-to ladder is the most classic ladder. It is simply placed against a wall, a tree, etc.
Telescopic ladder Like a telescope, a telescopic ladder is extended or collapsed depending on how you need it. Its main advantage is that it can be varied in size.

So you can see that there are other types of ladders besides the platform ladder. It is important to consider what you need the platform ladder for. If another ladder can do the same job, it can be an alternative to the platform ladder.

Is it possible to rent platform ladders?

Renting is no longer a problem these days. If you only need a platform ladder occasionally, renting one is perfect for you. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on a platform ladder that you will only use a few times.

Since platform ladders are not exactly cheap, renting is the best way to get a platform ladder if you don’t need it often.

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Not only parasols, cars and flats can be rented. You can also rent platform ladders. If you need a platform ladder only once, this is the method for you.
(Image source: pixabay / Raven C)

Platform ladders are rented from various manufacturers. Dealers also often offer the option of renting their products. It’s best to find out more about this on the websites of the providers. Often you will find something near you that makes renting a platform ladder a breeze.

What features contribute to the safety of a platform ladder?

The platform ladder is one of the safest types of ladder and is therefore also popular with occupational health and safety authorities. The platform ladder has many features that make it very safe. These include:

  • Non-slip ladder foot: It ensures that the platform ladder does not slip away on slippery ground.
  • Non-slip ladder rungs: Many accidents happen due to workers slipping on ladders. With ribbed rungs, these become non-slip and increase the safety of the worker on the ladder.
  • Stability: 4 ladder legs are more stable than only 2. Because the platform ladder has 4 ladder legs, it is considered particularly stable.
  • Scaffolding for fall safety: There is scaffolding around the platform. Should the person stumble on the ladder, he or she will be caught by the scaffolding and will not fall several metres.
  • Wide working platform: The wide platform makes it possible for the worker to stand firmly on the ladder in a shoulder-width position. This is particularly important if heavy work is to be done on the ladder.
  • Handrails: Not only secure the ascent and descent to the platform, but also serve as a support for the person on the ladder.

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Handrails increase the safety of platform ladders. That is why, according to BGI 637, they are obligatory from a height of 1 m. Climbing up and down has never been so easy.
(Image source: unsplash / sol)

Conclusion

Platform ladders are among the safest ladder models. The platform, handrails, platform scaffolding and non-slip steps and ladder feet all help the platform ladder to achieve this. The use of platform ladders can be very versatile.

With the help of a platform ladder, storage work on shelves becomes child’s play. The safety of platform ladders is most important, because it is not uncommon for work accidents to happen on ladders. With the right choice of platform ladder, the number of accidents at work can be reduced.

Reputable platform ladder manufacturers care about the safety of their customers and therefore follow the regulations for work safety of platform ladders. Once you have chosen a platform ladder, nothing stands in the way of safe and efficient work at height.

Image source: lightfieldstudios/ 123rf

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