Sometimes when we do routine things around the home or in the workshop, we don’t realize that they are potentially dangerous. For example, when you want to lift something down from a high shelf, you might just use a chair or a stool. But do you always check to make sure that it is completely stable? This exact scenario is actually the cause of lots of domestic accidents. A folding ladder is really handy to have around the home, to prevent these types of mishaps happening to you and your family.
Apart from helping you avoid accidents at home, a folding ladder is useful in lots of other ways. Not only will it allow you to safely reach items that are stored up high, but also when you have some DIY tasks you need to get done. Need to hang a picture or paint the walls of your home? You will be glad you decided to buy a folding ladder. So you can find the model that is best for you, we have prepared this buying guide.
- 1 Key Facts
- 2 Ranking: The best folding ladders on the US market
- 3 Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about folding ladders
- 3.1 What is a folding ladder?
- 3.2 How is a folding ladder used?
- 3.3 What are the distinctive parts of a folding ladder?
- 3.4 How much weight can a folding ladder support?
- 3.5 How many steps should a folding ladder have?
- 3.6 Are there different ladders designed for domestic and industrial use?
- 3.7 What height can ladders reach?
- 3.8 What are the advantages and disadvantages of folding ladders?
- 4 Shopping Criteria
- 5 Summary
- There is a wide-range of folding ladders currently available on the market. You need to be aware of the benefits each of the best models offer, so that you can find the one that best suits your needs.
- We began this article highlighting safety and we will continue to do so. It is important that you verify that the ladder you are planning on purchasing complies with all the relevant safety regulations, so that you can use it without the risk of injury.
- You must check the overall height of the ladder, which will let you know how it can be used. If you only plan to use at home you probably won’t need a folding ladder that has an extended reach.
Ranking: The best folding ladders on the US market
In the following section, we present you with the four best folding ladders currently available on the market in different categories. This will allow you to better understand the different features offered by different types of ladders, so that you can find the model that best suits your needs. All our featured products are top-sellers, that offer great value for money. So simply choose the one that you like best, and you can’t go wrong.
Best folding ladder with an extended reach
This folding ladder has an extended reach of up to 22 feet in height. It can be used in 33 unique configurations. The aluminum construction and dual-pin hinge offer stability, while the Rock Locks make it easy to adjust the height. Can be used as an A-Frame ladder, an extension ladder, a staircase ladder, as well as to form a trestle-and-plank scaffolding system.
Best multipurpose folding ladder
This multipurpose ladder is suitable for home and business use, and can be transformed into seven different configurations to fit a variety of different tasks. It is easy to setup using the locks and hinges for extra safety. Perfect for all types of work: painting, decorating, loft access, cleaning windows, DIY, access roof/balcony etc. Heavy-duty aircraft-grade aluminium construction makes this folding ladder stable, durable and safe to use.
Best kitchen folding ladder
This kitchen folding ladder is seriously durable and can support up to 330 pounds. The platforms are covered with a non-slip plastic coating. The extra wide steps eliminate foot pain associated with constant use, while being very stable and safe to use. The handgrip makes the ladder easy to climb and carry. It’s an ideal choice if you want something for your kitchen or to use in your shop.
Best medium-sized folding ladder
This ladder is perfect for low-medium height jobs. It has a load capacity of 300 pounds and features a molded copolymer stabilizing platform, with a recessed hardware tray, paint bucket holder, drill slots, tool slots, magnet tray, pipe and 2 x 4 holder. Each step is secured with six, large headed, semi-tubular steel rivets for maximum strength. This ladder is fully OSHA compliant.
Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about folding ladders
After checking out the products we reviewed in the previous section, you now have a good idea about the best folding ladders available on the market. You have surely found out about some important features offered by different models. You have also seen the type of prices these high-rated products usually cost. Before making your final decision, there are a several additional factors you should take into consideration.
What is a folding ladder?
A folding ladder is a tool that can be used both at home and at work. It is a good idea to have one available anywhere that you need to reach items stored in high places. Most folding ladders are made of aluminum, because it is a lightweight material and is therefore very easy to move from one place to another. Folding ladders are particularly great, because they can be collapsed into a compact size, making them easy to store away when not being used.
The best folding ladders are be manufactured using high-quality materials and also have nice finishes. The steps and support platforms should be non-slip to prevent accidents.
How is a folding ladder used?
It is important to always use your folding ladder safely. There are a few checks you need to make before each use. Always make sure that both the steps and the rubber stoppers on the base of the ladder are clean and in good working order. Check that the ladder is positioned on a level surface, so that it is more stable and won’t fall over while being used.
Another important thing to check is that you have unfolded the ladder completely, otherwise it might collapse as soon as you step onto it. Always begin climbing from the front. There should never be more than one person on the ladder at a time. Try to avoid using the ladder while you are alone. If you happen to have an accident, it is important that someone else is around in case you need assistance.
What are the distinctive parts of a folding ladder?
Now that you know how a folding ladder should be used safely, you need to know about all of their different components. This will help you to better undestand the different ways they can be used, and what features you need to look out for when making your purchase. We have prepared the following table, so you can clearly see all the relevant information:
|Stabilizing platform||Located near the top of the ladder, and can also hold any tools you need on hand.|
|Handrail||The handle that is located on the top of the ladder, that you can grip for support.|
|Crossbars||The bars situated in between the steps, which stabilize the a ladder.|
|Joint mechanism||Rotatable joint connectors found in larger ladders, that lock the ladder securely in predetermined positions.|
|Steps||Used to reach different heights, should be covered with a non-slip coating.|
|Rubber feet||Made from highly-resistant material, used to help the base of the ladder grip more securely to the surface it is placed on.|
How much weight can a folding ladder support?
Folding ladders usually support a maximum weight of somewhere between 250-350 pounds. This is obviously much greater than the average weight of a person, making them a suitable tool for most users. However, as we mentioned previously, for safety reasons it is important that only one person climbs the ladder at a time.
Even if the combined weight of both people is below the maximum weight a ladder can support, it is still not advisable to attempt this type of use. It is true that the ladder will support the weight, however it is highly likely that it will become unbalanced. The people using the ladder may also trip over each other, potentially causing an accident.
How many steps should a folding ladder have?
There are a few things you should know about the steps of a folding ladder. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, ladder rungs, steps, and cleats must not be spaced less than 10 inches, and not more than 14 inches apart, as measured between the centerlines of the rungs, cleats, and steps.
All rungs and steps must be slip resistant, and the top step and caps of stepladders must not used as steps. Before use, always check that the rubber stoppers on the base of the ladder, and the steps themselves are clean and in good working order.
Are there different ladders designed for domestic and industrial use?
There are models of folding ladders designed for both domestic and industrial use. However, it is important to look for features that will suit the way in which you intend to use your new ladder. Not all folding ladders are suitable to be used in all environments, so this is a key factor to consider.
|Domestic folding ladder||Industrial folding ladder|
|The steps are most commonly attached using rivets.||The steps are most commonly welded to the frame and are most robust.|
|The ladder will most commonly have two or three steps.||The ladder will usually have more than five steps.|
|The ladder will possibly have a stabilizing platform.||The ladder will definitely have a stabilizing platform.|
What height can ladders reach?
The maximum reach of a folding ladder will depend on the number of steps is has. This is a factor you need to keep in mind when making your purchase. It will be a serious issue if it is too short for how you plan to use it. On the other hand if you buy one that is much larger than what you require, you will have a ladder that is harder to store and likely more expensive than a simpler model. In this table we show you the approximate heights of ladders with different numbers of steps:
|Steps||Height in feet|
|9 or more||30 or more|
What are the advantages and disadvantages of folding ladders?
By now you already know a lot about the different characteristics of folding ladders. However, to make sure you can really benefit from one of these tools, you should consider their main advantages and disadvantages:
In order to find the model that best suits your needs, there are several criteria you should keep in mind when making your purchase. Here are the most important factors you need to consider when buying a new folding ladder:
- Folding system
It is important to choose a ladder that has a folding system that is easy to use and not overly complicated. You need to be clear about whether you can set the ladder up by yourself, or if you will need help. Always make sure you have correctly unfolded the ladder to the fullest possible extent before use.
We have already dedicated an entire section to this subject, but it is important to emphasize that it is definitely one of the most important factors to keep in mind. You need to make sure that the overall height of the folding ladder is suitable for the type work you plan to do with it. Also check the dimensions of the ladder when it is folded up, so that it will fit wherever you plan to store it in your home or workshop.
The materials used in the construction of the folding ladder must also be taken into consideration. You want a ladder made from durable materials, so that it can handle the work you use it for. It also needs to be light, so you can easily move it around, and transport it from one place to another without difficulty. The better the build quality of the ladder you buy, the longer it will last.
Safety is the most important factor to consider whenever using a folding ladder. If you do not use it properly, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, it can be dangerous and you run the risk of a potentially serious injury. It is very important that you make sure that the model you have decided to purchase complies with all the relevant safety regulations. Never risk your safety by buying a cheap ladder, just to save some money.
The most important factor to consider when purchasing a new folding ladder is the way in which you plan to use it. Don’t waste money buying a 20 foot ladder with lots of features, if you only need a smaller one to use around the house. If you just want something to use occasionally, you can choose a more basic model. If you plan on using it daily, you should invest in one that offers additional functions.
Having a folding ladder available is very handy in most homes and businesses. It allows you and your family or coworkers to reach high places safely. If you just want a ladder to use in your pantry, or a tool for more serious DIY work, keep in mind how you plan to use it for before making your choice. You should spend more on a folding ladder, if you intend to use it frequently.
You need to make sure you are buying a ladder that is completely safe to use, by being certain that it complies with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for safe use.
We hope you have found this guide useful, and that it has helped you to find the folding ladder that is perfect for you. Please be sure to leave us a comment below, and share this article with your family and friends, so that they can learn all about these handy tools.
(Source of featured image: Auremar: 19791250/ 123rf.com)