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The 6 Best Ladders of 2022 | People Tested

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  • Best Overall

    Bauer Corporation 4′ 5 – Step Fiberglass Lightweight Folding Step Ladder

  • Best Budget

    Delxo Step Stool Folding Step Ladder 3 Step

  • Best Splurge

    Little Giant Ladders, Velocity with Wheels, M17, 17 Ft, Multi-Position Ladder

  • Best Extension

    Louisville Ladder FE3216 Fiberglass Extension Ladder 300-Pound Capacity, 16-foot, Type IA

  • Best Stepladder

    DeWalt DXL3010-04 Fiberglass Stepladder

  • Best Telescoping

    Aluminum Telescoping Ladder

Home improvement projects could either be your creative outlet or worst nightmare, but either way, they’re a standard part of home ownership. Aside from having all the right tools, one of the most important pieces of equipment to have on deck is a trusty ladder. But with the multitudes of options out there, it can be difficult to find the one that reaches your project’s potential. 

Safety is of the utmost importance when looking for a new ladder, and nobody knows this more than Lee Wallender, home improvement expert. Wallender recommends that you look for a ladder with a “maximum safe step point” that’s high enough for your project to prevent improper use of the equipment and potentially sustain an injury. Wallender also speaks to the importance of storage for homeowners, as their ladders will see less action than a contractor. “Decide on a ladder that you can comfortably store in your living or storage spaces. Apartment residents and condo owners may even want to look into multi-position folding ladders,” he suggests.

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We at the PEOPLE Tested lab tried out 23 different styles from extension to A-frame and stepladders to find the products that are best for you and your unique projects. In the end these six stood out from the rest, earning their spot in your toolshed. Our number one pick from Bauer Corporation, the Fiberglass Lightweight Folding Step Ladder, was the model that stole the show due to its impeccable design, heavy duty makeup and helpful features. Read on to discover which styles fit your fancy.

Best Overall- Bauer Corporation 4′ 5 – Step Fiberglass Lightweight Folding Step Ladder

Pros: This ladder may feel pretty lightweight, but it actually can bear up to 375 pounds.

Cons: It’s a little pricey for someone who is not using a ladder frequently.

This folding step ladder from Bauer Corporation is the top pick due to many factors, but the standout characteristic is its impeccable quality. Made from fiberglass and reinforced with slip-resistant treads to protect you as you climb, this option won our testers over after the assembling and climbing evaluations. The features of this model were another perk, as it comes with a small parts tray, tool holders and a hammer-sized hole for easy access to your equipment. Our tester particularly found favor with the ladder’s rubber feet, as this will prevent marring against your floors.

The tester gave their endorsement of this ladder after scoring it highly after every test, saying that they’d refer this option to their family and friends. “[I would recommend it] if they had a need for frequent use, similar to commercial requirements,” they shared. 

If you’re not one for regular home improvement projects, however, then this may not be the ideal choice for you. While equipped with helpful features and made from the sturdiest of materials, this standout ladder may be a bit pricey for someone who isn’t using a ladder for commercial purposes, like work or side projects. But if that sounds like you, then we’ve found your next best investment.

Type IAA (Extra Heavy Duty)

Credit: People / Dera BurresonPeople / Dera Burreson

Best Budget – Delxo Step Stool Folding Step Ladder 3 Step

Pros: The lightweight material of this step ladder makes it very easy to transport.

Cons: Since it is a smaller ladder, your range of reach is limited.

If a reasonably priced household ladder is what you’re after, then look no further than the Delxo Step Stool, a three-step folding ladder that can be easily stowed away before and after use. Though this ladder is deceptively light, it can support up to 500 pounds of weight. You can easily fold this model up after using it and store it away in a small space, as it folds up to just over 2 inches in width. This way you can reach that top shelf in the kitchen and keep your space looking clean by sliding it out of sight afterwards.

Our tester was pleased with how easily portable the Delxo was, but felt that it was meant for a specific kind of job rather than what a generic ladder is required for. They touched on the fact that this type lacked extra features and abilities, sharing that, “Its usefulness is pretty limited to changing light bulbs or gaining access to high shelves.” But perhaps if you live alone or simply don’t have the height it takes to reach those higher grounds, then this step ladder is an easy and affordable way to get the job done yourself.

Credit: People / Dera Burreson

Best Splurge – Little Giant Ladders, Velocity with Wheels, M17, 17 Ft, Multi-Position Ladder

Pros: The fiberglass makeup of this ladder is ideal for durability and longevity.

Cons: There aren’t many fancy features that come with this model.

The fiberglass Louisville ladder we’ve selected comes in a range of seven sizes, extending from 16 to 40 feet, to accommodate the space you need to work with. Its sturdy material is known for being ultra strong, which is backed up by its Type 1A durability rating and ability to withstand the weight of 300 pounds. Our testers noted how light this model felt for its strength and admired its “smooth extension [and] minimal wobble for an extension ladder.”

If you’re looking for a ladder with extra bells and whistles, however, this may not be the selection for you. This is a pretty standard model by extension ladder standards, but it does come with mar-resistant end caps to protect interior flooring and D-shaped rungs for comfortable standing. Our tester makes a point of noting how expensive fiberglass ladders typically are, so this price is pretty reasonable. Strong and steady wins the race when it comes to extension ladder safety, and this model is here to do just that. 

Credit: People / Dera Burreson

Best Extension – Louisville Ladder FE3216 Fiberglass Extension Ladder 300-Pound Capacity, 16-foot, Type IA

Pros: The fiberglass makeup of this ladder is ideal for durability and longevity.

Cons: There aren’t many fancy features that come with this model.

The fiberglass Louisville ladder we’ve selected comes in a range of seven sizes, extending from 16 to 40 feet, to accommodate the space you need to work with. Its sturdy material is known for being ultra strong, which is backed up by its Type 1A durability rating and ability to withstand the weight of 300 pounds. Our testers noted how light this model felt for its strength and admired its “smooth extension [and] minimal wobble for an extension ladder.”

If you’re looking for a ladder with extra bells and whistles, however, this may not be the selection for you. This is a pretty standard model by extension ladder standards, but it does come with mar-resistant end caps to protect interior flooring and D-shaped rungs for comfortable standing. Our tester makes a point of noting how expensive fiberglass ladders typically are, so this price is pretty reasonable. Strong and steady wins the race when it comes to extension ladder safety, and this model is here to do just that.

Credit: People / Dera Burreson

Best Stepladder – DeWalt DXL3010-04 Fiberglass Stepladder

Pros: This model comes with a handy work station atop the ladder that can house everything from paint buckets to drills.

Cons: There are no wheels on this ladder, so you need to carry it around to transport.

If you’re looking for something smaller to get your handiwork done, then look no further than the Dewalt Fiberglass Stepladder. This ladder stands at four feet tall and is made from fiberglass for the strength that your project requires. Our tester commented on the ladder’s solid foundation, noting that it “Had a wide and sturdy base which felt stable during use and without wobble.” A perk that comes along with this particular model is the work station that is embedded into the top of the ladder, which has holders for everything from cans of paint to screwdrivers and electric tools.

The only downside was the lack of wheels on this ladder, but our testers assured us of its portability sharing that it’s “Easily collapsible and lightweight for carrying around.” They later added that “The price seems to be fair for the value, and the overall construction and build of the ladder is of good quality.”

21.65 x 5.9 x 48.42 inches

Credit: People / Dera Burreson

Best Telescoping – Ohuhu Aluminum Telescoping Ladder

Pros: Extension is made easy with the simple click of a button that slowly retracts your ladder after you’ve used it. 

Cons: There are not many additional features outside of the innovative extension and retraction system.

The Ohuhu Aluminum Telescoping Ladder stands apart from the crowd due to its button-activated retraction system, a tool that comes in handy for easy take-down and project cleanup. Not to mention the portability, as our tester notes that it’s “Very easy to carry and hold when fully collapsed, and is to an extent self-collapsing once the rungs are unlocked.” Since this ladder is a telescopic model, it is intended to be extended to its highest rung (this style reaching 12.5 feet) and be used as an extension ladder. After testing these rungs, our testers recorded that it “Felt very sturdy even towards the top, and the rungs are solid and wide enough to be comfortable.”

As the main star of the show is the retraction button, our testers noticed that there aren’t many other features to accompany this ladder. “The main feature of this ladder is the length and portability, it is otherwise quite basic,” they shared. “Functional for what it needs to do, but nothing flashy.” Where portability and storage are key players, however, this telescopic ladder should be your go-to.

Credit: People / Dera Burreson

Things to Consider

Project

If you’re someone who works in home improvement or construction often and is in need of a dependable and durable ladder, then you may want to go for something more industrial with extra features like workstation add-ons or hanging tool hooks. Oftentimes these flashier styles are higher in price, but for the use they’ll be getting, it’s worth the investment. On the other hand, if you like to DIY your space every now and then, perhaps a more standard, yet functional (and budget-friendly) ladder will do the trick. 

Material

The big power players when it comes to ladder material are aluminum and fiberglass, each providing you with significant support but slightly varying strength. You’ll often find a ladder’s duty level, such as Type 1A or Type 1AA, in the product descriptions. This lets you know how heavy duty your selected style is. According to research by the American Ladder Institute, Type 1A can hold up to 300 pounds and Type 1AA can bear up to 375 pounds. Fiberglass models often can bear more weight than aluminum can, so take this into consideration when searching for your next piece of equipment.

Style

The way that your ladder is constructed will determine its use for your situation. Common types of ladders are A-frame, which are ideal for fixing light bulbs and painting walls, extension, which are often used to lean against the exterior of buildings, stepladders, which give you that extra boost to shelves just out of sight, and more. Knowing which scenarios you typically find yourself in will help you decide which type of ladder is right for your lifestyle.

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