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If you work by yourself a lot, a heavy ladder is also an awkward ladder, and that means it’s a pain in the neck to haul around. Thankfully, advances in construction materials mean there are a lot of different lightweight options available. The question is how to pick the right one for you.
We took a look at a range of different lightweight ladders and wrote reviews about them. Although they cover everything from short stepladders for use around the house to much longer ladders designed for home projects, they’re all lightweight. We also included a buyers’ guide to help you figure out what kind of ladder you ought to look for. Always remember, however, that when it comes to using a ladder, safety is your first priority.
|Louisville Lightweight 6-Foot Fiberglass Ladder (FS1506)|
|VonHaus Steel 4-Step Folding Ladder|
(Best for the Money)
|Ohuhu 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder||25 lbs||4.5/5|
|Little Giant 22-Foot Velocity Multi-Use Ladder||39 lbs||4.2/5|
|Sorfey Aluminum Folding 3 Step Ladder||11 lbs||4.1/5|
Because of the field of products we looked at, it’s impossible to measure the individual products we reviewed against each other. Instead, we had to judge them based on their own merits and how they fit into their particular class of lightweight ladder. Of these five, the Louisville Lightweight 6-Foot Fiberglass Ladder compares to its competition – other six-foot lightweight ladders – more favorably than the other four ladders compare to their own competition.
Priced right around the middle of the pack, it stands out in terms of quality. It’s a durable, heavy-duty ladder designed for people who enjoy working. With slip-resistant feet and an internal network of braces for maximum stability, it’s among the best values you’ll find in six-foot lightweight ladders.
One issue is that the internal braces are almost a little too stiff. That might make it difficult for some people to open.
A short stepladder is always good to have around the house. It’s handy for reaching high shelves or changing light bulbs. Even tall people will find one helpful in reducing the stress of reaching overhead for things.
Among four-step folding ladders, we think the VonHaus Steel 4-Step Folding Ladder is the best value compared to what our other ladders are within their classes. It places a premium on user safety, while not costing an arm and a leg.
It’s rated to 330 pounds. After taking a look at it, we’re not sure we believe that. Even if it does hold that new, we’re not convinced that it won’t degrade quickly if put to regular use. That shouldn’t be a problem for most people, however.
We have great concerns about any ladder that advertises that it’s both made of aluminum and telescopic. That just seems like a recipe for credibility issues. Fortunately, Ohuhu’s 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder isn’t something you’re going to climb very high on. At 12.5 feet, you could probably survive a catastrophic failure. (We kid.)
We like this ladder, especially within its class. It’s light, compact, highly portable, and easy to use. It also comes with a lot of confidence-building safety features, so you can feel comfortable climbing it to the 12.5 feet it can go out to.
That said, it could be a little steadier. This is a failing not uncommon to telescopic ladders, so it’s hard to hold it against this one very much. But it does cost a pretty penny. That, we can grouse about.
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Once you get Little Giant’s 22-Foot Velocity Multi-Use Ladder where you need it, it’s mostly a great ladder to use. It’s versatile, although beware advertising that says it can be used as scaffolding. It’s also rated to 300 pounds in weight capacity. It’s got a lot of potential.
It’s also got a lot of downsides, starting with taking it to where you need to do the work. It’s heavy, possibly too heavy for people of small stature to move around easily. It’s also pretty awkward to carry. In a ranking of lightweight ladders, this is a significant drawback, even if we’re really measuring them against other light 22-foot ladders. On top of that, it’s pretty expensive for what you get.
We’d like to find something good to say about the Aluminum Folding 3 Step Ladder sold by Sorfey. And we will. It’s got good anti-skid steps. We have confidence that you could use this ladder all day long and not slip on the steps.
That’s just not good enough within its class of ladders. This one is worse than the other ladders we’ve profiled here. Its steps are narrow, and the entire ladder is uncomfortable to work on. Its 250-pound maximum weight load is low enough that most typical adults have to think about just how much stress they’re putting it under. Plus, on top of all that, it’s expensive.
When it comes to ladders, we’re talking about a large family of items with several different designs, construction materials, intended uses, and sizes. Assuming your priority is one that is lightweight, the question is how to pick the right lightweight ladder for you. We put together a few tips to help you make the right choice.
Using any ladder is, by its nature, a risky proposition. One misstep and you’re going to fall. Depending on how high up you are and how you land, you could injure yourself badly. Your first step in determining what ladder to buy is buying one that is safe to use. Make sure it’s got feet that’ll keep it in place and a sturdy frame that won’t buckle. Be realistic about how much weight you’re going to put on it, and look for ladders with a weight capacity in excess of that. Lots of ladder accidents are caused by people overloading them.
Once you know which safety features to look for, figure out why you need a ladder. If you’re short and just need something to help you reach higher shelves, you only need a stepladder for a few feet. If you’re looking to paint your house, however, you’ll need something tall enough to get to the highest peaks. This will also help you figure out what kind of design you need for your ladder. A stepladder is great to clear out the gutters on the first floor, but if you want to clean second-floor windows, you’ll probably want a telescopic ladder.
Old-style stepladders came with a shelf for a can of paint. Ladders now have all kinds of innovations. If you’re working at heights, you have shelves and tool slots so you don’t need to keep going up and down.
We recommend de-prioritizing price the higher you plan to work. If saving a few bucks means skimping on stability or a higher weight capacity, you should spend the money. But if you’re looking for something you can pop out to put away groceries and only need a couple feet of extra clearance, you can probably do a little comparison shopping. You probably won’t save a lot, but there’s no point in spending money you don’t need to.
In writing reviews of lightweight ladders, we compared each ladder within the context of its immediate competition, not against each other. The Louisville Lightweight 6-Foot Fiberglass Ladder was the best six-foot lightweight ladder. The Steel 4-Step Folding Ladder from VonHaus offers the best value within its class. Ohuhu’s 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder is highly portable and full of safety features, but it’s also not quite as steady as we’d like and is more expensive. Little Giant’s 22-Foot Velocity Multi-Use Ladder is versatile and bears a lot of weight, but only if you can get it to the job site. It’s also expensive. The Sorfey Aluminum Folding 3 Step Ladder has some good anti-skid steps, but those steps are narrow. The ladder as a whole has a relatively low weight capacity and costs too much money.
We hope you enjoyed these reviews of lightweight ladders and got something out of the buyers’ guide. Best of luck, and, most importantly, be safe.
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