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Ladder Buying Guide

Ladder Buying Guide

Whether you're painting, cleaning gutters, or getting the cat out of a tree, you need a ladder. There is no substitute for a ladder properly matched to the project at hand.


Ladder Height

Ladders vary by material as well as size. First determine what size is needed. The following measurements are for a person who is 5 ft. 6 in. tall with a 12-inch vertical reach.


Choose the Right Stepladder


If this is the maximum
height you need to reach:

Buy This Size Stepladder:

7 ft.

3 ft.

8 ft.

4 ft.

9 ft.

5 ft.

10 ft.

6 ft.

11 ft.

7 ft.

12 ft.

8 ft.

14 ft.

10 ft.

15 ft.

11 ft.

16 ft.

12 ft.

18 ft.

14 ft.

20 ft.

16 ft.


Choose the Right Extension Ladder

If this is the maximum
height you need to reach:

Buy This Size Extension Ladder:

15 ft.

16 ft.

19 ft.

20 ft.

23 ft.

24 ft.

27 ft.

28 ft.

31 ft.

32 ft.

34 ft.

36 ft.

37 ft.

40 ft.



Ladder Load Capacity

Load capacity is important. The load capacity includes your own weight plus the weight of materials you will be carrying. Match your needs to one of the following ratings:

Load Capacity

Type

Grade

Typical Uses

375 lbs.

IAA

Commercial

General heavy-duty applications (available as stepladder only).

300 lbs.IAHeavy-Duty IndustrialIndustrial, Building, Roofing, General Contracting
250 lbs.IIndustrialGeneral Contracting, Building, Maintenance, Drywalling
225 lbs.IICommercialLight Commercial, Painting, Cleaning Light Repair
200 lbs.IIIHouseholdPainting, Yard Work, Chores


Ladder Materials and Structures

To use a ladder safely, you should understand the differences between ladder materials.


Wood Ladders
  • Economical
  • Electrically nonconductive (when clean and dry)

Aluminum Ladders
  • Strong
  • Lightweight
  • Corrosion resistant
  • WILL conduct electricity

Fiberglass Ladders
  • Electrically nonconductive
  • Great value
  • Strong
Always use fiberglass ladders when working with or near electricity.

Other Types of Ladders

In addition to standard stepladders and extension ladders, articulating multi-use ladders are a good investment if your needs are varied. They can be used as a regular or stairway stepladder, an extension-type straight ladder, or a scaffold system support.

Shop Ladders