Welcome to Lowe's
Find a Store

Prices, promotions, styles, and availability may vary. Our local stores do not honor online pricing. Prices and availability of products and services are subject to change without notice. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Lowe's reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted.

Ladder Buying Guide

A ladder properly matched to your project can make the work easier and safer. Learn about different ladder types and how to choose the best one for your work.

Ladder Buying Guide.

Ladder Size

Step Ladder, Extension Ladder and Multi-Purpose Ladder.

Whether you're shopping for a step ladder or an extension ladder, consider safety when determining the size you need.

Stand no higher than two steps down from the top of a step ladder. Typically, this means a 5-1/2-foot person with a vertical 1-foot reach can safely access a point 4 feet beyond the length of the ladder.

An extension ladder needs to be several feet taller than the height you need to reach. Keep these points in mind:

  • The highest safe standing level is four rungs from the top of the ladder.
  • The sections must overlap at least 3 feet on ladders up to 36 feet in length and as much as 5 feet on longer ladders.
  • The ladder should be at the correct angle, with the base 1 foot out from the surface it rests against for every 4 feet of height to that point.
  • When the ladder rests against a surface such as a roof line, it needs to extend 3 feet beyond the top support point.

All of these factors combined mean you should look for an extension ladder 7 to 10 feet longer than the highest point it rests against.

Ladder Load Capacity

Load capacity or duty rating indicates the weight a ladder can handle. You may also see this referred to as a performance rating. When determining the load capacity you need, include the weight of the user plus the weight of any tools and materials you need to use. Look for the following ladder ratings:

  • Type IAA ladders have a load capacity of 375 lbs.
  • Type IA ladders have a load capacity of 300 lbs.
  • Type I ladders have a load capacity of 250 lbs.
  • Type II ladders have a load capacity of 225 lbs.
  • Type III ladders have a load capacity of 200 lbs.

Ladder Materials

Aluminum and Fiberglass Extension Ladders.

Aluminum ladders offer strength and a lighter weight that makes them easier to maneuver and carry. The material is corrosion-resistant, but conducts electricity. Don't use an aluminum ladder when working on electrical projects or near electrical lines.

Fiberglass ladders are strong and durable. When clean and dry, they don't conduct electricity and are the right choice for electrical projects and work near electrical lines.

Good to Know

Other materials such as steel, wood and plastic are often available with step-stools, which are smaller than standard ladders and designed for tasks that don't require a great deal of reach.


Follow the ladder manufacturer's instructions for use and safety.

Step Ladders

Step Ladder.

Step ladders have an A-frame design, with spreaders that lock to hold the two sides in the correct position. Typically, steps run up only one side of the ladder, but twin-step ladders allow the use of both sides. Step ladders are a good choice if you don't have a nearby surface that can support an extension ladder, and are often used for indoor projects such as installing a ceiling fan or painting crown moulding.

Platform ladders — sometimes known as podium ladders — are step ladders that have a standing surface at the top instead of a traditional step. A rail extends above the platform, providing an extra point of contact for the user. These ladders are designed to provide additional comfort and security when working at a fixed height.

Shop for Step Ladders

Shop for Twin-Step Ladders

Shop for Platform Ladders


If a step ladder is not specified for use on both sides, step or stand only on the side indicated for use.

Extension Ladders

Extension Ladder.

Extension ladders have a base and one or two upper sections that slide up and down to allow you to reach different heights. Locks keep the ladder extended to the desired height. Larger extension ladders include rope and pulley systems which allow you to extend the ladder more easily. The lower section usually has pivoting feet that adjust to provide stability at various angles. Extension ladders require a surface such as a wall or a roof line for support. They're usually available in larger sizes than step ladders, making them a good choice for outdoor projects such as cleaning gutters or painting a home exterior.

While different in design from standard extension ladders, telescoping ladders also extend to reach various heights. These ladders collapse together for storage and transport. Straight ladders are similar to extension ladders, but have only a single section.

Shop for Extension Ladders & Telescoping Extension Ladders

Shop for Straight Ladders

Good to Know

Extension ladders with three sections often have a smaller storage footprint than two-section models of the same length.

Multi-Position Ladders

Multi-Positon or Combination Ladder Configured for Use on Stairs.

Multi-position ladders, also known as combination ladders or articulating ladders, give you extra versatility and can be a good investment if your needs are varied. Depending on the model, a multi-position ladder can work as a single- or twin-sided step ladder, an extension ladder or a ladder you can use on stairs. Some models can be configured to work in pairs as support for scaffolding.

Shop for Multi-Position Ladders

Features and Accessories

Stabilizer Mounted on an Extension Ladder.
  • A folding work shelf on some step ladders lets you keep tools and materials within easy reach. You can also purchase trays, platforms, buckets and paint cups designed for some models.
  • Some step ladders have notches and holes to hold tools and compatible accessories. Bungee loops for holding tools are available as accessories.
  • A leveling system on some extension models allows you to adjust the ladder to accommodate uneven surfaces. Some ladders have a built-in bubble level to allow you to check the adjustments. You can also purchase levelers to attach to compatible ladders that don't have the built-in system.
  • Some extension ladders have feet with serrated edges you drive can into the ground for added stability.
  • A stabilizer (pictured above) is an accessory that attaches to the top of an extension ladder. It extends the support points of the ladder outward and, depending on the size, can span across a window.
  • End covers are foam add-ons for the top of extension ladders. They help prevent the ladder from marring a wall.
  • Carrying cases are available for telescoping ladders, providing protection and making them easier to transport.
Good to Know

Look for storage hooks or hangers designed to hold ladders and keep them up and out of your way.