Reviews

Best Extension Ladders: Reach New Heights

Consider these extension ladders to help you reach high places around your home or worksite.

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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON July 16, 2021

A ladder helps you reach high places, but what are you supposed to do if your already tall ladder can't get high enough? In situations where you need an extra-long ladder or additional height, a basic ladder won't do: you need an extension ladder. An extension ladder is an adjustable ladder that can stretch to different heights to provide more length, reach, and functionality. 

 

An extension ladder is helpful whether you're a homeowner or a professional; it can be critical in a pinch, and it can allow you to tackle more tasks easily. But because there are so many different extension ladders available in different styles and sizes, it can be tough to choose the right one. Check out some of the best extension ladders below.

Best Overall
Ohuhu Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder
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Summary
Summary

The ladder extends to a maximum height of 12.5 feet. It is lightweight and easy to move, carry, and adjust. Made out of high-quality aluminum alloy, it can hold up to 330 pounds of weight.

Pros
Pros
  • Includes non-slip end caps for base stability and extra-wide steps for safe climbing. 
  • It locks in place in sections with intelligent locking pins that prevent sliding to give you a secure, safe boost
Cons
Cons
  • Some customers have reported issues with their product upon delivery 
  • There have been some reports of damaged or broken products
Best Overall
Ohuhu Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder
Best Value
Yvan Telescopic Extension Ladder
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Summary
Summary

This ladder has many different uses and different configurations for every possible need. It can extend to a maximum height of 12.5 feet tall and folds down to a compact, easy to carry 33.5-inch size. 

Pros
Pros
  • Made out of aluminum alloy and covered in an oxidized surface.
  • Maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds.
  • Plastic components reinforced with nylon fiber for increased load capacity and stability
Cons
Cons
  • Some customers have reported issues with their shipment
Best Value
Yvan Telescopic Extension Ladder
Honorable Mention
Louisville Ladder Fiberglass Extension Ladder
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Summary
Summary

The ladder includes a host of special features and extra layers of safety and enhanced stability. It can be adjusted to stand as tall as 25 feet and has a 300-pound maximum capacity.

Pros
Pros
  • Made out of fiberglass, which is non-conductive when clean and dry. 
  • Includes serrated rungs to prevent slipping even when the ladder is wet.
  • D-shaped rungs provide stability, and heavy-duty slide guides for easy, safe extension
Cons
Cons
  • It is on the heavier side compared to other extension ladders. 
  • Not the best travel option and difficult to move if using this ladder alone
Honorable Mention
Louisville Ladder Fiberglass Extension Ladder
Woman On A Extension Ladder In Garden
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Benefits of Extension Ladders

  • Increased reach. While a traditional ladder can offer you enough height to tackle quite a lot of tasks, it can’t cover every need—especially if you’re working at extra-high heights or have more unique needs. That’s where an extension ladder can be especially helpful. Able to adapt and adjust, giving you additional feet of height, an extension ladder allows you to climb higher and complete tasks in more environments.
  • More versatility. Your average ladder can’t do much beyond giving you about 5 to 8 feet of extra height and reach. But with an extension ladder, you can accomplish a whole lot more. Extension ladders can be used at the same height as an average ladder, or they can be shortened into step stools, extended for increasingly high heights, or even converted and adapted for tricky situations, like working on stairs. You’ll get more versatility thanks to their adjustability.
  • Easy to use. Extension ladders aren’t complicated at all. They’re super easy to use and set up. They come with quick-working, simple mechanisms that make adjusting the height or choosing different settings a breeze. And, they require no setup—you can pull them out of the box and get to work in minutes. These ladders are also designed to be used by just one person, ensuring you don’t have to struggle when you’re in the middle of a job.
  • Durable and sturdy. Extension ladders are just as tough and reliable as any other ladder. Most are made out of highly durable materials and metals, and they’re all equipped with special safety features like locking positions, rubber feet, and the ability to hold hundreds of pounds of weight. This means no matter how high you’re climbing, you can trust that your extension ladder will hold you securely throughout many, many jobs.
  • Perfectly portable. One of the biggest advantages of an extension ladder? It can shrink down into a compact, transportation-ready size. While your basic ladder can only close in half, extension ladders can be collapsed to shorter heights so they’re easy to carry anywhere. This allows you to bring extra height anywhere with you. As an added bonus, many extension ladders are also built to be relatively lightweight, which makes them even easier to take on the road or to a jobsite. 

Types of Extension Ladders

Two-Part

Two-part extension ladders are divided into two parts when collapsed. This means that the ladder contracts to about half of its size when folded, making it easy to transport as long as the specific model is lightweight. This type of ladder is available in a wide variety of different sizes, so make sure to choose the proper height depending on your needs.

Three-Part

Three-part extension ladders include three separate parts so that the ladder can be collapsed to less than half of its overall size when it is completely folded. This type of ladder is easy to transport as long as it is a reasonably lightweight option. Three-part ladders can usually even be compact to a size that is easy to store and will fit into the back of most trucks or personal vehicles.

Multi-Position

Multi-position extension ladders are perhaps the least common type of extension ladder, but they are the most versatile type. Multi-position extension ladders can be used as an A-frame, step ladder, 90-degree ladder, wall ladder, or even as part of a scaffold system. When folded, they can be collapsed to at least half of their original size for simple set up and transportation by just one person.

Top Brands

Little Giant

Little Giant Ladders have become one of the most reputable ladder manufacturers in the United States. This company has been producing high-quality products for over 40 years. In addition to extension ladders, Little Giant manufactures multi-position ladders and more.  

Louisville Ladder

With more than 70 years of experience, Louisville Ladder is one of the country's most trustworthy manufacturers. Headquartered in Louisville, Ky., this company ships high-quality products all around the United States. In addition to extension ladders, Louisville Ladder produces step ladders, ladder accessories, and more. 

Tacklife

Tacklife has become one of the most reputable manufacturers of power tools, automotive equipment, lawn and garden accessories, and home appliances. The company's products are shipped worldwide and are designed for everyday work or construction jobs. Tacklife manufactures extension ladders and more.

Extension Ladder Pricing

  • Under $150: Extension ladders in this price range provide great value. Ensure that the ladders are made out of high-quality material and are the proper height needed before purchasing at this price point.
  • $150 to $250: This is the most common price range for extension ladders. Products in this range can be of the two-part or three-part variety, and they are typically made from a high-quality material like aluminum. 
  • $250 and up: Extension ladders in this price range are priced at a premium. These ladders are of the highest quality, made from either fiberglass or aluminum, and are usually built to reach the highest places.

Extension Ladder Key Features

Material

The type of material that your extension ladder is made from is an important feature to consider. Most extension ladders are either made from either aluminum or fiberglass. Aluminum extension ladders are the most common since they are typically lightweight yet very durable ladders. Fiberglass extension ladders are a bit more expensive. They are usually used by electricians to prevent electric shocks while working on power lines.

Weight

The weight of your extension ladder is another important consideration. If you will be working on household projects by yourself, or if you will be traveling with your ladder to your job site, then it is essential to have a lightweight option. Despite its light weight, you still want your ladder to be durable and sturdy enough to be safe enough to use while working at great heights.

Height and Adjustment Options

When you’re shopping for an extension ladder, you have a whole lot of options to choose from—especially when it comes to height. You want to choose a ladder that offers a wide range of options, as this will give you the most versatility and flexibility. Look for a single extension ladder that can be set to numerous heights. If you want even more options and customization from your ladder, you can also look for one that adapts into different positions, or you can consider a telescoping ladder that can be used as a step stool, normal ladder, or other heights and positions. 

Duty Rating

It’s also a good idea to take a look at any extension ladder’s duty rating. This is a rating that tells you what kinds of uses and jobs a ladder is best for—or best able to handle. The duty rating also typically tells you how many sections an extension ladder features. The rating can range from light-duty (type III) to extra heavy-duty (type 1A). The lower the number, the tougher the ladder is. Consider how you’ll use your ladder to decide which duty rating is the most appropriate.

Other Considerations

  • Safety. The number of safety features and safety standards are essential considerations. Make sure your ladder meets the proper safety standards before purchasing. If you will be using the ladder all by yourself, make sure it is stable and secure enough not to have to worry about any potential injuries while working on the ladder.
  • Use. Whether you will be using your ladder for home or professional use is an important factor to consider. If you are using your ladder for professional use or using it frequently, you will want to purchase a high-quality, durable ladder. However, if you will be using it just casually, you will not need it as expensive. But you will still want it to be stable and safe enough to use around your home.
  • Warranty. The type and length of warranty are important considerations. Most reputable manufacturers will provide some kind of warranty with their products. Look for your extension ladder to at least include a limited warranty that will cover any manufacturing defects or issues with your purchase. The best companies will offer a replacement product or refund if there are any issues with your product.
  • Material Weight. While it’s easy to think only of your own body weight when you’re assessing an extension ladder’s weight capacity, it’s also important to consider the weight of any materials you frequently use. Items like your tool box, gallons of paint, and sheets of plywood can increase the weight on the ladder by anywhere from 30 to 80 pounds. If you frequently work with heavy materials, you may want an extension ladder that can handle heavy loads. 
  • Accessories. Extension ladders can come with—or be compatible with—all kinds of different accessories. Stabilizers, ladder mitts, levelers, and even attachments that hold tools can all be options to make your extension ladder even more capable. If you’re interested in these items, make sure to consider ladders that will work with different types of accessories.

Best Extension Ladders Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Ohuhu 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescoping Ladder

This ladder extends to a maximum height of 12.5 feet, and it’s lightweight and easy to move, carry, and adjust. Made out of high-quality aluminum alloy, this ladder is light yet can hold up to 330 pounds. It includes non-slip end caps for base stability and extra-wide steps for safe climbing. You can choose how tall you’d like the ladder to get—it locks in place in sections with intelligent locking pins that prevent sliding to give you a secure, safe boost. It shrinks back to its original size with the press of a button, sliding downwards without any difficulty. 


One downside is that some users have reported damaged or broken products upon delivery. Reach out to the customer service team about a potential replacement or refund if anything is damaged.

Best Value
Yvan Telescoping Ladder

This extension ladder can extend to a maximum height of 12.5 feet tall and folds down to a compact, easy-to-carry 33.5 inches when not in use. Made out of aluminum alloy and covered in an oxidized surface, this extension ladder is meant to be durable and last for years. It has a maximum weight capacity of 330 pounds, and all of the plastic components on the ladder are reinforced with nylon fiber for increased load capacity and stability. This extension ladder features one-button retraction and an intelligent locking mechanism, two features that make it easy to extend and shrink down as needed.


Some users have reported issues with their shipment. Make sure to inspect your ladder upon delivery for any damage, missing, or broken parts. If your ladder has any problems, reach out to the customer service team as soon as possible about a possible replacement product.

Premium Pick
Louisville Ladder Fiberglass Extension Ladder

This ladder includes a host of features and several layers of safety and stability—all while providing an impressive amount of height. This extension ladder can be adjusted to stand as tall as 28 feet and has a 300-pound maximum capacity. It’s made out of fiberglass, which is non-conductive when clean and dry, making it safe for anyone doing electrical work. The ladder also includes D-shaped rungs for more stability and heavy-duty slide guides for easy, safe extension. You’ll even have protection against over-extension due to a stop on the ladder’s fly section.


This ladder is on the heavier side compared to others. If you are using this ladder alone or need to travel with it to a job site frequently, you may want to consider one of the more lightweight, travel-friendly options.

Best Lightweight
Little Giant Ladders Velocity With Wheels

While adding extra height to a ladder typically makes it much heavier, this ladder is portable and easy to move around. It’s lighter than many comparable industrial-rated ladders. A set of tip & glide wheels makes it easy to transport. This extension ladder can convert to an A-frame, staircase, and 90-degree ladder when opened, and it offers multiple positions of adjustment to provide extra height. It uses rock lock adjusters for different configurations, and a pair of wide-flared legs provide increased stability. It can adjust upwards to a maximum of 22 feet.


The rubber grips have been known to slip with some customers, so be aware of this issue if you purchase this ladder. Always test the ladder first before attempting to climb up or down the ladder.

Honorable Mention
DeWalt 16-Foot Fiberglass Extension Ladder

This extension ladder has a weight capacity of 300 pounds and an extended ladder height of 16 feet. It features wrap-around steel shoes that offer excellent stability and protects the ladder from breaking when repositioning or moving it. A convenient top shelf allows you to store tools in the included slots while working. You can easily extend this ladder using the quick latch and nylon rope system. A limited warranty is included with the purchase of this extension ladder, which covers any issues or manufacturing defects.


One downside of the DeWalt 16-Foot Fiberglass Extension Ladder is that it is on the heavier side than other extension ladders. This extension ladder weighs 31 pounds, so if you are working by yourself or need to move your ladder often, you may want to consider another extension ladder to fit your needs best. 

Honorable Mention
Tacklife Extension Ladder

It’s hard to find an all-in-one ladder that’s versatile enough to step in as a step ladder and a true extension ladder—but that’s exactly what makes the Tacklife Extension Ladder such a fantastic product. Designed to be the perfect ladder for plenty of different needs and situations, this extension ladder starts out as a step ladder and can extend to an impressive 13-foot height. 


With this single extension ladder, you can adjust and adapt on the spot. It’s lightweight at just 26 pounds yet able to hold up to 300 pounds of weight safely. It can get as small as 40.5 inches or as tall as 130 inches, giving you options like a step ladder, stairway ladder, and a wall ladder all in its traditional “A” ladder shape. It’s secure, too, thanks to a special “J” lock system that literally locks your ladder into place so you can climb or descend. The finishing touch, rubber covers on the ladder’s feet, also enhances your stability.

Honorable Mention
Jia He 12.5-foot Telescoping Ladder

This extension ladder can be folded to a compact size of just 35.5 inches by 19 inches by 7 inches for convenient storage or transportation in your vehicle. It has a weight capacity of 330 pounds and extends to a maximum height of 12.5 feet. Inward slide latches allow you to adjust this telescopic ladder rung by rung in 1-foot increments. It makes a perfect option for household use and working on home projects, and can also be taken with you to use while traveling or camping trips. This extension ladder comes with a 12-month warranty, as well as a 30-day return guarantee that covers any manufacturing defects or broken parts during shipping.


While it is advertised to hold well over 300 pounds, this extension ladder has been known to buckle with some customers, even when the user is well under the advertised weight limit.

Honorable Mention
Franklin Portable Telescoping Ladder

The Franklin Portable Telescoping Ladder gives you the best of both worlds. It shrinks down into a compact height of 31 inches that’ll fit into the trunk of your car, yet when you’re ready to get to work, the ladder extends to 10 feet tall. You’ll get 14 feet of reach without having to haul an oversized ladder everywhere you work. 


Designed for compactness and portability, this ladder is also light in weight. Made out of tough aircraft-grade aluminum, it weighs 24 pounds and can hold up to 250 pounds total. Each step of the ladder is enhanced with a sturdy non-slip tread that gives you better stability. When you extend the ladder, you’ll use independent extension mechanisms that each lengthen the ladder by one foot at a time. The ladder’s slow-close technology also makes collapsing the ladder a breeze (and prevents pinching or other potential injuries).

Honorable Mention
Little Giant HyperLite Fiberglass Extension Ladder

If you want all of the height and reach of an extra-tall ladder but still need easy portability, the Little Giant HyperLite Fiberglass Extension Ladder is a fantastic choice. This ladder is built tough and yet is so light you won’t have to worry about its weight wherever you carry it.


Featuring a duty rating of type 1A (the heaviest-duty option), this fiberglass extension ladder can do a whole lot. And it was designed with safety in mind. The ladder’s material is ultra lightweight and non-conductive, which makes it perfect for electricians or electrical jobs. It weighs as much as 40 percent less than a traditional fiberglass ladder too — but it can hold up to 300 pounds of weight. Bubble levels are built into the ladder, allowing you to easily see if you’re level before you start to climb. Wide rungs also offer you more stability at high heights.


When it’s time to extend the height, this ladder uses a double pulley system that’s a breeze. You’ll have the right amount of leverage to adjust the height in just seconds.

Honorable Mention
Werner 20’ Aluminum Extension Ladder

If you’re as focused on safety as you are on your ladder’s reach, the Werner 20’ Aluminum Extension Ladder is exactly what you need. This ladder can extend up to 20 feet in length, and it’s rated to hold 225 pounds though it weighs just 22.5 pounds in total. But what really makes this ladder a standout is all of its specialized safety features.


Solidly built and wonderfully sturdy with its aluminum material, you can climb the entire 20-foot length with confidence. This extension ladder features interlocking side rails, which feature spring-loaded locks that slide smoothly yet lock into place securely. Each rung of the ladder features Werner’s Traction-Tred D rungs, which are slip-resistant for better stability in any weather. And you’ll actually get help holding your feet in place thanks to the innovative Shu-Lok feature, which keeps your feet flat or in spur position.


When it comes to leaning this extra-tall extension ladder, you’ll get all of the height you need without weighing yourself down with an overly heavy tool.

Tips

  • Make sure your extension ladder is set at the correct angle before climbing it. When set correctly, the palms of your hand should touch the ladder's rung while standing straight up with your toes touching the ladder's feet.
  • If your extension ladder includes feet or clamps, make sure they are stable, level, and secured into the ground if possible before attempting to climb the ladder.
  • If you are worried about stability, you may want to purchase a ladder stabilizer to attach to the top of your ladder. Some models even include a stabilizer, which spans approximately the length of a home window.
  • You can even secure the top of your ladder to your roof or an anchor point with a rope for added stability while working.
  • If you will be working on power lines or are worried about electric shocks, make sure to purchase a fiberglass extension ladder. This type of ladder will help to prevent electrical conductivity and electric shocks.

Best Extension Ladder FAQs

Q: What is the 4-to-1 rule for ladders?

The 4-to-1 rule means that the ladder's base should be placed one foot away from the wall for every 4 feet of ladder height. For example, a 12-foot ladder fully extended should be placed 3 feet away from the wall at the base of the ladder.

Q: What size extension ladder do I need for a two-story house?

The height of most two-story homes is 20 feet, meaning that your extension ladder should be at least 28 feet to cover the home's height.

Q: What is a good extension ladder?

Our top-rated extension ladder is the Ohuhu Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder, which includes non-slip end caps for base stability and extra-wide steps for safe climbing. But there are several other great options available. 

Q: What is the longest extension ladder?

Extension ladders are available in many different lengths, with some models able to reach more than 100 feet high. For most household work, a 27-foot or 28-foot extension ladder should be sufficient to work on a home up to two stories.

Q: What is the safest extension ladder?

To find the safest extension ladder available, you’ll want to consider the material above all else. Fiberglass, though heavier in weight, is one of the safest materials because it’s stronger than aluminum. It also isn’t as prone to bend or twist during use, helping you stay solid and secure while you’re on your ladder. Fiberglass is also resistant to electricity, a safety perk that’s especially important if you’re working around power lines. 

Q: Are Little Giant ladders worth the money?

Little Giant ladders have a number of advantages over your basic or budget-priced extension ladder. The brand is known for enhancing its ladders with extra safety and convenience features, like increased stability, sturdy rubberized feet, and trays or other accessories that make working with or carrying tools a breeze. If you want a ladder that can do more than merely climb heights, Little Giant ladders are worth the investment.

Final Thoughts

For a high-quality extension ladder, consider the Ohuhu Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder, featuring intelligent locking pins that give you a secure, safe boost. The Yvan Telescopic Extension Ladder, which is reinforced with nylon fiber for increased load capacity and stability, is also an excellent choice.