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.
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.
- 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
- Some customers have reported issues with their product upon delivery
- There have been some reports of damaged or broken products
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.
- 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
- Some customers have reported issues with their shipment
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.
- 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
- 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
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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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.