Extension Ladder Reviews
Home maintenance costs can be a real headache for the homeowner using contractors to get the work done. Having your own extension ladder can change that. You'll be able to do a lot of non-specialist jobs yourself, and keep your running costs down as a result. Do that a couple of times a year and you've covered the cost of buying a ladder
We examine the rigid and telescopic extension ladders below.
Brand and Model
A 12.5 feet ladder from the originator of telescopic ladders.
It has a Type IA duty rating at 300 pounds capacity.
It's not the longest of this type of ladder but you will find many uses for it around the home.
This telescoping ladder is ANSI / OSHA rated Type I at 250 pounds capacity.
Length is adjusted by the foot using a closure system that won’t pinch your fingers.
The smallest size of conventional extension ladders. A good basic ladder for lightweight duties at home. Portable enough to be used indoors and as well as outdoors.
Well made and from a major manufacturer.
This is a 300 pound capacity ladder made of fiberglass and suitable for use around electrical matters.
It has many safety features, and is a good tool for working high up around the house.
Werner's 300 pounds Type 1A Duty Rating aluminum ladder.
Sections can be split and used as two twelve feet ladders.
Other ladder lengths are available.
Providing more than enough length for the average home handyman's needs, this 28 footer from DeWALT is a tough and strong workhorse of an extension ladder.
It has a 300 pound capacity rating which should be enough for most homeowners requirements.
Being made of non-conductive fiberglass, it is ideal for those working near electrical installations.
Extension Ladders - Indispensable For Home Maintenance
An extension ladder can be an indispensable tool for homeowners. It will enable you to save time and money by doing many home maintenance jobs yourself, particularly outdoors, instead of having to hire a contractor.
House painting, gutter repairs and cleaning, roof top maintenance and tree lopping all become possible for the home handyman or woman with a ladder long enough to reach those otherwise inaccessible jobs.
You need to be comfortable working at height though - not everyone is - so safety is an important issue when selecting the most appropriate ladder for your intended use. It needs to be long enough, and stable.
If you are nervous at the thought of working at the top of a long ladder, it may be better for someone else to go up.
Safety precautions should be followed with all ladders, but especially so with extension ladders. They are not self-supporting. They need to be rested against a secure surface that will not move.
You’ll be working at much higher distances from the ground, with a greater risk of a fatal injury if you fall, so care should be exercised at all times.
Types of Extension Ladder
There are two main types of extension ladder: the rigid, straight type like the Louisville and Werner examples above, and the telescoping ladder like the Telesteps and XtendandClimb, also shown above.
There are also hybrids like the Little Giant Ladder System, and the Werner which are multi-position ladders. These are adjustable ladders with a telescopic feature, but which are far more robust than the basic telescoping type of ladder.
Rigid Extension Ladders
Rigid extension ladders are available in longer sizes than most other types of ladder, and enable you to operate at much greater heights. They often feature two or three ladder lengths sliding on top of each other that can be adjusted to the maximum, safe, working height required.
If you need to work on the roof itself, then make sure your ladder extends at least three feet above the roof-line, to allow safe transition from ladder to roof.
A 24 foot ladder is probably the maximum size most homeowners would need for full access to maintenance work on the roof, but it does depend on the height of your own house.
Types of Material Used in Rigid Extension Ladders
These ladders are made in either aluminum or fiberglass. Unless you will be working around electricity, the aluminum types are the better buy for home use. Fiberglass ladders don’t conduct electricity and are therefore safer to use when working in the vicinity of power lines. They are also more rigid, but they are much heavier and cost more.
You probably won’t need to use a ladder made of fiberglass unless you do contracting work, and then a good heavy duty fiberglass model comes into its own.
Both aluminum and fiberglass extension ladders flex considerably less than other ladder types because of their inherent rigidity. They are however, less convenient to store because of their length, unless you have a large garage or basement access.
The main brands in rigid extension ladders are Werner and Louisville.
Telescoping Extension Ladders
These ladders don’t extend as far as the rigid, straight type of ladder. The design concept doesn’t allow for that. They’re more appropriate for use on single story buildings where outdoor work is required, as well as many uses indoors.
When required, their length is adjustable foot by foot to the desired working height, and when not in use they retract to an easily transportable size that can be easily stored indoors.
These ladders are discussed more appropriately in our article on Multi-Position Ladders which you can read here.
The Little Giant is a great example of this type. In addition to being folded out as an extension ladder it can be used as step ladder, stair ladder, scaffolding and as a saw-horse.
Rigid vs Telescoping Extension Ladder - Which is Best?
The best extension ladder for you will depend on a number of factors. Price obviously, but also your house size - how high your ladder will need to reach, as well as the range of jobs that you want to use it for. Storage might be a critical factor too.
For our part, the rigid extension ladder is the preferred option. When working up high, the feel of added safety that comes with this type of ladder is very reassuring.
Telescoping ladders do have their advantages. They are convenient to use, to transport and to store, and they can be used for a number of household tasks indoors as well. It is the rigid extension ladder, however, that gives the most reach that is required for many outdoor household maintenance tasks.
Have a look at the information on our site and make an informed decision at what will work best for you.