July 25, 2024

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The 6 Best Ladders of 2023

4 min read

As much as you might try to keep everything in your life within arm’s reach, there will be times when you need to get a little—or a lot—higher. If you’re putting up a ceiling fan, painting the eaves, or just moving items in and out of high shelving in a garage, you need a ladder.

For complete ladder coverage for a two-story home, inside and out, we recommend owning both a stepladder and a larger, extension ladder. We’ve been researching and testing ladders for years, and we have recommendations for both styles.

Our pick

With its top two platform steps, this model provides more comfort and easier balancing compared with a regular stepladder. It also comes with a useful work tray.

For indoor work or lower-reach outdoor tasks, we recommend the Gorilla GLX-5B 5.5 ft. Aluminum Dual Platform Ladder. This stepladder excels because its top two steps are considerably larger than the rest and support the entire foot. Compared with the design of a traditional stepladder, this larger standing area provides a more comfortable sense of balance and range of motion while you’re working. The GLX-5B comes with a large project tray that clips into the top of the ladder, providing an invaluable spot for you to store tools as you work; when not in use, the tray is stored on the ladder, a convenience feature we’ve never seen before.

With a 300-pound weight rating, the GLX-5B should comfortably hold most people, even when weighted down with a large load of tools and supplies. The GLX-5B has a smaller footprint than a typical stepladder—which helps it fit in confined spaces—yet its working height is similar to that of others we saw. It can get most people to a reaching height of about 10 feet—enough for cleaning first-floor windows or installing a light fixture on a standard ceiling.

Runner-up

This ladder is the same as our top pick, except that it’s made of fiberglass, which makes it a better choice if you do a lot of electrical work.

If the Gorilla GLX-5B is unavailable, we also like the Gorilla GLXF-5B 5.5 ft. Fiberglass Dual Platform Step Ladder. The two ladders are nearly identical, except that the side rails on the GLXF-5B are made of fiberglass, not aluminum. This makes the GLXF-5B a whisker thicker and a tad heavier (though in both cases the difference is barely noticeable). But fiberglass does not conduct electricity, so this stepladder is a better option if you have a lot of electrical work to do. Otherwise, it has the same platform steps, weight rating, project tray, and overall height as our top pick. It’s usually $20 to $30 more expensive, so considering that the two models are so similar, we think most people will do just fine with the aluminum model.

Also great

This well-built stepladder works with a number of buckets, trays, and hooks to hold tools and parts during projects.

If the Gorilla ladders are unavailable, we also like the Werner FS106 6ft Type I Fiberglass Single Sided Step Ladder. This traditional stepladder doesn’t have the wide top steps of our other stepladder picks, but it’s still a solid ladder from a reputable manufacturer. It doesn’t come with a project tray, but one is available for purchase separately, as well as a tool hook and a paint cup.

Upgrade pick

Telescoping legs transform this unusual model into a 5-, 6-, 7-, or 8-foot ladder, and it can stand up against a wall or on a set of stairs.

If you’re an advanced DIYer, we recommend the Little Giant Select Step Model 5-8. The legs of this ladder can telescope out, transforming it into a 5-, 6-, 7-, or 8-foot stepladder. Since you can set the legs to different lengths, you can use this Little Giant model on uneven ground, a flight of stairs, or flush up against a wall, all of which are either unsafe or impossible positions for a traditional stepladder. This Little Giant model also has a platform step and an excellent tool tray that converts into a handhold when you place it in the vertical position. The Select Step Model 5-8 costs too much if you’re merely doing simple around-the-house tasks, but if you’re all in on the DIY lifestyle, the versatility and value of this ladder’s features justify the price.

Our pick

This model can get someone on the roof of a two-story house, it’s safe to use near power lines, and it’s strong enough to hold just about anyone.

For tall tasks up the side of a house, or even on top of one, we like the Werner D6228-2 28ft Type IA Fiberglass D-Rung Extension Ladder. It’s long enough to get someone safely onto the roof of a typical two-story house, and its sturdy fiberglass build is safer around power lines than an aluminum ladder. The D6228-2 is rated to hold up to 300 pounds, so it should be more than enough to support a person along with tools and materials. This Werner model is readily available at Home Depot and Lowe’s, and it typically costs less than the competition, provided that you purchase it in-store. Like any extension ladder, however, it’s long and heavy, and it can be awkward to transport and maneuver.

Runner-up

Similar to the Werner model, this Louisville ladder is harder to find in stores, but it’s sometimes less expensive if you buy it online.

If the Werner D6228-2 is not available, we also like the Louisville Ladder FE3228 28-Foot Fiberglass Extension Ladder Type. It’s similar to our extension ladder top pick in most ways, except that it has a more-limited in-store availability. On the plus side, you can sometimes find it for less than our top pick if you order it online.

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