We Found the Best Ladders for Tackling Home Projects

Our favorite is the Little Giant M22 Velocity Ladder

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The 9 Best Ladders of 2022

The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

The right ladder keeps everything around your home or workspace within reach and is easy to store when not in use. 

We evaluated and tested the top ladders designed for use in the home, considering ease of use, sturdiness, adjustability, and value. The Little Giant Ladder Systems M22 Velocity Ladder is our top pick because it's multi-positional, has wheels for portability, and comes in four height options. 

Here are the best ladders.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Little Giant Ladder Systems M22 Velocity Ladder with Wheels

4.9
Velocity Ladder

Little Giant Ladder Systems

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Sturdy and safe

  • Available in several sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Danger of pinching fingers

No need for multiple ladders: Instead, Velocity from Little Giant gives you a stepladder, staircase ladder, extension ladder, 90-degree ladder, or scaffolding (separate trestle kit is required) all in one. One ladder for many projects is a big win for homeowners that are short on storage space or don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on various types of ladders. We sent this versatile ladder to one of our product testers, who challenged it all around her home doing everything from changing light bulbs on her high ceilings to picking fruit from tall trees out in the yard. 

The big advantage of this multi-position ladder is its Rock Lock adjustment system that lets you reconfigure the ladder quickly and easily—our tester praised the ease of changing the ladder’s configurations. She also appreciated the ladder’s stability, even on uneven ground, and how easy it was to use and store. The ladder folds down to a reasonable size when not in use, and the wheels make it easy to maneuver it to wherever you need it when duty calls. 

The Velocity ladder series is available in several sizes. We tested the model 22, which has a total height, including the wheels, of 22 feet when fully extended; it’s 19 feet not including the wheels. You can safely stand at 15.5 feet to work on the fully extended ladder, and when doing so, you’ll have a reach height of 22 feet. When used as a stepladder, the Velocity 22 can be 5 feet 1 inch to 9 feet 1 inch in height, depending on how you configure it. The ladder is rated 1A, which means it can hold up to 300 pounds, and is made of aluminum. The model 22 weighs 38.5 pounds.

Type: Multi-position | Rating: 1A | Material: Aluminum | Weight: 38.5 pounds | Reach Height: 22 feet

Little Giant Ladders Velocity M22

 The Spruce / Sarah Vanbuskirk

What Our Testers Say

“This ladder is made with a special alloy of aerospace-grade aluminum that makes it 20 percent lighter than its competitors. At 38 pounds, I was impressed with how easy it was to carry this ladder around and fit it into tight spaces.“—Sarah Vanbuskirk, Product Tester

Best Stepladder: Werner PD6206 Fiberglass Podium Ladder

PD6206 Podium Ladder

Werner

What We Like
  • Very sturdy

  • Multiple sizes available

  • Large, safe platform

What We Don't Like
  • Relatively heavy

For a sturdy ladder that provides enough reach for most household tasks, consider the innovative Werner Fiberglass Podium Ladder. The PD6200 series of ladders comes in heights from 4 to 14 feet and features a Type 1A rating to hold up to 300 pounds. The PD6206 is an overall 8 feet in height, and has a large podium-style topmost platform at 6 feet. The reach height of this ladder is 12 feet, making it ideal for most DIY or maintenance tasks around the home or yard. The podium has toe guards for extra safety and a handy tray to hold your tools. Thanks to the podium-style design, you can safely reach in all four directions while working on this ladder.

The extra stability and top-notch load capacity of this ladder make it a popular pick for homeowners and DIYers that want a stable platform to complete tasks. The fiberglass construction does make it heavy by comparison to some lightweight aluminum ladders, but it still folds easily for storage or transport.

Type: Stepladder | Rating: 1A | Material: Fiberglass | Weight: 32.5 pounds | Reach Height: 12 feet

Best Telescoping: Yvan 12.5-Foot Telescoping Ladder

Telescoping Ladder

Yvan

What We Like
  • Easy to store

  • One-button retraction

  • Available in several sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Danger of pinching fingers

This sturdy aluminum, telescoping extension ladder with a weight limit of 330 pounds unfolds to a maximum height of 12.5 feet, but you can partially unfold it if you don't need to reach that high. Fully folded, it will fit in the trunk of your car. Despite its telescoping design, it is very stable and steady.

The one thing to keep in mind is that it does collapse quickly at the touch of a button when you’re folding it for storage, so you’ll need to watch your fingers. However, it’s the perfect option for anyone that frequently needs to transport a ladder in their car or is limited on height and space for ladder storage.

Type: Telescoping | Rating: 330 pounds | Material: Aluminum | Weight: 24.6 pounds | Reach Height: 11 feet

Best Extension Ladder: Werner D6224-2 Fiberglass Extension Ladder

Werner D6200 Fiberglass Extension Ladder

 Courtesy of Werner

What We Like
  • High enough to reach second story

  • Non-conductive

  • Twist-resistant

  • Sturdy and stable

What We Don't Like
  • Hard to store

  • Heavy

Reach new heights with this top-selling extension ladder from Werner. The D6224-2 model is a 24-foot fiberglass ladder that offers a sturdy design and a Type 1A 300-pound load capacity. While heavier than aluminum, fiberglass is an excellent choice for an extension ladder since it tends to be stronger and less prone to twisting or bending than aluminum; it also is resistant to electricity, making it safer if your work brings you around power lines. 

While climbing to the very top of an exceptionally tall ladder can be nerve-wracking, this extension ladder provides reassurance with its secure, stable footing even when fully extended. Despite the extra weight from the fiberglass construction, it’s still light enough for a single person to maneuver. And if you don't need such a tall ladder, there are several shorter sizes to choose from.

Type: Extension | Rating: 1A | Material: Fiberglass | Weight: 52 pounds | Reach Height: 23 feet

Best Heavy-Duty: Little Giant Ladder Systems King Kombo 2 Pro M6

Articulating Fiberglass Stepladder

Little Giant Ladder Systems

What We Like
  • Cushioning pad to protect drywall

  • Versatile design

  • 375-pound weight limit

What We Don't Like
  • No platform for paint and other tools

The King Kombo fiberglass ladder from Little Giant is a heavy-duty 6-foot ladder—although it is also available in other sizes—with a Type 1AA load rating of 375 pounds. However, this workhorse ladder is also a multi-position ladder, making it perfect for a wide range of tasks. It converts from an A-frame ladder to an extension or leaning ladder with a nearly 10-foot height. At this extension, it has a nearly 13-foot reach. A unique feature is the rotating wall pad that cushions the ladder when leaning it against drywall, siding, or other surfaces you don’t want to risk scratching. 

In addition to meeting or exceeding all OSHA and ANSI standards, this heavy-duty ladder also was awarded the 2019 OSHA New Product of the Year award and the 2019 Pro Tool Innovation Award, in part thanks to its hard-to-beat stability and versatility. Professionals and DIYers alike are impressed with this ladder and love its features.

Type: Multi-position | Rating: 1AA | Material: Fiberglass | Weight: 24 pounds | Reach Height: 13 feet

Best Budget: Werner 6-foot Aluminum Stepladder

werner-step-ladder

Courtesy of Home Depot

What We Like
  • Not too heavy

  • Tray for paint and other supplies

  • Reasonable price

What We Don't Like
  • Not as durable as heavier ladders

  • 250-pound weight limit

For a basic ladder on a budget, the Werner 6-foot Aluminum Stepladder is a top choice. This no-frills Type 1 aluminum ladder isn’t as robust as some other stepladders and only has a 250-pound weight limit; however, it shines as a lightweight and stable option for many everyday tasks around the home, job site, or garage. You'll also appreciate how easy it is to transport, thanks to the aluminum construction. In addition, this ladder is very stable—giving you confidence in the integrity of this budget-minded tool. 

Type: Stepladder | Rating: 1 | Material: Aluminum | Weight: 14.5 pounds | Reach Height: 10 feet

Best for Hedge Cutting: Werner FTP 6-Foot Fiberglass Tripod Stepladder

FTP 6-Foot Ladder

Werner

What We Like
  • Ideal for uneven ground

  • Stable and secure

  • Available in several sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Wide base makes storage difficult

Hedge cutting can be tricky—the uneven ground and bushy nature of the shrubbery can make it difficult to reach the top of hedges and you may find yourself precariously leaning from the ladder to reach one last untrimmed shoot. A tripod ladder is a great choice for hedge cutting or any other landscape needs since three legs offer incredible stability on uneven surfaces. 

The Werner FTP Tripod Stepladder is a Type 1A ladder with a 300-pound weight capacity and a single rear rail for set-up in areas with close quarters. This allows you to position the ladder close to shrubbery for safe, efficient hedge cutting. Many landscapers know the value of a tripod ladder for hedge cutting and other outdoor tasks. The ladder resists ‘walking’ on uneven surfaces and can be set up as close as possible to your work area.

Type: Tripod | Rating: 1A | Material: Fiberglass | Weight: 23 pounds | Reach Height: 10 feet

Best for Around the House: Louisville Ladder FS2005 Fiberglass Stepladder

Fiberglass Step Ladder

Louisville Ladder

What We Like
  • Top designed to hold necessities

  • Perfect for use around the home

  • Available in several sizes

What We Don't Like
  • No safety platform

The Louisville FS2005 stepladder is constructed of fiberglass for durability and stability and has a 250-pound duty rating. This 5-foot model makes a great ladder for painting and other projects. It weighs about 15 pounds, and folds easily for storage in your garage, shed, or basement. 

Stepladders are a safe option for reaching overhead areas and for completing tasks like changing light bulbs, cleaning gutters, or painting a room. While this medium-duty ladder isn’t a commercial-grade option, it still provides solid performance in household tasks. In addition, you'll appreciate the molded top that holds tools, nails, and other accessories necessary for small jobs; that means fewer trips up and down the ladder to fetch what you need.

Type: Stepladder | Rating: 1 | Material: Fiberglass | Weight: 15 pounds | Reach Height: 9.5 feet

Final Verdict

Our top pick is the Little Giant Velocity Ladder system. Easy to configure, fold, and store, this ladder can be used as a stepladder, staircase ladder, extension ladder, or 90-degree ladder, so you can handle different types of projects. We also like The Werner Fiberglass Podium Ladder PD6206 which is great for most household tasks, thanks to its superb stability and oversize podium platform.

What to Look for in a Ladder

Type

While a stepladder is the most common type of ladder for most around-the-house tasks, extension ladders, telescoping ladders, and multi-position ladders are popular options to consider if you need to reach higher up. 

Stepladders are defined by their A-shaped frames that self-support on four legs. Multi-position stepladders allow you to balance the ladder on a staircase or other uneven surface. Stepladder heights range between 6 feet and 20 feet, although most people find a ladder that's 6 to 12 feet is sufficient.

Straight ladders are tall ladders that have to lean against something for support. They have only two legs. Extension ladders are basically straight ladders with adjustable heights. You'll find extension ladders with maximum heights of up to 40 feet, although for most people not needing to access the roof of a multi-story home, 12 to 20 feet is more than sufficient. Telescoping ladders are basically extension ladders that "collapse" when not in use for easier storage.

Height and Reach Height

Think about how high you'll need to climb on your ladder—your answer to that will tell you what height you should be looking at. Ladders range from small step stools with just one rung to giant extension ladders that can reach the roofs of multi-story homes. By choosing a ladder that's appropriately sized for your needs, you’ll avoid safety concerns, since a ladder that's too short may tempt you to lean and sway on the top rung, while one that's too long can become unsteady at the base.  

But the actual height of the ladder isn't the most important number; you also need to consider reach height. It is not safe to stand on the top rung of a ladder, meaning you'll be lower than the ladder's full height. On a stepladder, you should avoid standing on the top two rungs. However, the length of your own arms adds to how high you can safely reach. As a rough guideline, a stepladder's reach height is 4 feet beyond its actual height, assuming that the user is an average height of 5 feet, 9 inches tall. So for example, a 10-foot stepladder has a reach height of 14 feet.

On an extension ladder, safety requirements are to avoid standing on the top four rungs. Also, because extension ladders must lean against something, rather than standing upright, you lose some of the total height. That reduces your reach quite a bit, typically to around a foot lower than the extension ladder's height. So for example, if you have your extension ladder at 18 feet, your reach height will be 17 feet.

Weight

Lightweight ladders are much easier to move—plain and simple. Aluminum ladders are among the lightest options, with some weighing as little as 20 pounds. Fiberglass options can tip the scale at around 50 pounds and may require a bit of heavy lifting.

Versatility

If you want the most bang for your buck, it might make sense to look for a versatile ladder with articulated joints. These special mechanisms allow the ladder to bend and lock in place to achieve different configurations. Some of the most popular multi-purpose ladders can do double duty as an A-frame ladder and extension ladder, while others are real multitaskers with up to seven different ladder positions available.

Duty Rating

All ladders sold in the United States are required to have a safety specifications label affixed to the side that states the ladder's duty rating. This safety guideline states the maximum weight capacity of the ladder, which includes not just your own weight but also the weight of all tools and supplies you set on the ladder or hold in your hands while standing on the ladder.

The five categories of ladder duty ratings are:

  • Type 1AA (Extra Heavy Duty) 375 pounds
  • Type 1A (Extra Heavy Duty) 300 pounds
  • Type 1 (Heavy Duty) 250 pounds
  • Type 2 (Medium Duty) 225 pounds
  • Type 3 (Light Duty) 200 pounds
FAQ
  • How do you store a ladder?

    When not in use, you’ll need to store your ladder. You’ll want to choose a spot where it’s easy to access the ladder when needed, yet not in the way of other household items or passersby. 

    • Store your ladder in a protected spot away from intense heat or freezing temperatures and where it won’t be subjected to excessive moisture or humidity. 
    • Fold your ladder for storage and retract any extensions. 
    • You can store your ladder by leaning it horizontally or vertically against a wall, but be sure it’s not extending into any area where it’s likely to be a tripping hazard.
    • If you hang your ladder for storage, place a hook every 6 feet to prevent warping.


  • How are extension ladders measured?

    There are several measurements to consider when choosing a ladder.

    You’ll need to know the measurement of the ladder when fully extended. Keep in mind, however, that for safety, you should never stand on the top four rungs, nor should a ladder used to access a roof be more than three rungs higher than the height of the roof itself. 

    For storage or transport purposes, you’ll also want to know the length of the ladder when fully retracted and folded.

    The width of the ladder’s base is also important when choosing a spot for storage.

    Finally, the distance between ladder rungs should be 10 to 14 inches, with the same distance between every rung. 

  • Are ladders safe?

    Ladders are not inherently dangerous, but are easy to misuse, leading to numerous injuries each year. Keep safe by following these general guidelines whenever using a ladder:

    • Don’t climb a ladder if you are feeling dizzy, tired, or unwell. 
    • Don’t use an extension ladder in high winds, severe storms, or when wet.
    • Wear slip-resistant shoes when climbing a ladder.
    • Climb the ladder slowly and carefully, without sudden movements or swaying side-to-side.
    • There should never be more than one person on a ladder at a time. 
    • Always set a ladder on even, solid ground. Avoid muddy spots, puddles, slopes, or loose ground, such as gravel or pebbles. 
    • When climbing a ladder, face forward so your body is between the ladder’s side rails. Don’t lean to the side.
    • Never move a ladder while it’s in use. 
    • Don’t place your ladder in front of a door that might be opened while the ladder is in use. 
    • Never stand on the top rung of a ladder. It’s best not to use the top two rungs of a stepladder. 
    • Stay off any ladder that is damaged, has loose rungs or sides, or is in generally poor condition.


Why Trust The Spruce?

This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs. For this roundup, she considered dozens of ladders, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and feedback from both testers and customers.

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Ladders 101: Choosing the Right Ladder. American Ladder Institute.