Learn what to look for when you’re buying a ladder with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
From painting projects to home improvement, ladders of all kinds come in handy. There are many factors that go into choosing the right ladder. Below are some great guidelines and helpful tips to help you choose the best one for the job.
1. Material Type
Ladders are built from three basic materials – wood, fiberglass or metal (aluminum). When you’re choosing material, keep in your work environment in mind. Aluminum ladders are not suitable for use near sources of electricity since aluminum works as an electrical conductor. Wood and fiberglass ladders are safe for these environments, but are generally heavier to carry when compared to aluminum.
2. Ladder Type
There are several different types of ladders available. What type you need will depend on the job. Be sure to read all safety standards on the label to ensure you are safely using the ladder at the highest standing level.
Step ladders – Step ladders are standard hinge ladders that have flat steps and are non-adjustable in length. Single ladders on the other hand, are non-folding, heavy duty ladders that can be up to 30 feet in length. Single ladders are very similar to extension ladders, but they do not get any longer than their original length so be sure to buy the right size.
Combination ladders – Combination ladders can be used as a step ladder or as an extension ladder by making adjustments to the ladder structure. These ladders have locking mechanisms to secure the ladder in the position you need.
Extension Ladders -These ladders are made to adjust in height to accommodate jobs of all sizes and levels. These ladders usually consist of two or more sections that travel in guides or brackets. You move the sections up the guides to raise and lower the ladder to the desired height. Extension ladders are too long for a job if it extends more than 3 ft beyond the upper support point.
Scaffolds – Since most ladders are made for one climber, a scaffold might be a good option for a job that requires the help of two people. These ladders have rungs on each side and a platform in the middle to stand on. The platform also doubles as a shelf making these units great for painting, washing windows and the like.
3. Duty Rating
This number is an indication of the maximum weight capacity the ladder can safely hold. The total weight your ladder will be supporting consists of your weight, the weight of your clothing/gear plus the weight of your tools and supplies your carry/store while you’re working. Type IAA ladders are the highest rated category for weight capacity holding up to 375 lbs. A light duty ladder would be classified as a Type III and can only hold 200 lbs.
4. Ladder Accessories
There are several accessories you can attach to your ladder to help make any job easier. Many ladders come with a paint tray to rest your bucket or other accessories, but you can also buy handy shelves to attach to your ladder. There are also several utility buckets or painting cups on the market with handles you can actually loop on to a ladder. These tools are great ways to make your job on a ladder just a little easier.