Best Extension Ladders 2020 – Reviews and Guide
Are you looking for a good extension ladder to elevate you to safe heights to get things done? If yes, this guide is for you. Picking an extending ladder sounds easy, but it can get trickier when you don’t know much about these types of ladders. In this guide, we’ll offer you our expert guide on choosing the perfect model for your needs. We’ll also give you our complication of the best extension ladders to choose from.
Best Extension Ladder Reviews:
1. Little Giant Ladder Systems Multi-Position Ladder
At first look, you might not think this little ladder has much to offer. But wait until you start using it…it has an exceptional level of versatility. It allows you to use it in many configurations, including A-frame, staircase, 90-degree, or extension ladders—whichever suits your needs or preferences.
The multi-position ladder lets you set it up or take it down in seconds. This is made possible by its patented Rock Lock system; you simply push the lock to release and adjust the ladder, and then tap to lock it. It’s a simple, safe, and fast process!
Safety and stability were a priority in the minds behind this ladder. It features a redesigned dual-pin hinge and wide-flared legs, which collectively put you in the safest position to get all your jobs done.
Despite carrying so many features and functions, this ladder has an extremely lightweight design. It features aircraft-grade aluminum construction that makes it 20% lighter than any other comparable industrial-rated ladder. Add this to the fact that it comes with a set of wheels, and transporting it from job to job becomes an easy task!
- Multi-position ladder design
- Aerospace-grade aluminum construction
- Tip and glide wheels for easy transportation
- Exceeds OSHA, ANSI and CSA standards
- Rated to hold 300lbs max. load
2. Louisville Ladder FE3224 Fiberglass Extension Ladder
Also appearing in our extension ladder reviews is this great 24ft. extension ladder with an excellent load capacity of 300lbs. It will make a good choice for working on utility electrical, light construction, and even residential jobs.
The ladder comes armed with a rope and pulley, which means extending it is an easy task. It feels pretty light, and one person can easily carry it from place to place. It also feels quite stable on its feet, and you don’t need an extra hand to extend it to its maximum height.
We also like that this ladder features D-shaped rungs—fully serrated to form a safer, slip-free surface. It also features a mar-resistant rail end caps to ensure you don’t damage your ladder landing surfaces.
Unlike most of the extension ladders out there, this model comes equipped with a pair of extra heavy-duty slide guides at the top of the base section. These combine with the stop on the fly section to prevent over-extension of this ladder.
Because this ladder is constructed from fiberglass material, there’s no doubt that it has the sturdiness and reliability an extension ladder needed to serve you for an extended period of time.
- 300lbs weight capacity
- Sturdy fiberglass construction
- Mar-resistant rail end caps
- Direct rung to rail connection
3. WolfWise Aluminum Telescopic Extension Multi-Purpose Ladder
With the ability to extend up to 12.5 feet and accommodate up to 300lbs weight capacity, this telescopic ladder also steals a spot on our top extend ladder reviews. It has excellent features and reliability, which makes it a cool choice for both DIY enthusiasts and commercial contractors.
Extending or retracting this ladder is a breeze. It extends in increments on 1-foot to let you hassle-freely set it to your desired height for the job at hand. Its one-button retraction function enables you to retract it from its full extension in a matter of seconds.
The ladder is also a great investment if you’re looking for something you can easily transport to job sites. The manufacturer includes a heavy-duty carry strap in the box to help you easily transport this ladder to any place.
The ladder itself folds into a compact size when not in use for easy storage and transportation. The integrated carry handle further enhances portability.
Keep in mind that this ladder features aerospace-grade aluminum alloy construction. This enables it to support up to 300pounds of user weight reliably. It feels quite sturdy to climb on. The material is corrosion and rust resistant to extend the ladder lifespan.
Overall, this is a great 12.5-ft. ladder designed to meet the needs of home users and contractors alike. It’s lightweight and durable construction and high portability makes it one of the most awesome extending ladders you can find on the market today.
- Made of aerospace-grade aluminum alloy
- Easy one-button retraction
- Collapses into small size for easy storage
- Heavy-duty strap for easy carry
- Features integrated carrying handle
- Supports up to 330 pounds
4. TOPRUNG Model-17 ft. Aluminum Extension Multi-Purpose Ladder
This is a great choice if you’re looking for a multi-use ladder. It extends all the way up to 17feet with height-adjustable in 1foot increments. It feels incredibly stable and can hold as much as 300lbs of weight.
As a multi-use ladder, this model lets you map it into 5 configurations according to your preferences. You can set it as an extension, stairway, step, wall ladder, or scaffold frame—enabling you to use it for different jobs. It also lets you adjust its height in 1-foot increments, letting you fully customize it according to the job at hand.
We featured this ladder on our extension ladder reviews due to its sturdy build. It’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum metal, which translates to superior durability and stability. Mind you, this multi-purpose ladder exceeds the ANSI standards.
You’ll notice that this ladder has wider rungs. These promote standing comfort. Plus, it features slip-resistant feet to ensure extra stability when you’re using it.
The TopRung multi-purpose ladder comes fully assembled and ready to use right out of the box. It features a compact storage design to help you easily tuck it in limited storage space and carry it with you to any place.
- Accommodates up to 300lbs capacity
- Comes fully assembled, ready to use
- Backed by 2-year warranty
- Features slip-resistant feet
- Made of aircraft-grade aluminum metal
- Multi-use design; 5-in-1 ladder design
5. TOPRUNG 12ft. 2IN1 Aluminum Extension Ladder
If you’re looking for a 12-foot extension ladder at a budget-friendly price, this TopRung aluminum extension ladder won’t disappoint. Like its sibling above, this ladder features aircraft-grade aluminum construction, granting it a good balance between lightweight and sturdy aspects.
One of the cool things about this ladder is that it lets you set it up in up to 4 configurations—step, extension, mobile, and store. The mobile and store options are helpful in that they enable you to easily store and move it to any place.
The quality of this ladder is also top-notch, thanks to the aircraft-grade aluminum metal constriction it features. It exceeds the ANSI standard and will safely hold a user with up to 300lbs weight.
Despite the great sturdiness, the ladder feels pretty lightweight (it weighs just over 20lbs light). It comes equipped with a set of built-in wheels for increase mobility. Its wide, stable treads give you a stability boost and minimize fatigue that comes with climbing up ladders.
The ladder features a double-sided design and will enable you to do a lot of things, including home maintenance and renovation tasks. When fully extended, this ladder will hold you in a safe height for cleaning the gutter, windows, etc.
- Wheels for increased mobility
- Patented “no pinch” hinge system
- Made of durable aircraft-grade aluminum
- Holds up to 300lbs weight capacity
- Exceeds the ANS1 standard
6. DeWalt DXL3020-16PT 16-Foot Fiberglass Extension Ladder
For the serious DIYers in the house, this is the best extension ladder for you. Build using extra heavy-duty fiberglass material, this ladder has a higher carry capacity of up to 300lbs. It comes loaded with some of the coolest features you can find in an extension ladder.
The ladder steals a spot on our list of top-rated extend ladder reviews as it comes with a bonus nylon rope to give you easy extension and stronger support when extending/collapsing the ladder.
At the top of this ladder, you’ll discover a non-marring rubber side that prevents scratches and other damage to the landing surface. Plus, it offers you a wider contact when supporting the ladder against a wall, pole, or other irregular surfaces.
The top also presents you with a hardware tray, drill, and tool slots to conveniently hold your tools when you’re busy up there.
For your own safety, this ladder is made with heavy-duty swivel aluminum/steel shoes. These offer you extra support and stability. The rails feature a polyester veil to provide you with years of service with prolonged exposure to elements. The rung locks with a quick latch for added safety.
As a serious DIYer, this extension ladder will meet all your climbing needs. You can trust it to safely get you up there when working in heavy construction, electrical, utility, and other residential jobs.
- 300lbs carry capacity
- Non-marrying durable top
- Made of heavy-duty fiberglass
- Aluminum rung locks w/safety latch
- Heavy-duty nylon rope for extra strength, durability
7. Werner D1116-2 Extension-ladders
If you’re more specific and want a 16 foot extension ladder, this Werner D1116-2 ladder will suit your needs. It features an extension design and will enable you to climb up the roof of your home to clean up the gutter or do other tasks around the home that require a height boost.
The ladder is designed for the ultimate strength and durability, thanks to the aluminum metal construction. It also features slip-resistant aluminum rungs which guarantee your safety when going up or coming down the ladder. These rungs are connected to the rails using the manufacturer’s exclusive Alflo rung joint connection, which ensures twist-proof performance.
Keep in mind that this ladder can reliably hold a maximum weight capacity of up to200lbs, which makes it suitable for nearly all homeowners under 200lbs.
Overall, this an awesome ladder for all your home climbing tasks. It enjoys unparalleled popularity due to its lightweight design, which makes it easy to maneuver around your house. Despite being light, it’s quite sturdy and will reliably and safely hold your weight as you carry out various tasks around your home.
- Sturdy aluminum construction
- Slip-resistant aluminum rungs
- Twist-proof rung-to-rail connection
- Rated 200lbs load capacity
8. Ohuhu 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder
If you’re looking for the best extension ladder for home use or carrying to job sites, this Ohuhu is a great choice. The ladder features a telescopic design, and you can easily collapse it into a smaller size to help you save as much as storage as possible while making it easy to carry around the house or outside your home.
This ladder features on our list due to its ease of use. It comes with an easy one-button retraction function, which makes it easy to use, even for users who have never used a telescopic ladder before. It has an extended height of 12.5ft, so it’ll make it possible for you to reach higher places around your house.
Another reason we like this ladder is that it comes with an inedible sturdy design, thanks to its high-quality aluminum alloy construction. The material resists rust and corrosion and will also reliably hold a maximum weight capacity of up to 330 pounds with regular use.
Overall, this is a great ladder for doing jobs around the house or taking with you to job sites. When not in use, it collapses into a few feet tall size for easy storage and carrying. It features a nice grip on the underside for even easier carrying.
Despite being a sturdy ladder, it has a lightweight feel. Carrying it around will be an easy experience for you.
- Easy one-button retraction function
- High-quality aluminum alloy construction
- Collapses into a smaller size
- Up to 330lbs weight capacity
- Maximum height of 12.5ft
- Non-slip foot for user safety
What is the 4 to 1 rule for ladders?
The 4 to 1 ladder rule states that you should set your ladder base 1 foot from the wall for every 4 feet it reaches up. In simpler words, the distance between the wall and your ladder should always be a quarter of your ladder’s height.
The importance of this rule is to help ensure you don’t place your ladder too close or too far from the wall which you place it against. If you follow the 4 to 1 ratio ladder rule, you’ll achieve the maximum balance and stability needed to prevent your ladder from tipping backward or to the sides. And as a result, ladder-related accidents are greatly minimized.
For the safest experience, you should apply this rule for all types of ladders, including the extension types.
Let’s get into a practical example of using this rule for an extension ladder:
Grab your extension ladder and put it against the wall you wish to climb. If the ladder meets the wall at a point that measures 4 meters from the ground, then you should position the foot of your ladder exactly 1 meter away from the wall.
If you place your ladder such that it makes contact with the wall at a point measuring 8 meters from the ground, then make sure you put the ladder foot at precisely 2m back from the wall.
NOTE I: Unlike in our example above, you will not be dealing with neat numbers when it comes to real-life applications. In this case, you’ll need to keep your calculator close to help ensure you obey the 4-to-1 rule when setting up your ladder.
Use this formula to set up your ladder as per the 4 to 1 rule:
Distance between the wall and foot of the ladder = Distance between top of the ladder and the ground ÷ 4
NOTE II: The 4 to 1 rule for ladders applies whether you measure in meters or feet.
How do I choose an extension ladder?
Numerous extension ladders lie on the market, waiting for you to pick them. But you’ll have to choose ONLY one—the perfect one for your unique needs. In this section, we’ll walk you through the most important consideration to help you make the best decision.
The number one thing you ought to consider when choosing an extension ladder is how long it extends.
Extension ladders come in an array of sizes, you can get a unit that extends up to 6 feet only, a 16 foot extension ladder, or even higher. You’ll find multiple size options in between this range.
The perfect height of the extension ladder for you will depend on what you intend to use it for. For instance, if you’re looking for a ladder for residential use and you live in a one-story house, you won’t need a too tall unit. A two-story home, with cathedral ceilings, will require a taller ladder.
As the rule of thumb goes, get a ladder that comes with a little extra length than you think you will need. Such a ladder will serve all your needs pretty well.
Another important thing to look for when choosing an extension ladder is the quality of materials used in its construction. Most companies use two main types of materials for their extension ladders—fiberglass and aluminum. Each of these materials has its own set of strengths of weakness, depending on the type of job you plan to handle. (get more details about these two materials in our next section).
You should also check the maximum weight capacity a ladder can accommodate before making a final decision. And keep in mind that the ideal weight capacity for you should be inclusive of those heavy tools you might be carrying with you when climbing up the ladder. Always pick a ladder that has a higher weight capacity than your body weight. This will give you enough weight allowance for the tools you carry up there, ensuring you use the ladder safely.
Ease of use
Extension ladders can give you a bad experience if you get one that’s difficult to operate. For this reason, get yourself a ladder you can easily extend or collapse. Some models feature a one-button retraction and extend in increments of 1-foot, making them easy to set to your desired height or retract to a small size when not in use.
The good thing about the extension ladders is that you collapse them into a compact size to allow for easy storage and transportation. This makes them a great choice if you want a ladder that you can move with from job site to another.
That said, you should still check to confirm that the unit you choose has a collapsible design. Additional portability features such as butyl-in wheels, carry handle, carry strap, and lightweight design are also worth consideration.
Your safety is a priority when it comes to choosing a ladder. The top manufacturers understand this pretty well, and they design their ladders with safety features to ensure you feel safe when up there doing your job. Some of the great safety features to look for in a ladder include a reliable extension mechanism, width of the ladder steps, slip-resistant steps, feet of the ladder, and quality of the handrails.
Aluminum or fiberglass extension ladder: which is better?
Aluminum and fiberglass are the two most common types of materials used to construct extension ladders. Each material has its ups and down when compared to each other.
Let’s look at how the materials compare to help you decide which one to choose.
Fiberglass ladders have superior strength compared to aluminum models. Don’t get it twisted, though. Aluminum ladders are also strong…but it usually depends on the grade of material used. An aluminum ladder made using low-grade materials could easily bend.
Another noticeable difference between the two ladder materials is their resistance to weather. Fiberglass ladders, again, take the mantle for registering excellent resistance to various weather elements.
Aluminum material is a good conductor of electricity. Fiberglass materials, on the other hand, don’t conduct electricity. With this in mind, you should keep off aluminum ladders and stick to the fiberglass models if your wok revolves around electricity or power lines to prevent getting electrocution.
Aluminum is also a good conductor of heat, unlike fiberglass. When exposed to heat, aluminum extension ladders tend to lose their strength. They also become much more difficult to step (uncomfortable to use). Fiberglass ladders aren’t affected by heat in any way.
Also, fiberglass ladders are more flame resistant than aluminum ladders. If you want an extension ladder to use in areas revolving heat, again, you’d want to keep off the fiberglass models as much as possible.
Ladders made from aluminum have an advantage over the fiberglass ladders in that they feel light, making them easy to move from job site to job site. Fiberglass ladders usually feel heavier and can’t be used as long extension ladders.
Cost is a major consideration to keep in mind when looking for an extension ladder. It’s worth noting that fiberglass ladders come at a higher price than the aluminum models. If you’re on a budget, you might want to stick to aluminum extending ladders—provided they suit your job needs.
As you can see from our quick comparison above, both materials have their upsides and downsides. At the end of it all, the perfect material to choose for your ladder will depend on the kind of job you plan to use it for. For instance, you’d want to choose fiberglass for electricity-related jobs. For painting, roofing, cleaning, or siding jobs, you can use an aluminum ladder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I determine the perfect ladder height to buy?
The perfect height of the ladder to buy will depend on what you plan to use it for. But we suggest that you get a ladder that has a slightly taller length than what you think will need at the moment.
Q: Are extension ladders safe?
Extension ladders are 100% safe if you use them correctly. Ensure you follow all the safety regulations as offered by the manufacturer. Never exceed the maximum weight capacity of a given ladder (and keep in mind this weight limit includes anything you take with you up the ladder). Strictly follow the manufacturer instructions on how to extend or retract the ladder for safe experience.
Q: Why is there a rope on an extension ladder?
The rope makes extending your ladder an easy job for you. In a typical extension ladder, the rope comes fastened to the bottom of the extending part of the ladder and runs through a pulley situated at the top of the stationary part and then back down to the ground for you to grasp.
Q: Can I put a ladder against gutter?
Don’t do that. Putting your extension ladder against the gutter can easily scratch the gutter finish. The forward edge of gutters can feel slippery for the ladder, making it easily slide and compromise your safety. A ladder standoff will help keep your ladder off the gutter and give it extra stability when working on the gutter.
Q: What is a Type 1A extension ladder?
An extension ladder rated Type 1 means it meets the ANSI standard for accommodating a maximum load capacity of 300lbs and is suitable for extra heavy-duty professional use.
After going through this guide, getting an extension ladder than you can easily extend to shorten according to the job at hand should be easy for you. We have outlined key tips to help you choose the best extension ladder easily. We have also offered you some of the top-rated extending ladders you can order today for home or professional use.