Extension Ladders: Review & Recommendations

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Welcome to our large extension ladder test 2020, where we present all extension ladders that we have tested in detail. We have put together detailed background information for you and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the net.

We want to make your purchase decision easier and help you to find the best extension ladder for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. You will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy an extension ladder.

The most important facts in brief

  • When pushed together, the extension ladder is very compact. You can easily carry, transport and store an extension ladder.
  • The length of an extension ladder can be adjusted as required. This makes it easy to adapt an extension ladder to any purpose.
  • A distinction is made between extension ladders and telescopic ladders. With an extension ladder you can achieve higher points. Telescopic ladder offers flexibility and can be used indoors and outdoors.

Pull-out ladder test: Favourites of the editorial team

  • The best telescopic ladder to put on
  • The best multi-purpose extension ladder
  • The best extension ladder

The best telescopic ladder to put on

This extension ladder has a folded height of only 75 cm and unfolded height of 260 cm with its nine rungs. With a weight of 6.3 kg it is one of the lightest extension ladders. The non-slip rubber feet ensure a firm stand on the floor indoors and outdoors.

If you constantly change your place of work and have to carry your single ladder around, this telescopic ladder is the best for you.

The best multi-purpose extension ladder

This multi-function ladder can be used as a single or stepladder, depending on requirements. As the telescopic ladder is partially extendable, it is suitable for use as a stepladder on a staircase to compensate for the difference in height. Its length of 5 metres when put on makes it possible to reach high walls and trees.

With its multifunctional characteristics, this extension ladder is particularly suitable for homeowners.

The best extension ladder

This extension ladder can be extended up to 9 meters. In contrast to many other extension ladders, it can also be used as a trestle ladder and has a working height of 4.4 metres in this state. It is praised by customers for its safe feeling.

If you work outdoors, this extension ladder with its flexibility and reach is a dream.

Advisor: Questions you should deal with before buying an extension ladder

What is an extension ladder?

An extension ladder is different from other types of ladder, although other ladders have a fixed length and therefore require a fixed and often large storage space. In addition, the length of the extension ladder can be adjusted according to the desired reach.

A very related term is that of telescopic ladder. If you are looking for an extension ladder, you will often see that the word extension ladder is replaced with telescopic ladder almost everywhere. The reason for this is that the telescopic ladder is now a very common type of extension ladder. Where exactly the difference lies, we will discuss in the course of these articles.

What does an extension ladder cost?

There is a very wide price range for the price of an extension ladder. Depending on the model and length, the costs are very different. The price of an extension ladder can vary from 55 to 400 Euros. Depending on your expectations of an extension ladder, you can find a cheaper model.

The decisive factor for the telescopic ladder prices is their function. The prices for single ladders start at 55 Euros. If it is a multi-purpose ladder the prices go up to 160 Euros. Since you can use the multi-purpose ladder as both a single and a stepladder, the price quickly pays off if you need an extension ladder more often.

For extension ladders the decisive factor is the length. Apart from the length, the aluminium extension ladders differ minimally. While a 2.8 metre extension ladder costs 80 euros, the price of a 13 metre extension ladder can go up to 400 euros.

For whom is an extension ladder suitable?

An extension ladder is suitable for anyone who wants to climb up and can maintain their balance to a certain extent.

The extension ladder is especially popular among craftsmen. On the one hand, its length can be adjusted as required according to demand and capacity, making it suitable for changing workplaces. On the other hand, it can be transported easily and compactly as soon as the ladder is pushed in.

An extension ladder can be repositioned for any of your purposes.

A pull-out ladder is also indispensable for private households. Whether you own a large house and clean the roof from time to time or have a garden full of cherry trees.

For what purposes is an extension ladder suitable?

An extension ladder satisfies the most diverse needs with its flexibility. No matter whether your wishes are commercial or private.
With a sliding ladder of suitable length you can repair or clean the roof of your house. Windows that cannot be cleaned from the inside are therefore no problem. It gives you a clean view for your home.
These are not the only areas of application for the extension ladder. The fire brigade uses extension ladders to save people and animals.

A telescopic ladder can even be used inside and outside the house. To compensate for the difference in height on stairs, you can adjust the length of both sides of a stepladder differently and paint, repair or decorate those areas of your house that are not easily accessible with pictures.

With its easy portability, a telescopic ladder is also suitable to take with you on camping trips.

How long should my extension ladder be?

Extending ladders are available in different lengths. Once you know what you need the extension ladder for, you can find a suitable extension ladder. There are two lengths of extension ladders: retracted length and maximum achievable length.

In general, the shorter the maximum length of the extension ladder, the smaller it is when it is pushed in.

This makes a smaller extension ladder more suitable than a larger one for storage at home or transport by car. Furthermore, small extension ladders often weigh less and are therefore easier to carry.

Where can I buy an extension ladder?

You can find a large selection of extendable ladders in DIY stores or online shops. It is also possible that some supermarkets have extension ladders in their range. But they are often short-term offers with little choice.
According to our research, most extension ladders are sold through these online shops:

ebay.com
laddershop.com
amazon.com
hornbach.com
obi.de

All extension ladders that we present to you on our site have a link to at least one of these shops. If you have found a ladder that you like, you can strike right away.

What are the alternatives to an extension ladder?

Ladders differ mainly in portability. In the following we will give you a short overview of portable ladders, which are alternatives to extension ladders. Non-portable ladders are, for example, the fixed stair ladder.

The above ladders differ from an extension ladder in that they have a fixed length and cannot be pushed together when not in use.

Decision: What types of extension ladders are there and which one is right for you?

When you are thinking about buying an extension ladder, you have to make a decision between these two types:

  • Telescopic ladder
  • Sliding ladder

For telescopic ladders you will find three types to choose from: single ladder, stepladder and a mixture of both, the multi-function ladder.

The structures of these two product types have different advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your place of use, purpose and frequency of use, one of the two product types is more suitable for you. In the following we will help you to choose the right type of product.

What distinguishes a telescopic ladder and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A telescopic ladder contains its spars hidden in the gaps of the other spars.

Because you insert the telescopic ladder rung by rung, you save more space in your cellar. This allows you to easily transport the product in the trunk or the back seat of your car. Most telescopic ladders come with a carrying bag. The fact that the telescopic ladder fits into a bag already gives you an idea of how small these telescopic ladders are when pushed in.

Advantages

Space-saving
Easy portability
Low weight

Disadvantages

Less stability
Low maximum height

Telescopic ladders as single and stepladders have on average a lower maximum length than extension ladders and therefore also a lower weight. Depending on the model, you can use a telescopic ladder as a single or stepladder. Multi-purpose ladders, which allow both types of use, are usually more expensive and require more storage space.

What distinguishes a sliding ladder and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A sliding ladder usually consists of two or three ladder sections. These ladder sections are parallel to each other and can be extended as required.

Advantages

Very stable
High maximum length
For outdoor use

Disadvantages

Requires a lot of storage space
High weight

A sliding ladder remains very stable at meter-long heights and is therefore well suited for outdoor use. Sliding ladders are mostly preferred for construction work.

Purchase criteria: You can compare and rate extension ladders based on these factors

Then we will show you which aspects will help you decide which of the many possible extension ladders is the right one for you.

The criteria you can use to compare the extendable ladders include

  • Length
  • number of rungs
  • Resilience
  • Weight
  • Material

In the following we will go into more detail about these criteria to make your decision easier.

Length

When it comes to the extension ladder, three different lengths are reported:

  • Inserted length
  • Maximum / extended length
  • Working height

Because a telescopic ladder has several parts pushed together, it has a short retracted length, usually between 75 and 90 centimetres. Accordingly, a telescopic ladder can be pushed out as a single ladder up to 4 meters high.

For multifunction models, the maximum length is between 3.5 and 7 metres when fitted. If you use the multi-function ladder as a stepladder, you will reach about half of this maximum height.

In contrast, the sliding ladder is available in very different heights. An extension ladder has a maximum length of between 2.8 and 13 metres. The inserted length is accordingly between 1 and 7 metres and is strongly dependent on the number of ladder sections. The overlapping of the ladder sections is not to be disregarded.

You must not climb the top 3 rungs on a single ladder and the top 4 rungs on a sliding ladder, as you must hold on to the ladder.

Because of the overlaps, the maximum length of an extension ladder cannot simply be calculated as the inserted length times the number of parts. Lengths of overlaps are different for each extension ladder.

Working height describes the maximum height that the person on the extension ladder can reach. It is calculated with plus 80 centimetres to the maximum height reached.

number of rungs

The number of steps is directly proportional to the conductor length. According to DIN EN 131, the distance between rungs may be between 25 and 30 centimetres. The recommended distance between rungs is 28 centimetres. For example, the number of rungs on a 3.8 metre long telescopic ladder is 12 or 13.

With a sliding ladder you can see that the number of rungs of individual parts is indicated. The sum of these does not reflect the number of rungs in the maximum extended state. As already mentioned, there is overlapping between the ladder parts in the case of sliding ladders. Therefore, the maximum length is a more representative criterion for the reach of the extension ladder.

Resilience

The standard load capacity of an extension ladder is 150 kilograms.

In addition to your own weight, you should also take into account the weight of materials you are taking with you.

This load capacity is completely sufficient in most cases. However, if you need a ladder that can carry more than 150 kilograms, we recommend that you look for other types of ladder. It should not be forgotten that the alternatives also have the standard at 150 kilograms. Exceptionally there are ladders with a carrying capacity of up to 510 kilograms.

Weight

A low weight for an extension ladder is very important so that you can easily carry, push together and transport the extension ladder. The lower the weight, the easier it will be for you to handle the extension ladder.

The weight depends on the amount of material and thus on the length. A telescopic ladder with single ladder function weighs between 6 and 13 kilograms, whereas a telescopic ladder with multi-purpose or stepladder function weighs between 14 and 18 kilograms.

Since an extension ladder is available in very different lengths, its weight lies within a wide range of values, namely between 8 and 24 kilograms. For your household, an extension ladder weighing between 8 and 13 kilograms is usually sufficient.

Material

An extension ladder is made of aluminium. Aluminium is light, robust and stainless. Thanks to these characteristics, an aluminium extension ladder is stable and flexible, as you expect it to be.

It is essential for telescopic ladders that the rungs are coated with rubber. Rubber reduces the danger of slipping when climbing up.

The traditional alternatives to aluminium are steel and wood. These two materials are not preferred for extension ladders. Steel can significantly increase or even double the weight of the ladder. Wood does not offer the flexibility of sliding. Extending ladders are made of aluminium, because the aluminium with low weight offers easy portability and flexibility with easy processing.

Sliding ladders made of glass fibre reinforced plastic can also be found on the market. This material is particularly preferred for its high chemical resistance. However, extension ladders made of glass fibre reinforced plastic are common for industrial purposes and are considerably more expensive than other models. Prices range between 590 and 770 Euros.

Trivia: Worth knowing facts about extension ladders

How do I set up an extension ladder correctly?

To avoid unwanted situations and accidents, pay attention to how you set up an extension ladder correctly before you or your pets start climbing. You should set up a extension ladder or a single ladder as follows:

  • The floor should be flat.
  • With a sliding ladder, the extended ladder section should remain outside – not on the wall side.
  • The single ladder should be leaned against the wall at an angle of 65 – 75 degrees. The correct position can easily be determined using the elbow method. Keep your arm parallel to the floor. The ladder should be leaned on a line between your feet and your elbow.
  • The fourth topmost rung should not be exceeded, as from this level it will not be possible to hold on to the ladder safely.

For stepladders, all four feet of the stepladder should be on the same level. The two parts of a stepladder are connected with a rope or piece of metal. This gives you an indication of how wide you should set up the legs of the extension ladder.

How do I transport an extension ladder correctly and safely?

Different models require you to carry your extension ladder in different ways. And don’t forget: safety first!

A telescopic ladder makes it easy to carry them. With rungs pushed together, you can carry your telescopic ladder under your armpit with one hand. Thanks to their compactness, you will surely find a safe place in your car. No matter if in the trunk or on the back seat.

You should be more careful with a sliding ladder. Although an extension ladder is much smaller than a simple single ladder of the same length, it can still be too large for your car boot. In this case you will need a ladder holder on the roof of your car. Ladder brackets can be mounted quickly and are available in online shops.

Carrying the extension ladder by hand is not always easy either. To carry the extension ladder safely, you should get your arm through the gap in the middle and place the upper rail on your shoulder. For long extension ladders you may need two or even 4 people.

After how much time can I lay an extension ladder on screed?

Screed is loadable from the 14th day. Resilient means that you can continue your construction work with a stepladder and the like. Screed is generally accessible from the 4th day.

You don’t have to wait two weeks to redecorate your room. For example, you can continue painting from the fourth day.

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