What are the most popular ladder types and why?

There are many different types of ladder, each of which have their own particular features
which allow them to be used in a variety of specific circumstances. As a result of these
features and specialisations, some ladders are much more popular with general everyday
users than others. It doesn’t really matter whether the users are professional or non-
professional, certain types of ladder are just more popular. You’ve probably come across the
most popular ladder types before, but we’ll explain below exactly why they’ve earned this
unofficial title.

Ladders are obviously used to provide additional height when carrying out various task, but
there are certain tasks which are more common than others. For example, workers and
home users will often carry out work on low ceilings in both home environments and work
sites. But the ladders commonly used to carry out these tasks are not applicable in many
other situations where more height is required. As a result, there are two main types of
ladder which occupy their own niche, one for tasks at lower heights and one for tasks which
are higher up.

Extension ladders

The first of the two most popular ladder types is the extension ladder. Extension ladders are
based upon the design of the standard two-legged ladder, but they have an extendable
frame to provide additional height. Instead of one frame with rungs in between, extension
ladders have two of these sections which can slide past each other and then be locked into

The extendable frame of the extension ladder was a revolutionary design improvement as it
allowed a standard-length ladder to be altered to provide additional height. As a result,
extension ladders became a popular choice for professional and non-professional users
alike. They can be folded away and easily stored in cupboards or in vehicles, making them
an ideal solution for tradesmen on the move.

Without an extendable frame, a standard ladder is quite limited in its ability to provide
additional height for users. But this one simple design alteration changed that completely. In
fact, many other ladder types borrow this same principle of the extending frame in order to
increase their usability. For example, there are also extendable step ladders which provide
additional height over the standard version.

Step ladders

Alongside extension ladders, step ladders are the other of the two most common and
popular ladder types. The main attraction of step ladders is the fact that, unlike two-legged
ladders, they can stand on their own without needing support from another structure.
Instead of having just two legs, step ladders have four legs and a folding frame which means
they can be set up anywhere where there is a flat floor surface. It is this ability to stand
upright which makes step ladders one of the most popular ladder types.

Although step ladders can stand upright, there is a trade off when it comes to the additional
height they can offer users. Standard step ladders aren’t able to offer much more than 1.5
metres of additional height, which means their usability in some situations is compromised.
This is due to the fact that above a certain height step ladders become inherently unstable
when in use. This instability poses a significant safety risk to users. As we previously
mentioned, to get around the height constraints of the standard step ladder, models with
extendable frames are also available. But, while these models can provide additional height,
they still suffer from the same instability issues when in use. One solution to this problem is
the inclusion of additional stability legs which fold out and increase the base width of the
step ladder, thereby increasing the frame’s stability.

Other solutions

Neither extension ladders nor step ladders are perfect at what they do. As a result, there are
numerous other pieces of height access equipment which have been developed over the
years to perform a similar function to extension ladders and step ladders. There are more
specialised types of extension ladder which are used specifically for roof work, for example.
Then there are numerous specialised step ladder designs which are used by tradesmen in
specific fields.

However, ultimately, the standard extension ladder and the standard step ladder are the
most popular ladder types because they are great all-rounders. They can be used in many
different situations by both professional users and non-professional users alike, saving the
need to buy multiple different ladders for each specific task.

Because both of these ladder types are so popular, there is a massive selection of models on
the market. However, this doesn’t mean they are all reliable. You should only ever purchase
and use ladders which have been properly safety certified, and you should never overload
them or use them outside of manufacturer guidelines.

If you would like to know more about any type of ladder or other height access equipment,
please contact our expert team for more information.

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