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Buyer’s Guide to Ladders

Purchasing the right ladder or scaffolding for your building projects makes work for you and your employees easier and safer. In this ladder guide, we’ll cover the various ladder types you’ll need to know to make the right choice for your application. These include the following ladder types:

Types of Ladders:

Ladder Guide Tips:

There are many different styles of ladders, lengths, and materials, so be sure to look for the extension reach height that’s appropriate for your project.

Here are some basic tips you need to know for when you choose your ladder:

  • Ensure that you stand no higher than two steps down from the top of the step ladder to prevent falling and injury from occurring. For example, a person who is about 5 1/2 feet tall with a vertical one-foot reach will be able to safely reach a point of four feet past the height of the ladder.
  • Extension ladders should be several feet taller than the height you need to reach.
  • The maximum highest and safest standing level is four rungs from the top.
  • The sections of the ladder should overlap at least three feet on ladders that go up to thirty-six feet high. For longer ladders, the sections should overlap as much as five feet.
  • The ladder should be placed at the correct angle. Ensure that the base is one foot out from the wall the ladder is resting against.
  • Make sure that the ladder extends three feet beyond the top supporting point (such as at the roof line.)
  • With the above factors in mind – be sure to use an extension ladder that is anywhere from seven to ten feet longer than the highest point the ladder will lean up against.
  • To ensure your personal safety, always have three points of contact whenever you climb, descend, or work while using the ladder. (Two hands and one foot OR one hand and two feet contacting the ladder at ALL TIMES.) 

Load Capacity

Prior deciding on a ladder, you’ll want to ensure that your ladder can handle the weight you need it to hold. Load capacity is sometimes called “performance rating.” In order to find out the load capacity of your ladder, you will need to factor in the weight of the worker, as well as the weight of any tools or materials you expect to use. Here are the ladder ratings for load capacity:

Type IAA ladders: 375 lbs load capacity
• Type IA ladders:
300 lbs load capacity
• Type I ladders:
250 lbs load capacity
• Type II ladders:
225 lbs load capacity
• Type III ladders:
200 pounds load capacity

Aluminum Extension Ladder

Extension Ladders

What is an extension ladder? Extension ladders are very long ladders that have a base and one or two upper sections that slide up and down to allow you to reach different heights. These types of ladders feature locks which keep the ladder extended and locked at the appropriate height while you work.

The largest extension ladders typically have a rope and pully setup which can help you easily lengthen your ladder according to your specific need. Usually, the lower section of the ladder will have pivoting feet to allow you to have better stability no matter the angle required.

For an extension ladder, you will need a vertical surface like a wall or a roof line to lean the ladder up against.

Extension ladders are typically available in larger/longer sizes than step ladders. This makes extension ladders ideal for construction projects, hanging objects up on high walls, cleaning out gutters, or painting.

Multi-Purpose/Combination Ladders

Multi-purpose ladders, otherwise known as combination ladders, give the individual various options to adjust the ladder depending on the type of construction or outdoor project.

There are multiple models available. Depending on the model, you’ll find that multi-purpose or combination ladders can function both as a single or twin-side step ladder.

Attic Ladders

Another type of handy ladder you’ll find on the market is the attic ladder, which comes in either aluminum, steel, or wood, depending on your preference. With the attic ladder, you can easily reach your storage space safely and conveniently. You can have a set of pull-down stairs (or an attic ladder) installed for you, or with a helper, you can install an attic ladder yourself. Typically, the mechanism is the folding style. However, attic ladders also come in scissor and sliding types too.

Prior to installing an attic ladder, be sure to look into the weight capacity and height/number of steps required. Also, ensure you have measured the opening to the attic since a frame is needed to accommodate for the ladder installation.

Step Ladders

What is a step ladder? You’ll recognize a step ladder easily because they have an A-frame design. Typically, step ladders have spreaders which lock and hold the two sides in place. A well-made, heavy-duty step ladder provides stability and safety so that you can easily access high places.

Step ladders come in two styles: steps that run up on one side, or on both sides. If you need a ladder for an indoor project, a step ladder is probably going to be your best best. Step ladders are a great option for whenever you need to install a ceiling fan, hang a picture, or paint walls and ceilings.


Are you working on a construction or building project? You’ll want to invest in scaffolding.

Buy sections or individual components to create a system to suit your needs. A scaffolding system includes the frame itself plus planks and stages. Rolling and portable scaffolds, which consist of a frame and one or more platforms for standing, are a good choice for people who change positions frequently.

Here are some tips for your security and stability when working with scaffolding:

  • Always be sure to read the manufacturer’s manual for use and safety
  • Do not exceed the scaffolding equipment’s capacity for height, weight, or number of people
  • Account for the user’s weight, clothing, gear, tools, or equipment used in the project
  • Inspect for damage prior to using and DO NOT USE DAMAGED EQUIPMENT
  • Keep surfaces clear of clutter or debris to ensure safety
  • Double check that there are no overhead power lines

Ladder Guide Summary

When choosing a ladder for your interior or exterior project, always be sure to check for load capacity, extension, and be sure you are safely using your ladder at all times. If in doubt, use this ladder guide for reference. There are various types of ladders available in aluminum, fiberglass, and others. Your choice of material will depend on what you need to use your ladder for. At Badger Ladder, we offer various types of ladders, including extension ladders, A-frame step ladders, and scaffolding. Our products are quality-made and manufactured according to industry standards and regulations set by OSHA and ANSI requirements.

Have additional questions than what was discussed in this ladder guide? Our team is happy to help! Please reach out to our friendly customer service representative team by giving us a call at 1-800-863-9791, or by emailing us at