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What Are the Different Types of Ladders?

From multi-purpose to A-frame, there are many different types of ladders. Ladders are an essential tool for both personal and professional use. They come in a variety of different sizes and materials.

Types of Ladders: Table of Contents

In this industry, there are plenty of different types of ladders to choose from. Below are some of the different styles you’ll find.

Fiberglass Platform Stepladder

Ladder Load Capacity Ratings

Before we delve into the various different types of ladders, let’s first discuss load capacity ratings. Load capacity, sometimes called duty or performance rating, refers to the weight that a ladder can handle. All ladder ratings are determined by the American National Standards Institute.

  • Type IAA ladders: load capacity of 375 pounds
  • Type IA ladders: load capacity of 300 pounds
  • Type I ladders: load capacity of 250 pounds
  • Type II ladders: load capacity of 225 pounds
  • Type III ladders: load capacity of 200 pounds
Ladders for Sale

Step Ladders

A-Frame vs Platform

If you’ve ever needed to access a high shelf, paint, or hang something up on the wall, you’ve likely used a step ladder before. The step ladder is the most common type of ladder. There are quite a few benefits to having a step ladder or two handy. For example, they come in a variety of sizes and can be adjusted to reach different heights as needed.

In addition, step ladders are lightweight, easy to transport, great for storing and bringing out whenever needed, and are especially a great choice for indoor use.

If you’re shopping for a step ladder, you’ll need to choose between A-Frame and a Platform ladder. As their name implies, A-Frame step ladders are shaped like the capital letter “A” and are the perfect solution for many different types of projects. Specialized A-frame ladders can be used on stairs and ramps.

Platform ladders specifically are a type of step ladder that has a broad standing surface with a safety rail at the top of the ladder, allowing for additional working reach. Shop aluminum and fiberglass stepladders online.

Extension Ladders

Aluminum vs Fiberglass

The extension ladder can be found in either aluminum or fiberglass. An extension ladder can be easily extended in order to reach great heights. They’re ideal for outdoor tasks like cleaning gutters, trimming trees, washing windows, or performing a roofing or siding project.

Whether you choose an aluminum or a fiberglass ladder will ultimately depend on:

  • What you’re willing to spend
  • If you’re looking for added strength and durability
  • You need better portability
  • Or, you need electrical resistance for your project

Aluminum extension ladders provide a bit better of a price break when compared with fiberglass. In addition, they’re also a bit easier to transport. Aluminum ladders are overall great choices for industrial, construction, or projects that require your workers to reach great heights.

However, when it comes to durability, strength, and safety while performing electrical work, a fiberglass extension ladder is an absolute must. You’ll want to opt for a fiberglass ladder whenever you’re working in hotter temperatures/climate, you’re working near power lines or electrical wires, or you simply are willing to spend more for the durability.

For more info, check out our article here about aluminum vs fiberglass ladders and which is right for you.

Fiberglass Extension Ladder

Multi-Purpose Ladders

Multi-purpose, (or multi-position, all-purpose ladders, or specialty ladders), can be easily adjusted to multiple different positions for your convenience.

For example, a multi-purpose ladder can function as the following:

  • Step ladder
  • Extension ladder
  • Staircase ladder

With their versatility, you can use an all-purpose ladder for a number of different tasks with just a few small adjustments to get the combination you need.

Check out our all-purpose ladders here. Our multi-purpose ladder types come in 13, 17, and 22-ft options and serve as an A-Frame, Stairway Step, and Extension ladder with slight adjustments.

Combination Ladders

Combination ladders are helpful for a number of uses – these include: safely leaning up against walls, corners, or poles during the construction project. Each combination ladder will come with a new and improved top cap V rung design to better hold tools and to protect and stabilize the ladder during use.

A combination ladder will also be characterized by improved feet for a more secure base, especially when leaning up against a wall.

Check out all our combination ladder options here.

Combination Ladders
A Frame Ladder

A-Frame Ladders

We’ve already discussed A-Frame ladders, but let’s dive into a little more detail!

These ladders are perfect for indoor tasks such as changing light bulbs or reaching high shelves. They are also a popular choice for outdoor tasks, such as gardening or cleaning gutters. In addition, this ladder type is easy to move around since it’s relatively lightweight.

You’ll typically find A-Frame ladders manufactured from either aluminum, fiberglass, or wood. Some models even feature adjustable legs, allowing you to adjust the height of the ladder as needed. Many A-frame ladders that you’ll find on the market also come with safety features like slip-resistant steps and locking mechanisms.

If you’re looking for a ladder that can help you tackle a variety of tasks, an A-frame ladder may be just what you need.

Scaffold Ladders

Lastly, let’s talk about scaffold ladders. These are large, heavy-duty ladders that are designed specifically for use in construction and industrial jobsites.

A scaffold ladder provides a sturdy platform for workers to stand on, which means that they can support a lot of weight. We don’t recommend scaffold ladders for home use, since they’ve too heavy and bulky to be easily transported and are designed specifically for commercial construction use.

A scaffold ladder is designed for your team’s safety. This means that you’ll usually find features such as slip-resistant rungs, guardrails, and locking mechanisms to ensure stability and prevent dangerous falls. Furthermore, every scaffold ladder or ladder jack you’ll find should be OSHA and/or ANSI compliant.

Scaffold ladders can also be easily adjusted to different lengths, making them the perfect solution for many different applications and jobsites. They can also be folded for easy storage, and wheeled around and secured to virtually any area of the construction site you need them.

Scaffolding Ladder
Work Stands

Work Stands

Work stands (or platform ladders) are practical for just reaching up a little ways. Since they typically range between 2-4 feet in height, they are the perfect solution for DIY projects such as painting, nailing wall décor, etc.

Platform ladders are typically available in fiberglass, aluminum, and wood materials. Check out our fiberglass/work platform, and aluminum work stands here.

Ladder Type FAQs

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions about ladder types:

The four common types of ladders are step ladders, extension ladders, platform ladders, and multi-purpose ladders. Step ladders are self-supporting and can be used where there is no wall for support, ideal for tasks at medium height, like painting or stocking shelves. Extension ladders require support from a wall or other surface and can be extended to reach higher places, such as for cleaning gutters or roofing. Platform ladders provide a stable surface at the top for workers to stand on, making them suitable for tasks that require a steady hand for longer periods, like electrical work. As you may have guessed, multi-purpose ladders are versatile and can be converted into several configurations, including a step ladder, extension ladder, or scaffold, providing flexibility for various tasks around the home or workplace.

Type 1 and Type 2 ladders refer to the duty ratings assigned to ladders based on their maximum load capacity, including the weight of the user plus any materials. Type 1 ladders have a duty rating for heavy-duty industrial use and can support up to 250 pounds. They are commonly used in construction and industrial environments. Type 2 ladders are rated for medium-duty commercial use and have a load capacity of up to 225 pounds. These are suitable for lighter tasks in commercial or household environments where the total weight does not exceed the specified limit.

Choosing the right ladder type for your project depends on the task’s specific requirements, including height, duration, and environment. For tasks that require stability and are of short duration, a platform ladder might be the best choice, especially if you need to work hands-free. If you need to reach very high places, like cleaning gutters or accessing a roof, an extension ladder is suitable. For varied tasks around a home or site that may require changing between different heights and positions, a multi-purpose ladder offers flexibility. Always consider the ladder’s duty rating to ensure it can safely support the total expected load.

Purchase Different Types of Ladders from Badger Ladder!

There are quite a few different types of ladders to choose from. Which style you choose depends on the height you need to reach, the weight capacity required, and what type of project you’re working on. If you have questions about the type of ladder you should choose, please do not hesitate to call our friendly team at 1-800-863-9791 and we’ll help you with any inquiries or orders. You can also check out our buyer’s guide to ladders for additional information about how to buy.

Our ladder and scaffolding company has several locations. We are based in Green Bay, WI, and have three other locations in Savannah, GA, Cranbury, NJ, and Tacoma, WA. With nearly 30 years in the industry, our team is proud to serve you.