From painting the nursery to changing a light bulb or hanging holiday lights, everyday life often calls for a ladder.
The Little Giant 22-Foot Multi-Use Ladder is our top choice because it allows for safe use up high, in stepladder configuration, and even on the stairs.
If you find yourself teetering on top of a chair as you reach for a burned out light bulb, you need to get a ladder. If it's time to paint a room with a ceiling much taller than seven feet, it's ladder time. If there are trees to prune, strands of lights to hang, or gutters to be cleaned, then a good ladder is a great idea.
Buying a ladder is no time to pinch your pennies. According to the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), there are more than 164,000 annual emergency room visits caused by ladder falls, and as many as 300 annual deaths from falls off ladders. And we're not talking about people tumbling down several stories off of huge industrial-grade ladders: Most ladder fall deaths occurred after a drop of fewer than ten feet.
While I'm not a certified home inspector or anything, I do own three ladders and have been through a few more in my day. From repairs in and around the house to landscaping to hanging pictures to replacing scores of bulbs over the years, I can say I've certainly never regretted the fact that we've always chosen decent hardware in the ladder department.
A few years back, when my wife and I had just bought our first house, I set out to decorate its rather tall, pointed eaves with Christmas lights. I borrowed a ladder from a neighbor and, despite the fact that it felt a bit rickety, I started upward with strands of lighting wrapped around a shoulder. About halfway up the twenty-foot climb, I started to hear audible creaking and popping noises and felt the ladder buckling.
No, I didn't fall off, but what I did do is climb right the hell down and headed off to a hardware store. A couple hundred dollars later I had a large, rugged 24-foot ladder that stayed stable and steady even when I was upon the last rungs. I still have that ladder and have used it every year since for multiple projects. Did I love spending more than two hundred bucks on a ladder? No, not really. But it was better than becoming a statistic cited by the InterNACHI.
If all you need are a few extra feet of height to reach shelves in the kitchen or light fixtures in the bathroom, then a smaller stepladder is fine. If you're painting a room or trimming some smaller trees, an A-frame ladder is a perfect choice. But if you need to be fifteen or twenty feet off the ground (or more), then you need to be ready to spend a chunk of change. It's an investment in safety and efficiency.
Fortunately, many modern ladders are so adaptable that they can elevate you more than twenty feet into the air for some gutter cleaning or roof repair or can fold down into a five-foot stepladder perfect for use in the garage or kitchen. We've included many different types of ladders to suit different needs.
You know that old adage about using the right tool for the job? Well that's true with more than just hammers, screwdrivers, or monkey wrenches. You need to use the right ladder for the task at hand, too. Fortunately, the Little Giant 22-Foot Velocity Multi-Use Ladder is essentially four different ladders in one, so this one tool can be just right for everything from painting the walls of a stairwell to cleaning the gutters of a two-story home to refinishing a ceiling.
At its full extension, the Little Giant Velocity offers you 22 feet of added height, perfect for reaching the roofline of most homes or smaller commercial facilities. It can also be folded into a freestanding A-frame configuration for use beneath trees or when you're working on walls or ceilings. With its sections adjusted to disparate lengths, you can use this ladder on a staircase and feel as stable as you would on flat ground.
The Little Giant 22-Foot Velocity Multi-Use Ladder exceeds all ANSI and OSHA safety standards, and if it's good enough for the professionals, it's probably good enough for your home. It supports up to 300 pounds, so go ahead and haul some hardware up there with you.
This ladder is a true crowd pleaser, with a towering 4.6-star rating and hundreds of happy reviews by owners. One Little Giant fan says it is "very solid and durable," while another reported that this one tool "replaced three ladders" he had in his garage.
A write up from trade publication WindowCleaner.com praised the stability of the Little Giant, calling it "as solid as a rock." In an eLadders video about the Little Giant, a brand rep displayed how quickly and easily the ladder can be converted into its myriad configurations.
Most homes built in the last twenty years have a minimum ceiling height of nine feet. Many newer homes have ten and twelve-foot ceilings, too. With the eight-foot-tall Louisville Ladder FS1508 Fiberglass Ladder, it will be easy for you to reach the ceilings and of course all the wall space in almost any home, or in most commercial locations, too.
Painting requires an A-frame-style ladder. You can't very well lean the top rung of a ladder against the wall you intend to paint, after all, and if you're working on a ceiling, there might not even be any walls nearby that could offer support.
While projects like as changing out a light fixture or swapping an air filter might last only a matter of minutes, painting a room (or exterior) means spending a lot of time on that ladder, so you need to choose one that's stable and sturdy, which this ladder is. Each step is secured with six rugged tubular steel rivets, while the feet consist of thick rubber pads with multiple squares in a waffle iron pattern that allows for excellent stability on all sorts of surfaces.
What sets this ladder away from the herd of other A-frame painting ladders is what you'll find up top. The plastic molded top of this unit features slots perfect for paintbrushes and other tools, a wide cup-holder space suitable for smaller cans of paint or stain (or a cup), a hook for a paint can, and nooks for screws, nails, and other hardware. Why climb up and down all the time when you can stash the stuff you need close at hand?
The Louisville Ladder FS1508 Fiberglass Ladder gets a solid 4.4-star average rating on Amazon, with an owner named Roxy calling it a great ladder that's "lightweight and easy to carry around the house, up the starts, etc." A customer named Gerry calls it an "exceptionally well made American product."
Remember how we talked about using the right tool for the job? That doesn't always mean the right choice is the biggest, fanciest option out there. This beloved little stepladder weighs in at a mere 13.2 pounds, yet it can safely accommodate up to 200 pounds of weight. For quick tasks like dusting the door frames, wiping down the windows, or grabbing a can of soup from a top shelf in the pantry, it's hard to beat the classic Rubbermaid RM-3W Folding 3-Step Stepladder.
This handy ladder locks in place in about one second, offering you a top standing height of 27.25 inches above the ground. In most homes, that's enough added elevation for most people to touch the ceiling. When you're finished with this or that little task or project, the stepladder folds flat enough to slide behind any door, to tuck away under a bed or dresser, or even to slip between an appliance and the wall.
You probably won't mind that comfort grip handle on top of the stepladder, either, which helps provide stability during use and easy carrying around the home. The textured steps also help prevent slips.
With more than 1,500 reviews posted, this stepladder earns an excellent 4.6-star rating on Amazon. A user named Blaze calls it a "steady little work-horse of a ladder," while Rubbermaid customer named Louise says it's "sturdy and easy to use."
A writer with Garage Tool Advisor called this stepladder safe and sturdy and noted its minimal three-inch depth when folded up for storage. A TheZ8.com review called the Rubbermaid RM-3W Folding 3-Step Stepladder "lightweight and slip resistant."
The first time I saw one of these ladders, it was slung under the arm of the inspector coming to look over, under, and through my house. He was a burly guy, easily 6'2" and 250 pounds, yet he clambered up and down his telescopic Ohuhu ladder a dozen times in the next few hours, folding it down to move it around the house and yard multiple times during the process. When he was done, he collapsed it back into a compact enough package to grab with one hand and casually carry out through the door and into the back seat of a car. I was impressed, to say the least.
The Ohuhu EN131 Telescopic Extension Ladder has a maximum extension of 12.5-feet, which means a person of average height can use it to reach surfaces about fifteen feet off the ground, which is more than enough height for myriad residential and commercial applications.
While this ladder is indeed solid enough for commercial use — and especially for an inspector or contractor on the move — it's ideal for the home where storage space is at a premium. The ladder is just 40.2 inches tall when collapsed down small, and it weighs only a few ounces more than 25 pounds, so most people can move it around with ease.
The Ohuhu EN131 Telescopic Extension Ladder has a commendable 4.5-star rating on Amazon, with one customer named Tyler asking: "Is it weird to love a ladder?" He goes on to praise its "large and slip resistant" feet, among other things. An owner named Brian says he "can't believe how well made and easy [to use] this ladder works!"
The expert reviewers at TopPro10.com noted this ladder's "premium aluminum alloy" construction, while an in-depth PickMyLadder.com article praised the ladder's safety features, which reduces the chance of the common "notorious... finger-pinching" issue.
The Lifewit Multipurpose Folding Ladder may look like a regular ladder when it's fully extended out to its 12.5-foot maximum height, but it's really five ladders hiding in the guise of one. Thanks to three pairs of clever multi-directional locking mechanisms built into this piece, it can be oriented in five different ways.
First, there is that simple, tall ladder that you will lean against a wall during a painting or gutter cleaning project. Many people will most often use their Lifewit ladder in a six-foot-tall A-frame configuration, which is perfect for changing light bulbs or for interior residential painting. It can also be collapsed down into a stable three-foot tall stepladder. Or, rare as this need may be, you can erect a pair of three-foot-tall A-frame ladders side-by-side, allowing two people to get a few feet higher off the ground simultaneously.
But perhaps the most interesting setup of this ladder is in its platform arrangement. The Lifewit can be configured into a flat, six-foot-long platform raised three feet off the ground. This creates an ideal workspace for painting taller walls or standard height ceilings, for doing involved electrical work on lighting fixtures or fans, for installing, repairing, or finishing molding, and for many other purposes that would normally require you to be constantly moving your ladder.
This transformer of a ladder has a 4.5-star average rating on Amazon, with an owner named Brooklyn calling it "heavy duty... and convenient. Once folded up it can be small enough to fit into the trunk of a car." An owner named George says: "It is a great ladder! I use it for everything."
In a write up from Better Homes & Gardens, the Lifewit Multipurpose Aluminum Folding Ladder was noted for being "constructed out of above industry standard heavy duty rustproof aluminum alloy."
If you like to tackle DIY projects around the house, you're going to need a saw or two. We've rounded up the very best saws you can buy whether you need a jigsaw, chainsaw, circular saw, or table saw. In our guide, we've included picks for eight different kinds of saws:
A cordless power drill is one of the most versatile tools you can keep in your home. It works to bore holes, drive screws, and stir mortar, among other tasks. So when seeking the best drill, we'd suggest going with the most versatile power drill, the Makita 18V Cordless 1/2-Inch Hammer Driver Drill.
You should also consider the Bosch 12V 3/8-Inch Drill, the Black & Decker 12V Cordless Drill, the Porter-Cable 20V 1/2-Inch Drill, and the Makita 1/2-Inch Corded Drill.
No toolkit is complete without a great measuring tape. From the professional contractor's work to the DIY home repair, countless projects call for precise measurements. The QuickDraw DIY Self Marking Measuring Tape is our top choice because its innovative built-in pencil ensures you mark the same spot you measured.
You should also consider the Stanley PowerLock 25-Foot Tape Measure, the WorkPro 100-Foot Fiberglass Measuring Tape, the General Tools LTM1 2-In-1 Laser Tape Measure, and the eTape16 Digital Measuring Tape.
With a good set of tools, you can repair a crooked cabinet, hang a shelf or picture frame, tune up your bicycle, or fix a leaky pipe under the sink. The Stanley 65-Piece Tool Kit is our top choice because it comes with many tools you'll use all the time, it has only the tools you need, and each item is well-made.
You should also consider the WorkPro Kitchen Drawer 100-Piece Tool Kit, the OUTAD Multi-Functional 100-Piece Tool Kit, the Cartman General Household 39-Piece Tool Kit, and the AmazonBasics 65-Piece Home Repair Tool Set.
From temporary uses like hanging lights during the holidays or powering tools for a home repair project to more permanent applications like connecting a floor lamp to that outlet hidden behind the couch, extension cords are a must-have for modern life. The Coleman 16 Gauge Extension Cord is our top choice because it's durable, flexible, and suitable for just about every application in and around the home.
You should also consider the AmazonBasics Vinyl Outdoor Extension Cord, the HOLSEM Power Strip Extension Cord, the Watt's Wire 14 Gauge Extension Cord, and the Aurum Cables Extension Cord.
Sure, hammers have a pretty simple design, but that doesn't mean all hammers are created equal. The advanced anti-vibration handle on the Stanley 20-Ounce FatMax Xtreme Hammer makes it the perfect hammer to handle all kinds of jobs around the house without putting stress on your wrists and forearms.
You should also consider the Vaughan & Bushnell 12-Ounce Soft-Face Hammer, the Stiletto TiBone 15-Ounce Titanium Milled-Face Hammer, the Estwing 25-Ounce Big Blue Framing Hammer, and the Tekton Jacketed Fiberglass Ball Pein Hammer.
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