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The 5 Best Extension Ladders (2021 Review)

As opposed to a step ladder that only brings you a few inches off the ground, an extension ladder allows you to reach heights of more than 10 feet, making it the perfect tool for high-up tasks around your home, like changing your smoke detectors or cleaning the gutters. Read our guide below to learn more about the best extension ladders. The products included in this article are available at various home improvement stores, local home centers, and online retailers like Amazon.

Extension Ladder Adobe

Extension ladders can help you reach extreme heights for projects like cleaning the gutters or trimming trees, or they can be used at their base height for lower projects like hanging a picture or putting up Christmas lights. Before purchasing an extension ladder, decide what types of projects you’ll be using it for, how high it needs to reach, and whether or not you need accessories.

In this guide, we’ll go over the best extension ladders available on Amazon and provide a buyer’s guide with important factors to consider before making a purchase.

Best Multi-Purpose: Little Giant Ladders M22 Multi-Position Ladder

This product from Little Giant Ladders isn’t just an extension ladder—you can also use it in A-frame, trestle-and-plank, 90-degree, and staircase positions, making it useful for all of your household projects. While this ladder doesn’t completely fold up like some of the others in this review, it does have wheels to make transporting it easier.

Key Features

  • Made of aluminum
  • 13, 17, 22, or 26 feet tall
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds
  • Has two wheels for transportation

What Customers Are Saying

About 6,500 customers have reviewed this ladder on Amazon. Of those customers, 95% gave it a rating of 4 or 5 stars for an average rating of 4.7 stars. Customers liked how easy this ladder was to use. Many customers were first-time ladder owners and said that they had figured out how to use the ladder and were already climbing it to complete a variety of tasks around their home within seconds. However, some customers said the ladder didn’t feel as sturdy as they expected.

Most Portable: WolfWise Aluminum Telescopic Ladder

This ladder has several features that make it portable, including its lightweight, aluminum frame that weighs 25 pounds or less depending on the height you choose and its ability to fold down to a quarter of its size. It also has a built-in handle for carrying and a strap to keep it in its collapsed position.

Key Features

  • Made of aluminum
  • 8.5, 10.5, or 12.5 feet tall
  • Weight capacity of 330 pounds
  • Has a strap to keep it in its collapsed position

What Customers Are Saying

This ladder has an average rating of 4.6 stars from just under 1,000 customers. Ninety percent of these customers gave it a 4- or 5-star review. Customers liked this lightweight and compact ladder, saying that it hardly took up any storage space in their home or vehicle, and even petite women were able to carry the ladder without a problem. A common complaint was that the feet on the ladder are made of hard plastic, which caused the ladder to slip and damage the flooring.

Most Customizable: Xtend & Climb Telescoping Ladder

Xtend & Climb offers three extension ladder series to fit your needs. You can purchase a Home, Pro, or Contractor series ladder, each with varying weight capacities, colors, and heights. The Home series tends to be shorter with a lower load capacity meant for tasks around the home. The Contractor series is taller with a higher weight capacity for professionals. The Pro series fits somewhere in between the two, making it a good option for the more experienced homeowner.

Key Features

  • Made of aluminum
  • 8.5, 10.5, 12.5, or 15.5 feet tall
  • Weight capacity of 250 or 300 pounds depending on the series
  • Has a strap to keep it in its collapsed position

What Customers Are Saying

Each ladder series has a different number of reviews and average rating. However, all of them have a few hundred reviews, with an average rating between 4.5–4.9 stars. Satisfied customers said this ladder felt sturdy while they were on it, even if they were close to the maximum weight capacity. However, this sturdiness came at a price, as the material used to make this ladder steady increased its weight and made it cumbersome to carry.

Simplest Design: Ohuhu Aluminum Telescopic Ladder

The design of this Ohuhu telescopic ladder is user-friendly. It features a one-button retraction, as opposed to a button at every height, and it automatically locks every time you go up a rung. Like the other telescoping ladders in this review, it has a strap to keep the collapsed rungs in place so that it doesn’t open during transportation and accidentally injure you.

Key Features

  • Made of aluminum
  • 8.5 or 12.5 feet tall
  • Weight capacity of 330 pounds
  • Has a strap to keep it in its collapsed position

What Customers Are Saying

Just over 3,000 customers have given this telescoping ladder an average rating of 4.5 stars, with 89% of customers giving it a 4- or 5-star review. Customers said this ladder was easy to handle because of its ability to collapse, which made it easy to store and transport. However, some customers said that one of the rungs stopped collapsing after a while, which prevented them from being able to close the ladder completely.

Best Heavy-Duty: Louisville Ladder FE3228 Extension Ladder

This is the only ladder in this review that’s made of fiberglass instead of aluminum. Since fiberglass is more durable than other materials, it’s ideal for a variety of heavy-duty projects. Aside from its fiberglass construction, it also has wide rungs that are easy to stand on and feet with grooves in them to ensure that they don’t slip, regardless of what surface they’re on.

Key Features

  • Made of fiberglass
  • 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, or 40 feet tall
  • Weight capacity of 300 pounds
  • Rope and pulley system for extending and collapsing

What Customers Are Saying

Just over 700 customers have reviewed this product on Amazon. Similar to the Ohuhu ladder, it has an average rating of 4.5 stars, with 89% of customers giving it 4 or 5 stars. Customers said the ladder was easy to extend and collapse because of the rope and pulley system that’s included with the product. However, some customers said the ladder was heavy and awkward to carry because of its fiberglass construction.

Buying Guide

Take a look at our buying guide to help you determine what features to look for in your extension ladder.

Length

The number one consideration to think about when purchasing a ladder is its overall length. The advertised height of a ladder is its height when it’s fully extended. However, extension ladders are adjustable, so you can usually set them at one-inch increments starting at half the ladder’s height.

Class

There are five extension ladder classes, each of which have different uses:

  1. Type IAA—This type is designed to hold up to 375 pounds.
  2. Type IA—This is an industrial-grade ladder that holds up to 300 pounds.
  3. Type I—This is also an industrial-grade ladder and holds 250 pounds.
  4. Type II—This commercial-grade ladder holds up to 225 pounds.
  5. Type III—This ladder is best for household tasks and has a weight capacity of 200 pounds.

Material

Extension ladders are either made of aluminum or fiberglass. Aluminum extension ladders aren’t as strong as fiberglass ones, but they’re lighter and easier to move from place to place. They’re also more affordable than fiberglass ladders.

If you’re working near electricity lines, you’ll want a non-conductive fiberglass ladder to avoid getting electrocuted. Fiberglass extension ladders are also good for heavy-duty projects because of their durability.

Feet

The feet of the ladder are important because they keep the ladder stable during use. High-quality ladders will have anti-slip feet and swivels that allow you to dig the feet into the softer ground for more security.

Accessories

Extension ladders bring you tens of feet off of the ground and lean against parts of your home, increasing the risk of injury and damage to your house. To prevent injuries or damage, you can buy safety accessories like stabilizers, ladder mitts, and levelers.

Stabilizer

A stabilizer is a U-shaped bar that attaches to the top of a ladder. It pushes the ladder away from the structure it’s leaning against to prevent damage.

Ladder Mitts

Ladder mitts are rubber inserts that go over the top of your ladder. In addition to helping the ladder grip onto the structure it’s leaning against, it protects that area from damage.

Levelers

If you’re going to be working on uneven ground, consider purchasing levelers. Levelers attach to the feet of your ladder and make sure the ladder doesn’t wobble while you’re climbing it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What angle should I use my extension ladder at?

For every four feet of height between the ground and the structure your ladder is leaning against, there should be one foot of space between the base of the ladder and the base of the supporting structure. For example, if the ladder is leaning against a 20-foot building, there should be five feet between the base of the ladder and the base of the building’s wall.

How do you store extension ladders?

To prevent corrosion, store your extension ladder somewhere dry, like a shed or garage. If you have a fiberglass ladder, make sure that it stays out of direct sunlight because too much UV exposure can cause it to crack.

Do extension ladders require maintenance?

Extension ladders don’t require much maintenance, but before every use, you’ll want to remove grease or other substances that could cause someone to slip and inspect the ladder for any damage or wear and tear.

Do I need an extension ladder for household tasks?

If you don’t need to reach high places for your household tasks, you’re better off with a shorter and safer stepladder. This HBTower ladder has an average rating of 4.8 stars from over 3,500 customers on Amazon and has an Amazon’s Choice superlative.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.