Different Types Of Ladders | Which Is Suitable For Your Specific Needs?

So, you’re in the search for the best ladder to use at your home & yard, workplace, or constructional sites?

Then the chances are that you’ll be confused as to what type and brands of ladders you should invest in.

Walking into the stores and asking for one may be challenging as there are different types of ladders available on the market.

Also, you could end up picking a model that may not be the right kind for optimal safety and efficiency.


Through this article, you will get to know different types of ladders and their uses.

Therefore, keep on reading to have a clear idea as to which type will be suitable for your specific needs.

How We Categorize Different Types of Ladders?

The varieties of this product are unlimited. So, for you easy understanding I’ve grouped them based on:

  • Concept
  • Design and Intended purpose
  • Materials

I hope, this won’t be difficult for you to have a clear idea of each type after reading this article.

Different Types of Ladders by Concept

This category includes the following types:

  • Rigid Ladders

These may be stand-alone or self-supporting. Some models may need to lean against a vertical surface such as a wall for support.

This version is usually portable. However, some types are permanently fixed to building, structure, or equipment.

They are usually made from metal, wood, or fiberglass and available in various shapes and sizes.

Example: extension-, step-, folding-, telescopic (portable version), Escalade, attic-, dock ladder (fixed version)

  • Rollable/ Rope Ladders

These are flexible types and need to be hanged from the top.

In general, they are made with high-quality rope or a combination of wood and ropes or metal and ropes. They feature two long ropes that hold the steps or the rungs.

Because of their lightweight feature, they are easy to carry.

Example: fire escape ladder, safety ladder

Uses: Perfect for recreational purposes like climbing surface, rocking, and caving. They are essential accessories for police, firefighters, and the like. When an emergency arises they are also a lifesaver in ships or boats.

Different Types of Ladders Based on Design and Intended Purpose

There are numerous ladder types fall in this group.

Step Ladders

Step Ladders

The most common and popular variation is the step ladder. They are self-supporting or stand-alone versions. When fully opened, they look similar to the English Letter “A” You can use them anywhere you need.

Step ladder types: This version comes in a variety of options such as simple front- and twin stepladder.

Twin stepladder lets two people stand on it at once to work more quickly and easily.

Uses: They are handy for common everyday jobs such as picking up things from high shelves, changing lightbulbs, cleaning the window, adjusting curtain, and that sort of work.

Extension/ Sliding Ladders

Extension Ladders

These are another popular option. They are straight ladder and extendable so you can reach high places. Of course, they need support such as a tree or wall for standing upon their feet.

In general, they include two main sections: one is base which you need to place securely on the ground. The other is a movable part called a fly segment.

Uses: Perfect to use inside or outside of home for painting, house repairing, climbing on roof, and many more. Also great to work at roof height and professional uses.

Telescoping Ladders

Telescoping Ladders

They are extendable but you don’t need to get confused with the extension ladders. This version allows you to adjust the height by sliding out or in the steps according to your needs.

The best aspect of the telescopic ladder is its compact storage length. The compact design allows you to carry it easily and store it in any confined place.

Uses: Best for any indoor use and light-duty activities around the house like cleaning gutter, painting wall, and much more.

Folding/ Multi-Purpose Ladders

Multipurpose Ladder

These are the most versatile option. You can set them in many different ways according to the need for your jobs.

For example, you can use it as a straight ladder or as a freestanding stand with the platform to paint the wall. You can also use them in the scaffolding position or “A” position. When collapsed, they are compact for easy storage and carry around.

Uses: Suitable for any outdoor or indoor task, but not recommended for large heights.

Read our full review about best folding ladders.

Platform Ladders

Platform Ladders

They are almost similar to step ladders in terms of “A” shape. But they feature a platform instead of the top rungs. The platform provides a level and comfortable space. They are also stand-alone or self-supporting version.

Uses: Home maintenance, cleaning the roof of motorhomes or caravans, painting, or gardening jobs such as hedge cutting.

Attic/ Loft Ladders

Attic Ladders

To provide a quick and safe way to get into the attic without the hassle of hauling any staircase, this is the best option.

These are retractable and designed for installing into the ceiling. Before starting use, you need to fix it into attic access doors. They are available in different dimensions to fit ceiling heights.

Uses: Best for attic space access

Here our full review about best attic ladders.

Painting Ladders

Painting Ladders

These are the conventional type designed for painting. They have an A-shape frame that includes a shelf or platform. The platform is big enough to hold a paint can. These are popular and convenient for decorating installation.

Uses: For painting walls in taller rooms or outside roof- height wall

Here you find our full review about best painting ladders.

Orchard Ladders

Tripod ladders

These are also known as tripod ladders.

The unique design features a triangular base that looks like three-legged step ladders. They get compact at the top section as the top steps gradually become narrower than the bottom ones.

It’s the safest option for gardening jobs. The fully adjustable legs allow you to use them on uneven terrain or slopes without any fear of toppling.

Uses: Perfect for garden owner or farmer for maintaining their garden effortlessly.

Excellent for trimming of the tree or climb of the treetop for picking fruit.

Here our full review about best orchard ladders.

Roof Ladders

Roof Ladders

These are also known as cat ladders or chicken ladders. They come with extendable design and include a large hook at the top section that allows for gripping the ridge of a pitched roof.

Uses: Suitable for working on the roofs

Related :  best roof ladders reviews

Different Types of Ladders Based on Materials

Your choice of ladder materials reflects not only the overall durability but also prices of the model. Some very common types based on materials include:

  • Plastic Ladders

These are the cheaper option available. They are made of polyester resin with glass-fiber reinforcement.

Uses: Recommended for very light-duty uses in house, kitchen, or stores.

  • Wooden Ladders

These are the least versatile, least durable, but most affordable versions. They are not perfect for outdoor uses as wood tends to warp, splinter and chip.

Uses: Simple household purposes and indoor uses.

  • Aluminum Ladders

They are more durable and lightweight than the wooden version. But they are pricier than the wooden counterpart. If they are made from cheap grade aluminum, the rails may bend over time. As aluminum is a conductor of electricity, this type of ladder is not recommended for electrical work.

Uses: Suitable for almost all household projects and light-duty professional task

  • Fiberglass Ladders

These are slightly heavier than aluminum counterpart and more expensive, but the benefits of this type outweigh the added cost. They are more durable and can take rough handling. Moreover, they are non-conductor of electricity, so they are the safest ladder type to work with power tools.

Uses: Professional-grade and safe for electrical work

  • Steel Ladders

These are the best types of ladders used in construction sites but not an ideal option for the DIYer. They are unbeatable for industrial uses. This version is more resilient and heavier than fiberglass and aluminum. However, they require proper storage to prevent rusting.

Uses: Ideal for heavy-duty professional works and in warehouses

Summing Up

Choosing the right type of ladder for your intended job involves more than just matching the perfect size. Using the best one in terms of safety, weight capacity, and built-quality will make your project easier, productive, and safer.

Hope, after reading our article, you’re now well- informed about different types of ladders, their features and specialty, and of course, their purpose of uses.

Pick the right one to safely and efficiently complete your project!

Thanks for your time!

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