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Home ladders are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Owning a ladder is useful because it helps you conveniently deal with planned and unplanned tasks that arise in and around the house from time to time. And, it also beats renting a ladder, in terms of cost, in the long-run.
Each ladder type has its own benefits and drawbacks. Also, various features are added to ladder design to make the equipment more secure and user-friendly. We have reviewed these features ourselves and learnt from user feedback to pick our favorite ladders on the market.
Shaped like the letter A, step ladders for home use are usually around 6 feet in height and have a load capacity of 200 pounds. The spreader lock is in between the front rail and the rear rail and is used to secure the unit in position. Besides a flat surface on the top of the ladder, there is also a shelf underneath the top, which can be used for placing tools. The step ladder should be placed at right angles to the spot you’re working on.
Extension ladders are ideal for work on areas that are high above the ground. They are light for their length but may need more than one person to setup.
To setup the unit, you should lay the ladder on the ground close to the work spot. Then, ask your helper to secure the base of the ladder with their foot. Grasp the top of the ladder (rungs), straighten it over your head, and walk towards your helper. After placing the base of the ladder at the desired location, lean it against the wall.
If the ladder is short enough for you to install yourself, then follow these steps to install it properly: Place the bottom part of the ladder against the wall for support. Then, lift the top to a vertical position. Adjust the position of the ladder to the correct angle.
Combination or multi-use ladders can be used as both a step ladder and an extension ladder. Depending on the model, it may have steps or rungs. The locking mechanism can also vary. Manufacturers typically provide instructions about the locking mechanism as well as the acceptable scenarios in which you can use the unit. In the step ladder setting, the combination model has a height of 4 to 10 feet. The design may also allow use as a Stairwell ladder. In this setting, make sure that you don’t climb the back section.
According the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 50% of all ladder related accidents were due to individuals carrying items as they climbed.”
The most common materials for ladders include aluminum, wood, and fiberglass.
The work environment considerations include electricity sources, obstructions in the path of the ladder, and the general condition of the place. If the work environment has electrical sources, then it would be better to avoid an aluminum ladder because of the risk of electrocution. In this situation, a fiberglass or wood ladder will be a suitable option.
Another thing to consider is whether you will be using the ladder mostly indoors or outdoors. For indoor tasks, a step ladder may be sufficient. For outdoor work, you may need the extra length of an extension ladder.
Length is an important consideration with all types of ladders. The length given with the product description is generally the total length of the equipment. In the case of an extension ladder, the working length is about 3 feet short of the total length.
A ladder can be too short and too long. For example, if the extension ladder is more than 3 feet beyond the upper support, it’s too long. To avoid accidents, never try to increase the length by placing it on a box or a barrel.
Ideally, the ladder should be on a hard, dry surface. The correct proportion for an extension ladder is 1:4, meaning 1 foot of distance from the wall for every 4 feet of ladder. If you can’t achieve the right angle, then the ladder is too long for that setting. With a step model, make sure that the ladder is fully open before climbing it.
More than 90,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries every year.”
Capacity here means your weight and the weight of the tools you will carry. No need for guesswork because there are standards for weight capacity: The extra heavy duty ladders have a capacity of 375 pounds (Type IAA) and 300 pounds (Type IA). The Type I, or heavy duty, category has a capacity of 250 pounds. The capacity for Type II, medium duty, and Type III, light duty, units is 225 pounds and 200 pounds, respectively.
Weight is also an important consideration. Having a heavy ladder will mean that you may need support for moving it around, but the extra weight will increase stability. A common theme we noted among customers is that they found the ladders to be deceptively heavier. Go through the product specifications for weight and capacity. If weight is the defining factor for you, then the lighter aluminum models may be a suitable option.
Whether you use the ladder regularly or occasionally, there are certain precautions you should take every time you climb it.
This is another thing you need to consider when buying a ladder. Some ladders will require more space than others. To avoid damage, don’t place other materials on top of the unit. Before and after using the ladder, check that it’s in working condition. Inspect all the elements, including the rivets, bolts, rungs, locks, and shoes.
Also, avoid exposing the equipment to excessive heat, acids and alkalis. On receiving your order, thoroughly check it for damage and missing parts. If the equipment’s missing something or has suffered some damage during transport, immediately ask for a replacement. If the ladder is no longer usable, destroy it properly so it can’t be used again..
If you’d like to reinforce your tall or light ladder, then stabilizer bars are a good option. These bars reduce the sideways motion of the ladder, and they are available at most hardware store
With an extension model, don’t use the top three rungs for climbing. With a step model, don’t use the top and the step below the top.
Besides the precautions mentioned above, you should avoid using your ladder in windy conditions and bad weather.