Last updated: August 5, 2021

Welcome to our big extension ladder test 2021. Here we present all the extension ladders that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best extension ladder for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an extension ladder.




Summary

  • When folded, the extension ladder is very compact. It is very easy to carry, transport and store an extension ladder.
  • The length of an extension ladder can be adjusted as required. This means that an extension ladder can be easily adapted to any purpose.
  • A distinction is made between extension ladders and telescopic ladders. With an extension ladder, you can reach higher points. Telescopic ladders offer flexibility and can be used indoors and outdoors.

The Best Extension Ladder: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an extension ladder

What is an extension ladder?

An extension ladder is different from other types of ladders, where other ladders have a fixed length and therefore require a fixed and often large storage space. In addition, the length of the extension ladder is adjustable depending on the desired reach.

An extension ladder is a device whose length is adjustable depending on the desired reach. (Image source: 123rf.com / 56899345)

A very related term is telescopic ladder. If you search for extension ladder, you will often see the word extension ladder replaced with telescopic ladder on almost every site. The reason for this is that the telescopic ladder is now a very common type of extension ladder. Where exactly the difference lies, we will go into in the course of this article.

What does an extension ladder cost?

There is a very wide price range for the price of an extension ladder. Depending on the model and length, the costs are very different. The price of an extension ladder can vary from 55 to 400 euros. Depending on your expectations of an extension ladder, you can find a cheap model.

type price range
telescopic ladder 55-160
extension ladder 80-400

The decisive factor for telescopic ladder prices is their function. Leaning ladder prices start at 55 euros. If it is a multi-purpose ladder, the prices go up to 160 euros. Since you can use the multi-purpose ladder both as a single ladder and as a stepladder, the price quickly pays off if you need an extension ladder more often.

For extension ladders, the decisive factor is the length. Apart from the length, aluminium extension ladders differ minimally. While a 2.8 metre extension ladder costs 80 euros, the price of a 13 metre extension ladder can go up to 400 euros.

For whom is an extension ladder suitable?

An extension ladder is suitable for anyone who wants to climb up and can keep their balance to a certain extent.

It is not recommended for children under the age of 6 to climb ladders. (Image source: unsplased.com / Mahdis Mousavi)

The extension ladder is especially popular among craftsmen. On the one hand, its length can be adjusted as required and according to capacity, making it suitable for changing workplaces. On the other hand, it is easy and compact to transport once the ladder is pushed in.

An extension ladder can be repositioned for each of your purposes.

An extension ladder is also indispensable for private households. No matter if you own a big house and clean the roof from time to time or have a garden full of cherry trees.

For what purposes is an extension ladder suitable?

An extension ladder satisfies a wide range of needs with its flexibility. No matter whether your needs are commercial or private.

With an extension ladder of suitable length you can repair or clean the roof of your house. Windows that cannot be cleaned from the inside are no problem. It gives you a clean view of your home.

These are not the only uses of the extension ladder. The fire brigade uses extension ladders to rescue people and animals.

You can use an extension ladder to pick fruit from a tree. (Image source: unsplash.com / Jen Theodore)

A telescopic ladder can even be used inside and outside the house. To compensate for height differences on stairs, you can adjust the length of both sides of a stepladder differently and paint, repair or decorate with pictures the areas of your house that are not easy to reach.

With its easy portability, a telescopic ladder is also great for taking on camping trips.

How long should my extension ladder be?

Extension ladders are available in different lengths. Once you know what you need the extension ladder for, it is easy to find a suitable extension ladder. There are two lengths to consider for extension ladders: inserted length and maximum reachable length.

In general, the shorter the maximum length of the extension ladder, the smaller it is when it is retracted.

This means that a smaller extension ladder is more suitable than a larger one for storage at home or for transporting by car. In addition, small extension ladders often weigh less and are therefore easier to carry.

What are the alternatives to an extension ladder?

Ladders differ mainly in portability. Below we will give you a brief overview of portable ladders that are alternatives to extension ladders. Non-portable ladders are, for example, the fixed stair ladder.

Type Description
Stepladder/plank ladder A stepladder consists of two ladder sections and can stand on the ground without a lean-to. They are particularly suitable for ceiling work.
Leaning ladder A leaning ladder consists of a single ladder section and is placed against a wall, tree, etc. It is mostly used outdoors. It is mostly used outdoors

The above ladders are different from an extension ladder, where they have a fixed length and cannot be pushed together when not in use.

Decision: What types of extension ladders are there and which one is right for you?

If you are thinking about buying an extension ladder, you have a decision to make between these two types:

  • Telescopic ladder
  • Extension ladder

For telescopic ladders, you'll find three types to choose from: A single ladder, a stepladder and, as a hybrid of the two, the multifunctional ladder.

The structures of these two product types have different advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your location, purpose and frequency of use, one of the two product types is better suited to you. In the following, we will help you choose the right product type.

What are the features of a telescopic ladder and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

A telescopic ladder contains its stiles hidden in the gaps of the other stiles.

Because you slide the telescopic ladder in rung by rung, you save more space in your cellar. This makes it easy to transport the product in the boot or back seat of your car. Most telescopic ladders come with a carrying bag. The fact that the telescopic ladders fit into a bag gives an indication of how small these telescopic ladders are when pushed in.

Advantages
  • Space-saving
  • Easy to carry
  • Light weight
Disadvantages
  • Less stability
  • Low maximum height

On average, telescopic ladders as lean-to and stepladders have a lower maximum length than extension ladders and therefore also a lower weight. Depending on the model, you can use a telescopic ladder as a single or stepladder. Multipurpose ladders that allow both types of use are usually more expensive and require more storage space.

What are the characteristics of an extension ladder and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

An extension ladder usually consists of two or three ladder sections. These ladder sections are parallel to each other and are extended when needed.

Advantages
  • Very stable
  • High maximum length
  • Can be used outdoors
Disadvantages
  • Requires a lot of storage space
  • High weight

An extension ladder remains very stable to metre-long heights, making it well suited for outdoor use. Extension ladders are mostly preferred for construction work.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate extension ladders

We will then show you which aspects you can use to choose the right extension ladder from the many available.

The criteria you can use to compare the extendable ladders with each other include:

  • Length
  • Number of rungs
  • Load capacity
  • Weight
  • Material

In the following, we will go into more detail about these criteria to help you make your decision.

Length

When it comes to extension ladders, there are three different lengths reported:

  • Retracted length
  • Maximum / extended length
  • Working height

Since a telescopic ladder has several parts pushed together, it has a short retracted length, usually between 75 and 90 centimetres. Accordingly, a telescopic ladder can be pushed out as a single ladder up to 4 metres high.

For multifunctional models, the maximum length is in the range between 3.5 and 7 metres when extended. If you use the multifunctional ladder as a stepladder, you will reach about half of this maximum height.

On the other hand, extension ladders are available in very different heights. An extension ladder has a maximum length between 2.8 and 13 metres. The inserted length is accordingly between 1 and 7 metres and depends strongly on the number of ladder sections. The overlaps of the ladder sections should not be underestimated.

You must not climb the top 3 rungs on a single ladder and the top 4 rungs on an extension ladder because you have to hold on to the ladder.

Because of the overlaps, the maximum length of an extension ladder cannot be calculated simply as the inserted length times the number of parts. The length of the overlaps are different for each extension ladder.

Working height describes the maximum height the person can reach on the extension ladder. It is calculated as plus 80 centimetres to the maximum height reached.

Number of rungs

The number of rungs is directly proportional to the ladder length. According to DIN EN 131, the distance between rungs may be between 25 and 30 centimetres. The recommended distance between rungs is 28 centimetres. For example, the number of rungs on a 3.8 metre telescopic ladder is 12 or 13.

On an extension ladder, you will see that the number of rungs of individual parts is indicated. The sum of these does not reflect the number of steps in the maximum extended position. As already mentioned, with extension ladders there is overlap between the ladder parts. Therefore, the maximum length is a more representative criterion for the reach of the extension ladder.

Load capacity

The standard load capacity of an extension ladder is 150 kilograms.

In addition to your own weight, you should also take into account the weight of any materials you are taking with you.

In most cases, this load capacity is perfectly adequate. However, if you need a ladder that can carry more than 150 kilograms, we recommend that you look for other types of ladder. It is important to remember that the alternatives are also standard at 150 kilograms. Exceptionally, there are ladders with a load capacity of up to 510 kilograms.

Weight

A low weight for an extension ladder is very important so that you can easily carry, push together and transport the extension ladder. The lower the weight, the easier it will be for you to handle the extension ladder.

The weight depends on the amount of material and therefore on the length. A telescopic ladder with a lean-to function weighs between 6 and 13 kilograms, whereas a telescopic ladder with a multi-purpose or stepladder function weighs between 14 and 18 kilograms.

Since an extension ladder is available in very different lengths, its weight lies in a wide range of values, namely between 8 and 24 kilograms. For your household, an extension ladder between 8 and 13 kilograms is usually sufficient.

Material

An extension ladder is made of aluminium. Aluminium is light, robust and rustproof. Thanks to these properties, an aluminium extension ladder is stable and flexible, as you expect from it.

It is essential for telescopic ladders that the rungs are coated with rubber. Rubber reduces the risk of slipping when climbing up.

The traditional alternatives to aluminium are steel and wood. These two materials are not preferred for extension ladders. Steel can significantly increase, or even double, the weight of the ladder. Wood does not offer the flexibility of pushing. Extension ladders are made of aluminium because the aluminium offers easy portability with low weight and flexibility with easy processing.

Extension ladders made of plastic reinforced with glass fibre can also be found on the market. This material is particularly favoured for its high chemical resistance. However, extension ladders made of fibreglass-reinforced plastic are common for industrial purposes and are significantly more expensive than other models. Prices range from 590 to 770 euros.

Facts worth knowing about extension ladders

How do I set up an extension ladder correctly?

To avoid undesirable situations and accidents, pay attention to how you set up an extension ladder correctly before you or your pets start climbing up. You should set up an extension ladder or a single ladder as follows:

  • The floor should be flat.
  • With an extension ladder, the extended part of the ladder should remain outside - not on the wall side.
  • The single ladder should be leaned against the wall at an angle of 65 - 75 degrees. The correct position can be easily determined using the elbow method. Keep your arm parallel to the floor. The ladder should be leaned on a line between your feet and your elbow.
  • Do not go beyond the fourth top rung, as it will not be possible to hold onto the ladder securely from this step onwards.

For stepladders, all four feet of the stepladder should be on the same level. The two parts of a stepladder are connected with a rope or metal piece. This gives you the clue about how wide you should place the legs of the extension ladder.

How do I transport an extension ladder properly and safely?

Different models require you to carry your extension ladder in different ways. Don't forget: safety is the top priority!

A telescopic ladder makes it easy to carry. With the rungs pushed together, you can carry your telescopic ladder under your armpit with one hand. Thanks to its compactness, you're sure to find a safe place in your car. Whether in the boot or on the back seat.

You should be more careful with an extension ladder. Although an extension ladder is much smaller than a simple single ladder of the same length, it can still be too big for your boot. In this case you will need a ladder rack on the roof of your car. Ladder holders are quick to install and available in online shops.

Carrying the extension ladder by hand is not always easy either. To carry the extension ladder safely, you should get your arm through the gap in the middle and put the top rail on your shoulder. For long extension ladders you may need two or even 4 people.

After how much time can I put an extension ladder on screed?

Screed is loadable from the 14th day. Loadable means that you can continue your construction work with a stepladder and the like. However, screed can generally be walked on from the 4th day.

Screed is loadable from the 14th day, so you can work on it with an extension ladder. (Image source: unsplash.com / Henry & Co.)

You don't have to wait 2 weeks to continue renovating your room. For example, you can continue painting from the 4th day.

Picture source: 123rf.com / 56899349

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