Which telescoping ladder is best?

Telescoping ladders allow you to reach high-up locations without having to deal with the hassles of storing and transporting a traditional model that can be awkward to carry and take up a lot of space. 

Safety should be of the utmost concern, so you’ll want to choose a telescoping ladder that not only supports the load you will be placing on it, but which also has a pinch-free retraction method and high-traction, nonslip feet pads. The Ohuhu 12.5-Foot Telescoping Ladder is one such model.

What to know before you buy a telescoping ladder

Telescoping ladders vs. extension ladders

There is sometimes confusion among buyers of what exactly qualifies as an extension ladder. This is partially the result of some manufacturers labeling their extension ladders as telescoping even though they don’t actually telescope. Essentially, any model that doesn’t have rungs that collapse down on top of one another should not be considered a telescoping ladder. 

The main benefit of telescoping ladders is how compact they are when fully collapsed. This makes them exceptionally easy to transport and store. Extension ladders simply can’t compete in this area. That said, some users may feel that extension ladders are more stable. 

Ladder certifications and ratings

For the average person buying a telescoping ladder for their home, the only rating they really need to worry about is the duty rating or load capacity. On most models, this will be clearly stated somewhere in the product description in pounds. However, some models might only state their type, which are as follows:

  • Type IAA ladders – 375-pound load capacity
  • Type IA ladders – 300-pound load capacity
  • Type I ladders- 250-pound load capacity
  • Type II ladders – 225-pound load capacity
  • Type III ladders – 200-pound load capacity.

If you are purchasing a ladder for commercial use, there are a couple of additional certifications and ratings you need to be aware of. If the ladder is manufactured in the European Union, it will carry an EN131 rating. For commercial use, only purchase a telescoping ladder that carries a EN131 Professional rating. It should also be OSHA compliant.

Retraction

Most telescoping ladders can either retract rung by rung or the entire thing at once. For rung by rung retraction you’ll use small buttons or levers underneath each specific rung. Generally, this has to be done from the top down. To retract the whole ladder at once, you’ll use small buttons or levers on or near the very bottom rung. Be careful to keep your fingers out from between the rungs as you do this to avoid injury. Some models utilize air resistance to ensure they retract slowly, which also helps to avoid injury.

Features to look for in a quality telescoping ladder

Height

Every ladder has a maximum height it can be extended to. Consider the height of the various locations you need to reach before choosing a model to ensure it fits your needs. Don’t forget that it is advised not to stand on the uppermost rungs so make sure to factor this into your purchase decision.

Weight capacity

For safety reasons, it is vital that you never exceed the manufacturer’s maximum load rating of a ladder. The amount of weight you’ll be placing on a ladder includes not only the user’s weight but also that of any tools that you may carry up with you or attach to the upper rungs of your ladder as you work. 

Nonslip end caps

Nonslip end caps should be nonnegotiable on any ladder you purchase, no matter the type. These increase user safety by minimizing the chances of the ladder slipping while you are standing on it. Ideally, these should be both textured and made from a high-traction material.

Rung lock indicator

To be used safely, the rungs of a telescoping ladder need to be locked into place. The majority of models have a self-locking design so you don’t have to worry about manually doing anything. However, you should still double-check before standing on the ladder. Models that feature a visible rung lock indicator make this step easy.

How much you can expect to spend on a telescoping ladder

Most telescoping ladders cost between $100-$250.

Telescoping ladder FAQ

Do telescoping ladders need to be fully extended for use?

A. No. You can extend a telescoping ladder to whatever height is most convenient for the job at hand as long as it is at or below its maximum extension.

Do telescoping ladders require any maintenance?

A. Telescoping ladders don’t require any specific maintenance other than keeping them clean and dry. It is also advised not to store them in a place where they will constantly be exposed to the elements.

What is the best telescoping ladder to buy?

Top telescoping ladder

Ohuhu 12.5-Foot Telescoping Ladder

Ohuhu 12.5-Foot Telescoping Ladder

What you need to know: This Ohuhu collapses down to just 33.5 inches and has several smart features for both safety and convenience.

What you’ll love: It utilizes air resistance for safe and slow retraction, and you can collapse the entire ladder at once by pressing the buttons on the second-to-last rung. Plus, it has stabilizing bars at the base that enhance stability, and nonslip endcaps to hold it in place. 

What you should consider: There seem to be some quality control issues, but the company is proactive at making it right with buyers by replacing faulty ladders.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top telescoping ladder for the money

Yvan 8 5 foot Telescoping Ladder

Yvan 8.5-Foot Telescoping Ladder

What you need to know: A good choice for home users that don’t need to reach anything very high, this ladder extends to 8.5 feet and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

What you’ll love: It has a 330-pound maximum load capacity, so it can easily support most users and still feel stable.

What you should consider: There have been reports of the plastic retraction buttons breaking.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Telesteps 1800EP Fully Automatic Telescoping Ladder

Telesteps 1800EP Fully Automatic Telescoping Ladder

What you need to know: If you are looking for a telescoping ladder suitable for commercial applications, this Type 1A, OSHA-compliant model with an 18-foot reach fits the bill.

What you’ll love: The silicone feet offer excellent traction on most surfaces. It features visible safety indicators too, so you can tell at a glance if the rungs are locked into place properly.

What you should consider: It is notably more expensive than most other models.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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