Getting a ladder is serious business. Your ladders are one of the most important pieces of equipment you’re likely to work with. Not to mention that they are some of the single most important pieces of safety equipment. There are very few tools that are as directly responsible for your health and safety than the ladder you’re using.
It’s important to make sure you’ve picked out a ladder that not only works for the project you’re working on, but that also keeps you and your coworkers safe on a job site. It’s also important to remember that your ladder is just as important for DIYers and hobbyists as it is for professionals.
Don’t compromise. If you’re buying a ladder you should make sure it’s one of the best ladders available.
Little Giant Ladders does an incredible job of building high-quality ladders that are also incredibly versatile and long-lasting. They have a reputation for fantastic workmanship that can handle just about any kind of professional gig you can throw at them.
This ladder is an adjustable version with a maximum length of 11-19 ft. Little Giant Ladders does a fantastic job of listing only the functional length of their ladders. That’s critical because it makes it a lot easier to tell if a ladder is going to be long enough for your needs.
The wider base on Little Giant Ladders is also incredibly effective for keeping your ladder more stable on the ground while you’re working. Double feet on both sides of the ladder give you additional grip points as well as a wider base to work from.
This ladder is also made from specially designed non-conductive fiberglass. That keeps you safe if you’re having to work with live electrical equipment, especially if there is also any risk of wet surfaces or conductive equipment. The ladder itself won’t conduct electricity or excess heat, keeping you safe.
It’s also worth noting that this ladder is a lot more versatile than most thanks to its multi-position design. It works as an A-frame ladder, an extension ladder, a trestle ladder, and more. Those additional positions mean that this ladder will work for a wider variety of projects than your typical ladder.
Little Giant Ladders also meets or exceeds all OSHA safety standards on all of their ladders, including this model.
Why we like it
This ladder is incredibly versatile and well designed to meet a number of professional and non-professional needs. Its design is simple and easy to move between different kinds of positions, and its innovative design adds a lot of stability to make working on a ladder a lot safer.
Little Giant Ladders also offers some simpler models of ladders that bring a lot of effectiveness to classic designs. These ladders might not look as advanced as some of Little Giant Ladders’ other models, but they are just as safe and just as effective. Plus, this design is a little more accessible from both a price and a space perspective.
The A-frame extension ladder design is about as simple as it gets, but still gives you options for different height and safety configurations.
We also appreciated that this ladder is painted a very visible lime green color. That’s perfect for busy workspaces because it’s very easy to spot and avoid when the ladder is set up.
This ladder ranges in height from 6ft to 10ft, depending on the configuration. The length is relatively versatile for most kinds of contract work, though it’s not quite as versatile as the first Little Giant Ladders model we’ve already discussed. It’s still a fantastic option for professionals. It’s easier to move from place to place as well since it doesn’t need quite as much storage space.
The narrow top of the ladder is a great addition because it helps you get into smaller more cramped spaces when you’re working.
Why we like it
This simpler design is still an incredibly versatile option that works well for professionals and DIYers alike. It’s highly visible design also makes it a good option for contracting companies and construction work because it’s easy to spot on a job site.
Louisville might be better known for baseball, but Louisville ladders are known for their incredibly durable and well designed ladders. In fact, when you think of a fiberglass ladder, you’re probably going to picture a Louisville ladder first before anything else.
This step ladder comes in a bright orange color that’s incredibly easy to see, even in low light conditions and crowded spaces.
The wide-set legs and internal spreader bars both work to keep the ladder significantly safer. The legs on the ladder provide additional stability, while the cross-bar spreader bars help prevent the ladder from collapsing when you shift your weight or if the ladder is accidentally bumped by someone working around you.
These ladders also have great grippy rungs that help prevent slipping when you’re working, no matter what conditions you’re working in.
The molded top of this ladder is also designed to hold your tools or tool bag to make it easier to access your tools while you’re working.
Rubber feet on the bottom of the ladder legs also helps to maintain your grip on the floor and works well in almost all working conditions and textures.
The one real weakness of this ladder is that it’s difficult to adjust if you have to work on a sloped surface. This ladder really isn’t designed for working on the stairs either.
Why we like it
This ladder has an incredibly functional design and is the top-class fiberglass design for professional craftspeople and contractors. It’s a good design for storing at home and taking from job to job. It’s also designed for added stability and functionality as much as possible.
If you’re looking for a longer taller fiberglass ladder this is one of the best options available. Since fiberglass is often significantly heavier than other ladder materials like aluminum it’s typically a little more limited in height unless you’re looking at a specialized ladder for electrical work.
This version of the Louisville ladder is significantly longer, with a tallest functional height of 16ft. It’s an extension ladder and it’s reasonably customizable for length so you’ll be able to reach a relatively wide range of different heights.
The rail end caps on the top of the ladder also helps to protect whatever the ladder is leaned against so that you don’t cause any damage while you’re performing repairs, remodeling, or working on a construction site.
Louisville has also implemented classic d-shaped rungs for this ladder. That design is incredibly durable and makes the ladder easier to stand on. The rung shape is also more comfortable for extended work sessions. That’s important for contractors and construction workers who might be on a ladder for more than just a few minutes at a time.
The steel swivel safety shoe is perfect for working on outdoor terrain since it helps protect the ladder from shifting on the dirt and other terrain when your weight shifts on the ladder. It’s not perfect, but it will do a long way toward keeping you safer.
Why we like it
If you’re looking for a longer ladder design this might be the right ladder for you. It’s taller extension system is perfect for reaching hard to get areas and even getting to the second story on a job site. This ladder is easy to use and has a lot of safety features that keep you secure while you’re working.
Fiberglass Ladder Buyer’s Guide
Now that we’ve talked about some of the best fiberglass ladders available right now, let’s talk about the features that are most important when you’re choosing a fiberglass ladder.
Weight is one of the most important features you should consider when you’re thinking about buying a fiberglass ladder. Fiberglass is one of the heaviest ladder materials, though it’s also one of the safest and most effective options.
Keeping the weight low sometimes means that the core of your ladder is made with another material, but usually just means that the manufacturer has gone with a lighter variety of fiberglass.
When you’re considering weight, consider how much effort it will take to move your ladder from place to place on a job site as well as loading and unloading the ladder along with your other tools.
Some people may prefer the added stability of fiberglass, while others are better off with a lighter if slightly less durable material like aluminum.
Pretty much all fiberglass is painted, which means it’s important to think about the color of the paint and how you’re going to use the ladder. Generally, bright colors like orange, lime green, and even some yellows and reds are the best choices because they are easy to see in almost all light conditions.
Darker colors like blues, grays, and blacks generally aren’t as visible and might not be suited to job sites where you’re working with other people. Dark-colored ladders should always have some kind of paint or flash highlight to help keep them more visible.
The length of your ladder determines its functional working height. For most workers you can work up to about 4ft above the maximum length of the ladder safely, taking the angle of the ladder and your own height into account.
Extension or No?
Extension ladders give you a lot more variability in the height of the ladder. That’s critical for minimizing the number of ladders you need for different kinds of projects. Extension ladders usually give you a fairly wide range of heights since they have several different settings to choose from.
However, the joints on an extension ladder are additional points of failure. That can mean that extension ladders have a slightly shorter lifespan than other ladders because of the joints.
All of these ladders are great options if you’re looking for a durable and incredibly safe ladder to add to your collection. Each is designed for slightly different uses, so it’s important to consider how you’re going to use your ladder before you commit to buying one.
That said, of all these ladders the Little Giant Ladders Dark Horse M22 Multi-Position Fiberglass Ladder is definitely the most versatile and effective for the widest range of different projects.
Its simple design is easy to move from configuration to configuration, and it has a lot of safety features to make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk while you’re working.
I have an unhealthy obsession with contracting and renovation. I’ve been a contractor for over 15 years and I love tackling challenging projects to make them look amazing.