A high ceiling can be some of the most challenging spaces to reach, whether you’re looking to clean them, re-finish the ceiling, paint, or anything else. While you can use a lift, there are limits to where you can bring them, and lifts won’t work for all spaces.
Scaffolding might be an option for the largest projects in public spaces, but they’re an expensive and difficult solution for residential homes and other smaller buildings.
A great tall ladder really is the best solution, which is where these ladders come in. We’ve found four of the best ladders for high ceilings and will go over the details of each model so you can pick the right version for you.
Little Giant Ladders are consistently some of the best ladders on the market right now. They are designed to offer greater stability, weight capacity, and durability compared to more traditional ladder options.
This A-frame ladder is a little different from most A-frames, with two outer supports instead of the typical one. The secondary support legs give this ladder a wider base, which makes them significantly more stable when you’re having to climb to the upper third of the ladder to reach high ceilings.
At 21 ft tall, this ladder is easily tall enough to let you reach most standard-sized high ceilings without having to use the top several rungs, the least stable and most dangerous part of any ladder. The same model is available in two additional heights, 15ft and 17ft. That means that you have options to pick the right height for your upcoming project or for the ceiling heights in your area.
Both sides of this ladder have a 300lbs capacity. That’s great because it means the ladder can more easily hold you, your tools or paint, and anything else you need on the ladder with you.
Aluminum is a relatively durable and lightweight material for a ladder. At about 57lbs this ladder isn’t light, but it is sturdy and long-lasting. It’s a manageable weight even for just one person, but we’d definitely recommend getting some help moving and setting up this ladder on the job.
This ladder starts at 9ft tall and then adjusts up to 17ft in single inch increments. That gives you a lot of flexibility to get the exact height you need, not just a height that kind of works but is really too tall or too short.
Why we like it
The Skyscraper is a great ladder if you’re looking for a flexible design that goes from standard A-frame ladder height to a taller ladder suitable for higher ceilings in a wide range of buildings. It’s durable and had the weight capacity professionals need for repair work as well as painting and other routine tasks.
This slightly shorter ladder is another great aluminum ladder option if you’re looking to get closer to high ceilings without overbalancing or losing stability. At 20ft tall, its design is relatively simple, but taller than your average A-frame ladder and more effective when you’re having to work in tall areas.
It’s relatively high 300lbs capacity is enough weight to let you take whatever tools and materials you need with you, safely, and without overburdening the ladder. While this ladder does get much narrower at the top than it is at the bottom, there is still some space for you to put tools and work material.
One big difference between this ladder and the Skyscraper is that this ladder only has one functional ladder side. That’s not a huge problem, and it also helps to lighten the load slightly since you won’t have as much weight in functional rungs on both sides of the ladder.
Why we like it
This ladder might be a slightly simpler design than some, but it still comes with all the professional features we like to see in a ladder for high ceilings. The aluminum design is durable and stable, and it’s added spots for tool and paint holders make ceiling work much easier to accomplish.
This slightly shorter Louisville ladder is another great option if you’re looking for something that can handle a little higher weight capacity while still getting you where you need to go.
16 feet is still tall enough to handle most high ceilings, so you won’t feel limited with this ladder. The design is also a much higher weight capacity, able to hold up to 375lbs comfortably. That makes this ladder a good option for more extensive ceiling work, whether it’s restoring a decorated ceiling, refurbishing or changing the existing ceiling, or putting something entirely new into place, this ladder will be able to handle the job.
Its smaller design is also ideal for tight areas, especially homes where you might not have a lot of space to maneuver while you work.
The raptor ladder boot on the feet of this ladder also helps add greater stability, even when you’re working in tight corners. That way you don’t have to worry about the ladder losing grip with the floor, slipping when you shift your weight, or moving during delicate paintwork.
Why we like it
This shorter but heavier duty ladder is a good option if you’re going to be doing repair work or anything that needs more weight on the ladder. It’s more compact design is good for smaller spaces and homes, and the aluminum is incredibly durable and hard-wearing.
Our last option is the only fiberglass option on this list. Fiberglass is incredibly durable and resists warping and bending that other materials can be prone to. This design is a moderate height for a high-ceiling ladder, but 16ft it tall enough for most high ceilings, but not too tall or difficult to work with.
This design is also meant to act as a twinned ladder, which means that one person can climb each side of the ladder at once (assuming weight limits are respected of course!). That can make it much easier to hand materials, paints, and tools up to the top of the ladder to the person working.
Having the option of putting a second person on the other side of the ladder, or a sandbag or other counterweight can also help to make this ladder a little more stable overall.
However, we do think it’s worth noting that the fiberglass design is a little heavier than other materials. This ladder weighs in over 100lbs, so it’s definitely a two-person ladder and will take a little more work to transport and reposition than other options.
Why we like it
This Werner ladder proves once again that Werner knows what they’re doing when they design for professionals and DIYers alike. The design is solid and is meant to last for decades, making it a great one-time purchase for professionals who don’t want to have to get another high-ceiling ladder. The weight of this ladder makes it a little harder to use, but overall it’s a solid design and easy set up make this ladder a good option.
High Ceiling Ladder Buying Guide
Weight on a ladder isn’t an inherently bad thing, you need some weight to help keep your ladder stable and prevent tip-over. But too much weight can make it difficult to move your ladder from place to place and get it set up properly.
In general, ladders tall enough to work as high-ceiling ladders need to be 50lbs or heavier, but models under 100lbs are easier to use.
We’d recommend looking for ladders in the 60-80lbs range since they are functionally weighted, but not so heavy that they’re difficult to work with.
For high ceilings, you probably want to work with a ladder that’s at least 14ft tall, taller if you’re working primarily with church and cathedral ceilings, gymnasium ceilings, or commercial buildings since they can often be taller than your typical high-ceilinged home.
Since A-frame ladders rely on the second leg of the ladder to provide stability, rather than resting against a wall or work surface, you should also remember that the taller the ladder gets, the more space it will need at the bottom.
A 20ft ladder should be wider on both sides and should have more space between the legs, than a 14ft ladder.
It’s also important to remember that standing height is not as tall as the length of the sides, some length is lost when it’s set up properly.
Aim for a ladder tall enough that you can stand at least three rungs down from the top and still effectively work, which may mean adding a foot or two to the size of your ladder so you can work from a safer area.
A-frame ladders are free standing so you don’t have to worry about stabilizers at the top of the ladder. However, you do want a ladder with a couple of stabilizing cross-beams in the middle, and one that’s relatively wide at the base.
Look for rubber tread grips at the bottom as well, since they will improve all-terrain traction so you’re able to work wherever you need to.
Additionally, many multi-position A-frame ladders allow you to reach high ceilings above stairs. These types of ladders are some of the best adjustable ladders for stairs. Just make sure you’re informed on how to use ladders above stairs safely to avoid preventable injuries.
Dual or Single Sided?
Dual-sided ladders are great since they let a partner work with you to bring up paint and other materials on the other side. They also tend to be a little bit stronger on both sides, which means that you can brace the ladder with a sandbag or other support system to help prevent wobbling.
The last big advantage is that you can work from either side of a dual-sided ladder, whichever is closer to your work area, without having to move or re-position the ladder in the process.
Single-sided ladders don’t have those advantages to the same degree, but they are often a little lighter than dual-sided A-frame ladders.
Of all of these ladders, the clear winner has to be the Little Giant Ladders, SkyScraper. It’s innovated wider design and added stability features make it a much easier and safer ladder to use, without adding a ton of extra weight to the ladder overall. The extreme durability and adjustability of this ladder are also huge advantages overall, making it a great ladder for professional and home use.
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.