Taking care of your roof is one of your most important jobs as a homeowner, and whether you’re a professional roofer or just a homeowner trying to inspect your roof, it’s important to have the right tools for the job.
The right ladder can help keep you a lot safer while you’re working on your roof, but the wrong ladder can make it a lot harder to get the job done without injury.
An unstable ladder isn’t just stressful, it’s risky.
That’s why we’ve looked for the best ladders for roofing. That way you can stay safe while you’re on the roof, whether it’s your roof or a client’s.
This ladder is a moderately tall option with a full 300lbs capacity on both sides of the ladder. It’s made from lightweight aluminum, which makes it a lot easier to move from place to place.
The design is clearly meant for professionals as much as homeowners because, in addition to the lightweight construction, it also has rock locks and palm buttons for easy but extremely safe configurations. Not to mention the easy portability thanks to the tip and glide wheels on the bottom.
The Velocity ladder is also designed to work in several different configurations for greater efficiency.
It works well as an extension ladder, A-Frame, 90-degree ladder, and a staircase. That means you’ve got a lot of options so you can use this ladder for a wider variety of jobs. Whether you need to get to the tallest part of your roof directly, or only need a little lift to clean the gutters.
At 39lbs this design is about average for an aluminum ladder. Lighter than a lot of steel models, but still relatively bulky at the end of the day.
It’s multiple position arrangements can help you reach ladders of all heights and shapes fairly easily with or without help. Although, it’s always advisable to have someone else hold the ladder and assist you while you are using it.
Why we like it
This design is incredibly versatile, easy to use, and extremely reliable. It’s a long-lasting ladder and stays very stable regardless of which configuration you’re using. The Velocity is a great option if you’re looking for one ladder that fills the role of several ladders all at once.
If you’re looking for a durable ladder that’s a little simpler but still works as a workhorse ladder, this is a good option. The design is almost entirely fiberglass, which offers high durability and stability since the fiberglass doesn’t twist or bend while you’re working.
It’s got a 300lbs capacity, but unlike the Velocity, this ladder is only designed to hold that weight on one side of the ladder.
Although this is a simple extension ladder there isn’t much of a disadvantage for reaching your roof because it doesn’t need a counterweight and you will most likely lean it against the house anyway. The 24 ft design is good for most standard roofs, making it easier to get up to the second story to replace shingles or clean out the gutter.
The rubber treads on the bottom of the ladder help keep the ladder extremely stable. The tread is good for a lot of different kinds of terrain and works on both concrete and grass, which is important if you’re going to work on a residential roof.
The extension system works in 12-inch increments. That’s a little less flexibility than some extension ladders, but it works well for most spaces.
Why we like it
The simplicity of this design doesn’t mean that it’s any less effective. The fiberglass construction is a little heavier than other materials, but it’s also less flexible and stays more stable against the roof while you’re working. The tread at the bottom of the ladder combined with the locking mechanism at the top also work to prevent any wobbling, keeping you more secure while you’re working.
Ladders can take up a huge amount of space in your garage and on the back of your truck, which can get in the way if you’re working with a lot of materials and tools that also take up a lot of space.
Telescoping ladders are a great way to get a stable and effective ladder without needing as much space. However, like all telescoping ladders, this design gets a little narrower as it gets taller and can’t be as tall as other ladder designs.
This ladder has a maximum safe working height of 16.5ft. The whole thing collapses into a relatively small area, with a carry strap that prevents the ladder from accidentally telescoping out while you’re moving it. That’s great for getting set up on a job and moving from place to place.
The aluminum design is also stronger than your average aluminum ladder because this ladder was made with a similar alloy to the one used in airplanes. While this ladder does have a little flex, this alloy moves less than many of the alternatives making it a better choice for a telescoping ladder.
The telescoping locking system is also very stable, you won’t have to worry about the ladder collapsing or partially collapsing while you’re working.
Why we like it
If portability is an issue for you whether you don’t have a van or a ladder rack, this ladder is one of the best telescoping ladders you can buy for your projects. This ladder’s design coupled with its build quality is extremely stable compared to other telescoping ladders on the market and the tall design will allow you to reach most roofs.
There really isn’t anything little about this Little Giant Ladder. At 28 feet long this ladder is easily the longest ladder on the list. Its fiberglass design is incredibly durable and long-wearing.
The name of this ladder, the SumoStance, comes from the wide bottom configuration that helps keep the ladder more stable, just like a Sumo wrestler.
The wide set bottom design works well on a wide variety of terrains, but it does tend to do better with level ground than an uneven surface. Bubble leveling systems built into the ladder do make it easier to level, though.
The non-conductive design is great for professionals who are going to be working with power tools or who need to bring a generator to some of your job sites.
The SumoStance is another extension ladder, and it has a particularly easy to extend design thanks to a dual pulley system.
However, this is also the heaviest ladder on our list, coming in at just under 65lbs. Its overall size and design also mean that this ladder needs a lot of space, either in your garage or in your truck depending on if you’re on the go or not.
Why we like it
Even though this design is fairly simple overall, it’s got a lot of smaller details that make it clear that the manufacturers are thinking about safety and usability, especially for professionals on busy job sites. The bright green paint increases visibility, while the extension ladder design is simple and relatively easy to use. The only serious downside is the size and weight of this ladder, which is both larger and heavier than some alternatives.
Roofing Ladder Buyer’s Guide
Now that we’ve talked about the best ladders for roofing and gone into the details about each model, let’s look at the kind of features and design elements that can make for a good roofing ladder.
These are the features you should look for whether you’re buying one of the ladders on our list or choosing a different ladder for yourself.
Roofing ladders are, by their very nature, taller than other ladders because they have to go higher and reach farther. It’s also important to make sure your ladder is taller than the space you want to reach, and the ratio of height and angles mean that the higher you need to go, the more space you need to leave for safe operation of the ladder.
Some designs make shallower angles a little safer, but even if your ladder has a good fastening system, supports at the bottom, and treaded feet for greater stability, you’ll still need a few extra feet.
For most roofs, 18ft is the minimum height for a ladder, and you may get more use out of a 20, 22, 24, or even taller model.
Of course, there are several different design options to give you that height, the simplest is usually extension ladders that can be slightly shorter or longer depending on the job. That way you don’t have to leave your ladder sticking out several feet from the bed of your truck as you’re going to a job site.
Telescoping ladders and folding models are also available, but those designs have their own pros and cons as well. Regardless of what kind of ladder you decide on, you should plan to read the user’s manual to make sure you’re assembling the ladder properly and know where the possible weaknesses and failure points are for your ladder.
Weight Capacity / Duty Rating
Your ladder’s duty rating matches its weight capacity and has strict levels that the ladder must meet before it’s rated and approved. For instance, a ladder that has a maximum capacity of 295 lbs. (in theory) would be a Type I ladder, not the Type IA ladder, which must have a maximum capacity of 300lbs, even though it’s closer than the 300-pound rating limit than Type I’s 250 lbs.
For roofing, you should probably plan on getting a ladder that is at least Type IA, and you can consider a heavier-duty Type IAA (375lbs capacity).
That’s because your ladder needs to be able to hold your weight, the weight of any materials and tools you’re carrying up to the roof, as well as any weight or pressure being used to stabilize the ladder at the bottom.
The higher your ladder’s weight capacity, the less you’ll have to worry about overloading the ladder on your way up.
The kind of materials your ladder is made from can have a huge impact on its performance, design, and weight. Let’s look at some of the most common options.
Fiberglass is one of the most common ladder materials anymore because of its incredible strength and durability, as well as the overall stability of the material. Fiberglass ladders don’t tend to flex and bend the way other ladders do, which makes them harder to shift and easier to stand on or climb safely.
The biggest problem with fiberglass is that it can be heavy, and incredibly difficult to repair if it’s damaged. While a metal ladder might bend or dent, and can often be bent back into shape, if you hit fiberglass hard enough to damage it (no small feat) it’s going to break.
Aluminum is another incredibly common option because it’s highly durable, very lightweight, and resists damage over time. However, aluminum transfers movement well, which can make these ladders a little more likely to wiggle or dance while you’re climbing.
It’s nothing to worry about 90% of the time, but you should be aware that these ladders are a little less stable overall as compared to fiberglass ladders. Check out our other article on the major differences between fiberglass vs aluminum ladders for more information.
Steel ladders were very popular once upon a time, but they are a little less common now, in part because steel is heavy and expensive compared to other materials.
Steel is a good option for a ladder because it resists damage, and is generally more stable than aluminum, making it the more durable of the two metals. However, because these ladders are heavy and difficult to position and transport, they’re getting rarer.
If you choose a steel ladder, be prepared for the extra weight. It’s also likely that you’ll have to buy an old fashioned design that doesn’t have as many safety features as more modern ladders.
Wooden ladders aren’t particularly popular or common outside of some DIYers and communities that prefer to make their tools themselves. Wooden ladders usually have fewer quality of life and safety features than other ladders, but they’re also the lightest.
Wood ladders vary a lot in quality, weight capacity, and other features, but unless you’re looking to make one yourself it’s unlikely you’ll find yourself working with a wooden ladder.
Stabilizers and attachment points are one of the most important features of a roofing ladder, but a lot of ladders don’t actually have this feature come standard. Stabilizers are designed to hold on to the roof without causing damage to the roof or the gutters, providing a little extra strength and accident prevention.
Always look for damage-free guarantees if you’re buying a ladder with stabilizers. Generally, the taller the ladder, the more important it is to have that critical equipment which is usually an additional accessory that you can purchase.
A-frame ladders, which are shaped like a capital A when they’re set up, are incredibly common in homeowner garages and home improvement stores, but they aren’t as good for roofing because it can be difficult to get the top of the ladder up to the roof.
However, A-frame ladders are some of the more durable and stable ladders out there, which makes them a great choice anytime they give you the height you need.
Next to A-frame ladders, extension ladders are probably the most common option on the market, and they are a better and more effective design for roofing than an A-frame ladder. The extension system just helps the ladder reach higher, letting you collapse to a smaller size for easy storage and extend the ladder for better reach.
Telescoping ladders take the idea of an extension ladder to the next level by making each rung fully collapsible into the run below it, greatly reducing the length of the ladder when it isn’t in use.
While these ladders are great for storage, they tend to need to be shorter, and may not always be as stable as other ladders thanks to all of the small connections as you extend the ladder.
Folding ladders, or flexible ladders, have simple hinges, often locking, that allow you to use the ladder in multiple configurations and shapes. They often have gripping tread on both the top and bottom of the ladder, and good folding ladders work in several different positions and configurations.
However, those hinges can be a point of failure, and these ladders are sometimes less durable than other designs because of it.
Overall, while there is a ton of variety in ladders for roofing, we’d have to give the top slot to the Little Giant Ladders Velocity with Wheels simply because of its versatile design and the attention to detail for travel and safety features to keep you working longer without an injury.
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.