When it comes to essential tools everyone should have in their home, ladders are at the top of the list. Whether you’re looking to climb up into your attic or trim your backyard hedges, you need a ladder to help you reach those high places. However, that doesn’t mean you should purchase the first ladder you come across.
There are several types of ladders currently on the market. All of them have their own unique application and are better suited for performing different tasks. Likewise, they all have varying degrees of structural integrity, with A-frame ladders being one of the safest.
In terms of a basic home-use ladder, an A-frame is most people’s top choice. This sturdy ladder is convenient, easy to use, and fits snugly into most garages or sheds. On average, this ladder reaches a height of 18 ft. But, in case you need a bigger boost, the good news is that there are taller options available.
Some brands are sturdier, while others are more practical to use. Regardless of what you need it for, with this guide on the tallest A-frame ladders, you’ll be able to find the perfect tool to help you fix up your home!
If you aren’t very handy, then you likely don’t know much about ladders, other than the obvious — they help you reach high places. However, there is so much more to this useful tool.
First and foremost, they come in many different shapes and sizes. For instance, metal ladders are the most common option since they’re both lightweight and capable of withstanding heavy loads. However, they conduct electricity and reflect ambient temperature. So using them to work on your backyard wires is a dangerous game.
Wood and fiberglass ladders, on the other hand, don’t conduct heat or electricity. Both materials are highly durable and provide plenty of support even if you’re on the heavier side. However, wood has durability issues since it’s prone to cracking and is highly sensitive to humidity. While fiberglass is more damage resistant, it’s also much more expensive. Plus, it’s heavier, so lugging it around is a big inconvenience.
Aside from materials, another factor you should consider when buying your ladder is ladder grading. Commonly referred to as duty grading, a ladder grade refers to the maximum weight a ladder can safely withstand. This includes:
- Your own body weight
- The weight of any tools you may carry up the ladder with you
- Any protective gear you’ll have on while working
Based on these criteria, the American National Standards Institute recognizes five distinct ladder grades:
- Type III or Light Duty: The lightest ladder type, type III ladders can handle a max weight of 200 lbs. Thus, they are the most common ladder for at-home use. They’re sturdy enough to handle basic home projects like painting, trimming hedges, and changing light bulbs. However, they aren’t so bulky that you can’t easily store them in your shed. A-frame ladders, most often, fall into this category.
- Type II or Medium Duty: Slightly stronger than lightweight ladders, medium-duty ladders have a carrying capacity of 225 lbs. Therefore, they’re a favorite of construction site workers or anyone who deals in other commercial contract work.
- Type I or Heavy Duty: The sturdiest of the bunch, grade I ladders hold up an impressive 250 lbs. Their capacity means they’re often used for industrial purposes, in jobs that use heavy equipment or gear. They also range in lengths of 3 to 20 ft, and they’re most commonly made from corrosion-resistant metals like aluminum.
- Type IA or Extra Heavy Duty: A special subtype of grade I, this grade holds up to 300 lbs. Like type I, type IA is something mostly construction workers or those involved with heavy machinery rely on to perform their jobs.
- Type IAA of Extra Heavy Duty: The undisputed king of heavy-duty ladders, grade IAA holds up to 375 lbs. This is a very rare ladder type and something you’ll usually find in niche industries.
When buying your ladders, it’s crucial you examine the ladder grade. This will not only help you pick the right ladder for the job but also ensure your safety. Every year around 500,000 end up injuring themselves after falling off their ladder. A further 300 people die from their injuries, costing the US around $24 billion in medical and legal expenses.
So, even if you’re looking for a relatively short ladder to make home improvements, don’t neglect your safety. Consider the grading of your ladder and what you’re going to be using it for. This will help you stay 100% safety compliant and narrow down your choices when you’re shopping around for a ladder.
Another thing to consider when browsing for ladders is the exact type you’re going to buy. Ladders come in all shapes and sizes, and each one is better suited for different purposes.
For example, step-ladders are a staple in most homes because they have an almost universal application. Straight ladders are, likewise, a great option when you need to do work on your roof and need something that won’t take up much space, while extension ladders are exactly what you need for reaching something really high up.
However, when it comes to the stablest ladder of the bunch, nothing tops the A-frame ladder. They’re a type of self-supporting ladder with two legs that angle upward. The legs are held together by a small metal platform at the top.
From the side, the ladder creates a distinct triangle shape that resembles the letter A, which is where the ladder gets its name from. The ladder usually features some type of locking mechanism near the bottom, which helps stabilize the legs and prevents them from flaring out. The ladder legs also feature rungs on one, or both sides, which you can climb up to reach the top.
As mentioned, this ladder typically reaches heights of around 18 ft. It’s also a light to a medium-grade ladder, making it highly suitable for home improvements. The A shape allows for even weight distribution and provides structural stability. Similarly, the rungs are spaced far apart, allowing you to climb safely to the top and comfortably balance while you’re high up. Lastly, the ladder is self-supporting, meaning that you don’t need to lean it against a wall or have someone hold it for you while you’re using it.
However, the biggest advantage of A-frame ladders is their near-universal application. The ladders are lightweight and easy to set up, so you can easily whip them out when you need to do some DIY work. Likewise, they come in a wide range of sizes, meaning that you can use them for improvements inside your home and work in your backyard. And, since they’re incredibly sturdy, you don’t have to worry about tipping over.
While A-frame ladders are the best type for home improvements, that doesn’t mean all of them are created equal. Like all products, A-frame ladders differ in terms of quality, materials, price, and, most importantly, height!
A standard 18-foot A-frame is usually enough for most people to safely conduct home- improvements. However, if you’re doing work on your roof or setting up a school gymnasium, then you’re going to need a much bigger ladder. Fortunately, there are three king-size A-frame ladders currently available on the market to help you soar to new heights!
1. Little Giant SkyScraper Ladder M21
When it comes to the tallest A-frame ladders, the Little Giant SkyScraper Ladder M21 is the undisputed champion of heights. This ladder reaches a staggering 21 ft, which is the tallest height of all ladders available. But size isn’t all this bad boy has to offer!
Despite its tall stature, the Little Giant SkyScraper Ladder M21 is actually quite lightweight.
Manufacturers make it using aerospace-grade aluminum, the same material used to make aircrafts. The alloy is famous for its strength and fatigue resistance, making it one of the most durable materials available. Likewise, it’s non-heat-treatable, meaning that it’s fairly resistant to higher temperatures. Thus, you can be certain this ladder is going to survive both heavy weights and any external damage.
Next to durability, this ladder also provides structural integrity. It comes equipped with arrayed rungs on both sides. Therefore, it allows two people to climb on it simultaneously, without the risk of tipping over. As a bonus, it classes as a Type IA ladder. Thus, it has a carrying capacity of an impressive 300 lbs, not just on one but on both sides! In short, it’s the best ladder for construction work, where two people need to do a job at extreme heights.
As established, the Little Giant SkyScraper Ladder M21 reaches a maximum height of 21 ft. However, it also comes with an in-built lock tab, which allows you to adjust the ladder’s height, from 11 ft to a maximum of 21 ft. The lock tab and the safety grate at the bottom of the ladder allow you to fix both legs at a height most convenient to you while also making sure the ladder stays sturdy.
The height adjusting function means that the Little Giant SkyScraper Ladder M21 is the ideal tool for home improvements and contract work alike. It can help you reach your ceiling to paint it and safely climb onto your roof to do repairs. Plus, the ladder is fairly affordable.
The average price of a Little Giant SkyScraper Ladder M21 is around $1,000. While this may seem like an exorbitant amount, keep in mind scaffolding can cost you anywhere between $50 to $300 a week to rent. If you’re planning to make extensive home improvements, this number will quickly add up. That’s to say nothing of any other heavy-duty equipment you may need, such as construction lifts.
Thus, buying this ladder amounts to the best way to save money while also getting everything done!
2. Louisville Ladder FM1416HD Twin Front Stepladder
Is safety something you most prioritize in your ladders? Well, in that case, look no further than the Louisville Ladder FM1416HD Twin Front Stepladder. This ladder model is the perfect balance between sturdiness, height, and durability, making it suitable for repairs in and outside the home! Plus, it has a plethora of quality features that will impress any handyman.
Made from Fiberglass
The most impressive fact about this ladder is that it’s made from fiberglass. As established, fiberglass is a highly valued ladder material. It’s incredibly sturdy and damage resistant, making it ideal for outdoor construction. Plus, it doesn’t conduct electricity, so you can safely use it to work with electrical wiring.
Heavy Carrying Capacity
Though the fiberglass looks daintier than standard metal, this ladder is actually quite strong. The Louisville Ladder FM1416HD Twin Front Stepladder is a grade IAA, meaning that it can handle a staggering 375 lbs of weight. Though it reaches a maximum height of 16 ft, it’s still suitable for complex construction work at extreme heights — especially one that requires you to use heavy equipment and safety gear.
ANSI & OSHA Certified
Possibly the biggest advantage of this ladder is the plethora of safety features it boasts.
The ladder has internal spreader braces and heavy-duty steel hinges that safely lock it in place once you open it up. The heavy-gauge gusset bracing and slip-resistant raptor boot make sure the legs don’t slide around when you spread the ladder across tiles. Lastly, the riveted step construction allows you to climb up safely without worrying about falling over.
The ladder is so secure that it actually has official OSHA and ANSI certificates, proclaiming it as one of the best ladders available.
3. Louisville Ladder AS1020 Step Ladders
Last, but certainly not least, is the Louisville Ladder AS1020 Step Ladder. This A-frame ladder reaches an impressive height of 20 ft. What’s more, it has a plethora of attractive features that make it appealing to anyone who values quality in their home-improvement tools.
Like the Louisville Ladder FM1416HD, the AS1020 is a picture of safety. The ladder features reinforced rubber treads on the legs and heavy gusset bracing. Thus, it’s capable of carrying an impressive 300 lbs.
The sturdy design is OSHA and ANSI-compliant, making this ladder a stellar option if you’re worried about staying balanced while high up.
A Perfect Blend of Strength and Durability
Not only is this ladder capable of handling a lot of weight, but it can also withstand a lot of damage! Made from aluminum, the ladder is resistant to corrosion and blunt force damage. Plus, the angle feet feature internal spreader braces on the side rails, allowing for stable weight distribution and shock absorption. Therefore, you can rest assured your ladder won’t break during transportation.
Possibly the most attractive feature of the Louisville Ladder AS1020 is its price tag. It usually goes for around $942. Thus, it’s slightly more affordable than the Little Giant SkyScraper and only a bit pricier than the $880 Louisville Ladder FM1416HD. Overall, it’s the best choice if you’re on a budget but still needs a good ladder to do construction.
Anyone who has made DIY home improvements knows that a good ladder is an absolute must! A tall A-frame ladder is exactly what you need to get to those out-of-reach places like top shelves, ceilings, and roofs.
And in case you’re planning to do some more complex construction work, you need to make sure your A-frame ladder is tall enough for the job. Currently, some of the tallest A-frame ladders reach a maximum height of 21 ft. This attitude is not only impressive, but it’s also practical both for indoor and outdoor work alike!