A step ladder is an easy and safe (if used correctly) method of reaching high-up tasks, that can’t be easily accessed from the ground.
This type of ladder is generally A-framed in shape, and lower in height than a straight ladder. One advantage of a step ladder is that they are freestanding, and don’t need to be leant against a solid surface, which makes them ideal for tasks such as hedge trimming or pruning.
Step ladders are usually made from steel or aluminium. Steel step ladders tend to be heavier, and can often feel more robust, whereas aluminium ladders are lighter and easier to move around. Most step ladders will fold close when not in use, for easy transportation and storage.
To help you choose the best step ladder for your task at hand, we’ve selected 5 of our favourite options available, and detailed why we think they’re so great below.
Last update on 2021-03-08 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
These ladders have been chosen for their size, quality, durability and value for money, so you can be sure they’re up to the job!
A robust and sturdy stainless steel step ladder, that offers excellent quality, for a reasonable price
Our best step ladder is this WolfWise 4-Step Stool Ladder, which is made from strong and robust stainless steel, and comes with plenty of user-friendly features.
This 4-step ladder has deep 13.5cm steps, for improved foot support, and each of these also boasts anti-slip tread. Rubber feet at the base of the ladder further increase the overall stability and help to ensure the ladder stays in place when in use, for a safer experience.
The ladder can support a maximum weight capacity of 150kg, so it’s suitable for most users. A folding design and compact size make it easy to transport and store, and as it is only 60cm deep when folded, it really won’t take up too much space in your home or garage.
Orange details on the ladder give in a stylish look, and ensure you can see it easily in a dark shed! A wear-resistant collodion coating helps to prevent damage to walls and surfaces that may come into contact with the ladder.
This step ladder is delivered pre-assembled and can be erected in seconds. It isn’t the tallest option on our list (141cm at the highest point when in use) but it is compact and lightweight, whilst still being incredibly sturdy, and should be sufficient for most household tasks.
- Made from sturdy stainless steel.
- Deep 13.5cm steps, for foot support.
- Anti-slip rubber feet for improved stability.
- Folding design is easy to transport and store.
- Wear-resistant collodion coating helps prevent damage to surfaces.
- Arrives assembled and ready to use.
- May not be tall enough for some household tasks.
- Heavier than some aluminium options – may not be suitable for elderly users.
This small, 2-step stool is perfect for low-height tasks and those who are unsteady on their feet – and it can’t be beaten on price
If you’re looking for a smaller and more affordable alternative, then we recommend trying this Safety Folding Step Stool from SiKy.
This low-height step ladder has only 2 steps, so it won’t be suitable for higher tasks – but for reaching shelves in your garden shed, or the top of the hedge for trimming, this might be all you need. The overall height of the ladder when open is 78.5cm, including the convenient safety handle.
The main attraction of this option is the price, as it is by far the cheapest step ladder on our list. You might think this would mean compromising on quality, but that isn’t the case. The ladder is made from strong and sturdy steel, and this, combined with the low height, means it feels extremely stable and secure when in use.
Each oversized step measures 20 x 30cm, so it’s easier and more comfortable to stand on than many taller ladders. As with our top pick, this one has a maximum weight capacity of 150kg. Anti-slip feet act as an additional safety feature to keep the stool in place, as well as protecting your floor – although it’s worth noting that these feet are made from plastic, not rubber.
Overall, this small step ladder won’t be suitable for painting the side of your house – unless it’s a hobbit house! – but for low height tasks, where you just need an extra 50 cm or so, this will more than meet the challenge.
- Made from strong and robust steel.
- Feels sturdy and secure.
- Small, folding design makes it easy to store.
- Anti-slip feet.
- Highly affordable – this is our cheapest step ladder.
- Will be too low for some tasks.
- Heavier than aluminium alternatives.
- Anti-slip feet are made from plastic, not rubber, and so offer less grip.
A tall, lightweight and versatile aluminium ladder, that can take 14 different forms and is suitable for a wide variety of tasks
This ZanGe Multi-Purpose Extension Ladder offers an impressive 14 different configurations, making it ideal for almost any job.
One of these configurations is the traditional A-frame ‘step-ladder’ mode, made possible by the hinges in the middle. You can also use it as a straight ladder, so it’s suitable for higher up tasks such as exterior wall painting and cleaning out gutters.
The ladder has multiple hinge points, to allow you to change the configuration, and each of these points feature safety locking hinges, to keep the ladder firmly in position. Rubber stabilisers further help to make you feel safe and secure.
Thanks to the multiple hinged points, the ladder can be folded right down, making it much easier to transport and store than a normal straight ladder. However, it still takes up more space than most of the step ladders on our list.
The overall length of this one is 4.7m, and the maximum load capacity is 150 kg, which is pretty standard for all these step ladders. Ultimately, if you’re looking for a longer ladder that’s capable of supporting you with a wider variety of jobs, this versatile option has to be a serious contender.
- Made from rust-proof aluminium.
- 14 different configurations.
- Use at a range of heights, for many tasks.
- Safety locking hinges and rubber stabilisers improve safety.
- Lightweight for the size.
- Takes up a lot more space than smaller designs.
- Ladder height is not adjustable, outside of the configurations.
- One of the priciest options on our list.
A heavy-duty fibreglass step ladder, which is insulated, and suitable for electrical and light industrial use
Cost: Price not available
This Fibreglass Step Ladder by Sterk Systems is a strong and robust ladder, that is sure to make you feel stable and secure as you work.
It is made primarily from fibreglass and is rated to EN 131, which means it is suitable for light industrial and trade use. The ladder is also insulated, making it safe to use in electrical environments – so it’s great for everyone from professional electricians, to avid DIY-ers looking to install new lighting in their home or shed.
This ladder has 5 steps, so it offers a considerable increase in height – although it’s worth noting that the top ‘rung’ is actually a multi-functional tool tray, which, while useful, does mean that you are unable to stand on the fifth step.
Each of the 4 other steps features deeply serrated, non-slip treads, to ensure your feet don’t slip as you climb. Rubber feet on the base of the ladder further improve safety, by helping to keep it in place.
Overall, this is another strong choice for anyone wanting a robust, stable and hardwearing step ladder. In fact, this is probably the kind of no-nonsense, heavy-duty, bright yellow option you imagine, when you picture a builder’s step ladder!
- Made from heavy-duty fibreglass.
- Deeply serrated, non-slip treads on steps.
- Rubber feet improve stability.
- Tested to EN 131 safety standards.
- Suitable for electrical environments.
- Includes a multi-functional top cap/tool tray.
- Not possible to stand on the top rung/tool tray.
This tall aluminium step ladder allows you to reach greater heights, while remaining lightweight and portable
Our final step ladder is another lighter aluminium option. This Xinng Household Ladder has 6 steps, and an overall height when in use of 170 cm – so it’s great for those higher up, harder-to-reach tasks, and perfect for a wide variety of household and garden jobs.
Being made from aluminium means this ladder remains fairly lightweight and easy to move around, despite its larger size. However, aluminium is generally considered not as robust as steel, and we don’t think it feels as stable and sturdy overall as the steel models on our list.
The steps are also not as deep, and aren’t as comfortable for your feet as many of the other options here. Some users report that they creak a little as you climb, due to the material, which can be concerning. However, non-slip rubber feet do help to give the ladder stability, and it is fully tested and certified to EN 131 safety standards, so this is us being pretty picky.
The ladder arrives fully assembled, so it’s ready to use straight away, and the price of the step ladder is extremely reasonable, considering the size on offer. If this isn’t the perfect height ladder for you, it’s also available in a range of other sizes, from 3 – 8 steps.
Whichever variation you choose, you can be assured you’re getting a high-quality, functional and lightweight ladder for your money, and we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
- Made from durable aluminium.
- Lightweight and easy to move around.
- Tall 170 cm ladder allows you to reach higher up places.
- Tested to EN 131 safety standards.
- Non-slip rubber base.
- Comparatively low price.
- Aluminium construction doesn’t feel as stable as steel.
- Steps are not as wide and comfortable for your feet as some competitors.
How To Use A Step Ladder Safely
In order to minimise the risk of injury, it is important to follow a few safety procedures when using a step ladder. Firstly, you should always check the ladder over for any signs of damage, prior to use. If you notice any defects or bent rungs, do not use the step ladder.
If the ladder is ok, the next step is to make sure it is positioned on sturdy, level ground – never balance the ladder on an unstable surface, or another object – and all four feet are touching the floor. Place the ladder facing the task, and make sure any locking mechanisms are firmly clicked into place.
Once the ladder is ready to ascend, do so carefully, and only carry lightweight tools. Ideally, don’t stand on the top 3 rungs of the step ladder, unless there is a safety handle. Try to keep 3 points of contact with the ladder at all times, whether that’s 2 feet and 1 hand, or 2 feet and your body.
Beware of any overhead power lines, especially if using power tools whilst standing on your step ladder, and never use a ladder whilst under the influence of alcohol, or otherwise inebriated.
How Tall A Step Ladder Do I Need?
The height of step ladder you need will depend on your own height and the height of the task at hand. You should choose a step ladder that’s tall enough that you don’t have to stretch to reach a job, as this can cause the ladder to become unstable and overbalance. Ideally, you should select a ladder with enough steps that you don’t need to stand on the top 2 or 3, unless there is a safety handrail.
Bear in mind that the listed height of the step ladder is not always the height of the top rung, and the actual maximum height you can stand on may be much lower. For example, the WolfWise step ladder at number one on this list has a safety handle at the top, which inflates the height of the ladder quite considerably.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.