If you need a ladder for garden or DIY tasks, but don’t have the space to store a 40ft metal construction when you’re not using it, a telescopic ladder could be the answer.
Telescopic ladders are short ladders with extendable rungs, enabling you to increase the height of the ladder as needed, and then retract it when you’re finished, for easy transportation and storage. This allows you to keep your ladder in a cupboard, or the boot of your car.
Due to their extendable design and multiple locking mechanisms, there are some safety concerns around cheap, low-quality telescopic ladders. You should always choose a ladder from a reputable brand, and look for the EN 131 European certification for safety.
To help you choose the best telescopic ladder for you, we’ve selected our 5 favourite ladders, based on factors such as their height, portability and safety features.
Last update on 2021-04-22 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
Get ready to take your ladder-based tasks to new heights!
Our best telescopic ladder is compact, affordable and European safety-certified
Cost: Price not available
This Lightweight 3.2m Telescopic Ladder by Finether tops our list of the best telescopic ladders, thanks to its sturdy and compact design, very reasonable price, and host of safety features – this is a ladder designed with your safety in mind.
The ladder is made from durable, lightweight and corrosion-resistant aluminium, and is resistant to extreme high and low temperatures. The rungs can be extended 1ft at a time, to a maximum of 3.2m, and the resulting ladder has a maximum weight capacity of 330lbs/150kg.
Importantly, the ladder meets the EN 131 European safety standards for materials, so you can be assured that you’re in good hands. There are also secure slide latches, slip-resistant rungs, and non-slip end caps on the feet of the ladder, to limit the possibility of an accident.
The couplings between rungs have also been updated since previous designs, to further improve stability, and avoid pinching your hands. Being lightweight, and folding down to a width of just 8cm when retracted, means this ladder is extremely easy to move and store. A secure strap and grip handle makes it even easier to transport.
This is the second most affordable telescopic ladder on our list, and considering the quality and safety features you get, you really can’t go far wrong.
- Made from durable and rust-resistant aluminium.
- Meets the EN 131 European safety standard for telescopic ladders, and includes lots of other safety features.
- Compact and lightweight (9kg) design is easy to carry and store.
- Includes strap and grip handle for easy transportation.
- Well-priced – our second most affordable ladder.
- 3.2m max. extension might not be high enough for some jobs (although you can purchase a longer one for a higher cost).
- Extending the rungs can be a little stiff.
Our best value telescopic ladder is lightweight and sturdy, but doesn’t come with EN 131 certification
This next 3.2 Aluminium Extendable Ladder by DICN is the one we believe offers you the best value for money. This telescopic ladder has many of the same features as our top pick but is even more affordable.
Made from aluminium, this ladder is lightweight yet sturdy. It weighs approximately 9.2kg and can support weight up to 330lbs/150kg. It features a retractable design which folds down to 82 x 49 x 8.5cm, and an easy-grip handle, which makes it easy to store and carry with just one hand.
In terms of safety, the ladder has non-slip rubber feet and a rubber sleeve on each of the rungs, to make it safer to climb. However, it doesn’t come with any claims of complying with the EN 131 European safety standards – so you should proceed with caution.
We’d recommend double-checking all of the locking mechanisms before use, and being especially careful not to place your hands or other body parts between the rungs (which is advisable every time you use any telescopic ladder).
That being said, the ladder feels well-made, and comes highly rated by online users. It is the lowest priced ladder in our selection, and really can’t be beaten on value.
- Made from strong and lightweight aluminium.
- Safety features include anti-slip rubber feet and rubber sleeves on each rung.
- Compact size and grip handle makes it easy to store and transport.
- Highly affordable – our cheapest telescopic ladder.
- No mention of the EN 131 European certification for safety.
- Prone to flexing under heavier weights.
- 3.2m max. extension might not be enough for some high-up tasks.
This longer extendable ladder comes highly rated by online users
Next up on our list is this 4.7m Telescopic Ladder by WolfWise. This one is again made from durable and rust-resistant aluminium, and has the same weight capacity as the previous ladders, of 330lbs/150kg.
However, this one has some additional height on the previous 2 models. With a maximum extension of 4.7m, it’s suitable for jobs where you need to reach greater heights, as well as lower-level tasks – just extend the number of rungs necessary to reach your desired height.
The retracted dimensions of this one are 95 x 50 x 9cm, and it weighs 13.3kg, so it is slightly bulkier than the previous two, but that’s to be expected given the additional height. It’s still much easier to move around and store than a regular ladder, especially with the included heavy-duty strap, and grip handle.
In terms of safety, the manufacturer doesn’t confirm whether it conforms to the EN 131 safety standards. However, there are a variety of safety features, including non-slip end caps on the feet, anti-slip top caps and self-locking mechanisms, which will help to prevent an accident.
The absence of mention of the EN 131 certification is a little disappointing, but the sheer amount of positive ratings from users shows that this is still a high-quality extendable ladder, and is safe to use.
- Made from durable, corrosion-resistant aluminium.
- Maximum reach of 4.7m makes it suitable for tasks requiring more height.
- Lightweight and compact – easy to transport and store.
- Includes non-slip end caps, to prevent the base of the ladder moving whilst you are using it.
- Doesn’t specify whether the ladder meets EN 131 European safety certification.
- Pricier than many competitors – the most expensive ladder on our list.
A safety-certified telescopic ladder that reaches an impressive 5m
If you’re looking for a more affordable high ladder, and one that comes with the EN 131 safety certificate, look no further than this Autofu 5m Extendable Ladder.
This is another ladder made from aluminium and can support a maximum load capacity of 330lbs/150kg (we’re sensing a theme!) It has 13 extendable rungs, and can reach a height of up to 5m – making it perfect for a wide range of jobs, including window cleaning and home maintenance.
When folded to its smallest configuration, the ladder measures 98 x 48 x 8.5cm, which is still a manageable size for storage and transportation. At 13.3kg, it does weigh more than the shorter options, but it’s by no means too heavy to move around for the average user, and the included storage strap and grip handle will help.
As mentioned, this one does come with the EN 131 safety certificate, but you should still exercise caution when extending the rungs, as they retract quickly, and it can be easy to get your fingers caught.
Providing you use it correctly and undertake the necessary safety precautions, this long extendable ladder will be useful for a variety of tasks and last for many years to come.
- Made from durable aluminium.
- Reaches a maximum of 5m in height – perfect for all types of jobs.
- Includes storage straps for easy transportation.
- Rubber feet help to prevent it from slipping while in use.
- Meets EN 131 European safety standards.
- Rungs collapse fast, so you need to be careful not to trap your fingers.
- The gap between rungs is comparatively wide.
This 5m telescopic ladder is perfect for jobs requiring more height
Cost: Price not available
Rounding off our list of the best telescopic ladders is this 5m option from Vilo. This aluminium ladder is slightly different to all those featured so far, in that it has a foldable design, and can be used in A-frame form, as well as a conventional straight ladder.
When folded, the ladder can reach a maximum height of 2.5m. Although this is low, the advantage here is that it is freestanding. It’s therefore ideal for tasks such as changing light fittings or trimming trees, where there is no convenient wall for it to be leant against.
Other than the folding design, this ladder is very similar to the others – it’s made from aluminium, has non-slip feet, and comes with EN 131 certification. There are rolling castors on the bottom, to make it easier to move around – which is helpful as this is also our heaviest ladder, at 18.2kg.
Ultimately, it has to be said that the differences between all of these ladders are minimal – most are made from aluminium, come with similar construction, and include the same safety features.
It is therefore necessary to look at the details to choose between them, and we think the extra stability and convenience offered by the foldable design of this one might be just enough to sway you.
- Maximum reach of 5m in height – suitable for a wide range of jobs.
- The foldable design allows you to use it as a freestanding step ladder.
- Rolling castors make it easier to move around.
- Rubber feet to prevent slipping and protect internal flooring.
- Complies with EN 131 European safety certification.
- Our heaviest ladder, at 18.2kg – some users may struggle to move it.
- Tends to bow a little when used as a straight ladder.
How To Use A Telescopic Ladder
Before using your telescopic ladder, you should consult the manufacturer’s instructions, to allow for any variations between ladders. Most telescopic ladders will need to be extended one rung at a time, making sure that each rung securely locks into place, before you move onto the next one. Repeat this until the desired height of the ladder is reached.
When it comes to using the ladder, make sure to position it on dry, flat ground, and clear the area of potential hazards. Never place an object underneath the ladder to extend its height. It is a good idea to get someone to hold the bottom of the ladder whilst you climb, and avoid standing on the top rung of the ladder.
Are Telescopic Ladders Safe?
There are some safety concerns associated with telescopic ladders, especially when they are used incorrectly. One of the most common problems occurs when one of the extendable rungs of the ladder is not securely locked into place before you ascend. This can result in the rung you are standing on retracting, or even the whole ladder collapsing, causing you to suffer anything from trapped fingers, to a nasty fall.
This kind of incident does not only occur as a result of human error – sometimes a used telescopic ladder will become worn over time, and the mechanisms will malfunction. In 2017, thousands of telescopic ladders were withdrawn from sale after they were found not to meet safety standards for this reason.
You should always make sure to check the locking mechanisms on a telescopic ladder before using it, to avoid an accident. It is also recommended to buy your ladder from a reputable brand, and choose one that meets European EN 131 safety certification, and has a high consumer rating.
As well as problems with the mechanisms, telescopic ladders can experience the same safety issues that affect regular ladders. For example, if you are using the ladder on wet or uneven ground, or are balancing it on top of another object to increase the height, the ladder could topple over whilst you are using it. Always exercise caution when using any type of ladder.
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.