Ladders of various types are in just about every home and work place. There are extension ladders, step ladders, rolling ladders, fixed steel ladders, work platforms and different types of specialty ladders to fit specific needs.
Extension ladders are commonly know among everyone. Most of the extension ladders are made of aluminum or fiberglass. Aluminum ladders offer lighter weights which make them easier to use for the average person. Most extension ladders come in heights ranging from 16 – 60 feet, and weight capacities of 250 – 375 pounds. The weight capacity rating can be a bit miss leading considering most of the best quality ladders like Werner ladders are test to four times the stated capacity. Fiberglass extension ladders are the option you want to choose if you are going to be doing electrical work or working near electrical sources. The fiberglass frame will not conduct electricity keeping the user safer from electrical injuries. Another feature that is a plus in extension ladders are “D” rungs. This means the top side of the rungs are flat. This gives the user more secure footing while climbing up and down the ladder.
Step ladders are another common ladder, however can offer many extra features most people may not think of. The standard design of a step ladder is pretty much universal. But you can get them with a top that is designed to hold various tools. When you are working from a step ladder to install a light, paint or any other task you need this ladder for, it can be cumbersome to have to hold onto all the tools you will need. There are step ladders designed for different types of task. Some have top steps designed to hold painting tools such as brushes and tape. Others are designed to hold screw drivers, electric screw guns, pliers and other hand tools. This feature can make any job much easier and working from the ladder much safer.
When it comes to rolling ladders there are several styles that fit in this category. There are basic rolling safety ladders. This style of ladder looks much like a stairway on wheels with a hand rail going up the stairs and around the top platform. Most come with standard stair depths of 7 or 10 inches and a top platform of 14 inches. Most manufacturers offer deeper top platforms if you need extra room to work from the ladder. Rolling safety ladders also come in an easy climb model. These ladders are made with steps that are at a 48 or 50 degree slope to the step. This enables the user to more easily and safely use the ladder without the use of the handrail. This type ladder is worth the extra cost if you will be using the ladder to carry boxes or other items up and down from shelves. Another type of rolling ladder is a fold and store. This type of rolling ladder is very similar to a standard safety ladder. The main difference is this style ladder can be folded down so that it can be more easily moved or stored in less space. Rolling ladders commonly come in 1 – 15 step models. Most of these ladders are made with the steps 10 inches apart. Therefore a 10 step ladder would have a top platform height of 100 inches. Other step models work the same for figuring the height of ladder you may need. Another type of rolling ladder is the rolling work platform. This style can be single and double entry. This type of ladder is used when you will be spending extended time on the ladder working on equipment or other task that require more standing space to work safely. This style of ladder usually come in models from 3 to 6 steps.
Fixed steel ladders are usually used on the outside of commercial buildings, and other permanent structures to allow access to the roof. These are pretty basic ladders, however there are several things to keep in mind with fixed steel ladders. First is keeping unwanted users from accessing the ladder. There are options of security doors and locking panels for them to secure access to the ladder. Another option for this style of ladder is a safety cage. This is mounted to the fixed steel ladder to add safety to the user. It stops the person climbing the ladder from falling backward off the ladder. Another option is a top walk-through, this provides a handle at the top on each side of the ladder to help the user remain stable while stepping off the ladder at the top. Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a ladder height is that OSHA requires a step off platform for ladders over 20 feet or every 20 feet of climbing height. You can order these step off platforms at the same time you order the fixed steel ladder.
There are several ladders that fall under the category of specialty ladders to fit specific task. One of these ladders is a hook top ladder or also known as a drop down ladder. This ladder is made with hooks at the top and look very similar to a fixed steel ladder. This is the type of ladder to use when you need to climb up a wall or a tank. It enables the user to hook over the top and easily access the work area. Another style of common specialty ladder is a tank top ladder. This is very similar to the rolling ladder with the exception it has a top platform that extends out from the top. It is designed for the user to be able to move out over the top of semi truck trailers to access or work on the top.
As you can see there are many options in ladders. It is best if you have a special need or not sure what type of ladder would best fit your needs consult a ladder specialist that can provide you with guidance to get the right ladder to fit your needs and budget.