How to Buy the Best Ladder for the Job - Part 2
By: The Working Man
3. What should you ask for when you go to buy a ladder?
Here is a basic list of ladder loads and grades and their
A Household grade ladder is Type III and is rated to hold up to
two hundred pounds (about ninety-one kilograms). That recommended
weight includes both the person and any tools they are using.
Such ladders are okay to use for light painting, yard work,
changing light bulbs and other chores.
A Commercial grade ladder is Type II and is rated up to two
hundred twenty-five pounds (one hundred and two kilograms). These
ladders are commonly used for light commercial painting, cleaning
An Industrial grade ladder is Type I and is rated to safely carry
up to two hundred and fifty pounds (one hundred and thirteen
kilograms). It is suitable for use in the Dry walling, Building,
Maintenance and General Contracting industries.
A Heavy-Duty Industrial grade ladder is Type IA and will hold up
to three hundred pounds (one hundred and thirty-six kilograms).
Heavy-Duty Industrial grade ladders may be used in factory and
industrial venues, roofing, and General Contracting.
Commercial grade ladders are Type IAA, hold up to three hundred
and seventy-five pounds (one hundred and seventy kilograms) of
person and tools, are always stepladders, and are used for any
general heavy-duty work.
4. What material is the ladder made from, and how well is it
made? Wooden ladders are fairly electrically nonconductive if
they are dry, but dangerous when wet. Wooden ladders are usually
the lowest cost ladders.
Aluminum ladders are stronger than wooden ladders and lighter in
weight, but should not be used if you are working anywhere around
electricity. Many people have been injured or killed by
electricity while standing on or carrying an aluminum ladder.
Fiberglass ladders are becoming more popular and are safest
around electricity, but they are more costly and heavier than
aluminum. They do, however, provide the most strength and
durability for the cost. Buy a fiberglass ladder if you will be
working anywhere near electrical lines.
On metal ladders, watch for sharp edges, bent steps, rungs or
rails, dents and the like. Make sure wooden ladders have no
cracks, splits or large knots. Check that the ladder you are
considering has no loose rungs or steps and that any rods or
braces are well attached and move properly. Also make sure that
the ladder has non-slip feet and braces.
If you need a general purpose ladder that can be used as a
stepladder, scaffold support, or extension ladder, look for an
articulating multi-use ladder such as the "Little Giant" ladder
or similar products.
See Also: Part 1 How to Buy the Right Ladder
for the Job
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