7 Best Ladders For Painting: Reviews For Stairs & More

A reliable ladder is one of any painter’s most valuable tools, especially when it comes to painting those hard to reach places like ceilings, stairs, or high walls.

Below, we take a look at the sturdiest ladders on the market today to complete your project without hassle and remain safe. 

Image

Model

Material

Max Weight

Max Height

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Little Giant Ladders, Velocity, M22, 6-18...

Little Giant

Velocity M22

Aluminum

300 Lbs/Side

22 Feet

Little Giant Ladders, Flip-N-Lite, 6-Foot,...

Little Giant

Flip-N-Lite

Aluminum

300 Lbs

6 Feet

Louisville Ladder FE3216 Fiberglass Extension...

Louisville

Ladder FE3216

Fiberglass

300 Lbs

16 Feet

Ohuhu 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescoping Ladder,...

Ohuhu

Aluminum Alloy

330 Lbs

12.5 Feet

Cosco Three Step Max Steel Work Platform

Cosco

Three Step 

Work Platform

Steel

225 Lbs

4.6 Feet

Finether Folding 4 Step Ladder with Platform...

Finether

Folding 4 Step

Steel

331 Lbs

4.9 Feet

Rubbermaid RMS-3T 3-Step Steel Step Stool...

Rubbermaid

RMS-3T

Steel

225 Lbs

4.35 Feet

Why It's Necessary to Have a Solid Ladder When Painting

Most of the accidents that happen during painting projects are due to cutting corners – standing on a chair, balancing off the stairwell, etc. You would expect more from a professional contractor, so don’t make these mistakes yourself. There are several reasons a solid ladder is necessary when painting:

Stairs & Staircases

Undoubtedly the most difficult area of the home to paint. Without the proper ladder, you risk the possibility of falling from a great height (and possibly taking your paint plus supplies with you)! There are several ladders below that are configurable for stairs, or that can be safely paired with a stair platform.

High Walls

For interior rooms with extra high ceilings, you need the right ladder to reach all the way to the top. If you’re really straining to reach, you will likely end up rolling unevenly, which will show in your outcome. Ladders also help ensure you can be precise around the trim near the ceiling.

Ceilings

A lot of people will tell you that it’s impossible to DIY a painted ceiling, but the right ladder can make all the difference. Choose a ladder base that will hold steady to the ground with secure feet while you’re looking up.


Considerations When Buying Ladders for Painting

Ladder Type & Configuration

There are many different types of ladders, and the kind you choose will vary largely on your painting project, as we’ve detailed more below. Multi-purpose ladders are those that can be configured in two or more ways, such as our top choice below. The best ladders for painting at home include:

  • A-Frame Ladders
  • Extension Ladders
  • Platform Ladders
  • Tall Step Ladders
  • Short Step Ladders
  • Telescoping Ladders
Ladder Duty Rating

The Ladder Duty Rating tells you how much weight capacity the ladder can safely hold at any given time. Remember that this number includes both the person and any equipment they may be using, combined. We have listed all the appropriate weight limitations in our reviews below.

Ladder Type

Ladder Weight Capacity

Type IAA

375 lbs

Type IA

300 lbs

Type I

250 lbs

Type II

225 lbs

Type III

200 lbs

Length/Height

The ladders in this article range from just over 4 feet to 22 feet in length. Depending on the room or area you’re painting, we think that this size range will suit your needs. However, there are extension ladders available for home use that extend up to 40 feet, should you require one. Just make sure you’re following all the safety regulations.  

Stability & Safety

We believe that all of the products on this list will help you get your next painting job done safely; however, make sure you get the right ladder for your conditions. Look for solid non-slip material, wider steps, and no-pinch locking mechanisms.

Build Quality

Ladders for home use are typically made of fiberglass, aluminum, or stainless steel. Of course, there are also other types of ladders, but we do not recommend using a wooden ladder or rope ladder for painting.

  • Fiberglass
    These ladders are made to last. They are structurally strong, weatherproof, and also heat resistant. Fiberglass ladders will be more expensive than aluminum ladders.
  • Aluminum
    Probably the most popular type of ladder for home use because of its light weight and portability. Aluminum ladders are heat tolerant, but should not be left outdoors for long periods during extreme heat, as they might warp.
  • Steel
    This type of ladder is usually reserved for smaller stepladders. Steel ladders are the heaviest type, but the stepladders we reviewed are small enough to not be too cumbersome.
Convenience & Ease of Use

Some of the ladders we review fold out to one position, while others can be used in various ways. The right ladder for you will ultimately depend on the painting job you have at hand. We tried to select models that are easy for everyday use so that you won’t have to pull out a user’s manual each time you try to fold it up.

Paint Ladder Accessories

There are an abundance of accessories that can make your next painting job more manageable. A few of the ladders we review come with a built-in paint tray or work platform. Other helpful accessories include stair platformspaint can holders for ladders, and anti-skid mats.


7 Best Ladders for Painting Reviewed

1. Little Giant Ladders Velocity M22

Best Overall Ladder for Painting

Material

Aluminum

Number of Steps

Depends on Configuration

Weight Capacity

300 lbs per side

Painting Tray

No / Work Platform Included

Height

22 Feet

Weight

39.5 lbs

If you’re going to invest in a ladder for home use, take a look at the Velocity M22 by Little Giant Ladders. With 33 unique configurations covering A-Frame, staircase, 90-degree, extension, and scaffolding, this is our top pick for the best overall ladder for painting. You’ll work every corner of your house with ease, and even with a partner! I love that this ladder is truly a two-person ladder, rated at 300 lbs per side when set up in an A-frame style.

My favorite feature, though, is how portable and easy to store this ladder is. When folded down, it only needs a space that is 5'7" in height and 9" deep. And thanks to its unique aircraft-alloy aluminum build, it’s only 39.5 lbs – 20% lighter than other ladders on the market of this same size.

When you purchase this ladder from Amazon, it conveniently comes with the Little Giant Aluminum Work Platform, which can be used at any safe height on the ladder, and itself is rated for 375 lbs. You can stand on the platform or use it to hold all of your painting supplies. A second work platform can also be added if you wish. 

The Velocity M22 can reach 18 feet as an extension ladder, making it the best ladder for painting high ceilings. There isn’t much that this ladder can’t do.

Pros

  • Little Giant Ladders’ lifetime warranty
  • 33 unique configurations
  • Easy to adjust
  • Lightweight design

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with scaffolding trestle

2. Little Giant Ladders Flip-N-Lite

Best Step Ladder for Painting

Material

Aluminum

Number of Steps

4

Weight Capacity

300 lbs

Painting Tray

No

Height

6 Feet

Weight

14 lbs

If you’re not in the market for a tall ladder like our top pick from Little Giant above, then the Flip-N-Lite step ladder from the same company might be ideal. This aluminum 6-foot step ladder is the best step ladder for painting because the top standing platform promises “full foot coverage” for full support. And at only 14 lbs, it’s light enough and slim enough to store almost anywhere, from a broom closet to under your bed.

I believe the Little Giant Flip-N-Lite is the best ladder for interior painting because this 6-foot model is just right for painting walls and trim in rooms with standard ceiling heights. I’m 5'4" and can reach everywhere I need with ease, including the pantry's top shelf when I'm finished painting, and I need to reach my favorite snacks!

On the Little Giant website, customer Barbara tells us, “Best ladder ever. We have had some contractors here working, and they all want to take this ladder home with them.”

The only downside to this ladder is that there currently isn’t a paint tray or caddy that is specifically compatible with it (though some may work with a little tweaking). If you need a shorter step ladder, this same model also comes in both a 4-foot and 5-foot version.

Pros

  • Stable step ladder holds up to 300 lbs
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Slim enough to store almost anywhere
  • Affordable option

Cons

  • Only 1 year warranty

3. Louisville Ladder FE3216

Best Ladder for Painting High Walls

Material

Fiberglass

Number of Steps

Depends on Configuration

Weight Capacity

300 lbs

Painting Tray

No

Height

16 feet

Weight

31 lbs

The Louisville Ladder FE3216 is a fiberglass extension ladder that is best for painting high walls. It can safely reach 13 feet high at full length, giving you the extra boost you need in rooms with extra tall ceilings.

Louisville Ladder’s motto is, “Because work ain’t play.” What does that mean? It means that you can expect their ladders to be of the highest quality and offer the utmost stability. My favorite feature is the ladder’s swivel shoe adaptors. These little “feet” on the bottom of the ladder ensure that the ladder completely grips to the ground, even if it’s slightly unlevel, making it a great choice for painting home exteriors as well.

The company prides itself on its patented MaxLock extension system, saying that it is "the strongest, toughest, lightest rung lock ever made.” It’s even been tested in weather extremes of -40F all the way up to 122F, so you don’t need to worry about how it will hold up in your shed or garage.

And if you’re a contractor looking for a new ladder to have on the job, you can rest assured that the FE3216 meets all the safety expectations and regulations put in place by ANAI, CSI, and OSHA. In many cases, it surpasses these standards. While we reviewed the 16 foot ladder, if you need more height, you can find this model in varying sizes up to a 40 foot extension ladder.

Pros

  • Fiberglass construction
  • Patented MAXLOCK system
  • Comes in various sizes
  • Adjustable swivel feet

Cons

  • No listed warranty
  • No paint tray

4. Ohuhu

Best Telescopic Ladder for Painting

Material

Aluminum Alloy

Number of Steps

12

Weight Capacity

330 lbs

Painting Tray

No

Height

12.5 Feet

Weight

25.1 lbs

The Ohuhu is definitely the best telescopic ladder for painting. If you're tight on storage space, I think you will be thoroughly impressed with the design of this aluminum telescopic extension ladder. When folded, the ladder is only 2’9” tall, so you can easily store it away in a closet or even the trunk of your car. It also comes with a comfortable carrying strap for when you’re on-the-go.

Many people assume that because telescopic ladders are so portable that they cannot hold as much weight as standard ladders. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Ohuhu can hold up to 330 lbs, which is more than several other larger ladders on our list.

When shopping for an Ohuhu ladder, the company wants you to know that they have worked hard to improve the design of their telescoping method. The original Ohuhu ladders required the user to press 11 different buttons/sites in order to retract the ladder. The new system has just one simple button for easy (and super fast) retraction. It really is the ultimate in convenience.

The only downside to this model is that it is often out of stock, or shipping is delayed 2-3 weeks on Amazon. However, we feel that if you’re in the market for a telescopic ladder, the wait will be well worth it in the end. 

Pros

  • Folds down incredibly small
  • One button retraction
  • Holds up to 330 lbs

Cons

  • Often out of stock
  • No warranty information

5. Cosco Three Step Max Steel Work Platform

Best Ladder for Painting Stairs

Material

Steel

Number of Steps

3

Weight Capacity

225 lbs

Painting Tray

Yes, Built-In

Height

4.6 Feet

Weight

17 lbs

Cosco is a company that has been trusted for over 80 years for their high-quality home products, and the Cosco Three Step Max Steel Work Platform is no exception. This is the best ladder for painting stairs because when it’s paired with a stair platform, it offers superior durability and accessibility. We love that the unique workstation includes handy slots for your tools, paint, and other project materials. When shopping online, just make sure that you search for the “Max Steel Work Platform” version. The company also sells the same ladder without workstation for slightly less, but we think you'll be disappointed without it because it's the platform that makes this ladder so special. 

A review on Sam’s Club website says, “I love this study step stool and the fact that the steps are nice and wide to help with your balance. It is not too heavy for me to move around the house and I love having the tray to put tools, light bulbs paint etc without having to hold onto them as you climb up the steps.”

This ladder only comes with a one year limited warranty, but we can’t find many instances in which customers actually needed to use it.

Pros

  • Unique work platform/tool holders
  • Easy to fold with one hand
  • Only weighs 17 lbs
  • Large steps for easy balance

Cons

  • Only 1 year limited warranty

6. Finether Folding 4 Step

Best 4 Step Ladder for Interior Painting

Material

Steel

Number of Steps

4

Weight Capacity

331 lbs

Painting Tray

Yes, Built-In

Height

4.9 Feet

Weight

21.3 lbs

This ladder by Finether is only 6 inches taller than the Cosco model we reviewed above, but it does include an additional step and can hold an additional 106 lbs (for a total weight of 331 lbs). It’s an excellent choice for those who are heavier or who have weak knees, but still want to get the job done themselves. But the reason we're calling in the best 4 step ladder for interior painting is because of its superior stability.

The Finether Folding 4 Step was built with your safety in mind. The steps are extra wide and comfortable, providing heel-to-toe coverage while you work. Each platform, along with the ladder's feet, includes a non-slip surface to help keep you and the ladder securely in place. 

There is also a multi-purpose tray built in to hold all your project supplies. The tray itself is rated to hold up to 31 lbs, and even includes special circular molds to accommodate either a gallon or quart of paint perfectly. With your tools in place, there is no worry about items slipping and falling on the floor.

A few users have mentioned that this 4 step ladder isn’t the easiest to fold, but that it does become easier the more that you use the ladder.

Pros

  • Platforms with heel to toe coverage
  • Multi-purpose tray built-in
  • 331 lb weight capacity
  • Excellent stability

Cons

  • Not the easiest to fold

7. Rubbermaid RMS-3T

Best Ladder for Painting Stairwell

Material

Steel

Number of Steps

3

Weight Capacity

225 lbs

Painting Tray

Yes, Built-In

Height

4.35 Feet

Weight

16  lbs

Ladders might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Rubbermaid company, but their ladders are worth looking into for the price and quality. I believe that this model is the best ladder for painting stairwells with flat landing areas because its rubber feet provide great traction on either carpet or wood floorings. 

At only 16 lbs, this Rubbermaid model is also rated as one of the best step ladders for seniors. It can easily be moved around the house to complete all of your tasks, from reaching the top shelf to changing light bulbs to washing the windows. And the best part is that the rubber feet are super gentle and won’t scuff your floors at all.

This step ladder also includes a built-in project tray. It’s slightly smaller than other workstations we have reviewed in this article, but it still has plenty of room to hold a gallon of paint and a couple of paintbrushes. It also has a unique removable storage compartment for smaller pieces like nails and screws. The storage compartment has a lid, too, so you can even fold your ladder up and keep your smaller items in place for next time.

Pros

  • Built-in project tray
  • Includes removable storage for small items
  • Traction molded steps
  • Super slim profile for easy stowing

Cons

  • Smaller paint tray than other options

How to Safely Use Ladders While Painting

Follow OSHA Guidelines

OSHA has an entire guidebook on how to use ladders safely. And even though these requirements are for the workplace, we recommend purchasing an OSHA compliant ladder because you will know it’s built with safety in mind.

Use as Instructed

Only ever use your ladder as instructed. Most extension ladders will have visible warnings for steps you should not exceed. Proper use also includes storing in a safe, temperate place when the ladder is not in use.

Work with a Partner

Especially if you’ll be painting high walls or working on an extension ladder, work with a partner that can take turns stabilizing the ladder for you.

For more ladder safety tips, check out this video from This Old House.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is the 4 to 1 rule for ladders?

This safety rule suggests that the base of the ladder is placed 1 foot away from the building for every 4 feet of height. For example, a 12 foot ladder should be placed 3 feet away from the building at the base.


What is the safest type of ladder to use for painting stairs?

In general, we find that the safest ladders for working on your stairs are stepladders like the Cosco Three Step found above. Some stairways are wide enough to accommodate these ladders, but if your stairs are more narrow, you can also use a staircase ladder platform like this one.


What is the maximum height you can work from a ladder?

OSHA requires fall protections to be put in place on fixed ladders that are more than 24 feet. However, there are no standards in place for portable ladders. Most ladders are clearly labeled with their safest working points, and we recommend always listening to these guidelines.


What do licensed painters have to say about using a ladder?


“Workers who frequently climb up and down ladders or stairs each day may not think to inspect them for issues, but general contractors should encourage this practice on each job site. A safe ladder or staircase is one that is free from clutter, dirt and debris, and is dry.”


  - According to the NASE


Which is better aluminum or fiberglass for an extension ladder?

There are benefits to both types of extension ladders, but if given a choice I would recommend choosing a fiberglass extension ladder. Fiberglass is both stronger and more weather resistant than aluminum.


Conclusion

Whether you’re painting your bedroom, stairwell, or ceiling, there is a ladder that's right for the job. I hope our research has helped you pick the right one for your own endeavors.

If you're looking for the most versatile ladder for painting, go with the Velocity M22 by Little Giant Ladders. Its use will go beyond painting jobs and help you clean your gutters, change lightbulbs, and hang the holiday lights with ease.

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