Telescoping ladders are the answer to our prayers – they fold away easily so are easy to store when you’re not using them, and extend to allow you to safely paint the ceiling and any other places that are normally hard to get to!
Telescoping Ladder - Comparison Guide
Werner MT-22 300-Pound
13, 17, 22, 26
Generic EN131 Std
Little Giant 14016-001 Alta One
13, 17, 22
Xtend & Climb 770P
8.5, 10.5, 12.5, 15.5
OxGord Folding Scaffold Work Ladder
Little Giant Ladder Systems 12026 26-Feet
17, 22, 26
Vulcan Ladder USA ES-17T11G1
13, 17, 21
Xtend & Climb 785P
8.5, 10.5, 12.5, 15.5
Why Invest in a Telescopic Ladder
Investing in a telescoping ladder is a wise choice. They hold many benefits over traditional ladders that may not be initially apparent.
For example, a telescoping ladder is compact and transports easily. You can toss it in the bed of your truck or trunk of your car and don’t have to worry about trying to tie to the roof rack. When compacted, they are also less cumbersome, and you can carry them by yourself without needing help from another person or dragging them across the ground.
Another benefit is that you can extend the ladder to the perfect height. With a traditional ladder, it isn’t very easy to use indoors or without extending it beyond what you actually need. A telescoping ladder is suitable for use as a small step ladder to change a light bulb or replace a ceiling fan indoors and can then be taken outside to assist you in cleaning out the gutters.
With so many benefits and near-endless uses, a telescoping ladder just makes more sense.
How to Safely Use a Telescopic Ladder
Safety is an important aspect when using a ladder of any kind. With a telescoping ladder, you need to take extra precautions. Since a telescoping ladder can be extended to any height, you need to ensure that the height locks are secure before putting weight on the rungs.
Most ladders will have rubber or plastic feet to minimize slipping. However, it doesn’t mean it will always work. You should ensure that all feet of the ladder are on flat, level ground, and won’t sink into the surface, especially when outdoors.
When climbing the ladder, you should test your balance and weight on the lower rungs to avoid injury in the event you do fall. Any time you work on a ladder at a height greater than four feet, you should have someone nearby as a spotter in case something goes wrong.
With a telescoping ladder, extra care should be taken when compressing the ladder down. Unlike a traditional ladder, a telescoping unit has more pinch-points to be aware of. Keep your hands and fingers out of these areas at all times.
Qualities of a Great Telescopic Ladder
Not all telescoping ladders are built the same. There are certain characteristics that you need to look for when selecting your next ladder. Here are the more important aspects to consider.
By and large, most ladders will be made from aluminum. This helps keep the overall weight down, and rolled-aluminum is highly durable with high tensile strength. Steel and other metals are also used in some ladders, but the added cost and weight make them almost useless. You should find a ladder that is light enough to carry around but strong enough to support your entire weight plus tools.
Fiberglass is generally stronger than aluminum and stands up to nature better. If you will be using the ladder outdoors more often than not, fiberglass may be the way to go. Also, fiberglass is resistant to electricity, making it a safer alternative to aluminum when working around power sources.
Telescoping ladders are also designed for different purposes. The overall size of the ladder will determine if it is best used for indoors, or exterior projects. You will want to find out the size of the ladder when compacted, as well as its full length when extended. The former will help in storage options and the latter in where it can be used.
The overall weight of the ladder will also determine if it is something you can easily carry around, or if it needs to be kept close to the job site. Heavier ladders aren’t always more durable, and portability will come into play when you need to move the ladder frequently.
Most telescoping ladders are maintenance-free. However, some require lubrication, or adjustment of the locking feet, extension locks, and safety clasps. If your particular model does require any maintenance routines, they will be outlined in the owner’s manual.
Beyond that, keeping your ladder clean will go a long way to prolonging the life and usefulness of the ladder. Most aluminum ladders can easily be sprayed with a garden hose before you store them away.
Another benefit of collapsible ladders is that there is virtually no set up. Most won’t even come in packaging. As soon as you get the ladder home, you can extend it and begin using it immediately. However, I do caution you that before you put your foot on that first rung, you read and familiarize yourself with the owner’s manual. It will cover everything you need to know about the use, transport, and storage of your new ladder.
Max Weight Capacity
Another consideration is the max weight capacity of the ladder. While most ladders are strong enough to hold the weight of the average adult, some may not be capable of holding much more than that. You need to account for tools, paint buckets, harnesses, your clothing, and of course, your own body weight.
Extra Features of Telescoping Ladders
Before you make that final purchase, there are extra features that some models offer. It is worth your time to consider these extra features and determine if they are something you need in your ladder as well as if they are worth paying a little more for.
Foot Locking Feature
Ladders have feet that pivot to adjust to differing ground heights. However, this pivoting also makes them more susceptible to movement while you are on them. Locking feet allow you to secure the feet of the ladder once you have it set up and secure. The added feature may not seem like a lot, but it could save a life.
No-pinch Closure Mechanism
As I mentioned earlier, telescoping ladders have a lot more pinch points than a traditional ladder. Some models will offer a no-pinch closure that allows you to keep your hands and fingers away from all pinch points while the ladder is collapsing.
Non Slip End Caps/Slip Resistance
Since you may be working in areas with wet floors, or other hazardous conditions, having a ladder with slip-resistant feet will go a long way. Many models will include this feature as a standard, while others will offer end caps or rubber feet at an extra charge. Make sure you know which your model offers and if it is something worth paying slightly more to have.
Extend & Lock
Not all ladders have a lock when extended. While they will have items to prevent collapse while there is a weight on the ladder, some don’t bother to lock the handles. If you feel that the ladder might be messed with while you are on it, or while you are moving it, you can opt for a model with the Extend and Lock feature that prevents the ladder from being collapsed while the lock is engaged.
Telescoping Ladders Vs Other Types
Ladders. We all have one in our homes. And if not, you should get one … after you’ve finished reading this.
Most ladders are now made from aluminium but they can come in wood or even fibreglass if you’re going to be working near electricity.
The most basic ladder is the rigid single-section. Your grandpa probably had a wooden one in his tool shed.
A single-section is useful for quick jobs, but it will take you only so far. You might end up having to buy a range of heights, which then become difficult to store and handle.
The step ladder is useful for reaching high shelves and for painting indoors, but not much else. It has the same height restrictions of the single-section.
The extension ladder is step in the direction. It has at least two sections, sometimes three, that overlap each other when not in use. The extra sections can be deployed and locked into place when you need the extra height.
They’re usually manufactured from aluminum, sometimes even wood. While they’re more versatile than the single section and step ladder, they can become bulky and difficult to manoeuvre. Like the extension ladder, the telescoping ladder can only be used as a straight ladder.
Unlike the extension ladder its rungs collapse into each other. They’re easy to store and because they’re so light – they’re usually made of aluminum – they can be taken anywhere. Multi-use ladders are most versatile as they can be used as an A-frame step ladder, a straight ladder, and even a temporary bridge. But they tend to be heavy and difficult to use.
What Is A Telescopic Ladder Used For?
The telescopic ladder is probably the most compact, portable ladder on the market.
It ticks a lot of the boxes for painting contractors because it can be moved from indoors to outdoors quickly.
It is compact, meaning you won’t bump into any of your client’s possessions on the way in or out.
You can lean it against walls and doors, and outside, you can telescope it to reach the roof.
They are usually rated to about 250 pounds and above – so it will hold you and your tool belt.
I’ve seen telescoping ladders used most effectively to access using attic spaces.
No you don’t have to haul out the old step ladder when you want to climb up to the attic.
You can make the ladder a permanent access point fixing it to the attic entrance, pulling it down when needed.
They’re so easy to use and can be stowed away neatly and safely.
So you can turn your attic into a safe, functional space.
If you’re not fond of the industrial look, you can get very stylish telescoping ladders made especially for attics.
If you spend a lot of time on the water, telescopic ladders also come specially designed for boats. They can be used as a dock ladder as well as a swimming ladder.
The ladder is simply bolted on to a horizontal platform, be it the boat itself or swimming deck like a pontoon, and is ready to use.
Made of stainless steel, it won’t rust and the hand rails make it easy to board a boat. When not in use the ladder can simply be retracted and the rails folded away.
If you want to take your dog along for the ride, I’ve seen special doggie ladders too. The steps are covered in non-slip vinyl so there’s no danger of anyone going overboard.
Most RVs come with their own ladders, but they are fixed and can’t be moved around where you need them.
This where the telescoping ladder’s portability and compact size come in handy.
You can use it to access the RVs roof for maintenance and cleaning.
Then you can take it inside so the little ones can climb up to their bunk beds.
Qualities of a Great Telescopic Ladder
When it comes to ladders, safety must always come first. I read somewhere that there are two million accidents involving a ladder ever year. I don’t know how accurate that is, but I wouldn’t take any chances. A great telescoping ladder should have rubber grip on the feet to prevent the ladder from slipping on any surface.
An added benefit is that the rubber will protect floors from scratches. Ensure that the ladder has a stabilizer bar between the two legs to prevent them from bending inwards. While I’m talking safety, only purchase ladders that are OSHA/ANSI rated and make sure they can carry your weight.
Quality telescoping ladders will feature extra-thick aluminum tubing for stability because you don’t want your ladder shaking when using it at its full height. Another feature I’d look out for is multi-height adjustment, so you don’t have to expand the ladder fully if you need to extend it by only a few feet. Ladders with wide, angled rungs and a non-slip tread are preferable.
The telescoping operation should be fully automatic. Just a word of warning here. The ladder can collapse quickly, so be careful of your fingers. The better ladders will have an anti-finger jamming device, which I’d recommend if you want to save your digits.
Some ladders come with their own cases or carry-straps so you can transport them quickly. They should be compact enough to fit in your trunk and light enough to carry even if you’re a 150-pound weakling. So, remember Safety, Usability, Stability, and Transportability and you’ve got ladders sussed.
10 Best Telescopic Ladders Reviewed
I’ve reviewed the top-rated telescoping ladders out there so that you don’t have to.
Read on to find out more about my favorite ladders currently on the market so you can crack on with painting high ceilings without scaffolding!
1. Werner Mt-22 300-Pound Duty Rating Telescoping Multi-Ladder
- 22-foot telescoping multiladder with...
- 28 different working heights or positions by...
- Soft-touch push knobs are the key to this...
- Professional-grade ladder with double-riveted...
For those with very high ceilings, let me introduce you to the twenty two foot lifesaver – Werner have produced this giant to help you get to the places that are desperately in need of a lick of paint, however far away they are!
My favorite thing about this ladder?
It comes with an impressive twenty eight height options, meaning you can adjust the ladder as much as you need to for whatever project you’re working on.
For me, this is the ideal ladder for painting high ceilings as it offers so much flexibility. Sturdy and non-slip, this ladder is a reliable choice for any DIY-er out there…
2. Generic EN131 Std. 12.5ft Aluminum Telescopic Ladder
- One Button Retraction: Convenience is key!...
- Premium Aluminum Alloy: The Yesker Telescopic...
- Rock-Solid Stability: This ladder is as...
- Safe to Use: No more pinched fingers! The...
Generic have produced this excellent ladder to help out with all your painting needs. Twelve and a half feet of tough aluminum will keep you steady while you reach for those high up places.
Each rung snaps securely shut with spring-loaded technology so you know that you’ll be safe, meaning you can maneuver around to your heart’s content.
This ladder packs away quickly and is lightweight so can be easily transported, be it back to the garage or to another site (or to one of your inevitably-jealous friends)
This ladder is perfect for painting ceilings without dislocating your shoulder through overzealous stretching!
3. Little Giant 14016-001 Alta One
- Heavy-wall aircraft-grade aluminum...
- Offers multiple configurations, as an...
- Complies with all applicable OSHA & ANSI...
- Rated to hold up to 250 lbs and is...
The Little Giant could not be more perfectly named – this ladder comes in a variety of lengths so you can choose which best suits your needs, and it packs away neatly so you have plenty of room to buy even more new kit and gear!
Strong aluminum will keep you feeling secure as you use this ladder, and the hinges triple-lock, so you can rest assured it’s a sturdy choice.
It’s also super easy to assemble, so you don’t need to worry about getting your thumb trapped anywhere.
This ladder is great for painting both indoors/outdoors and will help you reach those annoying patches on the ceiling!
4. Xtend & Climb 770P Aluminum Telescoping Ladder
Xtend & Climb have come up with a great telescoping ladder for anyone undertaking home and garden maintenance. It reaches to twelve and a half feet, so is perfect for painting ceilings and hard to reach areas.
The feet at the base of this ladder are coated in a non-slip material, so you can set it up on any surface, be it indoors or outdoors. This is the best telescoping ladder for use outside – great for any outdoor painting work you need to get done, like gutters.
You can even use your feet to secure each rung, meaning there’s no risk of getting trapped or pinched by its hinges. This ladder also comes with an integrated handle, so it’s easy to carry around!
5. OLLIEROO TL03124 EN131 Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder
Ollieroo have a great range of telescoping ladders ranging in height from twelve to sixteen and a half feet. Each ladder uses thumb buttons to click each rung into place – this way you’ll know for sure that everything is in place before you climb aboard!
This ladder is great for painting in the home or outdoors, as grippy material has been used to ensure it won’t slip around, whatever the surface you’re setting it up on is. Rubber sleeves protect each rung from bumping the next, or creating unwanted friction. The best telescoping ladder for anyone who’s looking to invest in a great, long-lasting product.
6. Telesteps 1800EP OSHA Compliant Professional Extension Ladder
- Type 1A 300 LBS rated; weighs 30.5 lbs
- Made from sturdy, lightweight high quality...
- Fully automatic telescoping operation , Easy...
- Length 33 inches to 14.5 feet(fully...
A little more pricey, this Telesteps ladder offers eighteen feet of extension. Weighing around thirty pounds, this ladder is really easy to pack up, store and transport, making it perfect for use in the home and garden, as well as work!
In fact, it retracts to around 33 inches, so it’s easy to squeeze into a full garage, shed or van. My favorite thing about this telescoping ladder is that you can adjust the height in one inch extensions – essentially giving you a huge variety of heights in just one ladder.
The rungs are serrated, meaning they lock into place so you’re free to move around as much as you need to.
7. OxGord Aluminum Folding Scaffold Work Ladder
OxGord have created a multi-purpose ladder, perfect for painting ceilings and high up places. In fact, this ladder can be used in seven different ways – including as a temporary bridge if you want to set it up once and work your way along a surface easily.
Reaching twelve and a half feet in total, this ladder is made from sturdy aluminum and is very lightweight, meaning you can easily transport it and carry it around.
They’ve added extra, self-locking hinges to keep you as safe as possible while you work – no need to fiddle around with keys and snapping bits into place with this one!
8. Little Giant Ladder Systems 12026 26-Feet
- Multi-position ladder converts to stepladder,...
- Metal Rock Lock adjusters instantly alter...
- Type IA ladder is rated to hold 300 lbs.
- Meets or exceeds all OSHA and ANSI standards.
Another from Little Giant, this ladder measures up as the largest on our list. Twenty six feet will give you not only a great panoramic view, but the ability to paint the ceiling, gutters or roof, even!
Flared legs keep you stable, despite the dizzying height, and this ladder offers some of the safest hinges on our list. This ladder is great for using outdoors as it can be easily placed over and around any obstacles, such as walls and plants.
Essentially, the perfect ladder for anyone who really needs a height boost - just don’t forget to take your altitude sickness tables before you head up…
9. Vulcan Ladder USA ES-17T11G1 17-Feet Multi Task Ladder
- The most versatile ladder on earth - 23...
- Step ladder, extension ladder, stairway...
- Patented no pinc h hinge for ease of use and...
- Wide base for added stability
This seventeen foot telescoping ladder from Vulcan is a great little multi-tasker (it also comes in different heights if needed).
It transforms into a step-ladder, scaffold frame and wall ladder, meaning you can take on pretty much every job in the home and get professional-looking results.
Great for painting ceilings, as well as outdoor surfaces, this aircraft-grade aluminum frame and wide base will keep you feeling grounded.
This ladder also comes with a no-pinch promise, something that is more important the more you think about it! You can also alter the height by one inch at a time, great for getting the perfect height for all your painting needs.
10. Xtend & Climb 785P Aluminum Telescoping Ladder
- Ladder telescopes retracts compactly
- Extends and locks by the foot with easy no...
- Integrated carrying handle heavy duty closure...
- No pinch closure system non-slip end caps....
Another ladder from Xtend & Climb, but I couldn’t resist. This time, they’re offering fifteen and a half feet of sturdy aluminum, topped off with no-pinch assembly and retraction.
I love this ladder for its ease of use – you can use your feet to lock the rungs into place, meaning you can get set up in no time at all. A classic touch from this brand, the ladder comes with a soft handle so you can easily carry it around.
Anyone suffering from vertigo will feel safe atop this beauty; it’s one of the most secure ladders on the market, allowing you to paint in peace.
Best Ladder Brands
When it comes to ladders, the name Werner is ubiquitous. There seems to be a Werner on every jobsite in America. The company, based in Pennsylvania, has been manufacturing ladders for more than sixty years and its name is a byword for safety and professionalism.
It boasts an integrated manufacturing and distribution line, which means the company, has control over every aspect of the ladder’s life until it is sold. Its innovations include its Edge Professional Bracing System to reinforce ladder rails, and the Equalizer, for uneven surfaces.
From its telescoping attic ladder to its 16-foot, three-section extension ladder, which can reduce to 6 feet, it has a ladder for every occasion.
The Little Giant ladder system was born way back in the 1970s. It started out small but now it’s a giant in the market. The professional-grade ladder, billed as the strongest, safest and most versatile, can be set up in 24 ladder positions. It is the foundation on which the company was built. And Little Giant hasn’t stopped innovating.
One of its newest ladders is the Revolution which can be adjusted to be used on stairs, ramps and other uneven surfaces. Many of Little Giant’s ladders are manufactured from durable lightweight aluminum, the same stuff that’s used in the aerospace industry.
16 Ladder Safety Tips
Ladder Sizes - Which Size For Which Job?
There are many size availabilities for ladders, which makes it difficult to decide what you need. When working on a boat, you’ll typically need a smaller ladder; maybe even a step ladder would suffice.
When you need to get into the attic or paint a ceiling, you’ll do better to have a more extended ladder.
Everything is going to depend on how high you need to reach for each project. For example, to get on top of a small RV, you’ll need a different size than if you drive a big class-A motorhome. That’s why it’s important to measure your job so you are sure to buy the correct size.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Telescopic Ladders Work?
Telescopic ladders extend out to the size you need, then fold away easily to store in smaller spaces.
Are Telescopic Ladders Safe?
If you purchase a sturdy design and take precautionary steps, it’s perfectly safe.
How To Carry A Telescopic Ladder?
Some units have handles. If they don’t, carry it with your fingers away from the rungs.
Do I Need A Multi-Position Model?
If you’re only using the ladder for one job, you could use a ladder with one position. Once you get the ladder, however, you might find other jobs to use it for, so you would do better to have a multi-position model.
How to determine the right size ladder to use?
The general rule is that you should be able to use the ladder and safely reach an additional 4 feet. For example, to reach 10-feet in the air, you should stand on a ladder at the 6-foot mark.
When picking the right height of the ladder, you need to go beyond the height of the ladder itself. You should never stand at the top of the ladder or on the final two rungs. Your ladder should extend at least 3 feet beyond the highest support point.
Can the telescoping ladder extend and be used at less than their maximum height?
Yes. One of the major benefits of a telescoping ladder is that it can be extended and positioned in more ways than a traditional ladder. You do not need to fully extend a telescoping ladder to use it.
How should I store my ladder?
You should store the ladder in its collapsed state, locked (if locks are a feature of the ladder), and in a cool, dry area. Most people prefer to store their ladders on hooks, so they are off the ground. This prevents damage to the feet of the ladder in the event the floor int eh storage space becomes wet.
Hopefully, these reviews have been useful to you and you’re now ready to embark into the world of telescoping ladders. It’s important to remember a few crucial bits of information – it can be tempting to go for the longest ladder you see straightaway, but think about what you’re going to be using it for.
Some ladders are designed purely for outdoor work, so you may not need as much height if you’re going to be painting the bedroom ceiling instead!
Non-slip feet are a great feature to look out for, as they allow you to paint anywhere and set up your work station on any surface without having to worry about slipping or sliding. Strong, sturdy rungs that automatically lock into place are perfect for easy assembly and no-pinch hinges are a blessing in disguise.
Aluminum is a pretty standard metal when it comes to ladders, but look for something that can be tucked away easily – compact is key! Lightweight ladders are great for anyone who’ll be working on a few different projects, you’d be amazed at the damage that lugging a heavy ladder around can do to your back.
Now, go forth, and climb aboard with confidence!