Ladders & Step Stool
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Ladders & Step Stool: specifications, types
— Stairs. The traditional, familiar design of two parallel bars, between which the steps are fixed. To work on such a ladder, additional support is required — for example, a wall.
— Transformer ladder. A staircase similar in structure to the one described above, only has several sections connected by a failing hinge. This solution allows you to direct sections at any angle and even adjust the ladder to a zigzag shape, not to mention turning it into a stepladder.
— Stepladder. Stairs that need to be laid out. In the working position, the two parts of the ladder converge at the top at an angle, forming a characteristic "hut". In this case, the steps can be located on one or both parts of the stairs. However, this design makes the model much heavier.
— Mini ladder. A reduced version of the above stepladders: such ladders have less than 4 steps on one section, including the footboard located at the top and, accordingly, a small height.
— Tour tower. A device in the form of a fairly large horizontal platform raised above the ground by vertical supports. A distinctive feature of the product is the presence of a wide and stable platform. Tour towers are indispensable for work that takes a lot of time, since you can stay on the platform for hours. They can have a collapsible sectional or non-collapsible one-piece design. The vast majority of mo...dels are equipped with a wheelbase, so that the ladder structure can be quickly and easily moved from place to place. Some modifications allow you to change the height of the supporting structures, which allows the stairs to be stably placed on steps or any other uneven surfaces, with a sharp difference in height.
— Staircase with platform. A special kind of stair structures, equipped with a fairly wide platform. Most often they are involved in a certain technological process, large warehouses and other premises where there is no need to fold and hide the stairs themselves. Platform ladders can be used for many tasks, such as loading/unloading, repair and construction operations, etc. Almost all products of this type are large in size, heavy and non-separable, which imposes certain restrictions on their transportation, storage and operation. .
— Attic stairs. Stairs, specially designed to provide access to the attic, are distinguished by their peculiar design. Such a ladder is attached from above (from the side of the attic) to the attic hatch and, when folded, does not protrude beyond its dimensions. Thus, while the entrance is closed, the staircase is hidden and the whole structure has a neat appearance; and when opened, the hatch tilts down and the ladder can be expanded into working condition. Note that the attic hatch and the box for its installation in the attic opening are usually included in the delivery of such a ladder.
In this paragraph, the main properties of the design of the stairs are given. Many models have several properties at once — for example, any sliding ladder will be at least attached, and transformer models combine attached, parted, and in some cases also sliding structures.
— One- way parting. A variety of ladders and mini-ladders (see "Type"), in which the steps are located on only one of the two components. Such models are lighter than double-sided spacers, but may be less convenient to use.
— Bilateral parting. This category includes options consisting of two parts, each of which has its own set of steps — in other words, from two separate stairs connected into one device. Unlike one-sided, a similar design is found in all types of stairs, and for transformers it is almost mandatory.
— Attached. Stairs that require additional support for installation in the working position — a wall, a fence, a tree, etc. Specifying an add-on structure in rack-and-platform models (see above) usually means that one or both legs can be used as a separate ladder. But in stepladders, this option is not found by definition.
— Sliding. Such models have at least one additional section (see "Number of sections"), which is able to extend partially or completely, thus increasing the length of the entire staircase. When a longe...r length is not required, this section (or sections) is located close to the main part of the stairs and has almost no effect on its dimensions. This design has gained wide popularity in models designed for high heights — after all, long stairs would be very inconvenient during transportation and storage if it were not for the possibility of folding.
— Hinged. Stairs in which several sections are interconnected by means of hinges. In two-section models, this does not give any fundamental differences from non-hinged fastening, but if there are three or more sections, additional possibilities for transforming the stairs may appear — the hinge allows you to rotate the sections in both directions relative to each other. At the same time, the transformation of such a structure into a working platform takes much less time than unfolding a rack with a platform (see "Type").
— Telescopic. A specific type of sliding stairs (see above). It differs in that the additional sections in the folded state are not located close to each other, but one inside the other (hence the name). Thanks to this, telescopic ladders take up a minimum of space and are very convenient to transport. On the other hand, they are quite expensive. This is due to both the overall complexity of the design and the fact that the inner sections must be thin (in order to fit inside the outer ones) and at the same time strong, which puts forward increased requirements for the strength of materials.
— Mobile. This feature means the presence of special devices that facilitate movement from place to place in the working position — for example, castors. It is found mainly among scaffolding (see "Type"): unlike more traditional ladders, carrying spread out scaffolding on weight is rather difficult, and folding into the stowed position and unfolding back takes a lot of time. In addition, wheels are found in some large and heavy ladders.
Sliding ladders are provided with a special cable (rope) and a roller, which allows you to extend the upper section of the ladder without moving. Rope traction works on the principle of a winch — the user only needs to pull the end of the rope, after which the additional section will easily and quickly rise to the fixing height. Thanks to this, it is possible to expand the ladder with minimal effort and time. Rope traction is especially relevant in cases where the user has to lay out multi-section ladder structures alone.
Number of sections
The number of sections — separate components with steps — in the design of the stairs. One section can only have traditional ladders without the possibility of unfolding and one-sided ladders (see "Type"); transformers (see ibid.), by definition, are equipped with at least two, and this is also the standard number for tower tours(a horizontal platform is not considered a section). Three sections can be used both in a sliding structure, and in a combination of a sliding and two-sided spaced (see "Design"). And in models for four sections, the parts of the stairs are usually interconnected in series and can be fixed at different angles to each other. This reduces the dimensions when folded and significantly expands the functionality: it becomes possible to turn the stairs, for example, into a working platform.
Number of steps
The total number of steps provided in the design of the stairs. This parameter is indicated rather for reference — the primary characteristic is still the height of the stairs. Note that when calculating the number of steps, the footboard is also taken into account (see below).
Wide steps provide the possibility of maximum safe descent / ascent. Usually, wide steps are characteristic of relatively low stepladders with a steel frame. Such ladders use from 3 to 7 steps. The average wide step has a size of 200x300 mm.
The presence in the design of the stairs of the platform — a special platform in the upper part. Such a platform is much larger than steps in area and it is noticeably more convenient to stand on it, especially if you have to turn in different directions during work.
Note that in double-sided ladders, the role of the platform can be played by the two upper steps, which are put together in the working position.
The presence of a railing makes climbing a ladder / stepladder safer. But at the same time, the presence of a railing significantly complicates and makes the design of the staircase itself heavier. Stairs with railings most often belong to the professional class, often such models are adapted for stationary installation and daily use.
The presence in the design of the stairs of a separate shelf for tools.
The shelf is found mainly in ladders and mini ladders (see "Type"). It is a flat surface at the top of the ladder, either on the rail above the footboard or where the two halves of the ladder meet. Such a surface, usually, has holes or recesses for secure placement of tools; other special devices may be provided, for example, a hook on which you can hang a bucket.
The advantage of this function is obvious: it allows you to always have the necessary tools at hand, and it is more convenient to keep them on a shelf than, for example, in your pockets.
The material from which the staircase is made (or at least the main part of its structure).
— Aluminium. Aluminium-based alloys combine quite decent strength and corrosion resistance with low weight. The latter is especially important for stairs that are long — almost all of them are made of this material. And in general, it is quite widespread.
— Steel. Steel is notable primarily for its high strength, in which it significantly exceeds aluminium; while it costs a little less. On the other hand, the weight of this material is also significantly greater. Therefore, it is mainly used in small ladders, in particular, mini-ladders (see "Type").
— Tree. Wood is familiar to many from the simplest "rural" stairs, but it is very rare in modern models — at a rather high cost, this material is less practical than aluminium or steel.
— Fiberglass. The term "fiberglass" itself literally means fiberglass, but in this case we are talking about fiberglass — a composite material that combines fiberglass threads with a binder polymer (plastic). Such a material is characterized by high strength with low weight, does not corrode, and does not conduct electricity, which makes it perfect for dielectric models (see below). Its main disadvantage can be called a rather high cost.
The maximum weight a ladder is guaranteed to be able to support without breaking. When choosing an option for this parameter, it is worth considering not only the weight of the user himself, but also the additional weight — equipment, tools and other items that are planned to be used in the work. Also, it is necessary to make a margin for the maximum load. This is due not only to the fact that different people with different equipment can use the stairs. The fact is that this parameter can be measured by different methods, including with the help of a fixed load installed on the ladder; at the same time, a person, even during the most calm work, does not stand absolutely still. Accordingly, there are irregularities in the load, and it is quite possible that at some points it will exceed the calculated one even with a seemingly acceptable weight. This is fraught with breakdown at the most inopportune moment. Therefore, when buying, it is advisable to make sure that there is a weight margin of at least 10-15 kg — this will minimize the risk of such troubles.
The maximum working height of the ladder. In models that do not have a footboard (see above), this parameter is usually indicated in the specifications for the total length of the stairs. It is worth noting here that the height of the upper step in such cases rarely corresponds to the working height to the nearest centimeter - firstly, the stairs are almost never strictly vertical, and secondly, the outermost steps are usually not on the very edge. However, in most cases this difference can be neglected. If the design provides for a footboard, then the height is measured along it.
When choosing a ladder by height, it should be taken into account that the longer the structure, the greater its weight and, usually, the higher the price. Therefore, buying a model with a long length makes sense only when there is a real need for it.
Stairs made using dielectric, that is, insulating materials — rubber, plastic, etc. — in such a way as to prevent the passage of electricity and grounding of a person on the steps. If you plan to frequently use the ladder for electrical work, you should pay attention to dielectric models — they will significantly reduce the risk of electric shock (as well as a short circuit in case of accidental contact with conductive parts).
Dimensions (folded) (LxW)
Ladder dimensions in fully folded position. The smaller they are, the more convenient the ladder will be in storage and transportation. Usually, only the length and width are indicated in the characteristics, because. the thickness of modern stairs is very small and in most cases it can be neglected; and in some models, only the length may be indicated at all — for the same reasons.
Max working height
The maximum working height can be described as the highest height that can be reached using a given ladder. This parameter is determined as follows: the maximum height of the stairs is taken and the height of the person standing on it is added to it (or rather, the highest height that he can comfortably reach with his hands). Of course, this parameter is rather approximate, because taken into account for some average height; and in general the rules for counting will be different. So, for some manufacturers, to determine the maximum working height, they add 2 m to the height of the ladder, others — 2 m 10 cm, and if we are talking about a ladder (see "Design"), this increase can be even less — about 150 – 160 cm (in such models, the user rarely stands on the topmost crossbar). Nevertheless, this indicator makes it possible to estimate the height that you can reach, with an accuracy of a couple of tens of centimeters, which is most often quite enough.
The height of the ladder as a stepladder
The maximum height of a ladder when used in ladder mode. This parameter is specified only for models that are not originally ladders (see "Type"), but can be used in a similar format. Usually the height is given by the height of the highest rung in the "ladder" installation.
The width of the stabilizer provided in the design of the stairs.
The stabilizer is a device placed at the base of the structure and playing the role of a support. The most popular type of such a device is a horizontal bar, which protrudes noticeably beyond the width of the staircase itself; but there are other options (even a part of the stairs extended downwards, which does not have additional details, can be considered a stabilizer). Anyway, the stabilizer makes the structure more stable and reduces the likelihood of lateral rollover. And the larger its width, the higher the stability. On the other hand, too wide stabilizers would be too bulky, so in most models this figure does not exceed 1 m; larger supports are found mainly in "large-caliber" ladders with a large height, from 7 m or more, as well as racks with a platform (see "Type").
Dimensions of the attic hatch provided in the corresponding staircase (see "Design"). This parameter will allow you to evaluate whether the hatch fits under the existing attic opening, whether it will be necessary to expand or, conversely, narrow this opening for the normal installation of the stairs.
The total weight of the ladder. On the one hand, the lighter the model you choose, the more convenient it will be to carry, the less effort will be expended. On the other hand, lighter weight means less material used in the construction of the stairs, and this can adversely affect reliability. Therefore, it is worth choosing an option for this parameter depending on the planned features of the application. If the expected load on the ladder is significantly lower than the maximum, then you can not pay close attention to the weight. But if you have doubts and/or plan to work in difficult conditions with a heavy load, you should choose the more massive one from two models with the same characteristics. It is unlikely that this will seriously affect the cost of forces, but the risk of breakage and a dangerous fall will decrease significantly.
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