Complete Ladder Buying Guide

With such a vast range of ladders available it can be hard to decide on the right ladder for the job. Choosing the wrong ladder can create an unsafe working environment leading to accidents and injuries. By taking some time to assess what you’ll need from the ladder, you can ensure you’ll be choosing one that is safe for you. This in-depth guide covers the range of ladders available on the market along with their suitability so you can find the ladder that’s right for you.

What type of ladder do I need?

There are a host of both domestic and professional ladders available so in order to find the right one, it’s important to define the requirements you’ll need. By taking the time to answer this list of questions, you’ll be able to achieve this.

  • What job are you using the ladder for and the requirements of the job?

  • How tall does the ladder need to be? 

  • What material does the ladder need to be made of? Take into account the environment you’ll be working in.

  • How long will the ladder be in use for? Take into consideration the setup time.

  • What size space do you have to store the ladder? Including the transportation of the ladder.


What type of ladders are available?  

Platform Step ladders

Platform Step Ladders are one of the most commonly used ladders. They are used around the home and professionally as they don’t rely on a supporting wall. This gives them versatility so they can be used in a number of different spaces. Platform step ladders tend to lock at the top of the ladder to make them stable and secure. We offer a range of step ladders but we recommend you look at the Zarges, Professional Platform Steps which offer a versatile ladder for a wide range of uses. 

Single Ladders

Single ladders offer a higher reach than step ladders but are still simple to set up. Single ladders must rest upon a supporting wall making them perfect for working on the sides of buildings. This can also be a downside as single ladders can’t be used in open spaces. Single ladders come in all shapes, sizes and materials which can make it difficult to select the right one for the job. Throughout this guide we’ll be covering a variety of single ladders, so you can find the one that’s right for you.

Loft Ladders

Loft Ladders provide essential and safe access to lofts and attics whilst being simple to store. Loft Ladders once installed can use their retractable hinges to store away in the loft saving space and time. They offer a safer alternative to typical ladders as they are attached to the loft adding stability, with no chance of slipping. Loft ladders are one of the most common domestic ladders used, we recommended the Zarges, Aluminium Loft Ladders for adding access to your loft.

Step Stool 

A Step Stool or a Hop Up is a perfect option when you need to access something that is just out of reach. Having a stable platform from a step stool is much safer than using an object from around the house as you can rely on its stability and know it won’t slip out from under you. Step Stools are small and lightweight so they are easy to store and transport. Step stools are used for professional ladders and around the home, we recommend The Faithfull Fold Away Step Up for both.

Double Extension Ladders

 A Double extension ladder is an extension ladder constructed of two parts. These two parts allow for the ladder to be adjusted to reach the needed height. Their compact nature means they can fold away, taking up less size and making them easier to store. They are used predominantly by tradesmen as they offer a great range of hight. It’s important to account for one meter above the ladder when setting it up, so you won’t have to reach to access your needed area. 

We recommend this Zarges, Double Extension Ladders with Stabiliser Bar with an extension length of 4.92m, it will suit most professional and home uses. If you require more extension length, take a look at our Triple extension ladders that can reach higher points.

Swingback Steps

Swingback Steps are perfect for when you need a ladder that is quick to put up and takedown. They are lightweight so moving them around isn’t an issue making them ideal for professionals that travel. They offer a quick and easy solution for when you need a ladder on the go. We recommend the Zarges, Industrial Swingback Steps that are perfect for both professional and domestic settings.

Swingback Steps can also be found in materials other than metal, so they are safe to use around open electricals. The Zarges, Fibreglass Swingback Steps are a great example of this and are perfect to use in an environment with potential electrical hazards.

Telescopic Ladders

Telescopic ladders are the most compact form of ladders available on the market. They can contract in on themselves, with each section of the ladder stacking on top of each other, allowing them to have a small footprint. The ladders are often very lightweight which is great for storage and transportation as you can easily fit them in a car boot or cupboard. One of our favourite Telescopic ladders is the Zarges, Telescopic Trade Ladders which offer a stable ladder that is compact. 

Combination Ladders

Combination Ladders and Multi-Purpose Combination Ladders are ladders that can be assembled in several different ways, making them a fit for a wide variety of jobs. In this guide we have covered the types of ladders required for different jobs, the Combination Ladders can cover many of these tasks, with just a single ladder.

A combination ladder provides the stability of a step ladder due to its supporting legs but with the height of an extension ladder. Combination ladders are adjustable as well so they can be assembled to suit the needs of the job. These are mostly professional ladders as they are ideal for use on a range of jobs, we recommend the Zarges, Skymaster Industrial Combination Ladder a perfect fit for professionals in many trades.  

Be sure to check out our full range of ladders on offer at Building Supplies Direct to find the perfect ladder for you.