A good stepladder is an essential for any DIY enthusiast, and in fact even if you only do a minimal amount of DIY, you still need a stepladder. Nothing annoys me more than seeing people balance on chairs, sofa edges, buckets, tables, and many other ‘unfit for purpose’ items, trying to bang in a nail, or stretch to paint the corner of the room. So, if you haven’t got one, get yourself a decent stepladder, as for not a lot of money, you are basically buying yourself a lot of safety, in comparison to teetering on chair edges.

Stepladder choice

Step ladder

Three, four, or five step stepladders are really the best area for choice. Ideally buy one with a platform designed for standing on.

There are a vast array of sizes and designs, but here are my recommendations:-

  • I’d always go for an aluminium option. They are just incredibly light, and therefore easy to move around, and store.
  • Make sure it has a platform, as it’s ideal for resting tools on whilst at work.
  • A second point on the platform, is opt for one that specifies you can actually stand on it. Some stepladders are designed in this way, others aren’t.
  • How many steps are best? Well clearly it will depend on your ceiling heights, but I would think that most of my stepladder working life has been spent on options that have three, four, and five steps, along with a decent platform.

Are there other stepladder options?

Well, you can go for a combination ladder that as the name suggests has more than one function. Basically, it can be used as standard stepladder, or as a small extension ladder, or some can even be adjusted for use on staircases, for example.

All this said, I find that combination ladders come into a bit of a love them or hate them category. Sadly I’m in the latter category, because I’ve just spent so much time fighting them, trying to slide the right bit in the right place, and line the right hook up with the right rung. However, some people love them, they’re just not me, but they may be for you.

Stepladder safety

Safety on step ladders

Safety guidelines are conveniently stuck on the side of most stepladders.

Any stepladders that you see in all the usual DIY outlets have no doubt gone through strict safety testing, but when you do get your ladder, take a little time to re-acquaint yourself with the rules of safe use. Key points include never over stretching or over reaching, and making sure all four feet are securely positioned. However for a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts, most manufacturers kindly stick their safe use guides actually on the edge of the ladder (see right).

So, if you’re in the market for a stepladder, I can thoroughly recommend the Abru range at B&Q. They pretty much have every size and shape requirement including fibreglass options. However, as discussed above, I’d go for aluminium, three to five steps, and a sturdy platform!


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