Whether or not it is unlucky to walk under a ladder, trying to fit a traditional A-frame step ladder in a tight space definitely is unlucky. If you’re trying to climb into a tight attic, for example, you may not be able to fold out the ladder wide enough to climb up. And improperly using a step ladder is a sure way to injure yourself. That’s why extending ladders are so handy. They allow you to climb serious heights without needing the same amount of floor space that a step ladder requires.
There are a couple different kinds of extending ladders. There are extension ladders, which consist of one or more sections that slide upward, doubling or tripling the length of the ladder. They are not self-supporting, so they will need to be leaned against a supportive structure like the side of a wall. They’re great for functions like painting houses because you can get close to the wall that you’re working on. Some extending ladders can get very high. However, they don’t eliminate the problem of taking up vertical space, so they may still not be ideal for maneuvering into tighter spaces.
Another great kind of extending ladder that we especially love as homeowners is a telescoping ladder. Like extension ladders, they can go well beyond their original dimensions to give users tremendous reach. Also like extension ladders, they have to have another point of support, unlike step ladders. The great thing about telescoping ladders is that they collapse into themselves, much like a handheld telescope that an old-timey pirate might have used. That means that they take up very little space, allowing the user to store them in a small closet, for example. An added benefit of their compactness is that they can be easily transported or even left in your car’s trunk when not in use.
Whether you need a safe option for exterior work or something to reach the high ceilings in your home, these are our favorite extending ladders.
1. Xtend & Climb Contractor Series Telescoping Ladder
This ladder from the aptly named Xtend & Climb is a good option for professional use. It can extend up to 12.5 feet tall, making it a able to reach tall ceilings and exterior walls as needed. It’s made out of airplane grade aluminum and is ANSI and OSHA rated, meaning you can trust it on your worksite. The gap under the bottom rung features a convenient carrying handle.
Pros: ANSI- and OSHA-rated ladder which is easy to use and has locks that secure it in place. It extends up to 12.5 feet.
2. Louisville Ladder Fiberglass Extension Ladder
If you’re looking for a traditional extension ladder, consider this option from Louisville. It conveniently and smoothly slides up and can reach heights up to 24 feet. There are other options that you can choose from on this same listing, ranging from 16 feet to 40 feet. It’s a great option for professionals or anyone who needs to work on the outside of their building.
Pros: Reaches 24 feet, has a 300-pound capacity. A steel-plated rotating shoe for securely gripping the ground. Easy-to-detach but secure latch for securing the ladder in place.
Cons: Ladder itself is somewhat heavy, which may make it hard to carry around.
3. OxGord 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder
If you’re looking for a more affordable telescoping ladder that still comes from a top brand, consider this option from Oxgord. It reaches 12.5 feet and collapses to a small size that can be easily carried with one hand or put in the trunk of a small car. One of the best features is the one-press button that easily engages and disengages the ladder. The built-in hydraulics allow the rungs to descend slowly, reducing the risk of accidentally pinching your fingers.
Pros: Reasonably priced option from a top brand. Easy to engage one-press button. Comes with a carrying case.
Cons: Even with the built-in safety features, it’s still relatively easy to pinch your fingers.
4. Little Giant 22-Foot Velocity Multi-Use Ladder
This ladder from Little Giant has an innovative design that sets it apart from either telescoping or extension ladders. It can be used as a traditional A-frame step ladder, or you can fold it outward and use it as a leaning extension ladder. The adjustable legs mean you can also stagger it if you’re setting up the ladder on stairs. The total height it can reach is 22 feet, making it one of the tallest on this list.
Pros: Highly versatile design allows it to be used as an extending ladder or an A-frame step ladder, and the height is widely variable. It can reach up to 22 feet. Wheels make it easy to move.
Cons: Packaging could be more secure when it’s shipped.
5. Ohuhu 12.5 FT Aluminum Telescopic Extension Ladder
This ladder from Ohuhu reaches the same heights as some of the other ladders, without the steep price tag. It’s only about 3 feet tall when folded, but it can reach up to 12.5 feet when fully extended. The one-touch button makes it easy to extend and retract the ladder. The bottom rung has a comfortable grip, making it easy to carry around when not in use.
Pros: Affordable. Easy to retract and extend with a single button. Telescopes slowly to reduce the risk of finger injury.
Cons: Not made by a top brand. Can be somewhat wobbly when extended.