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16 Different Types of Ladders & Their Uses (with Pictures)



Ladders aren’t technically tools, but they’re essential if you want to paint a house, remove leaves from a gutter, or replace roofing tiles. They’ve assisted humans for thousands of years, but today’s designs look much different than the ones used during the dawn of civilization.

There are several types of ladders, and some of them are designed with specific jobs in mind. Knowing why some designs are better than others for various tasks will help you determine which types you need.

The 16 Different Types of Ladders

Basic Ladders

There are a couple of types of ladders that almost everyone has around the house. They provide a few extra feet when you need to store items on a high shelf or perform essential home maintenance like replacing a malfunctioning ceiling fan. They’re handy and also pretty inexpensive.

1. Step Ladders

Louisville step ladder Most homes have the need for a step ladder. They help people do pretty basic things like change lightbulbs and store infrequently used objects on high shelves. They’re inexpensive and easy to store, and odds are that you probably own one.

2. Step Stool

step stool If you don’t need a step ladder but still need to occasionally store goods on a high shelf or change a lightbulb, you can use a step stool. They give you a foot or two of extra altitude for chores around the house.

3. A-frame Ladders

A-frame ladder If you have a garage or a shed, chances are you have one of these ladders stored in it. They’re ideal for jobs like cleaning the tops of windows, hanging holiday lights, or trimming trees.

Extension Ladders

Extension ladders allow the user to reach higher altitudes while economizing on space.  Users must keep safety in mind while using these ladders. But, if you need to get into a hard-to-reach exterior corner to remove a wasp’s nest, they are invaluable.

4. Basic Extension Ladders

extension ladder A basic, run-of-the-mill extension ladder uses teeth to lock it into position when the extensions have been pulled out to the desired height. It’s important not to stand on the top rungs of these types of ladders since they are there for stability.

5. Telescoping Ladders

Telescoping ladder Telescoping ladders collapse into short, thin sections and can be elongated into something that offers a few extra feet of climbing space. One thing to watch is how the rungs are locked into place. That could raise questions about how far you can trust these for safety.

6. Attic Ladders

Attic ladder Attic ladders are static extension ladders that permit access to the attic. Although you can’t move them around for other uses, they collapse into a smaller section for storage.

7. Flexible Ladders

Flexible ladder Rather than slide together for storage in smaller spaces, the flexible ladder rolls up. They are great for outdoor recreation or as emergency escape ladders from second-story bedrooms. If you climb them, be prepared to get a workout.

Versatile Ladders

If you buy just a single ladder, one that can do several tasks is a good investment. These ladders can be proposed for a wide variety of tasks.

8. Podium Ladders

Podium ladder Podium ladders have a sturdy frame and a standing space that is all about stability and safety. They allow the user to do a wide range of projects at greater heights, from painting to using nail guns and running cables.

9. Multipurpose Ladders

Multipurpose ladder If you’re looking for a ladder that can provide multiple functions, these multipurpose ladders can be modified in 24 ways. They’re also strong and sturdy and have flared legs for maximum stability.

10. Articulated Ladders

Articulated ladder Articulated ladders rely on locking hinges, so you can take one ladder and make several out of it. You can even make a ladder and a standing platform if you need to stand over an open space and work on a ceiling.

Painting Ladders

Painting is one job that traditionally required specialized ladders with shelves large enough to hold paint cans. Nowadays, those ladders have fallen out of fashion, and many traditional painting ladders have found a home in DIY projects.

11. Platform Trestle Ladders

Platform trestle ladder

Platform trestle ladders are like a miniature form of scaffolding for painting the higher sections of an exterior wall. They have a traditional A-frame design with a platform in the middle that provides a stable standing surface. It’s probably not stable enough, however, for high-pressure work.

Related Reads: Which painting ladder should you choose? We’ll help you in this guide

12. A-frame Ladder With Paint Can Shelf

A-frame ladder with paint can shelf As the traditional ladder intended for painting, this basic ladder has a shelf big enough to hold a paint can. Today, they are popular for decorating and DIY projects. If you buy one, however, you can still use it as a painting ladder.

Mobile Ladders

The idea of a mobile ladder might sound frightening, but when used correctly, it can be very useful. As long as you can maintain a stable frame and locking wheels, mobile ladders are especially useful on wide-open floors like the kind you find in warehouses or large barns.

13. Five-step Portable Ladders

Five-step Portable ladder If you need a sturdy ladder with handrails that you can move around a large space, the portable ladder is an excellent choice. It’s like a large step ladder with a couple of wheels on the front. The legs in the front without wheels anchor it when you need to position it for work.

14. Portable Warehouse Ladders

Portable warehouse ladder If you have a wide-open barn or warehouse-like building, you might need a portable warehouse ladder to get from place to place. There are also models with platforms for added stability.

Specialty Ladders

Some ladders don’t fit into a neat category. These ladders are specialized; most homeowners do not need them unless they have a treehouse or swimming pool. 

15. Net Ladder


Ladders made of net or rope are a favorite for kids. They’re often part of a backyard playset or used to provide easy access to a tree fort. Just ensure that something anchors them into the ground since they’re unstable.

16. Pool Ladder

Pool-ladder With a pool ladder, you can easily climb out of the pool or an enormous hot tub. Without a pool or hot tub, it’s unlikely that you’ll need this kind of ladder.


Ladders have helped humankind reach new heights for millennia; without them, the world would be overrun with one-story structures. Most homeowners will only need a few of these ladders for installations and minor repairs, but if you’re a dedicated DIYer or involved in specialized building projects, you’ll probably use several. Thankfully, most ladders are not very expensive and last for decades.


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