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



Ladders themselves aren’t a tool, really. You can’t use them to connect two pieces of wood. You can’t use them to shape metal. You can’t even use them to paint the side of your house. A lot of these jobs, however, would be impossible without a ladder.

There are lots of different types of ladders, and some of them are designed with specific jobs in mind. Knowing why certain types of ladders are designed in a certain way, will help you figure out what you need in a ladder.

The 16 Different Types of Ladders

Basic Ladders

There are a couple types of ladders that most everyone has around the house. They provide a few extra feet when you need to do things like store items on a high shelf or even perform basic home maintenance like cleaning out low eaves. They’re super handy and also pretty inexpensive.

1. Step Ladders

Louisville step ladderMost 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 stoolIf you don’t need the commitment of a full step ladder but still need to occasionally store goods on a high shelf or change a lightbulb, there’s a step stool. These can give you a foot or two of extra altitude for chores around the house.

3. A-frame Ladders

A-frame ladderIf you’ve got a garage or a shed, chances are that you’ve got one of these ladders stored in it. They provide a little bit of stable clearance for jobs like cleaning the tops of windows, hanging holiday lights, or trimming trees.

Extension Ladders

Extension ladders allow the user to reach higher points while economizing on space.  Users will want to keep safety in mind while using these types of ladders. But, if you need to get up into that hard-to-reach exterior corner to power wash off a wasp’s nest, these are invaluable.

4. Basic Extension Ladders

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

5. Telescoping Ladders

Telescoping ladderTelescoping ladders collapse down into a handy short, thin section and can be elongated into something that offers a few extra feet of climbing space. One thing to keep an eye on 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 ladderAttic ladders are static extension ladders that permit access to the attic. Although you can’t move them around for other uses, they do collapse into a smaller section for storage.

7. Flexible Ladders

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

Versatile Ladders

If you’re going to buy just a single type of ladder beyond the basics, one that can do several things might be a good investment. These types of ladders can be purposed for a wide variety of tasks.

8. Podium Ladders

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

9. Multipurpose Ladders

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

10. Articulated Ladders

Articulated ladderArticulated ladders rely on locking hinges so that 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 a lot of 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 high parts 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 sound 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 shelfThe traditional type of ladder intended for painting, this basic ladder has a shelf big enough to hold a paint can. Today, these are popular for decorating installations. If you buy one, however, you can still use it as a very basic painting ladder in taller rooms.

Mobile Ladders

The idea of a mobile ladder might sound frightening, but when done right they can be a very useful tool. As long as you can maintain a stable frame and have 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 ladderIf you need just a little bit of portable height, one good option is a portable ladder, which is like a large step ladder with a couple of wheels on the front. The backs anchor it down when you need to position it for work.

14. Portable Warehouse Ladders

Portable warehouse ladderIf you’ve got a wide-open barn or warehouse-like building, you might need a portable warehouse ladder to get from place to place. That’s especially if you’re storing things up high in various areas. There are also models with platforms for added stability.

Specialty Ladders

Some ladders don’t fit into a neat category. These are ladders of specialized use or design and even materials. Ladders used for recreation fall into this category because they aren’t used for any kind of industrial use that might make them attractive to contractors.

15. Net Ladder


Ladders made of net or rope are a favorite for kids. They go well as part of a backyard playset or providing easy access to a tree fort. Just make sure that there is something anchoring them into the ground as even with wooden rungs they can prove unsteady for climbing.

16. Pool Ladder

Pool-ladderIf you get a pool ladder, it’s to get in or out of a specific location like a pool or a hot tub. That just means that you can apply some imagination to how this kind of ladder might fit into the things in your life.

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