Unlike typical ladders that have a fixed height, extension ladders allow you to adjust their length, allowing you to shrink them back to a more manageable size when not in use. Traditional extension ladders have two sections—a “base” and “fly”—that slide together and lock in to your preferred height, but there are now several different types, like telescopic models, and A-frame ladders that can swing one side up to double their length. Keep in mind that working on any type of ladder is dangerous, so make sure to follow any and all safety recommendations and precautions that come with your ladder.
What to Consider
Do you plan on using your ladder anywhere near power lines or live wiring? If so, you should definitely opt for a fiberglass option, since they don’t conduct electricity like aluminum ladders. You should also think about what exactly you’re going to be using your ladder for. Take the time to figure out the measurements of the room, ceiling, or roof that you plan on accessing with your ladder, and base your selection on that, otherwise you could end up with an extra long ladder that is impractical to store, or one so short that it loses its function.
How We Chose
My years of designing, crafting, and installing large furniture pieces have given me a significant amount of experience with all types of ladders, including extension ladders. I used this experience to curate this list, taking the time to balance it out with a variety of options. I made sure to include a range of ladder styles, including a couple of multipurpose options that can also be used as A-frame options. These are shorter than most models, but would still be a great choice for anyone starting from scratch, and only plan on using their extension ladder occasionally.
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Louisville L-3022-20PT Fiberglass Extension Ladder with Pro Top
Ladders these days are paying more attention to creating a multifunctional top platform, and this Louisville model is a great example of that.
The integrated work tray on this ladder makes it especially useful for home repairs and other tasks that require small hand tools and accessories. Its four holes are perfect for storing screwdrivers, and the larger opening keeps your power drill handy and off your belt, which reduces the twisting and bending that can lead to falling off balance.
A V-shaped cutout in the top also allows you to easily position it on the corner of a building.
- 300-pound load capacity
- Swiveling safety shoes
Best for Indoor/Outdoor Use
Louisville FE3216 Fiberglass Extension Ladder
$235.00 (18% off)
We love the bright orange color of this ladder, which increases visibility and reduces the chances of anyone tripping over it while in use. Its swiveling safety shoe makes this a great option for a variety of surfaces, with rubber no-skid treads that can flip up to reveal a point, allowing it to stick into rough terrain and provide a sturdy foundation.
Metal guides keep both the base and fly sections of the ladder in line, and eliminate the chance of it overextending. Plus, its heavy-duty rung locks give you the peace of mind that the ladder is secure while you work.
- End caps won’t mar or scratch
- Sturdy D-shaped rungs
- May be too heavy for some users
Best Lightweight Aluminum Option
Louisville W-2328-16 Aluminum Extension Ladder
This is one of the lightest options we included on our list, and at just 18 pounds, would be great for users who are unable to handle heavy ladders, or just don’t want to deal with the hassle. Its 200-pound capacity is a bit lower than similar-sized options, though, and keep in mind that includes your weight in addition to the weight of any tools you may be carrying.
The low price of this ladder makes it a great choice for those who don’t have the budget for—or aren’t ready to make the investment of—a larger ladder.
- Relatively easy to transport
- Mar-resistant feet
- Swivel safety shoe
- Lacks spikes for use on soft ground
Best Budget-Friendly Telescoping Model
Ohuhu Y17-80100-07 Aluminum Telescoping Ladder
$134.99 (33% off)
Though it extends to 12.5 feet in length, it can also be extended to shorter heights, making it convenient for those times you just need a little boost to reach a light bulb or first-story window. It’s also easier to store than nearly any other extension ladder you’ll find, able to retract to a manageable 2.9 feet.
Plus, its impressive 330-pound load capacity means it can handle a decent amount of weight. The plastic components probably won’t be able to stand up to heavy use, but for the occasional project, it should do just fine.
- One button retraction
- Nonslip feet
Best for Supporting Heavy Loads
Little Giant 13610-074 King Kombo A-Frame Extension Ladder
It’s not cheap, but the versatility offered by this Little Giant ladder could be worth it to the right customer. Its multifunctional design allows it to be used as both an extension ladder as well as a classic A-frame, making it useful for a variety of tasks.
It’s also simple to adjust by folding up the rear legs, and may be ideal for users who are intimidated by the sliding “base and fly” design of typical extension ladders. Its rotating wall pad is also a great perk, allowing you to set up against flat walls, inside and outside corners, and even wood studs.
- High-visibility color scheme
- Replaceable feet
- Shorter than most extension ladders
Best Lightweight Telescopic option
Xtend & Climb 750P+ Telescoping Ladder
Though its reach extends to 12.5 feet in length, it can also be extended to shorter heights, making it convenient for those times you just need a little boost to reach a lightbulb or first-story window. It’s also easier to store than nearly any other extension ladder you’ll find, able to retract to a manageable 27 inches.
Plus, its 250-pound load capacity means it can handle a decent amount of weight. The plastic components probably won’t be able to stand up to heavy use, but for the occasional project it should do just fine.
- One-button retraction
- Nonslip feet
Most Versatile Option
Little Giant Velocity M13 Multi-Position Aluminum Ladder
In addition to extending to a height of 13 feet, this versatile little model can also be used as an A-frame ladder, as well as an asymmetrical staircase configuration. We appreciate the wide-flared legs and the strong aluminum framing, which result in a secure and stable unit, however you decide to use it. It’s also fairly convenient to store, and completely folds up to just 8 inches wide.
Though they might look a little intimidating, Little Giant ladders are remarkably simple to use, and their spring-loaded locks are easy to loosen and lock into place.
- 300-pound load limit
- Relatively low price
Best Heavy-Duty Option
Louisville AE2224 300-Pound Duty Extension Ladder
$338.09 (19% off)
Aluminum ladders are known for their durability, and this Louisville model is no different. In addition to being supported by heavy-duty I-beam rails, the end caps on the tops and bottoms of the fly section protect against bumps and drops.
This ladder is also designed to support up to 300 pounds of weight at once, and the D-shaped rungs give users much needed stability when climbing and descending the unit. Its large, 24-foot length does make it a bit heavier than other options, and at 42 pounds, may require a buddy to move it around.
- Swiveling safety shoes
- Impressive length
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