Cleaning the gutters may not seem like a rewarding job but someone has to do it regardless. Painting the house is tedious but again, eventually you’ll have to do it. What do these two jobs have in common? – They almost always require a ladder to be completed.
But why am I reviewing telescoping ladders instead of traditional one-piece ladders? Aren’t those supposed to be more stable, more durable? – Not exactly. Compared to your classic wooden ladder, for example, a modern aluminum alloy telescoping ladder is far superior.
It has good stability, it can be extended or retracted to the exact height needed, and it comes with various grips and non-slip caps as safety features. Need more convincing? – Check out the reviews below to find out more.
7 Solid Telescoping Ladders You Can Rely On
1. Xtend & Climb 785P 15.5ft
The 785P can support a lot more than your average user. Its 250lbs weight capacity and heavy-duty aluminum alloy construction make it a really solid choice for both indoor and outdoor use.
What I really enjoyed was that the extension is done in increments of one foot. The ladder goes from 36.5” in its most compact form to a maximum extension of 15 and a half feet. This should provide enough reach for various outdoor repair or maintenance chores.
The ladder is not the lightest but it is still easy to move around. It also comes with a closure strap and a carry handle which makes relocating it or taking out of storage a lot easier. What is interesting and somewhat disappointing is the warranty.
This ladder is rated ANSI Type 1 which is great in terms of safety standards. However, despite the price and all the ratings and protections against scrapes, hits, and rust, the manufacturer only offers a 6-month warranty on parts and labor.
- Good reach for a variety of outdoor tasks
- Safe ladder release mechanism
- Durable 6061 aluminum alloy construction
- Portable features
- Short warranty
2. OxGord 12.5ft
This OxGord ladder is something else. It only extends to 12.5 feet but that allows it to have a massive weight capacity. Since it can hold up to 330lbs, it can work wonders for you if you’re trying to repaint the outside a house or do some serious repairs on the roof.
The stability is just as impressive as the durability. Since you can use it at an angle of 75 degrees, you’re guaranteed to have a comfortable position even when you have to stay on the ladder for long periods of time.
Note that this ladder meets EN131 standards so while it may be great for home use, you might not want to risk buying it for your job site. That being said, the ladder is very light so it’s easy to take with you on freelancing jobs. 14lbs and a tear-resistant carry bag make for a good combination.
The locking mechanism is spring-loaded. It also features a no-pinch and no-slip design which is great for safety when you have to constantly adjust its height.
- Lightweight design
- Carry bag included
- Supports up to 330lbs
- Only EN131 certified
3. WolfWise 12.5ft
Another well-rounded heavy duty telescoping ladder comes from WolfWise. It comes with EN131 certification which may not mean a lot at some job sites, but you can trust it to be more than enough if you’re a homeowner.
Each section of the ladder features non-slip grip handles. This prevents pinching and losing balance while working. For extra stability, the base of the ladder poles features non-slip mats which makes the ladder viable for use during rain and snow.
If you’re low on storage space or you simply need a ladder to take with you from one job to the next, the securing strap and compact size sure help a lot. The 21.2lbs weight is not a lot at all.
When fully extended, the ladder measures 12.5 feet. This is sufficient for a variety of outdoor tasks and more than you’ll need for interior repair work.
- Very little give under full load
- Durable aluminum construction
- High weight capacity
- Non-slip grip handles
- Pricier than other models of similar length
4. Ohuhu 12.5ft
Ohuhu designed this ladder for maximum convenience. It retracts after pressing just one button which makes it one of the safest models if you’re all thumbs. The retraction is also steady which ensures the longevity of the mechanism and the poles.
The aluminum alloy is not aircraft-grade but it’s very solid nonetheless. After all, the ladder supports up to 330lbs and it does so without bending too much when approaching the maximum capacity.
Non-slip caps are used at the top and the base of the ladder to ensure its stability as well as yours. The grips are comfortable but not exactly ergonomic. This means that you should probably only extend the ladder as much as you need so you can hold on to the top cap while working.
In terms of portability, the manufacturer didn’t do anything special but added enough features to make this ladder easy to transport. There’s a storage strap that keeps the sections in place and a carry handle at the base. To be honest, the handle doesn’t have the best positioning or grip, but due to the light weight of the ladder, it shouldn’t pose too many problems.
- Heavy duty construction and weight capacity
- One button descending mechanism
- Non-slip end caps for the base and top
- Average lateral hand grips
- Could benefit a lot from a carry bag
5. Luisladders Oshion 16.5ft
This ladder falls under the multi-position category. This makes it one of the most versatile tools a homeowner can have. Its design provides a great deal of stability. Most telescoping ladders are extension ladders with two anchor points at the bottom and two at the top, but if you’re looking for an A-type telescoping ladder with all four anchor points at the bottom, the 16.5ft Luisladders Oshion may be the one. It’s not too expensive either. There are many 16.5 telescoping extension ladders that cost more.
There are also non-slip caps on all four support poles which allows you to use it outside under any type of weather conditions. But what I found to be more interesting is the adjustability at the base. The stabilizer bar makes the ladder viable for use on uneven terrains.
In terms of durability, the ladder comes with EN131 certification and a heavy-duty aluminum build. It supports up to 330lbs which is more than enough for minor and major repair work around the house.
The 4-way combination system is very nice. Although it may seem overwhelming at first and perhaps not necessary, keep in mind that you can’t always predict what type of repair work you might have to do. The fact that you can use it as a scaffold base just as easily as a classic ladder for cleaning gutters is really impressive in my book.
- 4-way combination multi-position ladder
- 330lbs weight capacity
- Easy to adjust
- Stabilizer bar with non-slip end caps
- Reasonably priced for a 16.5ft A-type telescoping ladder
- May be too complex for some people
6. WolfWise Heavy Duty 15.5ft
This is one of the longest telescoping ladders WolfWise has to offer. At full extension, the ladder measures 15.5 feet which gives you a lot of access in and outside the house. You can easily clean gutters and stuff.
The high weight capacity is always nice but not that uncommon these days. What’s more impressive is the design. It features a balance bar which provides even more stability and less bending under load.
Although it is on the heavy side, it is quite easy to transport. The ladder comes with auxiliary end wheels that you have to clip onto either side of the balance bar. The wheels are affixed to one side and receded, so they will only come in contact with the ground if you tilt the ladder the other way and at an angle akin to pulling a wheeled luggage. To be safe, you might want to remove the wheels before using the ladder.
Overall, the ladder is super solid. Each step has a solid grip and finger protection to prevent pinching. The non-slip caps are high-end, as they should be considering the price tag.
- Design with superior stability
- Thick footpads for better balance
- Stabilizer bar at the base
- Detachable wheels
- Expensive if you don’t need the extra height
7. Good Life 12.5ft
Good Life offers a great alternative to anyone looking to get their hands on a 330lbs max capacity ladder without spending a fortune. This ladder has a decent price tag and a surprisingly robust construction that features 6061 aluminum alloy. If the material is good enough for use in planes without succumbing to the pressure, it should be enough to support you while you patch some drywall or repaint your house.
The maximum length at full extension is 12.5 feet. I find that enough for most households and average height owners. One thing that would’ve made this ladder even better would be a stabilizer bar. It’s not needed but it wouldn’t hurt either since the lateral hand grips are not the best.
Non-slip caps are installed both at the top and the bottom for extra stability. The EN131 rating is a sign of build quality too. I was also pleased to see a no-pinch retraction system, which believe it or not, is still missing from some telescoping ladders.
- Easy to use extension/retraction mechanism
- High weight capacity
- Very robust aluminum alloy construction
- Can’t be used on uneven terrain
- Average quality hand grips
Just How Safe Are Telescoping Ladders?
This question doesn’t have a simple answer. Just looking at the general design, these ladders are safe. They come with decent load capacities and they feature a locking mechanism that prevents them from retracting when a user is on them.
However, material quality is also highly important. More on this later.
If the ladder has good build quality and a solid locking mechanism, you should be fine. If you exceed the weight limit, you will know it as you get up the ladder. You know what to do if it looks like it might break. There are those who never look at weight limits for ladders. After all, if you’re sized like an NFL offensive lineman, you’re not going to want to get up a ladder.
Ladder Stabilizers – Are They Mandatory?
Every now and then you’ll see a ladder with a stabilizer bar. Most ladders that have them tend to be multi-position ladders but it’s not uncommon to see them on standard extension telescoping ladders either.
The purpose of the stabilizer bar is to offer a bit of extra support when the terrain isn’t perfectly even. But don’t expect to get too much out of them. Most stabilizer bars only support small adjustments which allow you to safely use the ladder on a gentle slope.
What’s the Material of Choice?
Aluminum alloy is the material of choice of most telescoping ladders. If you get your hands on a 6061 aluminum alloy ladder, you’re pretty much set. Although fiberglass is also in high demand and has amazing properties, aluminum is cheaper, more abundant and can be seen in use in some of the best telescoping ladders.
Now, depending on the manufacturing quality, some ladders will have more give than others. Not even 330lbs max capacity ladders are created equally. This is why choosing a ladder based solely on its specifications is not always a good idea.
Check for safety standard certifications such as EN131 (European) and ANSI (US). Those will give you a better idea of what to expect when trying to push the ladder to its limits.
Rise Above the Challenge
You never know when you might need a ladder around the house. And, since not everyone is blessed with infinite storage space, a telescoping ladder makes more practical sense than a traditional ladder. The other main draw is that you can fit a telescoping ladder in your trunk.
With that being said, I hope you’ve realized by now that there’s no universally best telescoping ladder. It comes down to your own specific needs (reach etc.), personal preferences, and obviously budget, too.