5 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a Ladder

5 Important Questions to Ask Before Buying a Ladder

11th February 2020

Ladders are among the oldest, essential tools ever invented. However, they come in many forms and a multitude of sizes to suit a variety of needs. To find the right ladder for your needs, there are quite a number of key questions that you should ask before committing to a purchase. Read on for 5 such vital questions to guide you make informed decisions in future.  

1.    Which Type of Ladder is Right for the Job?
Having the right ladder for the job is a key concern. Different kinds of ladders are designed to perform different jobs. Not using a ladder for the purpose it was designed for might not be effective in keeping you safe, or even getting the job done. Therefore, you need to understand exactly what you need the ladder for. This will guide you on what kind of ladder is the best for the job. Some circumstances may require the use of specialist ladders to complete the job quickly, effectively, and safely, than when you would’ve used a normal ladder.

2.    Is the Ladder in Good Condition?
A ladder in poor condition can be a big threat both to your safety and anyone around you. This is usually an issue when buying used ladders or those bought from uncertified suppliers. Maybe the ladder wiggles or the rungs and side pieces are broken or cracked. Some ladders also lack stability even when positioned correctly on level surfaces with locked hinges. In such circumstances, it’s of best interest to avoid the ladder and look for a quality one in good condition.

3.    Is it Tall Enough?
Ladders are only effective up to a maximum height, usually indicated clearly in most ladders. Thousands of ladder accidents are caused by overbalancing, that’s often due to standing too high on the equipment. You shouldn’t at any point attempt to exceed the maximum height (usually referred to as the Platform Height) as this could significantly increase the odds of an accident. Most external access ladders such as extension ladders, for instance, should extend at least 3 feet above the work surface or roofline.

4.    Does it Have a High Enough Duty Rating?
The duty rating basically refers to the maximum weight that should be on the ladder. Quality ladders are usually labelled with the maximum weight they can handle, as per the standards published by the relevant authorities. You need a ladder that can safely support the weight of the heaviest person likely to use it, plus the weight of any materials, equipment, or tools they’ll need to get the job done. If the weight is close to the duty rating, consider a much stronger ladder instead. 

5.    What Material Will be Best Suitable for the Job? 
Your ladder will only be effective if it’s made from the right material for a particular job. For instance, if you intend to use the ladder near electrical wiring or power lines, you should avoid any aluminium or wood ladders at all. Aluminium ladders are good conductors of electricity, and could easily lead to electrocution. Wood ladders are also usually fastened with metal. So, what material is safe to use in these circumstances? Well, fibreglass ladders prove to be the best choice and are almost equally strong for a variety of tasks an aluminium ladder can perform.