Ladder buying guide - what kind of ladder do I need?

Whether you need to change a lightbulb or re-tile the roof of your home, choosing a ladder that suits the height and nature of the task is paramount for your safety. With so many ladders on offer, it can be hard to know which type of ladder you should choose. We'll take you through the different kinds of ladders to show you how to choose between ladders, step ladders, scaffold towers or work platforms. 

A Quick Note On Safety

Besides making sure the ladder you're using is appropriate for the task at hand, it's important you know how to use it safely. Some basic ladder safety tips include:

  • Checking the ladder is leaning at the correct angle against the wall
  • Making sure your step ladder is open and locked into place
  • Wearing appropriate clothing that won't restrict you or snag on the ladder
  • Ensuring the feet are non-slip and in good condition
  • Making sure you won't exceed the maximum load the ladder can safely support

More On Ladder Safety >

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Ladder:

  1. What will you be using it for?
  2. How tall does it need to be?
  3. What material should it be made of?
  4. How long will you be up the ladder at any particular time?
  5. How big is the space you have to store and transport it?

We've put this guide together to give you a bit of information about the different kinds of ladders we offer, what they're commonly used for, and why they're different to other types of ladders on the market. We hope this helps you find the ladder you need but, as always, if you do have any questions, give us a call - 01446 789 538.

Step Ladders

Step ladders can be used almost anywhere because they don't require a supporting wall. This makes them ideal for a wide range of jobs including window cleaning, painting and decorating or construction work. They tend to come with a special mechanism that locks them in an 'A' shape, it's important that you engage this feature before you try to use your step ladder. Let's take a closer look at a few different step ladder options we have.

Folding step stool

  • Small Step Stools

When you need to access something just slightly out of reach eg. the top of a shelf or a light fitting, a small step stool is a great option. The Hailo K30 Folding Step Stool is a particular favourite because it's small and lightweight yet sturdy enough to be used all around the home including; in the kitchen or in the garage.

Double sided step ladder

  • Swingback & Platform Step Ladders

These types of step ladder are perfect for both domestic and trade applications. The main difference between the two types is the addition, or lack of, a platform at the top of the ladder.

Swingback step ladders (without a platform) are perfect for quick jobs, or jobs that don't require lots of equipment. They can be quickly moved from one location to another which is great for travelling tradespeople.

Meanwhile, platform ladders provide you with additional space so you can pick up and put down tools or materials while you work. This means you can work at height for a longer time if necessary.

Some of our top swingback and platform step ladders include; Heavy Duty Class 1 Swingback Step Ladder, Professional Platform Step Ladder, and Class 1 Double Sided Step Ladder (shown above).

Shop All Step Ladders Here >


  •  Fibre Glass Step Ladders

Fibre glass ladders are special because they can be used in scenarios where there's an electrical or thermal hazard. Why? Because fibre glass is a great electrical insulator and is naturally incombustible so it will protect you from electrocution and won't catch fire. Because of these properties, fibre glass ladders are a popular choice in the building industry.

We offer a range of fibre glass step ladders including; Super-Trade Glass Fibre Swingback Step Ladder, Heavy Duty Glass Fibre Platform Steps & Megastep (shown above), but there are plenty more to choose from in our step ladder range.


If a step ladder can't provide the reach you need, you might find that a ladder is more suitable for your needs. Ladders come in all shapes, sizes and materials so you might be struggling to decide which one is right for you. If terms like 'combination ladder' or 'telescopic ladder' are going over your head, don't worry, we'll break them down and show you which ladders suit different kinds of jobs. 

Rope operated extension ladder

  • Extension Ladders

Extension ladders can be made up of two or three sliding sections that can be extended to provide reach up to 10 metres! They're favoured by tradespeople and DIY-ers for their versatility and compact storage size. If you need to work at height, but not on a roof, a simple extension ladder is a perfect solution. Always account for one metre above the highest point you'll expect to work so you'll never be left ladder-less.

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer double, triple and rope operated extension ladders, all of which are incredibly easy to use. Some of our favourite extension ladders include; LFI Super-Trade PLUS Triple Extension Ladder, Youngman T200 Double Extension Ladder, Triple Section Rope Operated Extension Ladder (shown above).

Shop Extension Ladders Here >

Glass fibre ladder

  • GRP Ladders

What does GRP stand for? GRP is Glass Reinforced Plastic - also known as fibre glass. It's strong, incredibly lightweight and, as we discussed previously, highly non-conductive and incombustible. This means that GRP ladders are ideal for industrial use or for use around electrical or fire hazards.

A few of our favourite GRP ladders include; Werner Fibre Glass Utility Extension Ladder ALFLO, Glass Fibre Double Extension Ladder, and Glass Fibre Single Ladder (shown above).

Shop GRP Ladders Here >

Telescopic ladder

  • Telescopic Ladders

As far as compact ladders go, you can't get more compact than a telescopic ladder! Working in a similar way to binoculars or a telescope (where the name originates), these ladders can be packed down to a very small size when they're not in use. This style of ladder is perfect for people with limited space, or for people who need to reach tall height on the move. They can fit comfortably into most car boots, cupboards and vans. 

Shop All Telescopic Ladders >

Combination ladder

  • Combination Ladders

If you're going to need to use your ladder regularly and for a range of different jobs, then a combination ladder is ideal for you. Combining the functionality of a step ladder, an extension ladder and a stairwell work platform, you're really investing in a good all-rounder.

Both parts of the combination ladder can be adjusted to suit different heights and can even be spread across multiple levels for access above stairways, something that most other ladders are unable to offer! The Werner 725 Reform Ladder (shown above) is one of our favourites because it features comfortable D-shaped rungs and can be used in any environment. View all of our combination ladders by clicking the button below. 

View Combination Ladders >

If you have any questions about the ladders mentioned in the guide, or if you'd like our help choosing the right kind of ladder - get in touch. Our friendly team will help you make the right purchase.

Kitchen Steps

Did you know that a good set of kitchen steps can be useful in your household? Whether you want to make better use of your kitchen cupboards, bake tasty treats with a little helper or you just need a bit of extra reach, our kitchen steps are sure to come in handy.

Baking with Little Ones

Many of us have fond childhood memories of combining all kinds of ingredients to create delicious treats like cakes, cookies and brownies. Of course, to be able to join in with the culinary creativity, children need to be able to reach the kitchen side!

There's no way you're going to be able to hold a child up with one hand while you roll the pastry out with the other, so investing in kitchen steps is a must. 

Our kitchen steps feature non-slip treads to stop accidental slips or falls, perfect if your child is getting a little over-excited at the prospect of yummy treats.

The steps won't absorb spills, so once you and your little helper are finished baking, you can simply wipe your kitchen steps with a cloth and fold them away ready for next time.

Putting Away Shopping

Unpacking shopping is one of those jobs that few of us enjoy but all of us have to do. The trick is to get the bags out of the car, into the kitchen and completely unpacked as quickly as possible. Well, we've found that having a set of kitchen steps on hand can really make the unpacking process easier. Here's why...

The Hailo K30 Folding Step Stool (our favourite kitchen steps) provide you with a stable platform and non-slip feet for maximum stability while you're putting the groceries away. This means you can safely and comfortably re-organise your top shelf without accidentally straining your shoulders or back or having the cupboard contents rain down on you like cats and dogs.

When you're at eye level with the top shelf, you'll able to scan your cupboards for things that need throwing out. Better yet you can employ the help of the kids, who love dodging this job too. Either way, you'll find that putting your shopping away has never been easier with a set of sturdy kitchen steps.

Elsewhere in Your Home

As with many of our ladders and step ladders, our kitchen steps don't serve a single function - they can be used anywhere! The kitchen steps that we stock are made of aluminium, meaning they're not only lightweight and easy to move but also resistant to rust.

This means they can be used safely in more demanding areas of your home like in the garage or bathroom. Their compact size allows them to be easily folded away and stored when not in use, but don't be fooled. Just because they're small doesn't mean they're not mighty. Our kitchen steps can support weights of up to 150kg!

So, we hope this shows you just how useful a set of kitchen steps can be! If you're ready to order a set and take your odd-jobs to new heights, click the button below!

See Our Kitchen Steps >


If you'd like more information on a specific set of kitchen steps that you've seen within our steps range, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today! We'd be more than happy to help with any requirements you may have. 

According to the Health and Safety Executive, 40% of all on-the-job fatalities occur as a result of a fall from height.

This is particularly problematic in construction with the HSE reporting that half of all the fall from height deaths over the last five years occurring in the construction trade.

Meanwhile, just under 20% of all non-fatal injuries in the construction trade over the last five years were also a result of falling from height. Scary stuff!

Needless to say, knowing how to use a ladder safely is of vital importance and can quite literally save your life. Luckily, this blog is dedicated to ladder safety tips that will help you do exactly that!

Read on for a step-by-step account on how to raise your ladder game today with these top ladder safety tips from the Ladders UK Direct pros.


ladder safety tips, how to use a ladder safely


How to Use a Ladder Safely

Whether you’re a professional roofer or an average Joe hanging Christmas lights from the guttering, you are effectively putting yourself at risk once you scale a ladder.

After all, gravity doesn’t discriminate and the same dangers apply to all – which makes following our ladder safety tips universally important.

To help ensure your ladder-related tasks don’t come crashing down, here are a few ladder safety tips that will help you avoid a fall from grace and keep your spirits high.


Strong Stiles

The vertical parts of a ladder (i.e. the long parts on either side of the rungs) are known in the UK as ladder stiles.

Before using a ladder, it’s vitally important that the stiles are in good condition and void of any splits, dents or bends.

Any damage caused to the stiles can seriously impact the structural integrity of the ladder and can potentially cause the ladder to break mid-use.


Rung Capacity

Much like the stiles, healthy rungs are paramount when it comes to ensuring your ladder is fit for purpose.

If rungs are bent, loose or missing entirely, take that as a tell-tale warning sign that your ladder’s days are numbered.

Using a ladder that features dodgy or absent rungs will increase the likelihood of the ladder failing and could result in things going south fast.


Happy Feet

The feet of the ladder are the underside of the stiles, typically adorned with rubber bases that feature a ridged pattern on the bottom of the caps.

If the feet are worn, damaged or, worse still, missing entirely, this can lead to the underside of the ladder becoming slippery and losing its traction.

If this occurs while you are on the ladder, it could lead to disaster. As such, you should postpone use until the feet have been replaced.


User-related Ladders Safety Tips

Anytime you use a ladder, even one that is in full, working order, the way you engage with the ladder can also have a dramatic effect on the level of safety.

Follow these user-related ladder safety tips to help ensure you keep a firm grasp on the task at hand during your next ladder job.


Understand Overload

While most ladders are sturdy enough to hold the weight of a worker, they aren’t indestructible and are built with a maximum weight limit in mind.

Always check the specifications of your ladder to avoid overloading it with too much weight, accounting for the weight of the working and any materials/equipment they are carrying.

Meanwhile, carrying too much can put you off-balance and easily lead you to fall as a result. Be sensible when it comes to carrying loads up ladders and only carry what you can comfortably handle.


Arm’s Reach

Setting up your ladder in an appropriate location for the task at hand should be a top priority prior to scaling the rungs.

If the area you need to access is even slightly out of comfortable reach, it can lead to a nasty fall in mere seconds.

A good rule of thumb to avoid stretching out to a dangerous distance is to ensure your belt buckle stays with the stiles of the ladder. Anything beyond that could put you at further risk.


Higher Ground

Before you begin your task, always make sure that the ladder you are using is long/high enough for the job in front of you.

To gauge whether or not your ladder is tall enough for your chosen endeavour, you should be able to safely access the area you need without working on the top three rungs.

The ladder itself should extend at least one metre above where you are working to allow you simple hand/foot contact with the ladder at all times for safer stability.


For additional ladder safety tips, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 01446 789538 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

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