how are extension ladders measured

Are you thinking about buying an extension ladder for an upcoming job? Not really sure what length you need? Well, here in this blog, we'll explain how extension ladders are measured to help you find the perfect length for the task at hand.

Unlike single section ladders, extension ladders are be made up of two or more moveable sections, adding an additional layer of complexity to the calculation. Just because an extension ladder is listed as being 10 metres long, you shouldn't assume that you can reach 10 metres comfortably.

When measuring an extension ladder, it's important that you take the overlap in the middle of the ladder into consideration as well as the safe working height. These aren't the only things to consider, there are all kinds of variables that can make measuring an extension ladder a bit of a difficult task. But don't worry, we're here to help!

The Length of the Sections

One way that extension ladders can be measured is by working out the length of the individual sections. If the ladder features three sections that are 4 metres in length, then the actual length of the ladder (end to end) would be 12 metres. We bet you've never seen an extension ladder that extends end-to-end though, have you? 

The Overlap

What the above calculation doesn't allow for is the overlap that occurs between the sections. So, if you want to measure the length of your extension ladder when it's fully extended and ready to use you should:

  • Open up the ladder to the last position supported by the rung locks
  • Use a tape measure to measure the ladder from end to end

This should give you a more realistic idea of the ladders 'open' length.

The Angle/Pitch

When working out whether your extension ladder is the right length, you should remember that you won't be using your ladder in a fully vertical position. To use it safely you will need to lean it against a supporting wall. This might take an 8-metre extension ladder down to a 7-metre height, for example. 

Safe Working Height

Another thing to consider when measuring an extension ladder is the safe working height. Generally, you shouldn't stand on the last 3 or 4 rungs of your ladder, because you won't be able to maintain three points of contact to keep yourself stable. This is incredibly dangerous and could lead to a serious fall or injury!

So, taking all of these things into consideration, you can see why measuring an extension ladder to suit a particular height can be quite tricky. Our recommendation is to always choose an extension ladder that's 1 or 2 metres longer than your desired height. This should allow for all the discrepancies we've mentioned above.

Our Extension Ladders

lfi triple extension ladder

LFI Super-Trade PLUS Triple Extension Ladder

Here at Ladders UK Direct, we offer extension ladders to suit all different heights and purposes! Some of our smallest models are 4 metres or less, while our longest ladders can reach up to 13 metres! We offer aluminium and glass fibre extension ladders, so whether you need a ladder for your garden or to resolve an electrical fault - we've got you covered.

Shop Extension Ladders Now!

So, now you know how extension ladders are measured, you can easily find the right one for you! If you have any questions about our extension ladders, feel free to give us a call on 01446 789 538.