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03 Dec 2020

Extension ladder

When purchasing a ladder, it's helpful to know what length you need. But what about width? Should you be taking that into consideration too?

There's no hard and fast rule saying how wide a ladder must be, so width measurements vary from one product to the next. A typical extension ladder is between 350mm and 500mm wide; step ladders tend to be a little wider, ranging from approximately 400mm to 800mm depending on the product's height.

That being said, there is one specific width requirement that applies to virtually all ladder types...


Ladders taller than 3m must be wider at the base

The updated EN131 ladder regulations state that:

"Step ladders and combination ladders have been wider at the base for many years. Now however, leaning ladders, telescopic ladders and hinge-jointed ladders longer than 3 metres must also be wider at the base to make them more stable."

A structure that's wider at the bottom than at the top is almost always more stable than a structure that's the same width all the way down. This rule applies to ladders just the same as it applies to the Eiffel Tower!

To meet the requirements of the EN131 standard, some ladders have a design that widens towards the bottom of the ladder...

Tripod ladder with wide base

Pictured: Fruit Picking Tripod Ladder

...while other ladders feature a stabiliser bar, a bar that fits horizontally across the base of the ladder to make it sturdier.

Ladder stabiliser bar

Pictured: Professional Double Extension Ladder

EN131: Learn More   Browse All Ladders