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07 Jun 2023

Ladder with stabiliser bar

Cast your mind back to the beginning of 2018: Theresa May was Prime Minister, everyone was falling in love with that man-fish thing from The Shape of Water, and the word 'covid' was still a couple of years from meaning anything at all.

It was around this time that the EN131 ladder regulations were updated and a number of new rules came into force regarding the design and manufacture of portable ladders. You can read our blog about EN131 if you want all the details - for now, there's one specific rule we'd like to focus on:


Leaning ladders, telescopic ladders and hinge-jointed ladders longer than 3 metres must be wider at the base to make them more stable.

- from the Ladder Association's updated EN131 guidance


The easiest way to make a ladder wider at its base is to fit it with a stabiliser bar. When the updated EN131 regulations came into effect, most British ladder manufacturers started fitting all of their ladders with a stabiliser bar as standard.

So a ladder without a stabiliser bar can be a difficult thing to find nowadays - and even if you could find one, it wouldn't necessarily be safe to use. Still, if you're absolutely determined to get your hands on a ladder with no stabiliser bar, you do have a few options...


Wide bottom ladders

You may have noticed that the Ladder Association guidance quoted above doesn't specifically mention stabiliser bars - it just says that your ladder "must be wider at the base".

Some ladders are designed with a widened base, thus eliminating the need for a stabiliser bar.

Wide bottom ladder

PICTURED: Chase Window Cleaning Ladder

These fat-bottomed ladders offer good stability without the need for a fixed bar at the base of the ladder.


Ladders with detachable stabiliser bars

Your other option is to purchase a ladder whose stabiliser bar can be removed.

For example, the Titan Classic Double Extension Ladder comes with rubber feet AND a stabiliser bar - these parts are interchangeable so the ladder could, in theory, be used without the stabiliser bar.

Ladder without stabiliser bar

PICTURED: Titan Classic Double Extension Ladder

However, we strongly advise against using this ladder without the stabiliser bar. The product only meets EN131 standards when used in conjunction with the stabiliser bar, and taking it off significantly increases the ladder's risk of toppling over.

If you choose to ignore this advice and use the ladder with rubber feet instead of the stabiliser bar, you do so at your own risk. Make sure the ladder is tied off and footed at the base to keep it as stable as possible, and be sure to follow all other relevant health and safety guidelines.

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