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29 Mar 2021

Step Ladder vs Step Stools

A step stool and step ladder are great pieces of equipment to have around your home or work that help make several jobs safer and more efficient. But what's the difference between a step ladder and a step stool and which is right for you?

In this blog we take a look at what sets a step ladder and step stool apart, listing the key differences and which you need to choose for the job at hand. 


What is a step ladder?

A step ladder is an A-shaped ladder that allows the user to climb a range of steps, usually between three to twelve. Step ladders are great as they offer the ability to reach heights above your natural reach whilst remaining safe. The majority of step ladders are manufactured using either fibreglass or aluminium materials.

Step ladder


What is a step stool?

A step stool, on the other hand, is a simple one or two-step stool that is usually made from a variety of materials including plastic, wood, steel and aluminium. Like step ladders, step stools make it easy for the user to reach particular heights but no more than a few feet more than your natural reach. Step stools are a great tool for kids and adults, and can be used in domestic, DIY, and trade settings. 

Step stool


Step ladder vs step stool - The differences 



The first difference between a step ladder and a step stool is in their respective design. Step stools are usually shorter than step ladders, often with a maximum number of four treads. Step stools are similar to regular stools in that they are designed mostly for users to sit on top and therefore have a length size of fewer than 32 inches. 

Step ladders, on the other hand, are designed more like a two-sided ladder that has more treads than a simple step stool. 

Over time as manufacturers create both step stools and step ladders using a variety of materials, the design of both has become a little more confusing, making it harder to distinguish one from the other. The following characteristics make spotting the difference between the two a little easier. 



The size of either tool is one of the easiest ways to distinguish them. Naturally, the size of a step ladder is bigger than that of a step stool, making them more useful in an outdoor setting. Due to step ladders being bigger, they often weigh more than a step stool too. This leads nicely onto the next difference between the two. 


Weight limits 

Due to the nature of their design, step stools cannot be used to carry weights greater than 100kg or so. As these are often only available in three duty ratings, they are more appropriate for light indoor use. Stepladders, however, can be used for major jobs in and around the house as well as within commercial and industrial settings, allowing them to carry far more weight without the risk of the step ladder becoming unstable.


Which should you choose?

When it comes to choosing between a step stool or a step ladder, it entirely depends on what you intend to use them for.

If you need a little bit of a boost around the house to reach a few awkward heights, then a step stool is your go-to. If you're looking for something to help you complete work at heights of around 12 feet or higher, however, then a step ladder is your best option.

So, when deciding on what is best for you, take into consideration the type of job you'll be doing, the environment that you're in, how high you'll be going and how much weight you'll be carrying. When all of these things are determined, you'll be able to make a more informed choice about which is right for you.

 Browse our Step Stools & Ladders >


Decided which is best for you but don't have one at hand? Don't panic, Ladders UK Direct have an extensive collection of step stools and step ladders for you to choose from! Simply click the button above to be taken to our full range of products where you can browse and buy safely and securely. 

If you want more information on our range of step stools and ladders, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today - we'd love to help you.