With so many different types of ladders on the market now, there are various options that you can look into when making a purchase.
Out of all the many choices, there are two options that often seem to get mixed up, and they are the ladder and the stepladder.
These two types of ladders are very similar and have a lot in common, and people may think that they are the same thing, but they are quite different. So, what separates these models?
One main difference and perhaps the most obvious is the height of the ladder.
These ladders are usually taller so that you can use them to reach higher spots that you can get to while just standing on a chair.
A stepladder is usually on the shorter side and consists of only a few steps that can help you reach the tops of cabinets or be able to hang décor higher on the wall.
These stepladders are used for smaller jobs or projects that don’t require a very tall ladder so that you can avoid lugging around a large load just to handle one quick project.
The height advantage from a ladder allows for commercial or industrial use due to the ability to reach higher spaces.
Although this is not always needed for household projects, a stepladder would likely not be tall enough for construction or contractor jobs.
Because of the big difference in height between a ladder and a stepladder, this causes the weight of each product to be drastically different as well.
Ladders can be fairly lightweight, but the compact nature of a stepladder will allow it to be lighter in most cases.
With only a few steps attached, compared to an 8-foot ladder that typically has seven or eight rungs, a stepladder uses much less material which helps lighten its load.
Steps and Rungs
A ladder is made with steps that are known as rungs, which are much smaller in size than a step. A rung can be flat, or it can be more of a tubular, curved shape.
These rungs are not big enough to fit the size of a person’s foot and users have to balance themselves to be able to stand on them without falling.
Steps are much larger and can usually fit most, if not the whole area of the foot so that you can place your feet flat against the landing.
This allows you to have better balance and not have to worry about needing to stabilize yourself while using it.
There is usually also a handle that allows you to fold up the stepladder which doubles as a safety bar that you can hold onto while on the highest step for extra balance.
These types of steps are also much more natural to use than the smaller rungs because they are made to feel like regular steps on a stairway.
This makes it more comfortable to use and it feels more second nature that balancing on a rung.
Free-Standing and Leaning
The straight ladder style will be fixed and you will have to put the top of the ladder against the wall or roof that you will be working on and place the bottom at an angle so that the ladder won’t be too steep.
With a stepladder, there is no need to do this. Because a stepladder is much shorter than a regular ladder, you don’t have many steps to deal with, but these models also come with a free-standing frame.
This means that the stepladder stands on its own and doesn’t need to lean against a wall to use.
Stepladders come with a frame that holds the steps at a pre-set angle so that all you have to do is set it down where you need it in order to use it.
Some stepladders come with a folding mechanism that allows you to flatten the steps and use less space for storage.
With these stepladders, the angle of the frame is still pre-set and the only difference is that the entire unit can be folded up like a chair.
Unlike many ladders, stepladders come with a safety handle at the top that allows you to hold onto it for better balance.
This doubles as part of the folding function because you hold this bar while folding the stepladder for storage or transport, but this can also be used as an added safety feature as well.
Typical ladders do not have these types of handles or bars because the top of the ladder has to lean against the wall. Because you are up against a solid structure, there is no room for it.
This also makes a stepladder safer to use than a regular ladder, although it doesn’t offer the same reach.
Although ladders and stepladders can seem like the same thing, this article shows the many differences that set each of these ladder styles apart.
From the height and weight of the design to the ability to stand on its own, each of these options comes with pros and cons that make them a good choice for certain jobs, but not others.