Whether you own a house or a condo, you will have to spend some time painting sooner or later. It is one of those jobs you need to do from time to time to make your home healthier and look better.
As for me, I am a big fan of DIY, so when the time comes, I always paint the house myself. I have my favorite flat paint brands and there are all kinds of rollers and brushes in my garage. And, of course, I have a few sturdy ladders as well (I tried quite a few). I learned the hard way that you really need a reliable and safe ladder if you don’t want to end up in the hospital.
In this article, I will share with you my ultimate list of the best ladders that you can get for painting. Whether you need a ladder for interior or exterior painting, or you want to use it on the stairs, this article will help you find the best one.
Let’s dive into:
Best Ladders for Interior Painting
The floor-to-ceiling height of most homes in the US is at least 8 feet. In the UK the minimum ceiling height is 6.8 feet (2.1 meters) but the average is about the same as in the US (and Canada).
Therefore, you will have to use either a ladder or an extension pole to reach the ceiling. Many beginners think that if they get an extension pole, they are good to go. The truth is, you won’t get too far without a ladder. At least, you will make your life so much harder if you don’t use one.
You should paint edges and corners using a brush (ideally an angle sash brush) and for that, you will need to get close to the wall and ceiling. This is why you need a reliable ladder. Let’s see the best ones.
1. Flip-N-Lite Stepladder from Little Giant Ladder Systems: Sturdy & Lightweight
I have put this ladder on the top of the list for a reason: this Flip-N-Lite model is one of my favorite ladders for interior use.
First, it’s a really good quality product from a trusted manufacturer. Second, I prefer step ladders with a top standing platform to standard A-frame ladders (at least for interior painting) because they allow me to face the wall while standing on them without having to turn my body sideways. This makes the whole painting process so much easier.
The Flip-N-Lite ladder has a large standing platform (it is about 13 x 13 inches) that is very comfortable (if you ever had a ladder with a narrow and tiny top platform you know what I’m talking about).
It is made of aluminum (so no screws to loosen up), thus it is pretty lightweight and that can be especially useful for seniors and for those who are not allowed to lift heavy items.
The depth and width of the steps are just right and the deep grids really improve safety as they can effectively prevent slips.
The Flip-N-Lite stepladder has a weight capacity of 300 lbs which is more than enough in most cases. It comes with non-marring rubber foot pads that further improve stability.
You can choose from 3 different sizes, I recommend you opt for the 5 ft or 6 ft model (depending on the floor-to-ceiling height of the rooms in your home). These are the best sizes for interior painting.
Just keep in mind that the numbers refer to the maximum height of the ladder frame, so if you buy the 6 ft model, the standing platform (the highest step on which you can stand) will be about 45 inches from the ground.
In fact, I’m not the only one who is happy with the Flip-N-Lite stepladder: you can find a ton of positive reviews on Amazon. You can check them out here.
Main advantages of Little Giant Flip-N-Lite Stepladder:
- Sturdy and secure
- It has a large standing platform
- It’s lightweight, so it can be a great choice for those who can’t lift heavy objects because of a health issue
- Easy to store (slim profile)
- Weight capacity of up to 300 lbs
Here is a short video about the ladder:
2. Werner Fiberglass Stepladder: For Painting & More
If you want an A-frame ladder without a top standing platform, I highly recommend you check out this heavy-duty model from Werner.
Many professionals use this ladder for a reason: it features a great build quality, and besides painting, it can be used for all kinds of work around the house. Due to the fiberglass material, it is non-conductive, so it can even be used for electrical works.
What I like most about this ladder is that it features a special top part where you can hold all kinds of accessories, such as a paint can, a paint tray, hand tools, or a drill. This feature can make things so much easier during painting and highly increases productivity.
The ladder comes in different sizes, for most people the 6-foot model will be the best choice for interior painting. It has a maximum standing height of about 46 inches which should be enough to comfortably reach the ceiling and the upper corners in most rooms.
Like the Flip-N-Lite stepladder, this Werner ladder features wide and slip-resistant steps and foot pads and has a load capacity of 300 lbs. Overall, the ladder is secure and sturdy.
Main advantages of Werner Fiberglass Stepladder:
- Durable and secure
- Versatile and non-conductive, thus can be used around electricity
- The Locktop holds painting (and other) accessories
- Improved slip-resistant foot pads and steps
- Load capacity of up to 300 lbs
Here you can check current pricing on Amazon.
3. Rubbermaid 3-Step Ladder: The Best Budget Option
If you are on a budget but want to buy a fairly good-quality ladder that you can use for years, this Rubbermaid model is one of your best bets.
It has a sturdy steel frame with huge and comfortable steps that are coated with anti-slip plastic. While it has a weight capacity of 225 lbs, it is pretty lightweight (16 lbs). So seniors and people who can’t lift heavy objects can also benefit from it.
While the ladder itself has a height of 52.2 inches, the top step is about only 30 inches from the floor. This is something you should keep in mind before buying. There might be cases where this ladder turns out to be too small. In most cases, however, it will be just right for interior painting.
To tell the truth, there are many similar ladders on the market, but only a few come with a project tray. When it comes to painting, this feature is really handy as the tray holds the paint can (not all sizes fit, however), brushes, and other tools.
If you tend to lose your balance easily, you will love the handle on the frame. Actually, the ladder is proved to be pretty secure on most surfaces due to the build quality and the non-marring rubber pads.
Main benefits of Rubbermaid step ladder:
- Affordable and reliable
- Lightweight design
- Handy project tray
- Easy to store thanks to the slim profile
Here you can find the current price on Amazon.
FYI – We have a full guide on the safest ladders for seniors that you can find here.
Best Ladders for Exterior Painting
1. Little Giant Velocity Ladder: Best for Multi-Use
This ladder is one of the best-selling models of Little Giant, and for good reason. The guys at Little Giant made a ladder that many of my DIY lover friends want for their birthday. At least those who haven’t got one already.
It’s really amazing how versatile this ladder is. It is literally a 4-in-1 ladder. You can use it as:
- an extension ladder,
- an A-frame ladder,
- a 90-degree ladder, and
- a staircase ladder.
It’s a real monster. While I think it’s best for outdoor purposes, you can use it indoors as well without any difficulty. For instance, it’s perfect for painting high ceilings or walls too. So, if you need a ladder for both exterior and interior painting, it’s a really nice choice. Did I mention that it also works great on stairs?
What I love about this ladder, besides being so versatile, is that you can set up the different configurations in no time. So you don’t have to worry about messing with it for minutes.
I also like that it does not take up much storage space (especially if you consider the fact that it’s four ladders in one). Moreover, you don’t have to carry it because it has wheels.
I don’t really want to talk about quality and sturdiness because you can be sure that practically any ladder from Little Giant is top-notch regarding build quality.
The Velocity ladder comes in four different sizes so you can choose according to your needs. I think the most popular is the 22 ft model. However, if you want to paint a 2 story house, you may want to consider the 26 ft model that converts to a 23-foot extension ladder (or check out the next ladder on this list).
Don’t forget, however, that you can adjust it to many different heights within the specified range.
So, if you need a ladder for exterior painting that you can use inside the house as well, you should definitely consider this model.
Main advantages of the Velocity ladder:
- Aluminum frame, lightweight construction
- Easy to adjust
- Excellent build quality
- Easy to carry and store
Click this link to check current pricing on Amazon.
2. Louisville Fiberglass Extension Ladder: Best for High Altitudes
This Louisville extension ladder is a great choice for exterior painting. It comes in 7 different sizes (from 16 ft to 40 ft), so you can choose according to your needs.
If you have to paint at higher altitudes, you want to go for the 28-foot model or higher (especially if you work on a 2-story house).
Keep in mind that when you set up a 28 feet tall extension ladder at the proper 75-degree angle, the accessible height will be around 21 feet. For a 32-foot model, it will be around 25 feet, and so on.
The Louisville fiberglass ladder comes with non-marring rail end caps and swivel safety shoes that highly improve safety and stability. It’s a type IA (extra heavy-duty) ladder, therefore it has a load capacity of 300 lbs. So it’s hands down a reliable and durable ladder.
There are two more things I want to highlight:
- The anti-slip D-shaped rungs have a direct connection to the rail that makes the whole ladder more secure when climbing.
- When you extend the ladder you can easily secure the fly and base sections using the sturdy QuickLatch system.
Main benefits of Louisville Fiberglass Extension Ladder:
- Extra heavy-duty model
- Let you work safely at high altitudes, so I mainly recommend it for exterior painting
- The fiberglass frame does not conduct electricity
- Easily adjustable
- Secure QuickLatch system
Here you can find the current price on Amazon.
3. Louisville Aluminum Extension Ladder: Best Budget Ladder for Exterior Painting
If you are on a budget but need an extension ladder and don’t really want to sacrifice quality, check out this Louisville ladder. While it’s true that it’s not the cheapest model on the market, it’s still a great deal considering the build quality.
When it comes to ladders, safety is extremely important. Therefore, when you are buying, you always want to make sure you choose a model that meets the ANSI requirements and safety standards set by OSHA.
Believe me, you don’t want to use the cheapest ladder. Not because of the price but the poor build quality that may lead to falls and other accidents.
Let’s get back to the Louisville aluminum ladder.
It’s an ANSI-rated Type III and has a weight capacity of 200 lbs (it only applies to the 16-foot model). It’s perfect for light-duty household purposes, such as painting. Of course, if you are a professional, this is not the ladder you need.
It comes in many different sizes (from 16 ft to 40 ft), so you can choose the one that meets your needs. 20-foot and higher models are ANSI-rated Type IA, which means they have a load capacity of 300 lbs (the new 16 ft model is also ANSI-rated type IA but comes at a higher price).
However, if you need a ladder in the height range of 20 ft-40 ft, I would suggest you consider the previously mentioned Louisville ladder because it costs roughly the same but I think it’s somewhat sturdier.
Keep in mind that it’s made of aluminum, so while it’s perfectly suitable for painting and it’s somewhat lighter than fiberglass, you mustn’t use it to work around electricity.
Main advantages of Louisville Aluminum Extension Ladder (16 ft):
- Affordable yet reliable
- Lighter than fiberglass
- Non-marring rail end cups
- Slip-resistant feet
Here you can check current pricing on Amazon.
Best Ladders for Painting a Staircase
1. Little Giant Revolution M22 Ladder with Ratchet Levelers: Best for Uneven Surfaces & Multi-Use
As you may have realized, I’m a big fan of Little Giant products. You can work really efficiently using their products and from time to time they come out with new features that prove to be really useful.
The Revolution M22 ladder is one of the best (if not the best) choices if you want to paint a staircase or have to work on uneven terrain.
It features built-in Ratchet Levelers that make it really easy to use the ladder safely on literally any type of uneven surface, including stairs, curbs, and ramps.
The Dual Ratchet Levelers allow about 8.5 inches of level adjustment which is more than enough in most cases.
Here is a short video that demonstrates how useful this feature is when you need to use your ladder on stairs and other uneven surfaces:
The Little Giant Revolution M22 ladder has a maximum extension height of 19 feet and a load capacity of 300 lbs (type IA) on each side (it’s double-sided). It should be more than enough to reach every corner of a stairwell.
It’s made of aluminum, however, it may seem heavy (it weighs 44 lbs) to some people. You can use it in many different configurations, such as A-frame, extension, staircase, or 90-degree. It’s great for both interior and exterior house painting.
While it’s true that this model is a top-notch product, it’s not cheap at all. If all you need is a reliable ladder that you can use on stairs, instead you can opt for the Little Giant Velocity Ladder that I’ve already mentioned before. That one is much cheaper and also works great on stairs (but does not come with Ratchet Levelers). As an alternative, you can choose the Little Giant Revolution M17 model which has the same features but a lower maximum extension height.
Main benefits of Little Giant Revolution M22:
- Impeccable build quality
- Works great on stairs and uneven surfaces
- Sturdy and secure (type IA)
- Easily and quickly adjustable
- Many available configurations
- Multipurpose: great for many types of jobs around the house
2. Vulcan Ladder 17 ft: Paint Your Staircase on the Cheap
The Vulcan multi-task ladder can be a great choice for those who need a reliable ladder for a reasonable price.
This ladder is pretty versatile. For instance, you can use it as both an A-frame and extension ladder and it also works great on stairs. It’s somewhat similar to the Little Giant Velocity ladder but with fewer functions and configurations.
Overall durability is good, according to the manufacturer it’s an ANSI-rated Type IA, so it has a load capacity of 300 lbs.
It’s made of aluminum, so you can’t use it for electrical work but it’s optimal for painting a stairwell. It comes with non-marring rubber feet. Overall, it’s a really great value for the price.
- Sturdy, Type IA with a weight capacity of 300 lbs.
Check the current price on Amazon.
Which Ladder Should I Choose for Painting?
When it comes to ladders, I think safety is paramount. Therefore the first step is to choose a reliable product. Regarding safety, you can’t really go wrong with any of the ladders on this list. They are all safe until you use them the proper way.
However, you can have the most secure ladder on Earth, but if you use it incorrectly, chances are good that you will end up on the ground.
Therefore, before you start using any ladder, I suggest you read these safety instructions of OSHA carefully to avoid falls and other injuries. It’s only a 3-minute read and well worth the time.
Before you choose a ladder, try to answer the following questions:
- How often will you use it?
- Do you need it only for painting or for other jobs too?
- Do you plan to use the ladder indoors or outdoors (or both)?
- What is the highest point you want to reach?
- Do you have to use it on the stairs?
- What is your budget?
- What features are important for you?
- Is being lightweight essential?
If you have the budget and need a durable multipurpose ladder that you can use for both interior and exterior painting, I recommend that you consider the Little Giant Velocity Ladder. If you don’t have to work at high altitudes, you can opt for the 17-foot model. It is safe to use on the stairs too.
If you want a ladder for indoor use only (such as painting the living room or the kitchen) and being lightweight is important, go for the Little Giant Flip-N-Lite. If you prefer a dedicated tray where you can hold your accessories, check out the Werner Stepladder. A cheaper alternative would be the Rubbermaid stepladder.
If you need a ladder for outdoor use only, I recommend the Louisville Fiberglass Extension Ladder (especially a good choice for painting at higher altitudes and working around electricity).
If you work on uneven surfaces and stairs frequently and build quality and versatility are a top priority, consider the Little Giant Revolution M22. It’s pretty costly but a very reliable multi-use ladder that meets the highest standards.